It’s no secret that the IP camera war today is rather intense. As a result, lots of manufacturers are looking for ways to make their products stand out and offer the best option available. They’re aiming to create the ultimate product that is very easy to use and has everything a property owner needs.
A glimpse at the Reolink Argus 2 will tell you that such was the goal in its creation. With its long list of functionalities and offerings, it has been a great contender for the ultimate outdoor security camera. But is it any good?
With a solid set of features that include a solar power option, PIR motion sensors, and Starlight night vision among many others, combined with easy installation and a very affordable price tag, it can certainly appeal to a wide chunk of the market. If you want to know more about it, our review can be of great help to you.
- Product Review: A Closer Look at the Reolink Argus 2
Design and Features
Clean and simple would be the best two words to describe the design of the Reolink Argus 2. Its pod shape makes it somewhat similar to lots of other IP cameras in the market today, so it looks like a regular, modern camera in that sense. It has a clean white body color and a black faceplate that covers its entire front side that reminds us of an astronaut’s helmet. It’s also relatively small in size.
With these, it can easily blend into most homes’ contemporary architecture. If it doesn’t look as inconspicuous as you want it to be, you can always get silicone skins for it.
This camera comes with 2 mounting bases. One is a low-profile variety with a magnetic half ball and the other has a screw-set ball joint. Both offer free movement for the camera, allowing you to position it in exactly the way you need to.
At the back of the unit is its power port. You can use it to plug it into a power outlet or to connect it to a solar panel. On the side is its microSD slot which makes access to its local storage very straightforward.
Setup and Usage
Like other DIY cameras, the Argus 2 is also very easy to set up. Getting it running doesn’t require a lot of effort as the app will effectively prompt you of what you need to do to install your camera. It can certainly simplify home security for many homes and make it possible to DIY.
Mounting the base might be a bit trickier, actually, especially if you’re not very handy. And if you’re going to use the one with the magnetic base, you might also want to place it high up and out of reach as its design isn’t tamper-proof.
1080p video resolution is already a standard among home security cameras nowadays so you can expect to get that from the Argus 2 as well. Its pictures are clear and crisp, especially in the daylight. However, it can get a bit pixelated upon waking up as it seems like its lens needs to get used to the lighting conditions it comes to. It’s sharper indoors but the video quality is still precise and great overall.
For its night vision mode, you can choose between two types. The regular one uses 6 infrared LEDs and is clear enough to provide discernable facial features even in pitch black conditions indoors. Outdoors, however, the images can get a bit overexposed.
The second mode is the ‘Skylight’ which offers a more vivid color video with better exposure than the regular mode. However, it needs some ambient light to perform at its best, like some moonlight or light from streetlamps.
With a 130° wide field of view, you’ll also be able to cover a lot of ground with this device.
Again, like other home security cameras today, this product also comes with audio recording and a 2-way talk. The audio quality in recordings is great but the 2-way talk isn’t as good. The volume tends to drop both ways which can make its use a bit of a hassle.
However, a fun extra audio feature is its voice recording feature. Instead of using the siren, you can just record a voice message and set the device to play that when you want it to.
What sets this device apart from its competitors, however, is its PIR motion sensor. As PIR sensors are known for their accuracy, it promises to reduce the false alerts due to the way it detects movements. While it does deliver its promises, it has users divided as some don’t find it as sensitive as they want it to be. The sensitivity can be adjusted but the way the sensors are designed is just really different from other motion sensors. So look into this first before you decide.
Upon getting its sensor tripped, this device will send you a notification and will record for 6 seconds after. If movement isn’t detected after that, it will stop recording. You can wake it up manually, however, by logging into the live feed. Recording duration is not adjustable, however, so you can’t set it to record longer than 6-second clips automatically.
Upon its release, users of the Argus 2 had to only work with the local storage as the cloud service was only rolled out recently. Not everyone liked that fact so the update is a welcome one.
Now, you can get up to 10GB of data for 15 days and it’s offered for free, so that should make amends for the initial disappointment in some users. Reolink says that upgrades will be available soon.
Then again, it’s not a bad thing for this item to have local storage. If you’re the type who isn’t a fan of storing your data on the cloud or you just don’t want to pony up for extra service, this is always a practical alternative.
Smart Home Compatibility
If you want to integrate the Argus 2 into a smart home environment, you can do so with Google Assistant and Alexa.
Mobile Apps and Web Portals
Another strength this camera has is its mobile app which is very easy to use. Unlike other devices, it doesn’t limit the users of the app as multiple devices access the feed at any given time. Only one can be in mainstream mode with the clearest resolution and the others can only in substream mode.
If you want to view the live feed of your Argus 2 on your PC, you can’t do it through a web portal. However, Reolink has a web client that can accommodate up to 8 cameras so you can use that instead.
Since the Argus 2 and Argus Pro are identical offerings by Reolink, it can be a bit confusing which one to go for. Luckily, the main differences between the two are pretty simple. The Argus Pro is a step behind in design and hardware as it only has the regular 1080p sensor and can only work with the outdoor security mount.
A single full charge of the Argus 2’s battery will already last up to 6 months with regular use. However, if you connect it with the solar panel, it can be continuously charged as long as the solar panel gets a good amount of sunshine. As the camera also has a low battery notification, you’ll also know when you should plug the device in.
Initially, the Reolink Argus 2 doesn’t have compatibility with smart home environments but Reolink just recently announced that this is about to change. This device will soon be compatible with Alexa and Google Home but is now compatible with Google Assistant.
Does this camera record continuously?
No, it only starts recording once its motion sensor is tripped, once you log into its live stream, or when it’s scheduled to start recording. It doesn’t offer 24/7 nonstop streaming and recording.
While the Reolink Argus 2 may not be the most stellar DIY outdoor security cam out there but we are convinced that it can still be a great pick for a lot of households. Its set of features is hard to beat, especially in its price point. So if you’re after a powerful device that can do a lot without breaking the bank, this is a great choice.