- Affordable with no storage plan necessary
- Completely wireless with remote access option
- Indoor/outdoor use
- Remote access for live viewing + 2-way audio
- Night vision
- Powered using CR123A batteries, which is odd
- No cloud storage option
- No geofencing feature and notifications are very basic
- Does not work with other smart home devices or services
- 1080p is fine, but it regularly defers to 720p
For the price, the Reolink Argus is hard to beat. It definitely has some shortcomings, but this is a good camera overall.
Reolink raised over a million dollars in pre-orders on Indiegogo for the Argus security camera back in May 2017. But what’s the big deal with this thing? After all, isn’t the security camera market crowded enough? And don’t Nest and Arlo have the category on lockdown? Kind of. There are a lot of security cameras out there, but we found that the cheap ones tend to make a lot of compromises, while the brand name cameras are very expensive and/or require subscription plans in order to be worth it. Reolink tried to make a pretty darn good camera at an affordable price point. We think they did a good job, and here’s what you need to know about it.
Reolink Argus is completely wireless
The camera is actually powered via 4 CR123A batteries, which is good and bad. It’s good because it means you can place the camera virtually anywhere. In fact, it’s weatherproof and rated for indoor and outdoor use. It’s bad because CR123A batteries are just odd. Why didn’t they use AA or AAA? No idea.
Regardless, we love that this camera is wireless. In our Nest vs Arlo Comparison, we gave Arlo Pro the edge party because it too is a wireless camera. It’s far more convenient to charge or swap batteries 2-3x per year than worrying about finding an outlet or hardwiring the camera.
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Reolink Argus is affordable and does not require a subscription plan
Argus has an MSRP of $99 [check price on Amazon], which also includes four batteries and two mounting options. Hard to argue with that price. You could outfit your whole house with Argus cameras for the price of just two Nest Cam IQ cameras. Even more, since the Argus stores your footage locally on a microSD card, there’s no cloud storage plan required…and no associates monthly fees. You pay $99 for each camera and you’re set.
One the flipside of that, if Wi-Fi goes out at your house or the camera dies, there’s no way to access your camera for a live view or to see stored footage. Also, it’s worth noting that Argus only works with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, which means the clarity of the footage won’t be as high as with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, for example, since that camera supports 5.0GHz Wi-Fi.
Reolink video quality and audio
Argus has the ability to record at 1080p, which looks very clear, however, quite often it will reduce the quality down to 720p due to Wi-Fi connection issues. Again, this is good and bad. It’s good because 720p is better than nothing—Arlo Pro only records in 720p and it’s still one of the best IP security cameras. It’s bad because it always happens, even when the signal is pretty strong. Still, I’m fine with the recording quality and do appreciate that the camera has 2-way audio.
It also has a motion sensor and allows you to set its sensitivity for notifications. Set it to ‘high’ and you’ll get notifications for darn near everything. Set it to ‘low’ and you’ll only get notifications when Reolink has definitely identified a person. Up to you, but we keep it at the low setting. Additionally, unlike Nest and Arlo, there’s no geofencing capability. You can only manually set a schedule for the camera. The schedule feature works fine, but if you’re 10 minutes over your schedule, you’ll get notifications every time you walk past the camera, which, needless to say, can be annoying.
Also, Reolink has an iOS and Android app for Argus. The app is pretty simple and bare bones, but it gets the job done.
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On top of that, Argus only records footage when it senses motion, unlike Nest, which records continuously (if you have a subscription plan). I don’t really have a problem with this model, but I’ve found the duration of the recording to be too short in certain instances, just as is the case with the Ring Video Doorbell 2, for example.
Reolink Argus vs Nest Cam Indoor
Firstly, Argus is way cheaper at $99 vs. ~$170 for the Nest Cam Indoor [check price on Amazon]. Basically, you can get two Argus cameras for the price of one Nest Cam Indoor. On top of that, Argus is an indoor/outdoor camera and is completely wireless whereas the Nest Cam is strictly meant for indoor use and must be plugged into an outlet. They both technically record at 1080p, have 2-way audio, and night vision.
The Nest Cam IQ records 4K, but only so you can zoom in without losing clarity. It’s around $280 [check price on Amazon], which means you really have to value its upgraded notifications, facial recognition, and 4K video to pay nearly 3x the price of Argus.
Nest does have cloud storage, which can definitely be a positive, but the plans are $10 per month per camera. So, not only is the camera more, but you need a monthly plan in order to get the most out of the camera. Nest, however, has a great Home/Away Assist feature that can turn on/off the camera based on your phone’s location. Even more, we’ve found the notifications to be better with Nest.
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Reolink Argus vs Nest Cam Outdoor
Again with pricing, Argus is $99 while the Nest Cam Outdoor is around $170 [check price on Amazon]. Beyond that, it’s a similar story to the indoor camera.
– Nest is wired. Argus is wireless.
– No monthly subscription with Argus.
– Local storage only with Argus. Cloud storage only with Nest.
– Geofencing with Nest.
– Both record at 1080p with 2-way audio and night vision.
– Indoor/outdoor use with both.
– Continuous recording with Nest (with subscription). Motion-based recording with Argus.
– Live viewing on both cameras.
Reolink Argus vs Arlo Pro
This is more of a direct comparison, but let’s start with price again. NETGEAR Arlo Pro starts at around $230 [check price on Amazon] and each additional camera is around $150. Clearly, that’s way more expensive than Reolink. Not that you need the math help, but you could get 2 Argus cameras for the price of one Arlo Pro. And you can get 1.5 extra Argus cameras for each Arlo Pro you add on. In terms of pure economics, Argus wins hands down.
Additionally, Arlo Pro requires a base station that must be connected to your router. Fortunately, this gives you the option to store footage locally—Arlo also comes with free cloud storage, but like Argus it only records when there’s movement.
– Argus records in 1080p (and 720p), while Arlo Pro is just 720p
– Both cameras are rated for indoor/outdoor use.
– Both are completely wireless with about 4-6 month battery lives.
– Both cameras have night vision and 2-way audio.
– Arlo Pro has geofencing features.