It’s not always easy to find true flexibility in a security camera. With the Reolink Argus 2 – a battery-powered indoor camera with some pretty stellar features – we’re seeing a relatively young, global camera brand evolve into a big player in 21st-century home security. With the Argus 2, Reolink offers the kind of flexibility and peace of mind consumers are increasingly craving.
You won’t find Reolink at the very top of the industry when it comes to popularity, as that spot is locked down pretty tightly by Ring Cameras (you can read our Ring Cameras review here). But we also know that Reolink cameras are popular for their ease of use, flexibility, and overall value. The company also appears to be a forward-thinking brand that’s constantly improving their products and technology.
So for this review, we set out to determine how well our Reolink Argus 2 stacks up against even the heaviest competition, assessing each of its most essential features: video resolution, motion detection, and of course, the accompanying Reolink app. But we didn’t stop there: We also got to know this camera all the way down to the nitty-gritty details, to help you make sense of the world of home security cameras.
Let’s dig into our review of Reolink Argus 2.
We couldn’t wait to open this one, if for no other reason than the sheer simplicity of the image on the box. Immediately, we knew we’d be greeted with an attractive, design-forward product, and we could also tell we would be in for an easy, speedy installation process.
Pro Tip: The industry’s best DIY security products, especially indoor cameras, are known for their easy installation. But that doesn’t mean this process runs smoothly every time. We suggest allowing yourself at least 10 to 15 minutes from unboxing time to setup to get everything squared away.
For many indoor camera users, installation is by far the easiest part; there’s no requirement to drill holes or climb ladders, and it can simply be left on a surface to work its magic. We’re big fans of this approach, seeing as we’ve drilled just about 800 holes in our walls since we began testing and reviewing security cameras.
But beyond that, there’s another reason we love Argus 2 so far: it comes with a UV- and water-resistant silicone sleeve in case you want to use it outdoors. After slipping our sleeve onto the camera, we felt better about placing it outside on a chilly October day, with rain in the forecast.
From there, we downloaded the Reolink app and, like we’d done with our other Reolink cameras we reviewed, Argus 3 and Argus Eco, began the syncing/setup process for our Argus 2.
Did You Know: In many security brands, you might find that different cameras correspond to different apps. Swann cameras, for instance, have three apps available, and not all of their products are compatible with every app. But with our Reolink camera, we were thankful to find just one app to download for all of their cameras. It’s a small thing, but something we definitely look for.
Setting up our Reolink required little more than scanning QR codes, entering Wi-Fi logins and passwords, and waiting a few minutes for the sync to complete. That, of course, was under ideal Wi-Fi conditions, which we know not everyone is working under.
For our part, we decided to do a speed test1 of our Wi-Fi signal before attempting the setup to make sure we would have enough bandwidth, because we already knew our network is occasionally prone to slowdowns. But if you decide to skip this step and go straight into the setup, keep in mind you might encounter some false starts when trying to sync your phone to the camera.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Argus 2 relies more heavily on Wi-Fi than other security cameras. This is a truly wireless camera, which means you can’t connect to your network via Ethernet2 or another source.
You should be fine, but if you’re worried about inconsistencies in performance due to unreliable Internet, you might want to steer clear of fully wireless cameras and look instead into a wired security system. To get you started, check out our list of the best wired security camera systems.
Inside our home, we had a few ideas for where our Argus 2 would do the most good – starting with our office-turned-classroom for two sixth-graders learning long division, the difference between “you’re” and “your,” and something called “prime factorization” that we’re apparently supposed to remember from 30 years ago.
Because here’s the thing: While remote learning3 has its perks, it also requires a minimal degree of monitoring on the part of the parents. If we can’t supervise every assignment, we’d like to at least know if their eyes are starting to wander, if they start flipping pencils or bottle caps at each other, or if one or the other has decided to start a mutiny. You know, it’s the little things.
Now, you might not have little ones in the throes of distance learning, so we’ll also cover how the Argus 2 can protect against burglary and property crime.
