Reolink Argus Pro is a 100% Wireless Security Cam That Never Needs Charging

Our verdict of the Reolink Argus Pro:Paired with the solar panel, the Reolink Argus Pro is fantastic budget security option that’ll never need recharging. It’s not designed for 24/7 recording, but it does offer reliable motion alerts and unlimited local recordings with no monthly fees. On the downside, it only integrates with Reolink apps for desktop or mobile: there’s no Alexa/IFTTT or Synology support.810The problem with “truly wireless” security cameras is that their Wi-Fi connection is generally terrible, they eat through those expensive little batteries, and most offer horrendous value for money by needing an expensive cloud subscription. The Reolink…

Read the full article: Reolink Argus Pro is a 100% Wireless Security Cam That Never Needs Charging

Our verdict of the Reolink Argus Pro:
Paired with the solar panel, the Reolink Argus Pro is fantastic budget security option that'll never need recharging. It's not designed for 24/7 recording, but it does offer reliable motion alerts and unlimited local recordings with no monthly fees. On the downside, it only integrates with Reolink apps for desktop or mobile: there's no Alexa/IFTTT or Synology support.
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The problem with “truly wireless” security cameras is that their Wi-Fi connection is generally terrible, they eat through those expensive little batteries, and most offer horrendous value for money by needing an expensive cloud subscription. The Reolink Argus Pro is both reliable, offers unlimited local recording, and when paired with their solar kit, never needs recharging.

Join us as we take a closer look at the Reolink Argus Pro with Solar Kit–and at the end of this review, we’ve got one to giveaway.

Specifications

  • 1080p Live view and recording, with night vision.
  • 130-degree wide angle field of view.
  • Two-way audio.
  • PIR motion sensor, with app notifications or email alerts.
  • Siren or custom alarm on motion detection.
  • Rechargeable battery.
  • $99 for Reolink Argus Pro, or $130 when purchased with the optional solar kit.

Reolink Argus Pro: What’s In The Box?

Inside the box, you’ll find:

  • The camera unit
  • Separate battery pack, to be fixed onto the camera
  • micro-USB charging cable
  • Mounting bracket
  • Optional tree mounting strap
  • Screws and template
  • Silicone cover for outdoor installation

reolink argus pro box contents

Note that a MicroSD card is not included. To record clips locally on the device when motion is detected, you’ll need to purchase a MicroSD card separately.

Reolink Solar Panel Power Supply for Wireless Outdoor Rechargeable Battery Powered IP Security Camera Reolink Argus 2/Argus Pro, Waterproof, Adjustable Mount, Continuous Power Supply Reolink Solar Panel Power Supply for Wireless Outdoor Rechargeable Battery Powered IP Security Camera Reolink Argus 2/Argus Pro, Waterproof, Adjustable Mount, Continuous Power Supply Buy Now At Amazon $29.99

If you purchased the optional solar kit too, you’ll find:

  • 3.5W solar panel with attached 2m microUSB cable.
  • Mounting bracket.
  • Screws and template.
REOLINK Argus Pro Rechargeable Battery/Solar-Powered Outdoor Wireless Security Camera 1080p HD Wire-Free 2-Way Audio Night Vision Alarm Alert & PIR Motion Sensor w/Built-in SD Slot REOLINK Argus Pro Rechargeable Battery/Solar-Powered Outdoor Wireless Security Camera 1080p HD Wire-Free 2-Way Audio Night Vision Alarm Alert & PIR Motion Sensor w/Built-in SD Slot Buy Now At Amazon $99.99

If this sounds somewhat familiar, it is. The Argus Pro varies only a little with the Argus 2 that we reviewed before. The differences?

  • Argus Pro is more affordable ($99 vs $129).
  • Argus 2 has better quality nighttime recording thanks to the “StarLight” sensor. Argus Pro is just standard black and white IR nightvision.
  • Argus Pro only has a screw mount for the bracket; the Argus 2 had a magnetic mount option.

