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Review: Reolink Argus 2 Wireless outdoor camera with solar panel

Review: Reolink Argus 2 Wireless outdoor camera is a flexible, user-friendly wireless camera that can be used both indoors and outdoors.
4.2/5 - (25 votes)

Review: Reolink Argus 2 Wireless outdoor camera : The smart camera is still gaining popularity, but not everyone can place a camera everywhere because there is simply not an outlet in every place. Manufacturers therefore come up with wireless solutions, where the camera has a battery. In this review we look at Reolink’s solution; the Argus 2. This camera not only comes with a battery but can also be equipped with its own solar panel, so you don’t have to worry about it at all.

What is the Reolink Argus 2?

The Reolink Argus 2 is the successor to the Argus . The new smart camera offers a large number of functions, without attaching an excessive price tag. The camera records images in 1080p, has a viewing angle of 130 degrees, detects movements, has a night vision and comes with a two-way speaker system and a built-in alarm. There is also a detachable and rechargeable battery that should last four to six months on a full charge.

The Reolink Argus 2 can withstand various weather conditions. The IP65 certificate does not make it waterproof, but it does ensure that it can withstand a rain shower. Furthermore, the Reolink Argus 2 has a microSD card slot, so you can store recordings offline, and there is integration with Google Assistant for voice control. The camera has a price tag of 119 euros and, for our review, is equipped with a 30 euros costing solar panel, so that the battery does not need to be charged on paper. Of course, the camera can be operated and the images can be viewed via the free Reolink app. Incidentally, a subscription for viewing images in the cloud is not yet possible (it is being worked on). You are still dependent on local storage on a microSD card (to be purchased by yourself).

Design

If we look at the design, it is striking that hardly anything has changed compared to the first generation Argus. But, that’s no problem because the first generation was already small, sleek and neatly finished. The egg-shaped device has a size of 96 x 58 x 59 mm (without foot) and a weight of 260 grams. The housing is mostly white, with only the front where the lens is located in glossy black. We would have liked to see a completely black version, especially because black is less noticeable in some interiors (and outside). You can place a black silicone shell around the white camera.

Since the camera comes with a rechargeable and detachable battery, there is no power cable for the socket. A separate USB cable is included with which the battery (with or without camera) can be charged. The Argus 2 is supplied with a magnetic stand (with screw holes), for example for a cupboard or ceiling, and a support that must be attached to the wall and to the camera by means of a screw. The magnetic stand makes it possible to place or hang the camera in almost any angle, while the support is more for fixed and secure placement, for example in the garden. The camera can also be used outdoors thanks to its waterproof housing, and a silicone ‘jacket’ is also included, which you can pull over the camera.

The solar panel is also supplied with its own support, where the panel can be screwed on and which you can also attach to a wall by means of screws. The panel is completely black, as are the bracket and the cable. For this reason too, a black camera would have been a nice extra option, although there is a black version of the silicone skin for sale. The screws and plugs are included with both the solar panel and the camera.

Subscription

We have already briefly indicated it above, but the Reolink Argus 2 can only be used with local storage (with optional microSD card) in the Netherlands and Belgium. Reolink does have a cloud subscription, but that is not yet available from us. And that’s a shame because the free version of this has already offered you free cloud storage for one camera for 7 days. More cameras and more days of storage will cost you $ 3.49 per month.

Installation

You can use the Reolink Argus 2 both indoors and outdoors, and you have enough accessories to place the camera in any desired place and in any desired position. Since we also test the solar panel, we decided to place the camera in the garden, on the magnetic base and fitted with the silicone jacket. The installation and assembly itself is a piece of cake. If you don’t want to drill holes in walls or planks, you can simply place the camera on a shelf or even tie it around a pole or tree. The only disadvantage of the magnetic stand is that you can easily remove the camera. Keep this in mind when placing it and make sure the camera is not easy to reach (and see).

