A little over a month ago, I wrote a review on the Reolink Keen Indoor Smart Home Camera. Ever since it’s been a welcome addition to our household and I’ve not had any issues connecting to it. Today, I’m very excited to review the ‘sister’ camera of Keen, Argus. Argus is a 100% wire free weatherproof 1080p Full HD Security Camera. It’s an indoor/outdoor camera and it’s got a very quick and easy installation process — just like the Keen camera.
For years, I’ve wanted a wireless outdoor security camera. I currently have three cameras — now four if you count the Argus — that protect my home from the outside. All three of them are hard-wired into power and I’ve longed for an option that can be more hidden and doesn’t require extra wires. I had the opportunity to test out the Arlo system from Netgear a couple of years ago and while I enjoyed the system, it still required a base station for operation and I’m not looking to add something like that into my already cumbersome cabinet of Internet hubs. That’s why I liked the Keen camera and now why I like the Argus. Both cameras are connected via your home’s WiFi network and they are self-contained.
Another camera I’ve had the pleasure of testing out is the AstroView HD Outdoor Camera. Again, this is a ‘wireless’ camera in that it sends a wireless signal back to your phone, but it is hard wired for power and the set-up can be a hassle. It provides a solid picture but doesn’t record. It’s strictly for monitoring an area. So, it’s not exactly what I’ve wanted to help protect my home.
So this brings us back around to the Argus. First of all, it’s very cost-effective. For around $100, you have a completely self-contained, HD, wire-free security camera. There are no subscription fees for it and it really packs a lot of features into that relatively small price point. Here is a quick overview of Argus’s features.
Easy Placement — Because Argus is 100% wire-free and battery powered you can feel free to place it anywhere. The only limitation is that you want to make sure it’s within range of your WiFi Router.
Extended Battery Life — Argus comes packaged with four CR123A batteries that provide up to 180 days of standby time. As a bonus, the battery area on the camera is easily accessible when it is time to change them out. Argus will even support rechargeable batteries.
Motion Detection — The camera comes equipped with a PIR Motion Sensor and it detects human movements (and some animals if they are large enough). We have the Argus set up just outside our front door and have found that it detects movement up to about 10 feet away from its placement. This gives us a warning if someone is at the door or approaching one of our front windows. Motion detection events are recorded onto the SD card in the camera and you can access them through the ‘playback’ setting in the Reolink app. When you go to this option, you will see a scrolling timeline at the bottom of the screen. There are very faint blue lines that indicate motion events. If you move the timeline to one of those events and push play, you will be able to see the video feed from that time.
Two-Way Audio — Argus has a built-in microphone and speaker. So you have the ability to send a warning out to any intruders that might be lurking about or welcome a friendly guest.
Weatherproof — While you have the option to place this camera indoors, it is designed to be in the elements. You can feel free to place it outdoors and get a solid video feed rain or shine.
Alerts — Argus sounds an alarm if someone trips the motion sensor, but it is also supposed to notify your phone with push notifications and emails. The email setup is a little cumbersome if you aren’t familiar with how to set up email on devices. The app wants a sender email address, SMTP server and port, and receiver addresses. You can send an email to up to three recipients. The push notifications have a few steps for set-up as well. First, you have to enable notifications for the app within your device settings — for me (iOS) it was within Settings > Notifications. Next, you will need to enable ‘Push’ on the device home screen. There is a small icon in the corner that you tap to enable or disable. Once you do this, you will start receiving push notifications when motion is detected from your camera’s sensor. For me, there was about a 2-second delay between when the motion was detected and the alarm was tripped on the camera and when I got a notification pop-up on my phone. It was accurate and since the app is so quick to connect to the camera, I was able to assess the situation and determine if action was needed.
HD Camera with Night Vision and 130-degree Wide Angle — Argus features 1080p video and provides up to 33 feet of night vision. In my testing, I always had a crisp clean video feed and at night it was easy to see those approaching the front door. I love how wide the image is and that it allows me to see all the way down my driveway.
Installation of the Argus is truly a very simple, non-stressful event. Reolink includes two ways to mount it — a magnetic base and an outdoor security mount. I opted for the magnetic base mount due to the ease of use and the need to adjust the view frequently. This is the mount you would use indoors, too, if you wanted to use it as a stand. There are hole templates included for installation, too. Now, one thing I found as ‘odd’ was that in the quick start guide there is no mention of how to use the mounts or when to install them. This may seem like common sense to most people — especially if you are familiar with this type of camera. I think it would be good to just add a simple line in about ‘when’ to install the camera — before or after setup in the app.
Once you select your location and mounting type, you use the appropriate hole template to drill your guide holes. Screws and anchors are included. I ended up using construction screws I had on hand because I have had bad luck with screws breaking on me in the past. This was an easy transition because Reolink used a standard size for the screw holes. So, if you choose to do this, you shouldn’t have a problem finding alternative screws.
Once the mount is installed, you need to complete this app setup step before placing the camera on the mount. There is a QR code on the back of the camera that the app will need to scan in order to connect to it. After you capture that code, the setup is very similar to the Keen camera. The app takes you through a series of voice prompts and you will need to enter your WiFi’s password in order to join it. You will want to set a password for the device, too, but all in all the setup only takes 5 minutes or less. Once you are done with the setup in the app and you can see a picture coming from your camera, you simply either screw the camera onto the outdoor security mount or place it at the correct angle on the magnetic base.
The Reolink Argus is a fabulous security camera for any purpose. It’s done a great job of not only capturing video but also notifying me of people that approach my home.
Originally published at macsources.com on May 18, 2017.