Let’s get into some more features about our Argus 2 that we loved – and a couple we felt warranted some improvement.
As we moved through our setup, we learned that our Argus 2 is IP65 certified for weatherproofing,4 which means it protects from dust, wind, rain, and other damage. So even without the included protective sleeve, we still felt confident in Argus 2’s ability to fight off the elements.
For many of those reasons, our Argus 2 reminded us of the SimpliCam, SimpliSafe’s indoor camera, and its corresponding Outdoor Kit. You can read all about it in our SimpliCam hands-on review.
One final note about those silicone “sleeves”: While these aren’t exactly a new feature in security cameras, we did observe one downside. After a few days of testing, moving the camera from indoors to out, we found that the sleeve was beginning to stretch out and look worn and misshapen. If that’s the case for you, we found that Reolink sells those sleeves individually as a two-pack for $12.99.
But, weatherproof or not, we felt quite confident testing our Argus 2 outside. When our kids decided to carve pumpkins on that chilly October day, for example, we parents had a nice window into their activities from our warm, cozy living room. (We’re not fans of cold weather, in case you couldn’t tell.)
As we set up our camera and pulled up the live view on our phones, we saw 1080p HD video and image quality that can easily stand up to higher-profile competitor Google Nest. It’s also, in our view, far better than the picture produced from less expensive brands like Wyze cameras or Blink (though Blink cameras make great starter cams, too).
With a few minor hiccups, we were able to get some excellent quality images from our Argus 2. Notably, it helped us keep tabs on an important package5 we’d been expecting: a large shipment of dog food.
The video from our Argus 2 gave us great context into the goings-on of our home, but you should know the video wasn’t always perfectly smooth and clear. Indeed, we did run into a few choppy moments due to Wi-Fi slowdowns. But that was due to our own connection issues.
While we’ve been pretty impressed thus far with the quality of this camera and its features, we did find our Argus 2 to be fairly basic compared to other cameras with motion sensing.
First off, the camera doesn’t distinguish between objects (person, vehicle, animal), so the alerts we got were pretty generic.
We believe that’s something to note, mainly because so many brands these days are incorporating person detection and in some cases package detection into their feature set, allowing us to put the activity into context before we even see it. Arlo’s line of indoor cameras does this quite well; you can see in our Arlo vs Reolink comparison that Arlo outpaced its competitor in the stability and reliability of its motion sensing, as well as its advanced features.
If that suped-up motion detection happens to be a priority for you, we invite you to check out our review of Arlo’s cameras to see if those might suit you better. But keep in mind that Arlo can be pretty pricey.
Did You Know: Though it can’t make out specific objects, our Reolink Argus 2 does have PIR Motion Sensing, which detects motion using “heat signatures.” By turning on this feature, we stopped getting false notifications from activity like wind and bugs.
More and more, we’re seeing security cameras with smart home compatibility as a standard feature. So we’re happy to report that our Argus 2, like the rest of Reolink’s cameras, provides that feature. By going into the Reolink app’s settings, it didn’t take long for us to find the smart home tab and start the process of pairing our camera to our Amazon Echo Show.
Keep in mind, though, we weren’t able to control the cameras via Alexa beyond getting her to pull up our display for us. To adjust resolution, trigger the built-in siren, or communicate via two-way talk, you still have to go through the Reolink app. Even still, we were happy just to see our live footage on our Echo Show.
As a brand, Reolink makes and sells a huge selection of cameras. Some have pan-tilt features; others use 4G instead of Wi-Fi; some have spotlights; others are packaged as a system with multiple cameras and an NVR to support them. But through all of their different gadgets, we’re pleased to find that they’re mostly affordable, and none stick out as overly expensive. In short, these cameras do what they’re supposed to do, and they do it well.