Installing the Reolink Argus Pro and Solar Kit

You’ve got a few mounting options for the Reolink Argus Pro camera itself. Firstly, a simple extended mounting bracket is provided, along with screw hole template,  suitable for a wall or ceiling. It’s all fully adjustable and of course you can flip the image in the software if it’s upside down. You’re also supplied with a tree mount strap, which threads through the base of this adjustable bracket and allows you to strap it onto a tree or other pole.

In addition, you’re given a silicone cover for outdoor use. Just pull it over the device, and it offers a little shade, as well as waterproofing the unit to a certain degree.

Mounting options for the solar panel are more limited: you can only screw it in. It’s a little incongruous to not also have a tree mounting strap, but you could always find a nearby fence post to screw it into.

 

The microUSB plug for the solar panel has a rubber hood, ensuring water can’t seep in. In a week of being very exposed to miserable English weather, the camera hasn’t suffered any damage.

rugged micro usb plug on the argus pro

Setup is fantastically simple, it uses the same clever method as other Reolink devices whereby you open the app, scan the QR code on the device, add your Wi-Fi details. Then the app displays a QR code of its own on the screen which you put in front of the Argus Pro, and it reads the connection details from that, and sets itself up. Really easy, I had no issues it all worked first time which is great.

That said, it was awfully picky when it came to microSD cards. I tried a few small 2GB ones, and after formatting them through the app, it refused to recognize them. It worked fine with a 64GB card. In fairness, it recommends cards 4GB or more, but it seems that’s more of a requirement than a recommendation.

Battery Life

Reolink claim 180 days of standby and or 960 minutes of live viewing, and it’s important to point out that this means you can’t leave it on 24 hours a day streaming to your Synology Surveillance Station running on your Network Attached Storage or other software or NVR device. As such, it doesn’t offer third party app integration: there is no ONVIF support.

Unlike the previous completely wireless Reolink Keen that I looked at, this has a removable lithium ion battery with standard microUSB charging port. However, I would encourage you to get the solar kit as well. Even with a modest amount of British sunshine, it managed to trickle charge the camera enough to keep it fully topped up. That was with fairly frequent motion alert, and the occasional drop-in to the live stream.

Adding the solar kit means that you’ll probably never need to charge the device under normal use. However, it still won’t be able to record or stream 24/7. So while the solar kit is a fantastic addition, it doesn’t change the fundamental functionality of the device in that it’s for occasionally checking in on the live stream or low volume motion triggers. If you find that it’s still running out of power, you’ll need to tweak the sensitivity, detection distance, or adjust the angles to restrict the field of view.

You should see a small red LED illuminate when the solar panel is successfully connected, as well as an icon in the camera settings screen of the app. There’s no other feedback to show how much power is being supplied by the solar panel though, so micro-optimisation of the angle or position isn’t really possible. Still, even on a typically overcast British day, it was able to trickle charge the battery.

Unlimited Local Recording on Motion Events

It’s a shame that the home security industry has got to the point where offering free unlimited recording locally is a “feature”, but there we go. Just pop in a microSD card (not included), and enable the option in the PIR settings. As long as the PIR remains active (and for a configurable 8-30 seconds time period afterwards), motion events will be recorded.

You can also enable a push notification to the mobile app, as well as an email. Emails can include a picture of the event, but configuring the email service is a little more complicated. You’ll need to add login details to your own email server. While it can work with Gmail, you’ll have to enable “less secure app access” in your Gmail settings.

If you do want cloud recording, Reolink is currently trailing (US-only) a cloud service plan, which is free while it’s still being tested.

Reliable Wi-Fi, But No Third Party App Support

To really test the ruggedness of the package and reliability of the Wi-Fi, I installed the Argus Pro about 50 meters away from the house. I have an Ubiquity UniFi Outdoor+ access point to provide Wi-Fi to most of the garden (What is Ubiquity UniFi and how can it solve your Wi-Fi woes?), but it generally the signal cuts out around this location for mobile devices, due to various trees and the descending hill side. I was surprised to find the Reolink Argus Pro maintained a solid connection, much more reliably than our mobile devices ever have. Although clear view required a little buffering, fluent mode worked great, with full audio stream. More importantly: the motion alerts were very reliable.

