blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System – Review



Blink Home Monitorblink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System is a battery powered home monitoring system designed for homeowners and renters which can be easily placed throughout your residence.  The companion app, Blink for Home allows you to set motion alerts, watch live HD video, customize cameras and alert settings.  Set up is super easy – you simply plug in the Blink hub and then using your device download Blink for Home.  After opening the cameras and installing the AA lithium batteries, it’s easy to add them to your system.  After installing you can scan the QR code on the back of each camera to add it to your system.  After adding each camera, you take a photo of the location you plan to put it in so that you can easily tell which camera you want to check.  For purposes of the review I received the Blink Hub and two Blink indoor cameras.  I positioned the Hub near my router and one of the cameras near my front door.  I also placed the second camera downstairs.  There are no monthly fees, wires and it’s movable so if you find a particular location isn’t working well for you – it’s easy to move the camera.  Blink also offers a Blink XT Waterproof camera that can be used outside in the weather.

blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System is a battery powered home monitoring system that takes moments to set up that is perfect for those that rent, own or are simply visiting,  Through the app, you receive motion alerts, can watch live HD video, customize cameras and alerts to meet your needs.  I even brought Blink recently when I went away for a day, I grabbed my router, plugged it into the internet where we were and my cameras were online.

 

What we love…

blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System is easy to use wireless home monitoring system that helps you monitor your property including mailboxes.  It’s so easy to set up that my son did it!

What we’d love to see…

ability to toggle on/off the flash

Summary

Overall blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System is a great way for me to keep track of any movement in my home and watch my house from inside when I am expecting a package.  I love that it has no wires and is so easy to set up!

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

I loved how easy blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System was to set up – I even had my 9 year old help me,  Simply scan the QR code using your iPhone or device and you take a quick snap after installing the battery.  The system was up and running in moments.  Blink has great battery life and I loved that you could move around the cameras as needed within the house easily.  Package theft is real, and I also loved that I could aim it outside to watch for when packages were delivered as well as monitor if anyone was here that wasn’t supposed to be.

One thing that I didn’t like about blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System was the “flash” when we used the camera.  I found that this would wake up my little one when I had it in his bedroom since it was bright.  It would be nice if there were a way to turn it off.

Overall blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System is a great, easy to set up home monitoring system that could be portable when I needed it to be. No wires, no fuss. I had the system up and running in about five minutes. The photo quality and videos were great and it was so easy to use! It’s great to use when away from home and the internet is running too! No phone line required.

blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System (as tested) RRP is $169.99. You can get a blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System with one camera for $99.99 USD. Blink XT Add On Camera is $119.99 USD.

Check out Blink Wireless Home Security & Video Monitoring Systems

Blink Home Monitor
Blink Home Monitor
by Immedia Semiconductor

Category: Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone5-iPhone5, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 88.67 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

 
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Arlo Pro 2 Security System by NETGEAR -Review

Summary

The Arlo Pro 2 system is a very flexible WiFi HD security camera system. With it’s magnetic mounting system and rechargeable batteries it can be used almost anywhere. The system integrates with Amazon Alexa, Smart Things, Stringify and IFTTT to be an integral part of the Smart Home. Although the Arlo Pro 2 is not the cheapest security system on the market, I feel its high quality recording and advanced features make it well worth the cost.

 

The Arlo Pro 2 security system from NETGEAR is the latest high definition wireless camera system in the Arlo range. We reviewed the original Arlo in March 2015, it was a great system then and has had lots of upgrades and improvements since.

What’s in the Box

The Arlo Pro2 is available as a system with 2 Arlo Pro 2 cameras, a system with 4 Arlo Pro 2 cameras or as a single camera to add to an existing Arlo system. We tested the starter set with 2 cameras.

The system comes with 2 Arlo Pro 2 cameras, each with rechargeable batteries, a base hub, power supply for the base, 1 camera charger with charging cable, 2 magnetic mounts with hardware to attach to wall, ethernet cable and quick start guide.

