Move over Arlo, there's another wire-free player in town. After raising almost a million dollars on Indiegogo, Reolink is ready to hit the streets with their $100 Arlo competitor.
- No Cloud Storage
- Lacks Third-Party Compatibility
Reolink Angus Hardware
Just in case this wasn't already clear, Reolink Argus is a wire-free, battery-powered home security camera. It can work inside or outside as it is IP65 rated and it offers night vision to protect you during the day and at night. The problem with battery-powered cameras to date is that they have to be rather sacrificial in the name of conserving battery life. They might have to cut out night vision, or lower the resolution, but Reolink has managed to keep most of the good stuff. The camera records in 1080p FHD using a 130-degree wide angle view, offers live streaming, a possible 4-6 month battery life, and it's 100% wire-free. It also includes several features to protect your home.
Reolink Angus for Home Security
Angus protects your home using a "smart" PIR motion sensor. If it detects activity, it will sound a siren, email you a clip, and send a push notification. While a PIR motion sensor is certainly preferable to a non-PIR sensor, there aren't many "smart" motion features to be found here.
First of all, the camera lacks the ability to create motion zones. As it was created to be used outdoors, this is especially problematic. Can you imagine how many false alarms occur outside? I can tell you that it's a lot. Now, can you imagine a siren sounding every time a false alarm occurs? Yup, that would be problematic and your neighbors might get a little cranky. Of course, you can turn the siren off and you can turn off alerts, but that will reduce the camera's ability to protect your home. Argus also lacks other smart features like the ability to learn and facial recognition.
Remember how I said that Reolink managed to keep most of the good stuff? They did sacrifice two features in the name of battery life: always on and frame rate. The Argus camera is not always on. Instead, it sleeps between events. If it detects motion, it will wake up, capture the event, and send you a notification. But will it wake up in time? During testing, Reolink did a good job of waking up in time to capture events. While it isn't going to be as speedy as a wired camera, it's just as good as other battery-powered cameras we've tested. However, there is a noticeable difference when comparing Argus to other battery-powered cameras regarding frame rate. The result is a somewhat choppy video as compared to smooth, continuous motion.
Argus does include two-way audio which isn't always found in battery-powered cameras. Or if it is, it's a premium feature like you'll find with Canary Flex for example. Using the camera's built-in speaker and microphone, you can listen-in and also communicate when needed. Thanks to the included mobile app, you can do this from home or anywhere where you are connected to WiFi, 3G, or 4G. Oddly enough, though the camera has a microphone, it lacks sound detection.
Finally, the camera ships with a magnetic base. While it has a relatively wide angle, the ability to twist it a full 360 degrees will allow you to focus in on specific areas. You can use the base to place the camera on a flat surface, or you can mount it to a wall. In fact, you can even mount it to a ceiling if you prefer.
Sadly, Argus lacks cloud storage, though Reolink has promised this feature is coming soon. What it does have is an SD card slot. All motion events are recorded to the SD card. From there, you can playback videos or keep them around for reference. You can view recorded clips directly from the mobile app or you can remove the SD card from the camera and view them from a computer.
The camera supports up to a 64GB SD card. When purchasing an SD card for use with a security camera, always purchase Class 10. And you will need to buy one as the camera does not include a card.
Working With Others and Competing With Others
Unfortunately, Argus doesn't work with any other third-party devices. You can, however, add multiple Argus cameras to the same app. In fact, you can even save a little dough by buying multiple cameras at once.
So if Argus doesn't play with others, how does it compete with others? My number one concern with Argus is security and this isn't something that concerns me as much with other brands including Arlo and Canary. Most of my concerns are a non-issue at the moment since cloud service is to be launched. However, Reolink isn't sharing any information about device encryption or security, and they are based out of Hong Kong. In recent hacker attacks, many of the devices involved came from China.
Beyond security concerns, it compares well to other wireless cameras including Arlo, Canary Flex, and Butterfleye. Not only is it the cheapest option, but it is not dependent on a base station, it offers two-way audio, a decent battery life (ours lasted 2 months), and night vision. Where it loses is that it can't connect to other third-party devices, lacks cloud storage, and smart motion features including zones, learning, and geofencing.
A Quick Summary
Reolink Argus is a Chinese smart security camera. It's inexpensive, wire-free, and protects using FHD video recorded to an SD card triggered by motion. It does not work with any other third-party devices, but it does include a mobile app which can support multiple Argus cameras. It also offers night vision, two-way audio, and it can work inside or outside.
You can purchase your own camera for $100.