Unfortunately, the entire line of completely wireless Reolink cameras, including the Reolink Argus Pro, still doesn’t support streaming to a third party app, such as Synology Surveillance Station. Nor is there is an Alexa skill to drop in on the feed from an Echo Show or Echo Spot. There’s not even IFTTT support, though you could probably hack one together using the email alert system.

Integration with Reolink Desktop App

If you already have an extensive Reolink security system like the ADK8-20B4 system we reviewed, you’re probably using the desktop app. Thankfully, you can now view the Reolink wireless cameras in the desktop app too, so you can keep an eye on everything at once. You’ll still need to wake them when needed, so you can’t leave them live streaming forever, but this takes a second or so to wake up as needed. It’s certainly better than not being able to view them in the desktop app at all.

Should You Buy the Reolink Argus Pro?

As long as you’re not looking for a 24/7 recording option, and don’t feel the need to integrate every part of your home life with a voice assistant, the Reolink Argus Pro is a solid wireless security camera. It’s affordable, there’s no monthly fees, and you can record as many motion events as you need to local storage. Wireless performance is good, and the motion alerts are reliably delivered to either email or app notifications. Image quality is as good as you’d expect from a 1080p security cam, and night vision is sharp.

The Good

  • Pair with the solar panel and never needs to be recharged.
  • Reliable motion detection and notifications.
  • Unlimited local storage.
  • Affordable; and no monthly fees.
  • Tree mounting option is nice.
  • It has a desktop app, so you’re not limited to just the mobile interface.
  • 2-way audio and custom alarm message.

The Bad

  • It doesn’t integrate with much other than Reolinks desktop or mobile app.
  • No IFTTT support, Zapier, or Synology Surveillance Station.
  • Can’t view on Alexa Show or Spot.
  • Can’t record 24/7.
  • Solar panel needs to be screwed into something.

Enter the Competition!

Reolink Argus Pro 100% Wireless Security Camera and Solar Kit Giveway

Read the full article: Reolink Argus Pro is a 100% Wireless Security Cam That Never Needs Charging

Smart Home Automation at IFA 2018: What’s New and What’s Hot?

It’s been years since smart technology ushered in a new age of home comfort, but the best home automation offerings at IFA 2018 are pushing things to the next level. From thermostats to security cameras and beyond, we went to Berlin to see it all first hand. In this article, we’ll keep you on top of the hottest and most interesting smart home products and announcements that we come across. Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera (available on Amazon) distinguishes itself from other smart security cameras in its advanced object recognition. Rather than recording all the time,…

Read the full article: Smart Home Automation at IFA 2018: What’s New and What’s Hot?

It’s been years since smart technology ushered in a new age of home comfort, but the best home automation offerings at IFA 2018 are pushing things to the next level.

From thermostats to security cameras and beyond, we went to Berlin to see it all first hand. In this article, we’ll keep you on top of the hottest and most interesting smart home products and announcements that we come across.

Netatmo

Smart Outdoor Camera

The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera (available on Amazon) distinguishes itself from other smart security cameras in its advanced object recognition. Rather than recording all the time, or sporadically recording any time a leaf blows by, it only triggers recording when it sees people, animals, and cars.

As for the recording itself, the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera can record locally to microSD (8GB card included) or remotely to Dropbox or even your own FTP server. Disconnected from Wi-Fi? Not a problem. Just unload the local recordings—you won’t miss a beat.

The 4MP camera records a field of view of 100 degrees in 1080p resolution, and can detect motion up to 50 feet away at night. It also comes with a built-in LED floodlight, and you can tap into the camera’s live feed whenever you want using the Netatmo mobile app.

Smart Indoor Camera

Immediately, the Netatmo Smart Indoor Camera (available on Amazon) stands out because it doesn’t look like a traditional security camera, but rather a sleek and stylish cylinder. Unless an intruder knows what to look for, they won’t realize it for what it is.

