Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: camera

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For quite some time, surveillance technology has come at a price that makes it affordable for many. With ever-sophisticated technology, it is even possible to find the right camera for every special application.

Not at all is often the location of the surveillance camera. Usually this is outside the house and a power outlet or a network connection is not available. A wireless repeater for integration into the home network is installed quickly, but in the power supply, many are facing a problem.

This is where surveillance cameras with batteries come into play. They can be installed flexibly and in any place.

With the Reolink Argus 2 we have an outdoor camera in the test, which promises a lot and thereby does not tear a big hole in the household budget. With a solar panel even the charge of the battery is free and automatic.

Especially with regard to the technical data, it is often difficult for a layman to judge these and to weigh whether the selected camera really suits their own requirements. Therefore, one should not go too much in detail when comparing different surveillance cameras.

Above all, the viewing angle and the range of the motion detection are important. Although it is advertised with an HD camera or high resolutions, but these statements say little about the image quality, which is ultimately achieved. Even a blurred image with distorted colors may have "HD quality" due to the pixels.Here you should rely on reviews and the experience of others.

However, you should have a keen eye on the equipment and the associated software. It should be planned in advance how the surveillance camera is integrated into the network, whether the possibility of power supply exists or whether a camera with battery is more useful, whether IR LEDs are needed for night photography... and so on. How these functions work, however, must be self-tested or researched. The fact that a surveillance camera promises visibility in total darkness does not say anything about how good the view is. Even a person detection is rarely as good as promised.

Therefore, in our review of the outdoor surveillance camera, we will focus less on the technical data and instead prefer to show real shots and application examples.

image sensorStarlight CMOS image sensor
Display resolution1920x1080 (2.0 megapixels)
lensf = 3.26 mm, fixed, F = 2.2, with IR CUT
Viewing angleDiagonal: 130° (horizontal: 105°, vertical: 55°)
PIR rangeup to 9 meters
PIR detection angleHorizontal: 120°
minimum illumination0 lux (with IR illuminator)
IR distanceUp to 10 meters
dimensions96 x 58 x 59 mm
Weight (including battery)260 g
interfacesMicro SD card slot, microphone, speaker, micro USB charging port, reset button

Unpack, build and inspect

Already when looking at the packaging you have the feeling of holding a high quality device in your hand. The box is very stable and even if it is not important for the content, it is designed really well. No colorful pictures and technical data jump into your face, how great the content is. No, a dull black box with a picture of the Reolink Argus 2 and on the side some descriptions, which performances she brings. That's all it takes.

When opening, the first impression continues. A black plastic mold holds the camera securely in its packaging and in a second shell underneath there is the necessary accessories.

  • Magnetic base for mobile attachment
  • swiveling foot for secure fastening by means of screws
  • Li-ion battery
  • Rubber sleeve with glare protection
  • Screws and dowels

I like the fact that in addition to the obligatory warning labels also drill templates are included, which facilitate the dowelling considerably. A small detail that costs little but is often forgotten. Something of a pity, however, is that all papers are available only in English and the power adapter needed for loading is not there. In the meantime, there should be at least one USB power supply in each household and I would be offered to buy a product for 5 € less if no power supply is included, I would certainly use that too.

The battery and two sensible feet for flexible or secure mounting

For commissioning, the enclosed and pre-charged battery must first be used. For this he is inserted from the top and clicks audibly. However, this does not look like a weatherproof solution. But it does not have to - this is oneRubber sleeve that seals the entire camera and also protects against weather influences. A cheap but simple and extremely effective solution.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: argus

The battery is easy to insert and remove.

The battery itself is made specifically for the Reolink 2 and can not be replaced by external batteries, but can be easily replaced, which is far from every camera offers. Who now assumes that he can also buy a new camera in a battery purchase, is seriously wrong and will be pleasantly surprised.A replacement battery costs only 25 €.

Already since a past test of another camera I am a little bit into theRounded magnetic feet in love. If these are attached, the camera can be securely attached thanks to the magnetic ball and rotated and tilted in all directions. The camera can be easily removed to charge the battery, but still keeps safe and reliable.

The second attachment variant includes a slightly longerFoot to which the surveillance camera is screwed, Although the magnetic base can also be used outdoors, I would prefer the screw variant, as the camera can not be so easily removed and stolen. Even weather conditions such as strong wind or storm should the camera - so attached - can not harm.

I like the fact that both versions were considered right from the beginning and nothing has to be bought. So you always have the free choice of attachment.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: reolink

The second variant is a screwable and fixable foot for storm-proof attachment outdoors.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: argus

The magnetic hemisphere allows a very easy orientation and removal of the camera for battery charging.

As with almost all cameras an app is needed, which is available for Android as well as for Apple devices. Theaverage rating of 3.4 in the Google Play Store Although not very inviting, but you should not be influenced and gain his own experience.

