Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Inside the box, there is the camera, antenna, a pack of screws, a Torx key -- which is similar to an Allen key -- a 1M of Ethernet cable and a waterproof connector shield.
The camera is well built and sturdy. The case is constructed of aluminium and has a toughened lens cover to prevent dust and water ingress.
The user guide for the camera also indicates that there is a power extension cable and a power adapter, but if you have purchased the PoE (Power over Ethernet) model, the power adaptor is not necessary.
The RLC-842A has ultra HD 4K 8MP resolution with 3840 x 2160px at 25 frames per second and has 24 infrared LEDs for night vision up to 100ft.
The camera has a motorized varifocal lens from 2.7mm to 13.5mm (f/1.6-3.3) and has five times optical zoom and a wide view angle. Its horizontal field of view is 27 degrees to 96, with a vertical field of view of 21 to 69 degrees. You can save videos and audio recordings to the micro SD card in the camera, which will support up to 256GB of files. The card is not included.
Installing the SD card in the camera is a bit of a faff. you need to use the Torx key to remove the lens housing and then manoeuvre the micro SD card into the slot at the base of the camera mount. Fortunately, you only need to do this once.
If you have an NVR (Network video recorder -- currently on sale at Reolink's website), you can store the recordings locally and do not need to rely on either the micro SD card or the Reolink cloud, which might not be available in your location.
The camera will detect people and vehicles while ignoring other objects such as small animals or foliage movement. You can configure the camera to record continuous video, motion-activated or set the time that you want recordings to start and stop.
You can configure an alarm if an intruder or vehicle enters the camera's view. You can also set a schedule for this alarm. The alarm seems a little louder than the Reolink Argus PT 2K security camera I looked at last week -- the alert siren is not one that would annoy the neighbours if it went off.
The camera is rated IK10 -- so it is supposed to be vandal proof. The IK10 impact code means that it can withstand an impact force of 20 joules from a steel object with a radius of 50mm and a weight of 5kg.
The RLC-842A is also IP66 dust and waterproof. Although this rating means it can not be submerged in water, it can withstand powerful water jets and heavy rainfall.
I like the Reolink app. Like the Reolink Argus PT 2K security camera, the app is easy to connect and pair the camera to. The app has some useful features like configuring areas where you do not want the camera to capture, such as your neighbour's driveway.
An additional feature is the ability to configure the camera to take time-lapse images so you can capture what happens over a 24 hour period. Unfortunately, this feature will not work if the camera is connected to an NVR (network video recorder).
You can also control the camera using your smart assistant -- such as Google Assistant or Alexa -- but the app will give you all the features you need, and the alert notifications will let you know what is happening.
For under $110 the Reolink RLC-842A is a well-built, rugged PoE security camera with a good field of view, object detection, night vision and an audible alarm.
Install it, configure it, and forget about it, knowing that it will give you peace of mind and let you know when something untoward happens in its vicinity.