We’re seeing Reolink pricing range from $65 all the way up to $599 for a multi-camera NVR system, which means there’s plenty of variety to choose from. See below for a breakdown of a few of Reolink’s cameras and pricing, including the Argus 2.
|Reolink Camera||Type of Camera||Key Features||Price|
|Argus 3||Outdoor Battery/Solar||1080p HD|
Built-In Motion Spotlight
Starlight Night Vision
|Argus 2||Indoor/Outdoor Battery/Solar||1080p HD|
Starlight Night Vision
|Argus Pro||Outdoor Battery/Solar||1080p HD|
|Argus Eco||Outdoor Battery/Solar||1080p HD|
|E1 series||Indoor Plug-in/Wi-Fi||Pan-Tilt-Zoom|
Since we’ve already mentioned Argus 2 is super-flexible, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention another perk in this camera that lends to even more flexibility: video storage. Here, we’ve got the option to store our videos locally via a micro SD card, which is not included in the box (boo!) but which we can insert into the built-in SD card slot on the back of the camera (yay!).
With local video storage, we can use our camera without signing up for a subscription and without paying a monthly fee. If this is something that appeals to you, check out our top rated no monthly fee home security systems.
But, if the cloud is your preference, Reolink happens to make that option pretty appealing, too. The standard subscription model, for a breezy $3.49 per month, gave us 30 days of video storage for up to 5 cameras.
As far as cloud plans, we found Reolink’s offerings to be not only reasonable for almost everyone, but quite manageable in the long term, too. If you’re an apartment dweller looking to cover a small space and not a whole lot else, Reolink also has a free cloud option that really makes cutting the cord possible, though with only 7 days of recording and up to 1 camera, you might find it to be pretty limiting.
|1-camera limit||5-camera limit||10-camera limit||30-camera limit|
|7-day storage||30-day storage||30-day storage||60-day storage|
|1 GB of storage||30 GB of storage||80 GB of storage||150 GB of storage|
|Free||$3.49 per month||$9.99 per month||$14.99 per month|
There’s a whole lot to like in the Argus 2, but our favorite characteristic has to be its flexibility. As with our previous review of Canary’s super-flexible Pro camera, here, too, we have the ability to pick up and move our Argus 2 around the house at a moment’s whim, as our needs and concerns change. After all, nothing really stays put in our house; there’s always someone running, eating, jumping on furniture, stealing socks from the laundry…
It’s nice to have the kind of security camera that can help us not only make sense of all of this activity, but organize it and store it with ease, too.
And, though this is par for the course in DIY security cameras these days, we still appreciate not having to sign on to any monthly contracts, and we love having the option for local storage. For a family like ours, this is a highly effective camera, and one we’re happy to recommend.
We had a great experience contacting customer service, with one exception: Live chat appears to be weak in what it can offer beyond bot-produced links and follow-up questions, so it’s pretty impersonal. However, we found that going to Reolink’s support page is sufficient to answer most customer questions, and it even includes a list of common troubleshooting questions and advice.
Yes. They call it “privacy masking,” and just like most security cameras, you’re able to draw over an area in your camera’s view to avoid getting motion alerts from that area. It’s great for areas like a front porch or driveway.
Yes, our Argus 2 has Two-Way Talk, which can be accessed next to the Playback button on Reolink’s app. Audio performed well during our tests, allowing us to communicate clearly from anywhere.
Under average use, after three days of testing, we still had 85% battery life in our Argus 2. Keep in mind, if we’d set our motion sensitivity to 100% and turned on push notifications 24/7, that percentage would start to fall pretty quickly.
No. Motion features on Argus 2 are pretty basic. If you’re looking for a camera with advanced features like person detection, we’ve found Google Nest IQ’s cameras do the job very well.
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Gallagher, J. (2020, Oct. 25) What is Ethernet? Career Karma.
Leonhardt, M. (2020, Sept. 7) Parents struggle with remote learning while working from home: ‘I’m constantly failing.’ CNBC.
Hazbun, C. (2020) Tips to Weatherproof Your Outdoor Wireless Camera in Extreme Conditions. Ecamsecure.
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