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Reolink’s super-flexible wireless camera works well for folks who like technology without all the fuss.
Editor’s Note: The Argus 2 has been officially discontinued by Reolink. Never fear, though, it’s been replaced by its near identical twin, the Argus 2E, for the almost exact same price point. Right now it’s on sale for $64.39.
It’s hard to find a truly flexible security camera, but the Reolink Argus 2 comes pretty darn close. This battery-powered indoor camera will do just about anything you need it to, and really sticks to Reolink’s commitment to simple, no-frills security cameras that do exactly what you need and nothing you don’t.
That said, 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 (you can read my full Ring Cameras review). But Reolink is still quite 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.
Who is Reolink, you might ask? Good question. They’re certainly not going to top the list in name recognition — that spot is locked up pretty tightly by Ring — but don’t automatically discredit them just because you’re not familiar with the name. Reolink cameras are known for their ease of use, their flexibility, and ultimately, their affordability. They’re constantly upgrading their lineup with new features and technology while striving to keep things accessible for the average consumer.
FYI: Speaking of Ring, if you’re looking to learn more about that home security giant, you can check out my full hands-on review of Ring Cameras. There’s a lot to say about this brand, but the long and short of it’s this: Ring is popular for a reason.
For today’s review of the Argus 2, I set out to determine how well the camera stacks up against even the heaviest competition, carefully assessing its most essential features: video resolution, motion detection, and of course, the accompanying Reolink app.
In these pages, you’ll get to know this camera all the way down to the nitty-gritty details, helping you narrow down your choices in the ever-expanding home security industry.
Let’s dig into the Reolink Argus 2.
First things first: The sheer simplicity of the box lets you know you’re getting an easy-to-use and attractive product that won’t cause too many headaches in the installation stage. Reolink tries to keep things user friendly and approachable, even if you’re not the most handy or tech-savvy person. You’re not going to have to phone a friend (or a nephew) to help you get things up and running.
Most of the time, indoor cameras usually don’t require a whole lot of know-how to install. You usually don’t need to drill holes or climb ladders. You’ll just stick the camera on a surface, point it where you want it to record, and there you go. This is true of the Argus 2, as well.
But one thing we should point out — this camera comes with a weather-resistant silicone sleeve in case you want to use it for outdoor coverage. I’d still make sure it’s protected under an awning or eave, but you won’t have to worry about it if there’s rain in the forecast.
From there, you’ll just need to download the Reolink app and, similar to my previous experience testing the Reolink Argus Eco, you’ll begin the syncing/setup process for the Argus 2 simply by scanning a QR code on the back of the camera.
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, you’ll find just one app to download for all of their cameras. It’s a small thing, but still worth noting in an industry bursting with selection.
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 Ethernet1 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 cameras.
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. It’s best to allow yourself at least 10 to 15 minutes from unboxing to setup to get everything up and running properly.
Depending on what “home” looks like for you, the Argus 2 could make a suitable and simple pet- or kid-monitoring option. In my house, for example, a home office was converted into a virtual sixth-grade mini-classroom for two for more than a year during the pandemic. The Argus 2 kept a watchful eye on two 12-year-olds learning algebra so the rest of the household could focus on other things.
But beyond the throes of distance learning, there’s lots more that the Argus 2 can do when it comes to protecting against burglary and property crime. With that, let’s get into some more features about our Argus 2 that you’re sure to love – and a couple that might warrant some improvement.
While the Reolink Argus 2 is IP65-certified — meaning it will do just fine with rain, wind, and dust — it does include a protective sleeve to protect it even more if it’s going to be living outside. In this way, the Argus 2 is reminiscent of the SimpliCam its corresponding Outdoor Kit. For more on that, check out my SimpliCam review.
One thing you might notice, though, is that over time your Argus’ wetsuit might stretch out and lose its shape a bit. Don’t worry, though. If that happens, you can get a replacement from Reolink for $12.99. If you want to prevent this from happening, make sure your camera isn’t always in direct sunlight, and try your best to protect it from the elements by putting it under an eave or awning.
But, weatherproof or not, using the camera outside can still work if you do it carefully. If you have a porch, you can still capture would-be porch-pirates or just see the kids carving pumpkins in October by placing the camera in a dry corner of the space where it’s not likely to get wet or damaged. The risks are always there, but at least you can stay in your warm, cozy living room for the whole show, right?
Reolink’s 1080p HD video and image quality can easily stand up to higher-profile competitors, even the pair of tech-heavy Nest Cams I reviewed. It’s also, in my view, far better than the picture produced from less expensive brands like Wyze cameras or Blink. (Check out my full review of Blink cameras, and some thorough hands-on testing of Wyze cameras, too.)
Aside from occasional video hiccups, you should still get some high-quality footage from the Argus 2. Among the many advantages of having a camera like this on your porch is that you can keep tabs on important packages2 you might be expecting, making sure they’re delivered in one piece (not always a given, sadly) and to the right recipient.
