Price (RRP): $from $200 plus solar panel - shop around
The Reolink Argus 2 is the latest offering from the company that over the past ten years has become a leader in the DIY security camera field.
Reolink is known for reliable, quality, fuss-free security cameras that deliver as advertised and also licence some of their camera designs to Uniden (that uses a different app).
What is an Argus 2?
Reolink Argus is a Wi-Fi, battery operated, indoor/outdoor, FHD, motion detecting, night vision, two-way speaker equipped, highly portable security camera.
- IP65 rated weather resistant (sealed dust tight and rainproof – 12.5 litres per minute
Pressure: 30 kPa at a distance of 3 m. Includes using it with the optional solar panel and it has a rubber white skin that covers all openings.
- Magnetic base wall mount and screw-on a wall mount
- 2MP, [email protected] is fine for security purposes – if Wi-Fi bandwidth is an issue it will drop to 720p in H.264 MP4
- Wi-Fi N 2.4Ghz with a maximum indoor/outdoor range of 30-40 metres (depends on router placement)
- Up to 64GB microSD local storage (buy the card separately) or Reolink cloud at an extra cost
- 130° fisheye lens
- Up to 10m via IR LED night vision (in practice about 5m) or enhanced Sony Starlight Night vision
- 5200mAh removable battery with micro-USB port. Can be charged by 5V/2A USB charger (about 4 hours) or its solar panel – see review here. The charger is not weatherproof
- PIR detection to 9m (in practice 5-6m) with a 120° radius. No sound detection.
- 2-way mic/speaker and various email and audio alerts like a 75dB siren (not loud)
- Price: Shop on eBay or Amazon or directly with Reolink. Approx. A$299 but I have seen them for a lot less
- Website here
Don’t confuse it with the earlier model Argus Pro that does not have Starlight vision or a magnetic base.
The magnetic mount base can attach to a wall or shelf. It attaches towards the back of the unit allowing it to be almost vertical and adjusted to suit the vista.
The other mount is a standard tripod ¼-inch mount for more permanent installs. While it is IP65, we recommend that you place it under the eaves to avoid direct rain. And as you will need to recharge the battery unless you buy a solar panel mount it within reach avoids the use of a ladder.
- Download the Android or iOS app
- Set up a Reolink account
- Pair with the router by barcode scanning (we recommend you do this first near the router and then see how far away you can mount it)
- Name the camera
- All other adjustments are self-explanatory and include placement of the time/date stamp, fluent (adaptive quality) or clear (highest quality) recording, mirror flip (god if you hang it upside down) etc. You can also schedule the camera times.
We mounted it 20 metres line-of-site from the router. The Wi-Fi signal had to pass through heavy plate glass. Note that the better the signal, the longer the battery life.
At a minimum, you can count on at least 10 hours of continuous use (Reolink claim up to 16 hours).
All battery life statements use in-lab testing. In practicality things like PIR distance settings, PIR sensitivity (we used low and had no false alarms), number of events (PIR triggered), resolution, night vision and how often you stream video to your smartphone all affect life.
When we first set it up as ‘duckcam’, I installed the app on my wife’s phone too not realising that she would access the camera for several minutes each day. Given typical use, you should get 2-3 months.
Security cameras record events – not continuously
An event is set off by motion detection. It can be adjusted to record multiple clips up to 30 seconds to the microSD card, or it can now record to the Reolink cloud (at extra cost).
Starlight is interesting. Where IR is for no-light, mono recordings, you can set it to Starlight where there are at least 100 lumens of ambient light for colour recordings. Both low light modes result is fairly pixelated images, and the practical limit is 6m.
The audio pickup was good, but 2-way audio was laggy to the extreme. That is due to the Wi-fi signal strength.
You can now have a free basic plan which covers one camera for 7-day video history (up to 1GB). The Standard plan (US$4.99 per month) covers a 30-day history and up to five cameras. The is a Reolink cloud in Australia.
GadgetGuy’s take: Reolink Argus 2
A good, honest, lower cost FHD security camera that sells well because it meets or exceeds its advertised, un-hyped features.