Reolink's second-generation Argus security camera moves the game on from the first in a couple of ways, adding colour night vision, a rechargeable battery, weatherproofing skins, and the promise of cloud storage.
Released less than a year after the initial version, the Argus 2 includes a single, clip-on Li-ion battery, a silicone skin to help weather-proof it, HD capture in standard H.264, and cloud storage - - real soon now, says the company -- colour night vision, and a range of mounts. Optional accessories include camouflage skins, and a solar panel for charging.
In the box you find the white, Humpty Dumpty-shaped device, with the 5,200mAh Li-ion battery packed separately. Just as well, as once plugged in and booted up, an annoying voice utters frequent demands for you to install and connect to it with the app. It's rechargeable via a Micro-USB port, is claimed to last up to 180 days, and includes a reassuring charging indicator. Mounting provisions are similar to before, and include a magnetic mount that holds the camera at any angle within a near-180-degree radius, a screw-in mount, and a strap that could, for example, allow you to secure the device to a tree or pole.
The motion and daylight sensors, the lens, IR lights, microphone and speaker feature on the front of the cleanly-designed device, with a MicroSD slot on the left (as the camera faces away from you), and both it and the charging port are protected from the elements by chunky covers.
As with the previous version, setting it up is simple via the QR codes provided and requires you only to disable any device prohibition you might have installed on your 2.4GHz wi-fi network. Other than that, you just follow either the voice prompts or the printed quick-start guide.
The 130-degree camera provides two bandwidth options, depending on storage and network capabilities. A static image consumed about 250kbps in the low-bandwidth mode, dubbed Fluent, while Clear consumed around 1,600kbps; moving images will of course use more bandwidth -- the amount depending on both the degree of motion and image composition. The effects of both can be seen using the live view option on the password-protected app, available for both Android and iOS.
Video capture can be triggered manually using the software provided or the PIR motion sensor, whose sensitivity offers three settings; the furthest distance detection is a claimed 15m for large objects such as vehicles, and 9m for people, animals and the like. Lowering sensitivity reduces false alarms.
In use, the camera provides clear images, especially in high bandwidth mode, but the colour night vision isn't as successful: the colour feed works but monochrome delivers brighter images.
The app, which works both locally and outside a NAT-enabled router, hasn't fundamentally changed, allowing you to trigger emails and push events to your mobile, and extend battery life by switching off the PIR sensor, or scheduling it to only activate at certain times.
If you need a small, inconspicuous security camera that can be mounted anywhere and accessed from anywhere, the Argus 2 offers pretty good value at £121.99 ($129.99). The optional solar panel costs £26.99 ($29.99).
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