Product Roadmap: What's Coming Next
How ColorX Technology Turn Night into Day
Reolink App v4.41 Released
I was one of the lucky people who sponsored the first Reolink Argus battery powered security cameras. I still have two, although I tired of replacing batteries and instead power them using the hidden USB port inside the battery case.Argus 3 2K improved the video resolution and added a spotlight, color night vision, person/vehicle detection, and H.265 compression.Argus 3 Pro adds 5G WiFi, pet detection, exclusion zones, and Time Lapse recording. This photo shows the Argus 3 Pro mounted next to an original Argus.Initial Impressions:Build quality remains excellent. A solid, attractive unit. I especially like the new mounting scheme. This makes taking the camera down to charge batteries and putting it back up again almost painless. There is also an optional magnetic mount ($15), similar to the original Argus mount. Not nearly as secure as the screw on mount, but would make moving the camera around very convenient. (Buy several mounts and just 'snap' the camera onto one of them.) The regular mount even provides a slot to strap the camera to something (post? tree?) and includes a bright white strap in the box.Picture quality is excellent. (4K vs. 1080p) with 16x digital zoom vs. 6x zoom. Viewing angle remains about the same (122 degrees diag. vs. 120 degrees diag.) A major surprise was how much better the Pro picture is at night. Here's the original Argus:Then the Argus 3 Pro:The list of features and options is incredible!Spotlight, which makes color night vision possible and can be used to let people know that the camera "sees them." (I leave the spotlight off, but apparently a LOT of people like the idea of a bright light warning people "I'm recording you!" I do have several motion activated lights which serve a similar purpose, as well as light the path to my trash cans at night.Two-way audio. This makes it possible to talk to someone and hear what they say back. It is a major feature of video doorbell products. Not sure how often it would be useful unless (a) the Pro camera is literally mounted next to the door and (b) the user keeps the app open on a smartphone and responds quickly to the Push notification. (I do neither.)Siren. Like the spotlight, the siren can be set to sound when motion is detected. (Really? OMG. Neighbors are going to love that!)Different sensitivity levels for automobiles, people, pets, and just "motion".5G WiFi means that downloading recordings is blindingly fast. Seriously, the difference is amazing.Time Lapse recording is a brand new feature that is supported by the Reolink 'app' and the Windows v8.8.1 Client. My first test of Time Lapse recording was very interesting. I learned (a) that it generates HUGE files. In normal recordings, very little 'changes' from one video frame to the next, so compression is highly effective. With Time Lapse, there are many more changes, so the compression is not nearly as great. (b) the camera seems very SLOW to 'cache' those images into an MP4 file. (c) the battery drain is ENORMOUS. (d) Transferring the Time Lapse is thus sort of an ordeal. Like all battery powered cameras, the Argus 3 Pro involves design compromises.Live Viewing has a time limit. Keeping the camera on with active WiFi streaming drains the battery. The app and Windows Client pop a warning at 5 minutes: "Do you want to keep viewing?" If the user is not alert, then Live View stops. Powering the camera with USB or a solar panel does not change this, although there is an option in the 8.8.1 Client to ignore it. Preserving battery capacity is part of the fundamental design. PIR sensors are always used on battery cameras because (a) they are dirt cheap, and (b) they use so little power. (A single AA battery can power a PIR sensor for months and months.) But PIR sensors are notoriously bad at detecting motion. If an object that radiates heat moves "across" the picture, the Argus 3 Pro will pick it up in about 0.1 second. If something is moving fast, of course, by the time the cameras comes on the object may be almost totally out of the picture. When cars drive down my residential street, it is common for the Argus 3 Pro to start recording when they are more than half-way across the picture. The mailman, however, was caught almost the instant he stepped into the picture. Notice how the original Argus only 'saw' the mailman when he got within a few feet.Mailman.mp4Note how the original Argus almost missed the mailman completely. If he had not dropped something and stopped to pick it up, the camera might not have recorded anything at all.Old Argus.mp4No FTP. The RLC cameras can automatically FTP motion recordings to a server so if the camera is damaged (or stolen) recordings are not lost. That would impact the battery too much, so none of Reolink's battery cameras are capable of FTP.The obvious power solution is an inexpensive USB power supply and USB cable. That is what I did with the original Argus (and what I will do with the Argus 3 Pro after I see how long a battery charge lasts). But, that effectively 'tethers' the camera to a power source. No longer 'put anywhere'. Compromise.Aha! What about using a $30 solar panel. (Which, by the way, has a very good mounting bracket.) Solar panels need at least a few hours of direct sunlight to generate enough power to keep the camera going another day. In that first picture above, where would a solar panel go to get hours of direct sunlight? I'm one of the users who are not exactly convinced by "weather resistant" ratings. I prefer to place cameras where they are not exposed to rain. In my neighborhood, solar panels have begun sprouting on the eaves as people decide to give up on batteries.Are there any "downsides" to the Argus 3 Pro? (besides the obvious battery compromises)The WiFi setup does not allow users to define a Static IP address. Probably not a major concern to most customers. There is a bug in the WiFi display which showing the current network connection as 2.4G WiFi when it is actually 5G WiFi. Not a serious issue, but disappointing.Summary:Choosing security cameras is a complicated undertaking. Reolink has products covering every category (PoE, WiFi requiring power, totally wire free, LTE) and every resolution from 1080p to 12MB. There are fixed and zoom lenses. Some pan and tilt. Retail prices vary by capability, but are all 1/2 to 1/3 the equivalent product from major companies such as ARLO or Nest.The Argus 3 Pro is now charging so that I can measure how long it lasts on a charge (when I'm not doing battery draining things such as Time Lapse recording or keeping the Live View on for long periods.
@crimp-on_62210811129 Thank you for the great review!
@crimp-on_62210811129 The 5G WIFI is correctly shown on Argus 3 Pro. Perhaps you need to email support to verify if you have the latest firmware. Just include your hardware version and they will reply. Their support has greatly improved.I did request ftp too on Argus 3 Pro and they informed me that they are working on it. What I asked is an improvement in the wake up protocol and reduction in delay to forward the push notification. This has to be improved to be in within 4 to 6s. Otherwise its a really beast.
Engineering reports that they have discovered the issue and will fix it in the next firmware release. Possibly something to do with my WiFi using the same SSID for both 2.4G and 5G channels. I notice that when the camera brings up a list of available channels, it shows each of my WiFi access points separately (router and three satellites). Samsung tablet does something similar. Kudos for Reolink taking the question seriously.
Hi there! Join the Commnunity to get all the latest news, tips and more!