The installation of the camera in the Reolink app is also a piece of cake. It is a matter of activating the camera by inserting the battery and downloading the Reolink app for iOS or Android. In addition to an app, you can also opt for a desktop program for Windows or Mac, with which you can also manage multiple cameras. Then follow the steps on the screen and within a few minutes you will have a picture and you can get started with the most important settings. This way you give the camera a name and a password. During the installation you will also receive a number of tips for the optimal placement of the camera.

No subscription is therefore required for the use of the Reolink Argus. Instead, you need to purchase a microSD card, on which all video files are stored. This has its pros and cons. The advantage is that you do not pay for a subscription (the cloud) and you do not have to worry about securely storing video material in the cloud. The disadvantage is that you have to purchase a microSD card and this card is in the camera. If someone takes the camera with you, you will also lose your video material, and that is precisely not the intention when a burglary has taken place.

Settings

The Reolink app has been significantly improved and expanded compared to the last time we tested an Argus camera. The app comes with a lot of setting options to set the (operation of) the camera to your own liking. We discuss the main options.

On the home screen of the app you can see the linked cameras, with a recent screenshot, the battery status and an icon that makes it clear whether the motion detector is on. From this screen you also enter the ‘cloud’ heading, but that is not yet useful for Dutch and Belgian users. You can activate the camera here for use with the Google Assistant.

At the very bottom of the home screen you will find a play icon that gives you access to the recordings of the camera and the live view. The same screen is shown when you press the screenshot on the home screen. In this screen you can adjust the quality of the stream. Fluent stands for low quality and 1080p (sometimes called Clear) stands for the highest quality. You can also manually take a picture here, take a screenshot and talk directly with someone standing in front of the camera. The timeline with recordings can be seen in the form of a line with events and blocks, but unfortunately the thumbnails are missing, making the search for events less smooth.

From the left side of the screen you can open the general menu, where you can find all kinds of commercial items (store, deals, etc.) and which gives you access to the general settings. Here you can adjust the sound of notifications, switch the live view on or off and activate warnings for data usage with a mobile connection. Not very exciting, but it is striking that some things are in English and others in Dutch.

From the home screen or from the live view of the camera, you can access the camera’s settings via the gear symbol. Here you can adjust a lot of things, including whether or not night vision is available, where you want to receive notifications (push and / or e-mail) whether an alarm should sound with a movement and how long a recording should continue after seeing a movement. You can adjust the sensitivity of the motion detector with a slider and that is a matter of trying. In our case, the default setting (medium) worked fine for registering people and ignoring the cat. You can also create specific schedules for when the motion detector should be active. You can also rotate the image of the camera, indicate which information should appear where on the screen (date, time and camera name) and you can create a privacy mask. This means that you make part of the image black so that you cannot see what is happening there. Consider, for example, a window or the garden of the neighbors. With the ‘quality’ option you can make some adjustments yourself to achieve a stream that meets your needs. You can indicate here for ‘Clear’ and ‘Smooth’ what the resolution should be (1080p or 720p), how many frames per second should be recorded and what the maximum bitrate should be. Finally, under the ‘Battery’ option you can see whether the camera is connected to a solar panel, the status of the battery and how long the camera is active per day. With the option ‘quality’ you can make some adjustments yourself to achieve a stream that meets your needs. You can indicate here for ‘Clear’ and ‘Smooth’ what the resolution should be (1080p or 720p), how many frames per second should be recorded and what the maximum bitrate should be. Finally, under the ‘Battery’ option you can see whether the camera is connected to a solar panel, the status of the battery and how long the camera is active per day. With the option ‘quality’ you can make some adjustments yourself to achieve a stream that meets your needs. You can indicate here for ‘Clear’ and ‘Smooth’ what the resolution should be (1080p or 720p), how many frames per second should be recorded and what the maximum bitrate should be. Finally, under the ‘Battery’ option you can see whether the camera is connected to a solar panel, the status of the battery and how long the camera is active per day.