You can set up particular people as “known faces,” and the camera will keep a log of every time it sees a face. When triggered, the camera makes a short recording of the event—or not, if you prefer to preserve a person’s privacy. If the camera detects a stranger’s face, you’ll get a mobile alert

The 4MP camera captures in 1080p resolution and records locally to microSD (8GB card included) or remotely to Dropbox or your own FTP server. You can tap into the camera’s live feed whenever you want using the Netatmo mobile app.

Ring

Stick Up Camera

The Ring Stick Up Camera stood out most to us, a wireless and weather-resistant camera that can be used both indoor and outdoor. It mounts using a single screw, meaning you can take it down and hook it up anywhere else at a moment’s notice.

Once mounted, you can use the Stick Up Camera’s neck to fold out, swivel around, turn, and tilt to make the camera face any direction you want. Admittedly, the camera body is bulky and conspicuous so you know you’re looking at a security camera.

With a Ring Protect Plan, the Stick Up Camera can record when triggered and store each recording for up to 60 days. Without a Protect Plan, you can still tap into its live IP feed and view in real-time. Other notable features include 720p HD video quality, night vision, two-way talk, mobile alerts, and remote-activated siren.

We don’t know when the Ring Stick Up Camera will be released, but we’re hopeful for later this year.

Tado

V3+ Smart Thermostat

The Tado V3+ Smart Thermostat is a neat solution that can replace most central heating setups. If you have radiator heating instead, opt for the Tado V3+ Smart Radiator Thermostat, which replaces the radiator’s control knob. Both starter kits include a bridge, which plugs straight into your wireless router.

The device itself is a touchscreen that allows minute control over the temperature and settings. Or you can control the thermostat through the newly revamped Tado app, both on demand or by setting up Smart Schedules that automatically adhere to preset temperature patterns. You can also set “Away” temperatures so you aren’t unnecessarily wasting energy.

The Air Comfort feature claims to improve sleep quality by offering advice on what you could improve, such as when to open or close windows. It incorporates indoor data (e.g. room temperature and humidity) and outdoor data  (e.g. weather forecasts, pollen).

The Tado V3+ is compatible with IFTTT, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit. Other notable features include geofencing (automatically turns on and off when you leave home radius) and the ability to request boiler repair or maintenance from one of Tado’s partnered services (currently only in select European countries).

We’ll be updating this post with more products as we encounter them.

Read the full article: Smart Home Automation at IFA 2018: What’s New and What’s Hot?

The 6 Best Hidden Cameras for Checking on Your Babysitter

camera-babysitter

Security cameras are a great way to keep an eye on what’s happening at home while you are away. But sometimes, for whatever reason, you may be looking for a more discreet or hidden option so people won’t be readily aware that someone is watching. Let’s take a look at six great hidden cameras for around the home or elsewhere that can help you keep an eye on what’s happening without being obvious. Babysitters beware. Powered Hidden Cameras These types of spy cameras use a full-time power source and can continually record. The biggest drawback is that there will be…

Read the full article: The 6 Best Hidden Cameras for Checking on Your Babysitter

camera-babysitter

Security cameras are a great way to keep an eye on what’s happening at home while you are away. But sometimes, for whatever reason, you may be looking for a more discreet or hidden option so people won’t be readily aware that someone is watching.

Let’s take a look at six great hidden cameras for around the home or elsewhere that can help you keep an eye on what’s happening without being obvious. Babysitters beware.

Powered Hidden Cameras

These types of spy cameras use a full-time power source and can continually record. The biggest drawback is that there will be some limitations on where they can be set up.

Facamword USB Phone Adapter Camera

Famcom USB Adapter Camera
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Pretty much everyone these days uses a USB wall charger to juice up their smartphone or tablet. This Facamword USB Adapter Camera can do that with a fun twist as it also sports a 1080p camera that can capture video at 25fps. Since it already plugs into an electrical outlet, there’s no need to worry about a power source.

The camera can stream a live video feed to iPhone and Android devices using the companion spy camera app. You can also add in a microSD card to record video to retrieve later and download to a smartphone. It can also upload video via FTP.

