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Reolink Argus Security Camera

Reolink Argus Review - Wireless Surveillance Camera

Test report prepared by Timo on May 16, 2018

The Reolink Argus is a wireless, battery-powered surveillance camera that is suitable for indoor as well as outdoor use. Whole 6 months, I already have the surveillance camera in operation. How it strikes in every respect, you will find out in the following review!

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8.4
Our rating
Specifications
Overview
Manufacturer

Reolink

Model

Reolink Argus

Specifications

 Recording 
Sensor: 1 / 2.9 "CMOS
Resolution: max. 1080p (1920x1080)
Field of view: 130 °
Aperture: F2.2
Night Vision: IR LEDs (850nm)

 PIR sensor 
Detection range:
* Low: 2-4 meters
* Medium: 4-6 meters
* High: 6-9 meters
Detection angle: 120 °

 Features 
* Motion alarm
* Alarm Notification
* Live stream with remote access
* Video playback
* Night vision mode
* Two-way audio

 connectivity 
SD memory card slot: Yes
WiFi: 2.4G (IEEE 802.11b / g / n)
Speaker: Yes
Microphone: Yes

 other 
App: Android and iOS
Client: Windows and Mac OSX

Power supply: battery or rechargeable battery (CR123A)
* Standby time: up to 180 days
* Runtime recording: up to 800 minutes

Protection class: IP65
Size: 113 x 65 x 54 mm mm
Weight: 260g

What's in the box

1x Reolink Argus
1x bracket with magnetic ball head
1x bracket with mounting thread
2x screw set
2x drilling template
4x CR123A battery
1x reset needle
1x housing tool
1x Stickers
1x user manual

First impression of the Reolink Argus

Packing the Reolink Argus

What's in the box

The scope of delivery of the Reolink Argus includes almost everything that is required for commissioning and "out-of-the-box" use. In addition to the Argus, it includes a total of two brackets, one with a magnetic ball head and one with a universal fastening thread. Suitable screws and dowels for the respective bracket are included. The scope of delivery also includes 4 batteries of type CR123A (3V), a tool for opening the camera housing, a needle for the camera reset, two drilling templates, a sticker with a monitoring notice as well as installation and operating instructions. What is missing in the scope of delivery is a MicroSD memory card, which is required to save the recordings!

Scope of delivery of the Reolink Argus

Design and workmanship

With dimensions of 113 x 65 x 54 mm and a weight of 260g (with batteries), the Reolink Argus is one of the more compact monitoring solutions. Thanks to the subtle white plastic housing with a black front, the capsule-shaped surveillance camera can be placed inconspicuously. In accordance with protection class IP65, the camera housing is dustproof and protected against water jets, which means that the camera can also be placed outdoors without any additional precautions. The processing quality is not objectionable.

Reolink Argus with magnetic stand

Equipment

 Features of the Argus are the magnetic underside including a ¼ inch thread, a side MicroSD memory card slot with a reset button underneath and a two-way audio system with microphone and loudspeaker. USB or Ethernet connection options are not available. 

The front side is the 1 / 2.9 inch CMOS camera module with a wide field of view of 130 ° (horizontal 105 °, vertical 55 °) and an F2.2 aperture. The camera sensor is surrounded by 850nm IR sensors that enable night vision. Videos are recorded or transmitted with a maximum resolution of 1080p (1920 x 1080). The wireless transmission takes place via a 2.4 GHz WiFi module (IEEE 802.11b / g / n) with WEP / WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK security protocol support.

Reolink Argus from the side with bracket

commissioning

Facility

 The setup of the Reolink Argus does not require a comprehensive technical understanding and is generally designed to be user-friendly. The steps required for commissioning are described in detail in the installation and operating instructions.

The first step is to insert the batteries into the camera. To do this, the back of the camera must be removed. A tool to open the lock, which is difficult to reach with bare hands, makes it easier to remove the back. The surveillance camera can be operated not only with CR123A batteries (3V), but also with CR123A batteries (3.6 - 4.2V).

In the second step, after the batteries are inserted, the camera will automatically go into setup mode. The Reolink app is required to set up the Argus. These are available to download free of charge from the respective app stores for both iOS and Android mobile devices. The access rights required by the app are limited to the respective functions. A user account is not required to use the app or to manage the camera. 