The app is loaded quite quickly and installed just as fast. Special permissions are not required. Access to the camera alone (required for installation) and data storage must be allowed.

After the first start of the app you will be asked to add a camera. This is done by scanning the QR code on the back of the surveillance camera. Subsequently, the password of the domestic WLAN is entered and the data is transmitted to the camera. The method for this I find very interesting. For most devices you have to first connect to the WLAN of the camera, there deposit your own access data and then returns back to your own Wi-Fi network. This step is not necessary with the Reolink Argus 2.The data is transmitted via QR code, which the camera reads from the screen of the smartphone. Fast and easy - I like it very much.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: camera

This means that Reolink already has access to the domestic network and then only needs its own password as access protection. At the same time, basic settings such as name of the camera and activation of the summer time are requested. Done - the Reolink Argus 2 is ready for use and already shows a first image in the app.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: camera

The panel works reliably and reliably keeps the battery at almost 100%.

It is hard to believe but already the last test of a security camera with battery proved that with battery quite acontinuous operation of more than 100 days can be guaranteed, The purchase of a solar panel can therefore be seen as an option. With three necessary charges a year, you could also do without it.

The Reolink solar panel is still a must-have in my opinion. At a Kadditional charge of only 30 € I like to spare myself the three charges a year. Models of the competition cost three times as much.

The attachment of the solar panel is similar to that of the camera, which makes the panel rotate and tilt in all directions. I really like the cable routing because it runs diagonally downwards. This makes the cable easy to lay and hide a little. The cable connection of the camera sits well and is sealed with a rubber sleeve. Even after a few heavy rains, there were no problems with the tightness.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: outdoor

The connection to the camera is not quite as "nice" seals but reliable.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: argus

The cable is led diagonally to the attachment and can be laid so well.

Picture quality and Wi-Fi connection

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: surveillance

Clear pictures with only very small color deviations.

The Reolink Argus 2 is advertised with a Full HD resolution, which as mentioned above, but says nothing about the image quality. Even an HD image may be out of focus and distort the colors. The Reolink Argus 2 can be here with avery good picture with strong colors shine. Only at the edge (left of the house) there are slight discolorations. The overall impression is very good.

In direct sunlight shows that the small screen might be slightly larger. The picture is still pretty good, but it gets a bit paler.

The picture at night is good and the infrared illumination is sufficient. However, this does not distinguish the Argus 2 from other comparable models that offer a similar illumination. Overall, the image quality can be described as good to very good.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: outdoor

Sufficient illumination by infrared at night.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: outdoor

If the sun fades, the picture becomes a bit paler.

Not quite convincing is the moderate Wi-Fi connection. As you can see in the first picture, the message appears that the connection is bad and you should switch to a lower image quality. The distance between the wireless repeater and the Argus 2, however, is only 5 m when recording and is only interrupted by a thin wooden wall.

At about 7 m, the HD transmission does not work and it must be switched to the quality "liquid". From 10 m but it also comes here to interruptions and from 12 m is no longer possible video transmission. Here I could achieve better values ​​with other models.

A clear app with great weaknesses

The App of Reolink worksvery tidy and offers an overview of the registered cameras on the start screen. Here you can also make all the settings for the camera and the alarm messages, as well as the status of the battery or the WiFi connection retrieve.

ThePossibilities for motion detection and alarm message are sufficient but not as comprehensive. An alarm message is offered by means ofSiren, email and push notification, However, the siren is not noticeably louder than a smartphone and the push notification could not be activated even on different smartphones. Also the dispatch of the test email remained unsuccessful with differently adjusted mail servers.The alarm message could not convince accordingly and only the video recording on SD card remains. According to app ratings, the push notification is obviously working for other users, but it is criticized that the alarm sound can not be changed. In my test I have to follow my experience and here could not be activated on a Samsung S5 on a Huawai P20 push notification.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: reolink

1. All settings on the camera can be clearly arranged.
2. The siren, e-mail and push message are available for the alarm message.
3. The schedule is simple but more than adequate and easy to use.
4. Like the mail notification, the push message could not be activated.

In contrast, the speed of the app was very positive. Not only does it start quickly, it also connects to the camera as quickly as possible, and changes to the camera settings are immediately applied. Something of a pity, however, is that when opening the app no ​​live image can be seen. For this, the connection must first be started manually even if the basic settings promise something different.

Unfortunately I have to confirm the moderate rating of the app in the store. The base, the build up and the working speed are very good, thoughit still lacks a few places, But you also have to say that these are software issues that could be fixed in the next updates.

System failure with surprising cause

There was in the middle of the testsuddenly connection problems, When the battery was in use, the Reolink Argus 2 got down to work and the picture was transferred without errors - everything worked without any complications. However, if the app was closed and reopened, it was not possible to connect to the camera. The same thing happened when the basic settings of the app were opened or changes were made, which led to a restart of the connection. All attempts, such as the reset of the camera or reinstalling the app were unsuccessful. A reconnection was only possible by removing the battery and restarting the camera.