 

Set Up

It is very quick and easy to set up the Arlo Pro 2 system:

  • Insert rechargeable battery in each camera (they come fully charged)
  • Connect Base station to WiFi router using included ethernet cable
  • Plug in base station power supply and switch on
  • Wait until lights on front turn green (about 2 minutes)
  • Download Arlo app
  • If you don’t already have an Arlo account you need to set one up from the Arlo App on your smartphone, if you do just add the base station and cameras to your account
  • Sync cameras with base station by pressing sync button on base station, bringing camera  within 1-3ft of base station, then pressing camera sync button
  • Place your cameras where you want them, and you are ready to go!

Mounting Cameras

Like the original Arlo cameras, the Arlo Pro 2 cameras can be mounted using magnetic ” ball and socket” type mounts or placed on a flat surface such as a shelf. Two magnetic mounts are included in the set, these can be attached to a wall using included screws. I love this mounting system as it is really easy to adjust the camera angle and literally takes seconds to take down a camera or move it to another mount. If you are concerned about your outdoor cameras being stolen there is also the option of a screw threaded mount which can be purchased from Amazon or Best Buy for $19.99.

Features

  • HD 1080dp video recording
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Wireless
  • Long Lasting Rechargeable batteries
  • Indoor/ outdoor use
  • IP-65 certified Weather resistant
  • 100 dB security siren built-in
  • Free cloud storage of 7 days of motion and sound activated recording
  • Live viewing
  • 2 way audio
  • Option to plug in to indoor outlet for extra features such as activity zones and 3 second look back
  • Automatic night vision mode
  • Can add more Arlo, Arlo Q, Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2 cameras to system
  • Optional recording plans if want continual 24/7 recording
  • Works with Amazon Alexa, Stringify and IFTTT
  • Option to add local back up storage by connecting a USB to the base station.
  • Can schedule different sensing and recording modes

Picture Quality

Arlo Pro 2 cameras can record in 1080p HD so the image quality is very good. The cameras have a wide viewing angle – 130° and night vision is automatically triggered in low light conditions.  Within the Arlo app there are 3 options for video quality- best video, optimized or best battery life- so you can change the setting if battery lift is more important to you than the image quality. Day time images are recorded in color and night vision recording are black and white. When watching the camera feed live, or the video recording you can zoom in on an area to see it in more detail.

Recording Triggers

The default mode is that recording is triggered by motion or sound with cameras armed. You can add your own custom modes. you can switch modes manually using the app or set them up on a schedule so that they can automatically change between modes at your designated times, which can be different on different days of the week. There is also an option to using geofencing to automatically change modes based on whether or not you are home, but to use this you do need to have location services on continually on your phone, which can drain your phone battery more quickly.

Setting up Modes and Schedules for Arlo

I initially tried setting up modes via my laptop which I found a little confusing, luckily there is an active online NETGEAR Arlo Commmunity and a quick search there was able to answer my questions. I have found this community to be a great resource to answer any questions I have about set up and use of Arlo systems.

Ultimately I found it much simpler to set up modes and schedules via the Arlo mobile app. On the bottom of the screen is a “mode” button pressing it gives a list of all your current modes and the option to add new modes. When you add a new mode you can set it up to respond to motion, sound detection, or both, from one of your cameras. You then set the sensitivity and decide what to do – record on that camera, record on another camera or do nothing. You also choose to receive notifications via push notification, email alerts, both, or nothing. Once you’ve set up the rules for one camera you can add the rules for any other camera within the same mode.

Once you have set up modes to create a schedule:

  • Tap mode
  • Tap “schedule”
  • Tap the pencil icon to edit
  • Tap anywhere on a day and you are given an option to choose a time of day and a mode, you can also chose to have that schedule on just one day, every day or your choice of days

Your cameras will then switch between modes automatically based on your schedule. You can over ride this at any time by tapping “mode” and picking armed, disarmed or any of your custom modes.

Once i got over my initial confusion from trying to set it up on the laptop I found setting up modes and schedules via the Arlo app to be quick and easy.