Unlike the cameras from Nest and Logitech, among others, the Argus does not offer smart notifications or location determination. So no distinction is made between known or unknown persons, objects or persons and pets or persons. However, the camera manages to ignore our cat, which is a plus. Unfortunately, it is also not possible to exclude or emphasize a specific part of the image, such as a door. The lack of location determination is a major drawback. You cannot set the camera to be automatically activated (at least the motion sensor) as soon as you leave the house. You need to manually switch on the PIR motion sensor every time you leave home. Only then will it be answered. Yes,

Use

A large number of setting options are nice, but of course it is all about the use. How does the Reolink Argus 2 perform? In short, we are positive about this camera and there is really little to complain about. The only complaints are related to a number of missing functions, as described above.

When opening the app, you will see a live stream from the camera within seconds, the option to replay recordings and a microphone to talk through the camera. You can also quickly take a screenshot, start a recording and choose an image quality. The app works smoothly and quickly, although a Dutch translation is missing here and there. There is also only a short lag between reality and the display of the camera.

The device also scores well in terms of video quality. The camera offers a (maximum) 1080p stream in which everything is displayed sufficiently sharp and you can also zoom in without losing many details. A somewhat larger viewing angle would have been nice, but what appears on the screen is of good quality. The only thing that is slightly less is that the number of frames per second is at a maximum of 15. That makes videos a bit less smooth, although that is not a big problem. The camera also performs well in the dark, although the maximum distance to be able to see everything properly is about 6 meters. It is not razor-sharp, but objects and people are clearly distinguishable. The built-in speaker is of less quality, but a conversation with someone in the room where the camera is located is reasonably easy to hold.

The motion sensor works almost perfectly. We only had a false alarm once and as mentioned, the cat was luckily ignored. People are seen almost immediately and you have a notification on your smartphone within 2-5 seconds. According to Reolink, the Argus 2 can distinguish human movements from other things well, but they are not smart notifications as we see with models from other manufacturers. You also have the option to have a built-in alarm go off as soon as a movement is detected, in addition to the notifications via e-mail and a push message. However, this alarm is quite soft to really be called an alarm. It can hardly be heard outside the room where the camera is located.

In terms of battery life, the camera should last about four to six months. Of course, this depends on how often the camera needs to record or stream live. However, together with the solar panel, there is no problem. In our case, the battery did not drain further, even in cloudy weather and regular reports. So if you use the solar panel in combination with the Argus 2, chances are that you will never have to charge the battery, unless you look at your camera very often or the camera often takes pictures.

Smarthome integration

Unfortunately, we cannot really speak of extensive smarthome integration. The Reolink Argus 2 is a stand-alone system and therefore does not work together with other products or systems. For example, you cannot connect the camera to an alarm system, your lighting or an external motion sensor. There is support for the Google Assistant, so that you can view the images from your camera on a TV or your Google Nest Hub. The link with Google Home is simple, via the Google home app.

Reolink Argus 2 Wireless outdoor camera – Conclusion

The Reolink Argus 2 is a flexible, user-friendly wireless camera that can be used both indoors and outdoors. Everything for mounting is included and the installation is plug-and-play. Basically, the camera does everything well: the video quality is good and notifications are displayed correctly and quickly. As a user you also have sufficient setting options to adjust the camera to your own liking. The negatives are mainly found in things that are missing. For example, there is no cloud subscription for the Netherlands and Belgium yet, so you are dependent on a microSD card (to be purchased yourself). There is also no geofencing present and missing really smart notifications. Finally, there is no real smarthome integration, aside from support for the Google Assistant. If you are looking for a good and affordable camera that you can set up to your own liking and that you can store your video material locally, the Argus 2 is a great option. If you are looking for more ingenuity and smart functions, and a cloud solution for video recordings, there are cameras that also offer more for a little more money. Then look at models from Nest, Foscam or Arlo.

Pros of Reolink Argus 2 Wireless outdoor camera

  • Affordable camera
  • Wireless and flexible to place
  • Extensive setting options
  • Solar panel is a handy addition
  • Correct and fast reports

Negatives of Reolink Argus 2 Wireless outdoor camera

  • Really smart functions are missing
  • Local storage carries risks
  • MicroSD card is required
  • Smarthome integration is still poor

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