The thought of a broken camera was spreading. Until an idea came to me, but it seemed very outlandish. Should be blamed on the inserted Micro SD card, which was displayed correctly and could be formatted in the camera? Yes, it was her fault. Apparently, the Reolink Argus 2 does not come up with older and probably slow SD cards. Even if the consequences are absolutely inexplicable, the memory card was to blame for the connection problems.With a newer map the bugs were fixed and the Argus 2 duly recorded their video on alarm triggering.

Good motion detection even in the dark

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: surveillance

The rangefinder shows at alarm 11 m. With slow movements, the recognition could also be "outsmarted".

As already described as "weakness of the app", the possibilities of the alarm messages in the test were only limited usable. Experiments should now show how well the motion detection of the surveillance camera works.

Regrettable at this point already, then there is only a simple motion detection and no person detection. False alarms are thus preprogrammed in the open air. Therefore, it makes sense to use the Reolink Argus 2 (outdoors) only for silent monitoring and recording.

Passing cars, animals or objects moved by wind can influence the alarm messages.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: outdoor

In daylight, the alarms varied greatly and ranged from 6 m to over 12 m.

The technical data of the Reolink Argus 2 promise - under the setting of the highest sensitivity - a motion detection between 6 and 9 m. These values ​​could be confirmed during a test even at night. The laser rangefinder showed 7.11 meters when the alarm was triggered. Depending on whether you are approaching the camera frontally or laterally and possibly even moving slowly, the detection was sometimes reduced to a minimum of 4 m.

The test results in daylight achieved even better but also very different values. Sometimes I could approach the camera to a few meters, but it could happen as well that a passing cyclist with a distance of over 12 meters triggers the alarm or the recording. This leads to false alarms and the more the person detection or the definition of a detection area is missed.

Good but with a battery camera conditionally helpful PC software

How do you evaluate software that works well and works well, but in my opinion can only partially fulfill its purpose?

Justification:The sense of a PC software in combination with surveillance cameras I see in the permanent observation of the camera image. I would like to have the live image literally "on screen". This is after a simple and fast setup very well but only for a short time possible. After a few seconds comes the message that the connection is interrupted to protect the battery. The process can be canceled, but who wants to click on the message every minute to permanently see the image of the camera?

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: camera

The PC software pleases very well, but the automatic separation to the battery camera can not be deactivated.

On the one hand, the automatic shutdown makes sense, so that the battery of the camera lasts longer, on the other hand there is the solar panel and it is also possible to provide the camera instead of the panel with a power supply permanently with power.It should therefore be possible to disable the automatic shutdown. When setting up, although it is pointed to function and you have to confirm this with "Yes" or "No" - with a No, however, closes the window again and the device can not be completed.According to support information, there is currently no way around the automatic separation and thus no way to get the camera image permanently on the screen.

A pity, but I do not see any meaningful use in the PC software. Presumably, the software works better with cameras without batteries, but the test is about the Reolink Argus 2 with battery and this is the PC software without lasting benefit. Nevertheless, I should mention that with the software all settings of the camera can be conveniently set. This works just as well with the app, which is needed for the first installation anyway.

A fair assessment is difficult, because this would have to be strictly separated between hardware and software. However, this does not work because a surveillance camera can not be used without an app or PC software.

Outdoor surveillance camera: Reolink Argus 2 in test: surveillance

The camera Reolink Argus 2 pleases as a hardware very well. It is small, mobile thanks to battery and delivers first-class images. Positive are also the mounting options and the more than cheap solar panel. Who does not use this for small money is your own fault. But if you combine the battery camera with the solar panel, you get a self-sufficient surveillance camera in high quality and no longer have to worry about the power supply.

The Reolink Argus 2 and the solar panel would have earned in the test smooth five stars.

Would not there be the necessary software. The PC software can only be used to set the Reolink Argus 2, a permanent monitoring operation is therefore not possible. Also was not possible in the test a correct alarm message by app. Of the three variants - push notification, email notification and video recording -In case of alarm, only the camera picture was recorded, You can neither activate the push message nor set up an e-mail account. Both were tested with a Galaxy S5 and a Huawai P20 and with different mail accounts.

I would still pronounce a buy recommendation and put on the fairly cheap Reolink Argus 2. Theused technique is very good and there are hardly any suggestions for improvement.However, you have to work on the poor app. Some flaws are known according to app reviews and if these are corrected by updates, there would hardly be anything left to complain about at the monitoring system of Reolink. One can only hope that Reolink works intensively on the app, develops it further and primarily focuses on a quick troubleshooting.

Review: Riccardo Düring

Photo Credits:
  • all pictures: Riccardo Düring

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