As soon as you add a new device within the app, the setup wizard starts. This first requires you to scan the QR code on the battery shell. The QR code contains the camera's WiFi access data. The scan automatically establishes a connection between the mobile device and the camera's WiFi network. Your own WLAN data is then requested, because the Argus must be integrated into the home network in order to use it. From the transmitted WiFi data, the Reolink app creates another QR code, which is shown on the display of the mobile device and is simply held in front of the camera lens. In the test, the camera recognized the QR code immediately and automatically established a connection to its own WLAN. 

Assembly

It can either be attached using the supplied magnetic ball head bracket or the universal bracket with screw thread. The drilling templates, which are also supplied, are an advantage, as they facilitate assembly.

Reolink Argus bottom with magnet

In combination with the ball-head mount, the camera can be precisely aligned in a few simple steps. The bracket is suitable for indoor as well as outdoor use. In addition, the bracket can be used without screw mounting as a mere stand holder. The disadvantage of this simple mounting option, however, is that there is no additional (theft) backup and the camera just as easy to remove again. Strong wind keeps the magnetic connection still standing.

The Argus is fastened to the universal bracket using a conventional ¼ inch screw thread. The camera can be precisely aligned via the ball joint of the holder. This holder is especially suitable for outdoor use.

Functions and control of Reolink Argus

The Argus is managed and operated either via the Reolink app or the Reolink client, which can be downloaded free of charge in a Windows or Mac OSX version from the manufacturer's website. There is no web interface! Functionally, both the app and the client offer identical configuration, streaming and playback options. In the following I refer to the app, as it was mainly used to operate the camera.

Reolink Client for Windows

 The app is clearly structured. After the start, you are greeted by the surveillance cameras that have already been set up, which are displayed in a tile look with name and preview image. If you want to protect the app from unauthorized access, you can set a password protection via the general app settings.

Live view mode

To switch to live image mode, all you need to do is click on the preview image on the camera. The stream will start after a short loading time. The measured transmission delay is between 2 and 6 seconds, depending on the connection strength. The stream can also be accessed from the cellular network while on the move. Unfortunately it is not possible to deactivate remote access!

Control options for the camera are located below the live image. Among other things, it is possible to pause the stream, an image or video recording can be started at the push of a button, the color mode can be switched between color and black and white, and the transmission quality can be switched between "clear" (high-resolution) and "liquid" ( low resolution) can be changed manually.

Above the live image are data on the transmission speed. As soon as a bad reception to the camera exists you will be informed by an appropriate notice. If you have integrated several Reolink monitoring solutions in the app, a swipe is enough to switch to the next connected device. Alternatively, all integrated cameras can also be displayed in a practical live overview.

alarm function

The Argus is not a surveillance camera that records continuously. Recordings are triggered manually or via the camera's motion alarm. Movements in the image area are not detected by the software, but by a PIR sensor. A recording triggered by the motion alarm lasts at least 6 seconds and continues for the period of the motion detection. The detection range of the sensor is between 2 and 9 meters, depending on the sensitivity set (low, medium and high).

In addition to the sensitivity, how the camera behaves in the event of a motion alarm can be specified within the app settings. In addition to the automatic recording, a signal alarm can also be triggered, and there is also the option of being notified by e-mail or push. To save the battery, Reolink has implemented an alarm schedule that can be configured for individual days of the week and hourly sections.

 In the test, the motion detection worked largely reliably, even if the range of a maximum of 9 meters was a bit disappointing. Vehicles are easily recognized up to 9 meters. For people and animals, even the highest sensitivity setting is almost 6 meters. Another disadvantage of motion detection using a PIR sensor is that it is not possible to define a detection area. This records movements in the entire image area. Exclusion is only possible by positioning the camera accordingly.

Playback mode

Saved recordings can be called up via the playback mode. In contrast to many other smart monitoring solutions, the Reolink Argus (so far) does not offer a cloud connection. Only the recordings stored on the microSD memory card can be called up. A Reolink Cloud was under development at the time of testing and should appear in the course of the year (2018). 

The recordings are sorted according to the respective recording day. The recording snippets can be displayed in a timeline or in a tile overview. The stored recordings can be played back in the stream, and recordings can also be downloaded directly to the mobile device.

Two-way audio

The Argus is equipped with a two-way audio system. This enables voice transmission in both directions. With the aid of the camera's microphone, sound can also be transmitted in addition to image transmission. In addition, it is possible to send voice messages to the camera via the mobile device, which are played back via the camera's loudspeaker. The transmission quality is acceptable, so that what is spoken is reproduced in an understandable manner, even if it is slightly tinny. The sound recorded by the camera is still intelligible up to a range of 5 meters.

