TECH TALK: Reolink Argus 2 security camera and solar panel
If we experience the need to feel as safe as houses, we need to make our houses safer.
And that can mean documenting who does what, where and when, by utilising a security camera.
The first big advantage to the Reolink Argus 2 is there are no cables or wiring problems to solve, something that put me off acquiring a surveillance camera in the past.
With this independent 2.4 GHz WiFi operation, the camera also benefits from compact size, allowing easy installation either outdoors or indoors. There is no need for a network, power cable and outlets.
Indoors, the unit could easily be placed on a shelf or table, to monitor elderly relatives, babies or pets. Outside, it can be used to keep track of home or business security.
The long-lasting battery is efficient, giving 20-30 days of recording per charge. Users are informed when battery capacity reaches 10% and there is also a menu function to assess how long the battery has lasted.
However, the real benefit for outdoor use is the Reolink Solar Panel, which can be purchased separately.
Also easy to install, the Solar Panel allows non-stop power, with an estimated half day of full sunlight per month providing constant operation.
I installed the camera and solar panel on the upstairs sill of a south-facing window, which allowed the panel to absorb more than enough solar energy to drive the camera - even in Britain's unpredictable climate.
So, in this case at least, we can't really grumble about the weather.
The camera's Starlight 2 Megapixel CMOS sensor offers clearer night vision, up to 33 feet without additional lighting, with its infra-red automation showing significant improvement over the naked eye. It can literally see in the dark.
Images are from a 130-degree viewing angle and relayed in 1080p Full HD, providing sharp picture quality with solid saturation, albeit a slight flutter at the default 15fps.
The Smart PIR sensor detects motion and also triggers instant alerts. Motion sensitivity is adjustable and the 75db siren or customized voice alert will sound automatically, creating a potential deterrent for intruders.
Push notifications and emails are relayed in real time, giving motion alerts to your phone. Motion-detection recording is also an option.
The built-in microphone and speaker facilitate two-way audio, allowing the user to listen in and talk back interactively. This would be particularly useful for indoor use, again with elderly relatives, babysitters, pets etc.
For indoor use, a magnetic base can attach permanently via two screws and the camera sits snugly on top, with a ball-and-socket arrangement allowing precise positioning. But it does not have to be fastened down. The base and camera are weighty enough to encourage portability.
However, because I wanted external views of the front of the house, my window-sill location (using the outdoor security mount, also with ball-and-socket positioning) was chosen for enduring installation and access convenience.
This did shield the camera from the worst of a downpour. However, the Argus 2 is IP65 Certified Weatherproof, aided by a silicone protective skin, which is resistant to both UV and water.
The included hefty strap would also allow the camera to be securely fastened to a tree or garden post.
A big advantage is the 'live view' facility, which generates remote imagery on a phone, tablet or computer. For permanent storage, a micro SD card (up to 64gb) can be inserted into the camera, with the possibility images can then be viewed on or backed up to an additional device. When the card is full, recordings can loop over existing data if required.
The Reolink App and Client work via iOS and Android smartphones, or through Windows or Mac computers. So you can check what's going on, wherever you are.
For the more hi-tech, the camera works with Google Assistant, giving a live feed on Google Nest Hubs or Chromecast-enabled TVs.
Overall, installation and operation were comfortable and the images are good quality, giving additional security and peace of mind.
Instructions are straightforward and the biggest advantage to this product is the lack of wires. The interface is user-friendly, from the moment of access, with straightforward prompts as the camera and phone / tablet / computer talk each other through the set-up procedure.
And this second-generation Argus 2 also boasts additional functions which will allow the technically-minded to further expand its possibilities.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
Argus 2 CameraWall Mount
Rechargeable BatteryOutdoor Security Mount (with a hook & loop strap)Skin (with a small rope)Reset NeedleSurveillance SignMounting Hole TemplateMicro USB Cable
Reolink Argus 2 Security Camera £103.99*
Reolink Solar Panel £24.99*
*Prices at time of writing. For further information, visit https://reolink.com/product/argus-2/
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