Blink Outdoor vs. Ring Stick Up: Best Amazon-Owned Camera?

After weeks of testing, I determined Blink Outdoor is better because it provides solid motion detection and saves the clips for free (if you buy the new Sync Module 2 or you’ve owned a Blink previously).

Ring Stick Up Cam (3rd Gen) has a better app interface and a rechargeable battery, but you’ll need to pay for a subscription to use basic features.

I’ll compare and contrast these two security cameras (Blink Outdoor vs. Ring Stick Up) by evaluating five categories: free service, subscription service, software, design, and video/audio quality.

Blink Outdoor: 6/10

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Free Service: A+

  • Just like Ring, Blink now requires a subscription plan to make it a useful camera, but Blink will record for free IF you buy the new Sync Module 2 (not released yet) OR you’ve owned a previous generation Blink camera.
  • Without a plan, you’ll get an alert of motion in front of the camera, but nothing will record.
  • You can check the live feed anytime.

Subscription Service: C

  • Blink’s Cloud plan is $30/year and you need it to make Blink useful.
  • Blink calls their motion detection “Instant On” and it starts recording as soon as it senses motion, then stops when the action stops.
    • Blink gives you 60 days of video storage. Your oldest files will be replaced with the latest when storage fills up. You can export your clips to your phone at any time to keep them forever.
    • You can set the clip length to between 5-60 seconds. The batteries will run out faster, the more it’s recording. It can keep recording after the 60 seconds is up, but there’s a major caveat: the minimum retrigger time is 10 seconds. If something’s going on for two minutes, you might miss 10 seconds of valuable footage because after the 60 seconds is up, it takes 10 seconds to start recording again.
  • Blink has “activity zones” that let you decide where you want to receive motion alerts to avoid unwanted notifications and video recordings for things that don’t matter.
  • Unfortunately, Blink is missing person detection.

Hardware: D

  • Blink runs on two AA batteries. They claim a pair of AA batteries should last two years, but that isn’t close to reality. Their tests had to have been in a remote location in low sensitivity mode, with the lowest video quality and only five-second recordings. Realistically, you’re looking at a month with the medium quality mode and 30-45 second clips. Blink is not an ideal camera for areas with heavy traffic.
  • You can power it with a micro USB cable if you have access to an outdoor outlet, but you’d lose the waterproofing unless you can create your own solution.
  • Unlike Ring, you need to plug in a separate bridge to get your Blink network running. The Sync Module plugs into any power outlet and dangles from it. It’s included with the Blink Outdoor pack. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be plugged into your router, and it doesn’t add any extra pain.
  • You only need one Sync Module for up to 10 Blink cameras.
  • Blink Outdoor can handle outdoor weather (4° to 113° F temperatures and waterproof).
  • Blink’s craftsmanship is lacking. It’s made of cheap plastic.
    • The dollar store mount that it comes with is embarrassing.
    • The battery cover has a funky latch and release. It’s hard to know if it’s fully closed or not.

Software: C-

  • Blink is notorious for their server issues. When I first installed Blink in 2017, I had issues too, but it seems like they’ve worked through many of their early startup troubles. Amazon’s acquisition of Blink and their expertise probably helped. My latest install went smoothly.
  • Push notifications are delayed and sent after the motion has been recorded, not during the action, as with most security cameras.
  • There isn’t an online interface or desktop app.
  • You can set schedules for when you want your system to be armed or disarmed. This can kill pointless notifications while you’re home.
  • Blink made questionable interface decisions in their app. Three examples:
    • Scheduling is unnecessarily complex.
    • The thumbnails for motion detection are too small and can barely be seen.
    • It’s easy to accidentally turn off the motion tracking without realizing it. I did this a few times.
  • Because Amazon owns Blink, it works seamlessly with Alexa. You can arm or disarm it by saying “Alexa, ask Blink to arm my home system.” Or if you have a Fire TV or Echo Show you can say, “Alexa, show my backyard camera” and a live feed will appear.
  • It doesn’t work with Siri or Google Assistant.
  • There isn’t a way to natively record based on your phone’s location. For instance, only record when you’re away from home and stop recording when you’re home.
  • You record clips on demand while you view them.
  • You can’t set up scheduled recordings, due to battery limitations. Blink is great for casual monitoring of an area but not for serious surveillance.
  • It takes about seven seconds to load the live feed.
  • You can use this as an intercom or chat with someone in front of the camera because there’s a speaker on the new generation. But two-way communication is terrible on Blink Outdoor.
    • When viewing the live feed, there’s a three-second delay between real life and what you see.
    • In the app, you need to hold the mic button as you talk to the other person. Often the other person tries to talk, but can’t be heard because Blink isn’t ready to record the other person’s voice.
    • The video gets choppier when you switch the landscape mode.
    • The mics cuts in and out frequently.

