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Reolink RLC-811A security camera review: Digital, optical zoom, and an extra loud siren

Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor
Reolink RLC-811A security camera review pan tilt and zoom and extra loud siren zdnet

Reolink RLC-811A waterproof security camera

8.2 / 5

pros and cons

  • Digital and optical zoom from the app
  • Loud siren
  • Clear images at night
  • Must have NVR or PoE switch to work

The Reolink RLC-811A security camera is large and sturdy with a well-built metal housing and a strong metal mount. This camera means business.

The RLC 811A uses PoE (Power over Ethernet), so you do not need to position it near to a power supply to use it. Run an Ethernet cable up to 330ft in length to the camera, connect the Ethernet cable to a PoE injector and connect the PoE injector to a power adapter inside your home.

The PoE injector does not come with the RLC 811A, but you can buy PoE switches from TP-Link or Netgear on Amazon. Alternatively, you can buy an NVR (Network Video Recorder) directly from Reolink to store local recordings.

In the box, there is the camera, which is rated IP66, so is waterproof and dustproof, a waterproof connection, a 1m Ethernet cable and a pack of screws with wall plugs. There is also a quick start guide, a paper template for drilling, and a surveillance sign.

The camera is fitted with a metal case and an overhanging cowl to stop rain from hitting the lens. Five LED spotlights will illuminate up to 100ft, a sensor, and four infrared lights.

At the rear of the camera, there is a metal cover for the SD card, screwed into the camera housing. The RLC 811A will support an SD card of up to 256GB capacity.

I had issues turning the camera on initially, but pressing the reset button cable for 10 seconds made the camera bleep which let me know that the camera was ready to connect and initialise.

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To connect the camera to the Reolink app, either scan the QR code or find the camera model listed in the LAN list and connect. The camera will initialise and show you the live view of the area.

Reolink RLC-811A security camera review pan tilt and zoom and extra loud siren zdnet

The RLC-811A is a 4K camera with 3840x2160px resolution, 5x optical zoom, and when zoomed in, the image is still fairly crisp. Its viewing angle ranges from 31 to 105 degrees.

The camera also has a motorised lens ranging from 27mm to 13.5mm. You can use the optical zoom to control the camera image from your app.

Setting the push and siren notifications means that you will receive an email and a push notification when the camera detects something in its motion zone. Outside, the siren will sound, and the spotlights will illuminate the object in its path.

Its two-way microphone allows you to talk to whoever is in your field of view. The audio is loud and clear, and the microphone, situated underneath the camera, is easily heard. You can also record a voice clip that will play instead of a siren.

Reolink RLC-811A security camera review pan tilt and zoom and extra loud siren zdnet

The onboard siren is very loud and will certainly alert anyone within the camera's field of view that they are being watched.

You can specify when you want the siren to sound and set schedules for when detected motion will not trigger the siren. You can also select zones that the camera will ignore and will not trigger an alert and how sensitive you want the camera to be.

You can even specify what you want the camera to detect -- either humans or vehicles.

I like the time-lapse feature on this camera. Turn it on, and the camera will take images at regular intervals during the day and save the video onto the SD card.

Unfortunately, the time-lapse feature does not work if you have an NVR. It is a great way to find out what happens during the entire day in your backyard.

You can integrate the RLC-811A with your smart home appliances. Select the device and click enable to use hands-free voice commands or display the view outside on your Chromecast TV.

You can choose to add an SD card to the camera if you do not want to use an NVR. You can not use Reolink's cloud storage with this model at the moment. However, cameras like the Reolink Go PT, Argus 3, Argus PT, and E1 Zoom do use this feature.

For under $110, there is little not to like about the Reolink RLC-811A security camera. It is a pain to set up if you do not have an NVR, and you need to purchase a PoE injector and power adapter to deliver power to the unit.

But once the RLC-811A is connected and configured, you can relax knowing that your home is secured. If there are any issues, your security camera will sound the alarm, allow you to speak to the visitor, and capture a really detailed image of the person entering your space, day or night.