With the app, you can set the camera to send a push notification, and even email, when it senses motion. The motion sensitivity is completely customizable to suit the specific situation.

Mykit Wi-Fi Bulb Camera

Mykit Wi-Fi Bulb Camera

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Smart lighting is another popular way to bring technology into a home. And while the Mykit Wi-Fi Bulb Camera is controllable from a smartphone app, it has much more up its sleeve.

The bottom of the bulb features a full 360-degree panoramic camera. So instead of just focusing on a small part of a room, you’ll be able to see much more than just a regular camera. After screwing in the bulb—and flipping on the switch—the camera will also receive power.

Using the companion app, there are five different viewing modes for the video, and you can also turn the light on or off and even set a timer. With an optional microSD, the camera can record video, viewable at any time. And along with being able to hear what’s going on in range of the camera, a built-in microphone also allows you to converse with whoever is nearby.

Wemlb Alarm Click Hidden Camera

Wemlb Alarm Clock Hidden Camera

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Wemlb’s alarm clock hides a working spy camera with night vision capability of up to 15 feet. If any movement is detected, a push notification will be sent to a smartphone via the companion app or even sent to an email address.

The camera records full HD 1080p video and the manufacturer provides a 16GB microSD card. You can provide your own card of up to 128GB to record even more, so make sure to take a look at our microSD card buying guide.

A live video stream and recordings are available through the app.

Outdoor Hidden Security Camera

Spy cameras can also be useful on the exterior of your home or business to monitor what’s happening.

Maximus Security Camera and Outdoor Light

Maximus Security Camera Outdoor Light

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The weatherproof Maximus Security Camera and Outdoor Light from Kuna is available in a number of different colors and styles to match your existing landscape.

Instead of obviously being a camera, like the Nest version designed for outdoors, the Maximus camera is more discreet, but just as powerful.

You’ll need to place the system where there is existing electrical wiring; Kuna promises installation takes just 15 minutes.

With a built-in motion sensor, you’ll receive an instant smartphone notification, and can view a live feed and hear video on the companion app. If necessary, you can communicate with people in range, send a pre-recorded voice message, or activate a 110-decibel alarm. Recordings of previous events are available to view in the cloud.

Compatible with Amazon Alexa, you can also view a video feed from the camera on Echo Show, or the unique and inexpensive Echo Spot.

Battery-Powered Hidden Cameras

Probably the most well-known type of hidden camera, these use built-in batteries. While you can place the cameras almost anywhere, the downside is that the battery will eventually need to be recharged. And while these types of cameras aren’t exactly practical, they are perfect for true covert surveillance.

BearBizz Power Bank Spy Camera

BearBizz Power Bank Spy Camera

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Battery power isn’t a problem with the BearBizz Power Bank Spy Camera. Along with acting as an actual power bank for USB devices, it features a small camera that supports night vision.

Using the built-in 6,000mAH battery, the camera can record non-stop for up to 15 hours. You’ll need to supply a microSD card. It can also act as a full-time camera if using an electrical outlet.

With the companion app, you can remotely view a live feed and recorded video. Users can also set the camera to record only when it detects motion.

Bstcam Video Spy Pen Hidden Camera

Bstcan Video Camera Spy Pen

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While it might seem a cliche, you can even find a classic small spy camera in a working pen. The Bstcam Video Spy Cam Hidden Camera can record 1080p video at 30fps with sound and still images as well. A small shutter helps hide the pinhole when not recording video.

A built-in battery will provide up two hours of recording time on a single charge. When needing a charge, there is a USB plug on the end of the pen. You’ll also receive three pen refills as well.

Watchful Camera Security for Every Situation

With one of these spy cameras, you can easily keep an eye on your home or business without tipping off everyone in the room.

If you don’t mind a security camera that’s not as discreet, take a look at these four completely wireless security cameras for a home. Instead of needing a power cord, these options use batteries and can be placed almost anywhere.

Read the full article: The 6 Best Hidden Cameras for Checking on Your Babysitter