In Use

The Arlo Pro 2 cameras are very easy to set up and you can start using them straight away without any customization. It does take a little longer to set up your custom recording modes but it is worth it so that you only record what you want to see, and avoid getting swamped with recording notifications.

The Arlo Pro 2 cameras can be used totally wire free, which means that you can put them in places where wired cameras could never be mounted without having to do extensive wiring or using extension cords. The weatherproofing is great too- living by the ocean I appreciate having an outdoor camera that can withstand the elements.

I love having the rechargeable batteries it is so much more economical and greener than using disposable batteries, especially if you are doing a lot of recording or forget to switch off recording when you are home! The “official” battery life is about 4-6 months, but this is based on only recording a short period each day. I tested it out by letting it record every time there was any motion near my front door, which with a family of 5 plus dog coming and going is a lot of recording! Even with this heavy recording schedule the battery has lasted over a month and still has approximately 50% battery life left.

If you have an indoor camera that is near an outlet, it is nice to also have the option to plug it in which and this lets you add activity zones to further customize your recording.

As well as the rechargeable batteries another new feature compared to the original Arlo is the addition of 2 way audio. This is really useful when using the Arlo Pro 2 to monitor a sleeping child. I have older children and like to use it to check my children are working on their homework and remind them to start if they are not!  The 2 -way audio is also useful to communicate with a caller at the front door, even when I’m not home. I think having the alarm is a great additional security feature if an intruder is ever spotted, and the high quality images are useful for identification in those circumstances too.

There are lots of optional extras accessories available for the Arlo Pro 2 system including: extra rechargeable batteries, a dual battery charging station, camera skins, and a solar charger.

Installing the batteries

Price and Availability

 Available from Amazon, Best Buy, Staples and Costco. RRP for starter set of base station and 2 cameras US$479.99

Overview

Arlo Pro 2 cameras can record in 1080p HD- giving high quality images, the cameras have a wide viewing angle – 130° and night vision is automatically triggered in low light conditions. They come with rechargeable batteries and can be used totally wire free or can be plugged in.  The Arlo magnetic mounting system makes installation very easy and moving cameras is a breeze. The Arlo Pro 2 cameras are rugged and designed to withstand the elements with an iP65 weather certification. They have 2-way audio, sound and motion detection.  A siren is built-in to the base station, and can be triggered remotely if you see any suspicious activity.

A rolling 7 days of motion and audio triggered recordings are stored for free on the Arlo server, paid plans are available if you want more storage. You can also store videos locally by attaching a USB to the base station. ARLO PRO 2 system has lots of optional accessories available including a solar charger, dual battery charger, security mounts, skins and extra rechargeable batteries.

The Arlo Pro 2 system is a very flexible, fully featured, high quality, HD wireless WiFi security camera system. With it’s magnetic mounting system and rechargeable batteries it can be used almost anywhere. The system integrates with Amazon Alexa, Smart Things, Stringify and IFTTT to be an integral part of the Smart Home. Although the Arlo Pro 2 is not the cheapest security system on the market, I feel its high quality recording and advanced features make it well worth the cost.

The Arlo Pro 2 is included in our 2017 Christmas Gift Guide 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Dragon Times – A math adventure card game for kids by Dragon Times

Dragon Times is a fun interactive card game designed for kids six and over that helps kids learn multiplication.  With the advent of common core math, my older son has struggled to understand the variety of ways to solve a math problem.  Dragon Times has helped him to memorize his multiplication factors in a fun easy way that makes him engaged.  Inside the box are 60 spell cards, 42 dragon cards, two times spinner grids, a spinner and instructions.  My son is a visual learner and seeing the differences on the dragon cards helped him to differentiate even versus odd, and look to identify unique features on each of the cards.

What we love…

fun way to teach kids about multiplication that involves a math game instead of worksheets

What we’d love to see…

a larger printable times table or spell book so that my son could reference it during gameplay.