Settings

The settings are initially divided into system and basic information, which can be used to adjust the device name, date & time and the receipt of push notifications, among other things. Various system information is also available.

There are separate network settings for WLAN, video & audio settings, such as recording quality, display overlay and sound encryption, as well as alarm settings for the PIR sensor. The status LED and the IR night vision LEDs can be deactivated if desired. The Argus can automatically receive firmware updates. 

Recording quality of Reolink Argus

 Videos are recorded with a maximum of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution and 15 frames per second. Other supported resolutions are 720p and 360p. The frame rate can be adjusted in levels 2, 5, 10 and 15 FPS. A bit rate between 256 and 2048 kbps can also be selected.

Recording with the Reolink Argus by day

The recording quality convinces with a pleasant image sharpness, a decent level of detail and a low level of noise. The output format for video recording is MP4. A 6-second clip (FHD - 15FPS) reaches a file size of approximately 4 MB. 

Recording with the Reolink Argus at night

As it gets darker, the surveillance camera switches to night vision mode by default. The visibility is around 8 meters at night. The detection range of the PIR sensor is not affected.

Battery and battery

Reolink Argus with battery compartment

As already mentioned at the beginning, the Reolink Argus can be operated not only with CR123A batteries (3V), but also with CR123A batteries (3.6 - 4.2V). A power supply using a power supply unit or USB is not provided. 

Battery consumption indicatorAccording to Reolink, one set of the standard batteries that are included in the scope of delivery is sufficient for a standby time of 180 days and a recording time of 800 minutes. The actual running time depends on many factors. False alarms and a weak WLAN signal lead to a correspondingly shorter running time. 

However, the experience made over the past few months has shown that the information provided by Reolink about the runtime is entirely plausible. A set of batteries, the Argus, which was put into operation in mid-November 2017, lasted until mid-April 2018. However, you should not rely on the information on battery consumption shown in the app. This consumption display is a mere estimate, which results from the daily recording time, among other things. As early as December, the consumption display showed a low battery level, which was repeatedly adapted to the respective conditions on a weekly basis until mid-April.

rating
Positive

Compact, weatherproof design
Extensive scope of delivery
Good workmanship
Simple decor
Functionally extensive app and client
Motion alarm with notification function and schedule
Good day and night recording quality
WLAN signal strength
Clear playback timeline
Two-way audio
Long-lasting battery operation

Negative

No web interface
Remote access cannot be switched off
Can only be used with a WiFi connection
Detection range of the PIR sensor
Detection area cannot be defined
Inaccurate consumption display

Summary

The Reolink Argus is a versatile surveillance solution. The wireless operation and waterproof housing allow the camera to be used virtually anywhere. Prerequisite, however, is that the camera is actively connected to a Wi-Fi network, which will not always be the case outdoors!

The setup is uncomplicated, the functional scope is convincing and Reelink has also implemented the app and client operation well. The manufacturer's information on battery life is plausible. In the test, a set of batteries held about 5 months.

8.4
Our rating
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Overview
Manufacturer

Reolink

Model

Reolink Argus

Specifications

 Recording 
Sensor: 1 / 2.9 "CMOS
Resolution: max. 1080p (1920x1080)
Field of view: 130 °
Aperture: F2.2
Night Vision: IR LEDs (850nm)

 PIR sensor 
Detection range:
* Low: 2-4 meters
* Medium: 4-6 meters
* High: 6-9 meters
Detection angle: 120 °

 Features 
* Motion alarm
* Alarm Notification
* Live stream with remote access
* Video playback
* Night vision mode
* Two-way audio

 connectivity 
SD memory card slot: Yes
WiFi: 2.4G (IEEE 802.11b / g / n)
Speaker: Yes
Microphone: Yes

 other 
App: Android and iOS
Client: Windows and Mac OSX

Power supply: battery or rechargeable battery (CR123A)
* Standby time: up to 180 days
* Runtime recording: up to 800 minutes

Protection class: IP65
Size: 113 x 65 x 54 mm mm
Weight: 260g

What's in the box

1x Reolink Argus
1x bracket with magnetic ball head
1x bracket with mounting thread
2x screw set
2x drilling template
4x CR123A battery
1x reset needle
1x housing tool
1x Stickers
1x user manual

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