Reolink C1 Pro – 4MP Super HD security camera (review)
4.4Overall Score

Price (RRP): $Around A$100
Manufacturer: Reolinkl

Reolink has bucked the trend of using barely capable 2MP cameras in its new C1 Pro – a 4MP, 2560 x 1440, Wi-Fi AC dual band, pan and tilt, two-way audio, indoor security camera.

Over the past few months, I have reviewed several security cameras – all produce a reasonable image in good daylight conditions and an acceptable IR night time, low-light image. The excuse for using low megapixels and resolution was poor Wi-Fi and, slow internet speeds demand low bandwidth cameras.

Fortunately, Reolink said “Screw that” referring to the tendency of households to buy Wi-Fi AC dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and the prevalence of high speed, unlimited data, broadband, like Australia’s ever-increasing NBN coverage (even the middle tier is sufficient for 4MP transmission).

Enter the Reolink C1 Pro

Let’s look at the specifications first – I usually tack these on last, but they tell most of the story. Any relevant comments are in the right column.

Model Reolink C1 Pro
Image Sensor 1/3″ CMOS Sensor (this is a large sensor)
Display Resolution 2560×1440 (4.0 Megapixels – two to three times 1080/720p cameras)
Lens 4.0mm fixed, f/2.0, with IR Cut (better for low light)
Angle of View Horizontal: 80° (at first look this looks quite small until you realise it has motorised pan and tilt)
Vertical: 42°
Pan/Tilt Angle Horizontal: 355° (You can set multiple pre-sets to change P/T and, it can almost rotate 360° although it is not designed to take stitched panorama images)
Vertical: 105°
Minimum Illumination 0 Lux (With IR Illuminator)
IR Distance 12 Meters (This is about two times many IR cameras)
Dimension 103×95×117 mm x 300g
Power Input 5.0V/2A, <6W (lacks battery backup but this can be done by inline power bank)
Ethernet Ethernet 10M/100Mbps RJ45 (This direct connection to the router is also used for express setup or you can go through Wi-Fi setup – takes a few more steps)
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi AC 2.4 GHz (for long distance to 100m) and 5GHz MIMO (for 50m)
Charge Micro-USB power Interface (USB-C is irrelevant as the additional power delivery is not needed)
micro-SD Built-in Micro SD Card Slot (tested with 64GB – suspect it could use 128GB as well)
Microphone and speaker Built-in Microphone and Speaker for two-way audio (sound quality is quite good – enough to scare someone
Reset Reset Button
Protocols & Standards HTTPS, SSL, TCP/IP, UDP, UPNP, RTSP, SMTP, NTP, DHCP, DNS, DDNS, FTP, ONVIF, P2P
Image Compression H.264
Maximal Frame Rate PAL: 25fps, NTSC: 30fps (True video is 30fps – there is no judder at 25fps)
Code Rate 1024Kbps~8192Kbps
Max. User Access 20 Users (1 admin account & 19 user accounts); Support up to 12 simultaneous video streams (10 sub-stream & 2 main-stream).
Browsers IE, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari (Adobe Player needs to be installed)
OS Supported PC: Windows, Mac OS; Smartphone: iOS, Android
Record Mode Motion Record/Schedule Record (Default: Motion Record)
Waterproof No

Out of the box

  • Reolink CP1 Pro camera
  • 240V to 5V/2A charger (make sure you specify Australian plug if ordering online)
  • Various fixing bolts and a ¼” tripod mount bracket (very handy if you want to put it on a wall instead of a desk or ledge)
  • Documentation

First impression is a little R2-D2 like – a cute little robot head like device that won’t scare kids!

Setup

Plug the camera to a power point. Download the iOS or Android app.

You can plug it into an Ethernet cable and skip much of the setup (like securing the camera to the router – if you do this by Wi-Fi you use a 3D barcode). Once done you can simply add the Wi-Fi SSID and Password.

The app has lots of flexibility

  • Set camera name
  • Runs multiple Reolink cameras (important to select cameras from the same brand otherwise you must use multiple apps)
  • A simple QR code to enable others to access the camera via the app on their smartphone
  • Push notifications and/or email
  • Wi-Fi Network setup
  • Display setup (can turn on and move around text labels as well as flip or mirror the picture (handy if you mount it upside down or sideways)
  • Anti-flickering adjustment (depends on type of lighting)
  • A range of camera controls – exposure, white balance, backlight, quality etc – leave these on Auto
  • A setting for balanced (best possible quality), fluent (mid-range) or clear (lowers resolution to match lower internet speeds maximum resolution)
  • Notification (email via pre-sets Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or custom)
  • Web addressable on network if your browser has Flash Player enabled
  • QNAP ONVIF compatible for QNAP surveillance station
  • Remote view over internet including full PTZ control

You can use email instead of push notifications to a paired smartphone. Email allows for copies to be sent to multiple recipients, but notifications are convenient as you don’t always read emails immediately.

Picture quality

I have the Reolink Argus 2MP outdoor/IR camera. It has a 1080p, 2MP, f/2.2 lens. In theory, it produces images to similarly specified NETGEAR Arlo, Swann and D-Link cameras. But in reviewing reference shots, it is ahead of these in colour and clarity. While the comparison is fair a lot really depends on Wi-Fi speed – all produce good shots under ideal conditions.

The CP1 Pro produces excellent shots under variable conditions – the difference between the 2MP Argus and the 4MP CP1 on the same shot is clear.

Remote view depends on internet quality, but you can switch to a clear or fluent stream if needed.