Summary

Fun interactive game which encourages kids to learn their times tables while doing spells and practicing real time learning.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Gameplay is fun – although it takes a bit of practice to make sure kids are really looking at the cards to understand the features on each one.  In level 1, the dealer passes out six spell cards to each player (2 or more can play).  Next, the dealer places eight cards down with the dragons facing upward.  The first player then looks at their cards and tries to find a pair of numbers that when multiplied gives as a product of one the Dragon numbers that are down – there is a Times Table (aka spell book) that can help them.  When we were first playing this, a parent paired with our son to help him look at the cards and identify the characteristics.  If the player makes a lucky pair, they show the other players and get to pick up the Dragon card.  Gameplay continues until one player finishes their spell cards or until all the Dragons are saved.  The winner of this stage is the person who has the most Dragon cards.

After your child has mastered Level 1, there is a second level where they can tame dragons and guide them to safety.  This uses the spinner and previously saved Dragons from the first stage.  Each player spins the spinner.  At each spin, players look at the Dragons and numbers to see if one has a particular feature that the spinner landed on.  This could be a factor, even/odd, square number.  If it matches, they keep the Dragon near the spinner and it is considered tamed.  When a player does not have a lucky Dragon, they wait for the next spin.  There is also an Evil Swap Spell card where players exchange Dragons in their hand clockwise around.  The Evil Swap spell was confusing for my son, because he didn’t understand why he needed to pass his cards on.  For the first few games we didn’t use it until he got a better hang of how the game worked and started looking at the different characteristics of the cards.  The winner of this phase is when only one or none of the players have any Dragon Cards.  The winner is the one that has the most tamed dragons near the spinner.

Sample of the Dragon Cards

Dragon Cards – these cards represent multiples of numbers 1 to 10 – every number is a dragon.  Each dragon has features to help children know the factors of the number, if the number is even or odd or if it’s a square number.  Numbers 1-10 are Baby Dragons, odd numbers are Snake Dragons, even numbers stand on four legs. Multiples of 3  (or numbers divisible by 3) have one horn, multiples of 4 have wings, multiples of  5 have big ears, multiples of have a double tail, multiples of have pointy tails, multiples of 8 have a mane, multiples of have three horns, multiples of 10 have two heads, and  Square numbers breathe or throw fire.

Sample of the Spell Cards

Spell Cards – these are the numbers from one to 10. There is also a “Wizard’s Choice” Spell card which can replace any spell card.  The “Wizard’s Choice” card can also be used as a “wild” card to help the player capture a dragon in Stage 1.

I enjoyed playing this game with my son.  I noticed that it helped him take on more perspective about which cards had which features were on each card and his math skills improved quite a bit!

In terms of enhancements, I wish there were a printable on the Dragon Times table as I just found one online and printed it out – the reference one for my son was a bit too small when he wanted to play quickly.  There is an included spellbook which is likely perfect for most kids, but my son wanted a larger visual to help him quickly run his finger down the times table.

Overall, this is a fun game that teaches while you learn and engages kids to learn a fundamental math skill.  I enjoyed it because I didn’t have to draw diagrams, make circles or have to show my son how to solve the problem in multiple ways.  It was simply pure enjoyment as we learned math times tables and real time learning.

Pricing – Dragontimes is available for CAN $19.99 on their website or Amazon.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Review of My First Lab WOW Scope – A 3D microscope for Kids

 

What we love…

Binocular microscope, good quality lenses, allows user to look at 3D objects as well as slides

What we’d love to see…

Additional higher powered lenses, a petri dish included

Summary

The WOW Scope is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. It is well made and allows the user to examine 3D objects as well as glass slides.

recommended-by-the-imums

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a microscope designed for children. The WOW Scope is different than most children’s microscopes on the market in 3 major ways

  1. it is a binocular microscope i.e. it has 2 eyepieces, most children’s microscopes are monocular (1 eyepiece.)
  2. It is designed not only for viewing microscope slides but also for viewing 3D objects and so has both upper and lower illumination
  3. It is made by a company (C & A Scientific) who make scientific and educational microscopes for laboratory use.

