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Reolink Argus security camera, First Take: Weather-proof and battery-powered

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Written by Manek Dubash on
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Reolink Argus

Home security cameras have rarely been simpler. The weather-proof, battery-powered Reolink Argus is the little brother of the Reolink Keen, but setup is just as straightforward.

A crowdfunded camera with a 130-degree viewing angle, the Argus will record motion events triggered by the built-in PIR motion sensor, and allows you to record and/or remotely view the live stream via an Android or iOS app. It will stream live 720p or 1080p video to your phone, while the app will support up to 16 cameras, making the Argus suitable for use at home or by a small business. The app can send you emails alerting you to detected motion.

Although you can mount it outdoors, the Argus is not bulky (113mm x 65mm x 54mm, or 4.4in x 2.5in x 2.1in) and so looks discreet enough indoors. It's rated at IP65 for dust and water ingress, but even in an English summer, I haven't been able to test it in the worst of weathers. There's no pan/tilt capability, as there is with the more expensive (£129.99) Keen model.

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An IP65 rating means the Argus is totally protected against dust and can withstand low-pressure water jets from any direction. Its four 3V Li-ion CR123A batteries are rated for 800 minutes of video recording or live streaming.

Image: Reolink

In the box, you get the somewhat ovoid-looking camera, which has a depression in its base. This fits the rounded top of the magnetically attached table-top mount for almost 180-degree manoeuvrability. Alternatively, you can use the screw-in mount to attach it to a wall, a tree or whatever (Reolink even provides screws and wall plugs). Four 3V Li-ion CR123A batteries give a claimed 180 days' use in standby mode, or 800 minutes of motion-triggered recording and live streaming. Rechargeable batteries are supported too.

Setup is simple. After downloading and firing up the app, you need to connect the app to the camera and the camera to the wi-fi, all of which is accomplished using QR codes. It took five minutes, half of which was occupied removing and reinstating MAC address security from the wi-fi network.

Once it's set up, the app allows you to select one of three levels of sensitivity for the PIR sensor, decide whether to trigger emails and push events to your mobile, and manage camera to extend battery life. This includes switching off the PIR sensor entirely, or scheduling it to only activate during certain times of day or days of the week -- when you don't expect people to be moving around, for example. You can also trigger a siren to deter unwanted visitors -- be they human, feline, or whatever.

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Image: Reolink

According to Reolink, bulk discounts are available for businesses, and a cloud storage option is coming soon, as is a 'wi-fi-based storage solution'. The company will also introduce skins -- camouflage, for example -- and mounting brackets to avoid device theft.

It's a shame that there's no built-in storage as you'll need to it to record images or video of any length, but MicroSD cards are cheap. Additionally, the ability to connect to other smart home devices and systems, such as IFTTT, would be a useful feature for the future. The company says it has not ruled this out.

The Argus, which also supports two-way audio, costs $90 (around £70) at Reolink's website. All in all, it's a very usable device at a reasonable price.

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