Audio & Video Quality: C+

  • Blink Outdoor records in 1080p with a 110° field of view.
  • The nighttime recording could use work.
  • The audio recording is a bit better on Blink.

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Ring Stick Up Cam: 4/10

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Free Service: F

  • Ring is useless without a paid subscription because nothing is recorded. Here’s what you can do for free:
    • You can check the live feed at any time.
    • You get alerts when there’s motion in front of the camera, but you can’t view what happened unless you see it live.
    • You can have a conversation with someone in real-time with two-way audio. It works like Ring Doorbells. But it doesn’t make sense for this kind of camera because it’s going to be mounted high and probably take visitors by surprise when someone starts talking. Although, it may be useful if you need to tell someone to get off of your yard.

Subscription ServiceC

  • Ring Protect plan is $30/year and you need it to make Ring useful. Here’s what you get:
    • Motion is recorded and saved on in the cloud for 60 days. You can export or share these video clips whenever you want.
  • As I saw with the battery-powered Ring Doorbell 2, motion recording is not sufficient relative to other security cameras. Even when it catches the motion properly, the audio part of the video sometimes doesn’t record until it’s three seconds into the clip. While Ring Stick Up Cam will probably record 90% of the action, it’s unreliable.
  • There are three settings for motion detection: Frequent, Standard, and Light. All of them miss events.
  • Because Blink’s free motion recording is better than Ring’s, I’d expect to get more premium options from Ring with their subscription, like 24/7 recording.

Software: B

  • Ring’s two-way talk is better than Blink’s because there’s no video lag. Calls go smoother because your phone’s mic and the camera’s mics are always recording, rather than only recording when you press a button, like Blink. Although, it’s nowhere near as smooth as Ring Doorbell Pro because Stick Up Cam’s video and audio still cut out.
  • Ring added a smooth timeline with thumbnails that you can slide through to see what happened. It’s a significant upgrade from the previous interface and miles ahead of Blink Outdoor.
  • You can record on-demand with one tap.
  • You can set a schedule for when you do and don’t want motion recording, or enter in “motion snooze” mode for an hour, right from your phone’s notification screen.
  • Like Blink, there’s no native geofencing in the app, but you can work around this with Alexa Routines.
  • You can create motion zones, but they’re not as customizable as Blink’s.
  • Neighbors Feed” lets you post videos, screenshots or written descriptions to your local community with the hopes that other Ring owners do the same. For instance, there was a fire in my town and someone posted it to the feed for all to see.
  • You can have screenshots posted, emails sent, events uploaded to Google Drive, along with other things done automatically with IFTTT recipes.
  • Ring is also owned by Amazon and Alexa works perfectly. You can arm and disarm or have the live feed appear on your TV, if you own a Fire TV device.
  • It takes about four seconds to load to view the live feed.
  • Ring works with Google Assistant too.
  • You can control Kevo and other smart locks right inside the Ring app.
  • It works with Wink smart hubs and WeMo smart switches.

Hardware: B-

  • You’ll get about two months with Ring’s rechargeable battery. You slide the battery out and then insert a micro USB port into the battery pack to charge it. You can buy additional batteries to avoid downtime too.
  • If you have access to power, you can buy the powered version for the same price.
  • I’ve used several Ring products, and it feels similar to the others. It’s not anything special.
    • The design of the base stand is better than Blink’s.
    • You can keep the camera on a flat surface with the base stand.
    • Or you can unscrew the base stand from the bottom of the camera, then screw the base onto the backside of the camera, which turns it into a wall mount. It’s a nice design.
    • The battery can easily be taken out to charge.
  • You don’t need a module or bridge. It just runs off your WiFi.
  • You can use it indoors or outdoors. It’s waterproof and works from –5°F to 120°F temperatures.

Audio & Video Quality: B

  • While it’s 1080p and has the same 110° horizontal field of view as Blink Outdoor, the video looks crisper. You’ll notice the better quality when you zoom in to see specifics.
  • Its night vision isn’t special, but it’s better than Blink’s.
  • It records audio during motion clips, but the sound is delayed by a few seconds from a motion recording that’s already delayed in the first place.
  • Overall, Ring Stick Up Cam’s video quality isn’t great, bur it’s serviceable. If video quality is important to you, the high-end Arlo and Eufy cameras are the way to go.

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Which is best for you?

Blink Outdoor

Get Blink Outdoor if you want free motion recording and activity zones with solid video quality. The downsides are its slow retrigger time (there’s a chance of missing 10 seconds of action) and use of disposable batteries.

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Ring Stick Up

Get Ring Stick Up if you want a rechargeable battery and slightly better video quality. Ring requires a $30/year plan to get motion recording, while Blink’s free recording outperforms Ring’s paid version.

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