 

What’s in the Box

The WOW Scope includes: a binocular microscope, 2 interchangeable sets of eyepieces (10x and 25x), a slide case and 2 prepared slides.

One slide is traditionally prepared samples of a mosquito mouth and fly wing – these are thin sections mounted on a glass slide, under a coverslip . The other slide is white card and has 3 samples glued on – sand, a small feather and an insect leg, these are 3D objects and have not been cut into thin sections or mounted under a cover slip.

Set Up

Set up is very quick and easy, and requires 2 AA batteries. The batteries are inserted into the battery compartment in the base of the microscope. Then the slide is placed on the stage (base of the microscope) and held in place by 2 metal clips. The light switch has 2 on positions, for glass slides light I is switched on, this illuminated the slide from under the stage. For 3D objects light II is switched on – this illuminates the object from on top.

The 10x eyepieces are put in place and the large black knob on the side is turned to move the microscope head down and up until the object is in focus. For higher magnification the 25x eyepieces replace the 10x and the focus is then readjusted. The total magnification is 20x or 50x depending on which eyepieces are used.

Construction

The WOW scope is very solidly made, it does have some plastic parts e.g. the base  but it is mostly made of metal and has glass optics. It feels well made and the focussing knob moves the microscope very smoothly up and down.  I have several other kids’ microscopes at home and the quality of the optics is noticeably better on the WOW scope than the others I have.

In Use

The Wow Scope is used in a different way than a traditional microscope, usually the eyepiece lens stays the same and you rotate through different objective lenses (the ones closest to the slide) for different magnification levels. Instead with the WOW scope the objective lens is fixed and it is the eyepiece lens that you change by sliding it in and out of the eyepiece barrel. It is easy to change the lenses but you do need to make sure you have a safe place to put down the ones you are not using.

I love how the WOW scope is designed to encourage kids to examine closely any object they find. Unlike most microscopes the WOW scope is designed to let you examine 3D objects rather than just prepared slides. This makes it much easier to just pick something from the environment such as a leaf or feather. My kids and I looked at moss, sugar, feathers, coins, rocks and leaves as well as looking at microscope slides with prepared specimens. It worked well except when we tried to examine objects that were “too 3D” e.g. a pine cone. This was too hard to focus as the parts of the cone were at many different distances, a somewhat flat object works better. I was a little nervous about placing rough objects, such as rocks, directly on the glass stage, as I was worried it would get scratched. It would be nice to see a petri dish or other container for holding the 3D objects included.

As well as being able to examine 3D objects the WOW scopes optical set up makes objects appear more 3 dimensional. It has 2 eyepiece lenses each with their own objective lens, so you can use both eyes at once and they each see the specimen from slightly different angles.

Moss through WOW Scope

 

The levels of magnification are 20x and 50x, most kids microscopes will have magnification levels higher than this (this is similar to their low level magnification.) Because of this, if you want to look at a lot of slides at cellular level, then a microscope with higher magnification e.g My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope may be a better choice. However, because you can spontaneously examine objects you find in nature, this scope is a great way to get kids engaged in STEM, as they can explore whatever they find, instead of needing to have prepared slides to examine. It is still useful for examining slides if you are looking at larger scale objects such as the parts of an insect, rather than looking at the cellular level

Price and Availability

Available from myfirstlab.com for US$69.99 Recommended for Ages 7+ , other microscopes from my first lab are available on Amazon

Summary

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a great STEM gift to get kids interested in exploring science and nature. It is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. The WOW scope can be used with traditional glass microscope slides but also allows viewing of 3-D objects such as feathers, rocks and leaves. This lets kids view objects they find when out exploring in nature, without needing to do any slide preparation. The WOW scope is well made, My First Lab is a division of C & A Scientific who make scientific and educational microscopes so they use good quality glass optics for clearer viewing.

The WOW scope is featured in our Kids Holiday Gift Guide – 11 Tech Toys For Kids of All Ages

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.