This should give you lots of helpful insight into the goings-on of your home, but you should know the video won’t always be perfectly smooth and clear. Again, connection issues do happen with Wi-Fi, so if you see blips or occasional missed footage, understand that this is just the standard format in wireless security cameras and nothing to worry too much about.
While I’ve been pretty impressed thus far with the quality of this camera and its features, it’s important to note that Argus 2 is still fairly basic compared to the best motion sensor cameras in the market.
First off, the camera doesn’t distinguish between objects (person, vehicle, animal), so your alerts will be more straightforward, like the image below:
Many brands are incorporating person detection and in some cases, package detection into their feature set, allowing you to put the activity into context before you even see it. The Arlo Pro 3 cameras I reviewed handled 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. Do keep in mind, though, that Arlo can be pretty pricey.
Did You Know: Though it can’t make out specific objects, the Reolink Argus 2 does have PIR Motion Sensing, which detects motion using “heat signatures.” By turning on this feature, you’ll get fewer false or unwanted alerts from activity like wind and bugs.
More and more, security cameras are incorporating smart home automation as a standard feature. The Reolink Argus 2, like the rest of Reolink’s cameras, provides this in a pretty intuitive way. Inside the Reolink app’s settings, it shouldn’t take long for you to find the smart home tab and start the process of pairing the camera to your Amazon Echo Show, Google Home Mini, or other smart home setup.
Keep in mind, though, you won’t be able to control the cameras via Alexa beyond getting her to pull up the camera’s display. To adjust resolution, trigger the built-in siren, or communicate via two-way talk, you still have to go through the Reolink app. Still, it’s nice to have on-demand footage available any time you need it.
As a brand, Reolink makes and sells a huge selection of cameras with a myriad of functions: Some have pan-tilt features, while others use 4G instead of Wi-Fi; some have spotlights, while others are packaged as a system with multiple cameras and an NVR to support them. But through all of their different gadgets, they maintain low equipment prices, and no Reolink camera tends to stick out as overly expensive. In short, these cameras do what they’re supposed to do, and they do it well.
Reolink cameras 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 costs, including the Argus 2.
|Reolink Camera||Camera Type||Key Features||Price|
|Argus 3||Outdoor||Color Night Vision
|Argus 3 Pro||Outdoor||Wireless
Color Night Vision
PIR Motion Sensor
|Argus Pro||Outdoor||Two-Way Audio
Starlight Night Vision
|Argus PT||Pan/Tilt||Pan and Tilt Motion
|Argus Eco||Outdoor||Two-Way Audio
The Reolink Argus 2 is super-flexible, and you can see this in the way it handles video storage. Here, you’ve got the option to store video recordings locally via a micro SD card, which is not included in the box (boo!), but you can insert into the built-in SD card slot on the back of the camera (yay!).
With local video storage, you can use the camera without signing up for a subscription and without paying a monthly fee. If this is something that appeals to you, check out our best 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, gives you 30 days of video storage for up to five cameras.
As far as cloud plans go, Reolink’s subscriptions are reasonable and pretty standard for the industry. If you live in an apartment and are looking to keep an eye on things using one camera, there’s a free basic plan that’ll probably get you where you need to go, but if you need a bit more oomph, their standard or premier plan is probably what you’re looking for. Reolink doesn’t stop there, though. If you’re looking to protect a large commercial property, their business plan will service up to 30 cameras total.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to increase your security while living in an apartment, there are some special considerations to take. Don’t worry, we’ve detailed them all here in our in-depth apartment security guide for renters.
|Plan Name||Standard||Premier Plan||Business Plan|
|Price||$6.99 per month||$10.99 per month||$15.99 per month|
There’s a whole lot to like in the Argus 2. As noted in my previous review of Canary’s cams, here, too, you can move the Argus 2 around the house at a moment’s whim, as your needs and concerns change.
It’s nice to have the kind of security camera that can help you not only make sense of all of the activity, but organize it and store it with ease, too.
And, though this is par for the course in DIY security cameras these days, it’s still a relief not to have to sign on to any monthly contracts, and to be able to store footage locally. For a family like mine, this is a highly effective camera worthy of recommendation.
Live chat appears to be weak in what it can offer beyond bot-produced links and follow-up questions, so it’s pretty impersonal. Thus, Reolink’s support page is probably the best way to get most product or support questions answered, 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. The Argus 2 has Two-Way Talk, which can be accessed next to the Playback button on Reolink’s app. Audio performed well during my tests, allowing clear communication from anywhere.
Under average use, you might need to charge the Argus 2 battery every two weeks. But results vary widely here.
No. Motion features on the Reolink Argus 2 are pretty basic. If you’re looking for a camera with advanced features like person detection, Google Nest cameras do the job very well, too.
Gallagher, J. (2020, Oct. 25) What is Ethernet? Career Karma.
Parcel Pending by Quadient. (2020) Package Theft Prevention & Statistics.