Despite lack of integration with other smart home platforms, the Reolink Argus 2 is truly wireless, allowing you to set up a security camera even where there's no power source. The solar upgrade kit means you'll never need to charge it, either.
If you’re one of the many people who’ve avoided installing a security camera because of all the messy wiring issues involved, you no longer have an excuse. The Reolink Argus 2 is an impressive new wireless security camera that can even be powered indefinitely with the solar panel add-on.
Read on to find out what we thought of the camera, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this review to win your own!
What is the Reolink Argus 2?
The Reolink Argus 2 offers most of the features you’d expect in a wireless security camera. It’ll stream great quality 1080p Full HD, but it’s limited to a mobile app and can’t be integrated with other smart home systems.
When you buy the Argus 2, the solar panel isn’t included. The camera will run fine without the solar panel, but you’ll need to detach and recharge the battery every so often.
In addition to 1080p full HD video, additional features of the Argus 2 include:
- “Starlight” Night Vision
- Battery powered and rechargeable (optional solar upgrade kit is also available, as tested)
- PIR motion sensor
- 2-Way audio
- 130-degree viewing angle
- Supports microSD Card up to 64Gb
Setup really is about as simple and fast as you could imagine. By the time you receive the Argus 2, you can have it set up and live in under 20 minutes.
Reolink Argus 2: What’s in the Box?
Out the box, the Argus 2 comes with everything you need for just about any configuration or location you can imagine.
In addition to the camera, you’ll receive :
- Rechargeable battery
- Outdoor security mount (includes hook & loop strap)
- Magnetic base
- Rubber weatherproof skin
- Reset needle
- Surveillance sign
- Mounting hole templates
- Mounting screws
- Micro-USB cable
If you plan to mount the camera on the side of a building, post, or tree, your best bet is to use the security mount since it screws securely into the bottom of the camera. If you’re looking at putting it on surface like a deck or a slanted roof, then the strong magnetic base would be a good option.
You’ll want to sync up your Reolink mobile app with your camera before you mount the camera. This way you won’t have to unmount it just the scan the QR code on the camera body.
Scroll down to that section now, set up the app and scan the code. Then you’re ready to install the camera and solar panel.
Reolink Solar Panel: What’s in the Box?
If you don’t want to worry about constantly recharging the camera battery, then the Reolink solar panel is a smart add-on purchase. In the package, you’ll get everything you need to easily mount the panel near your camera.
- Solar panel (sized for the Argus 2 battery)
- Micro-USB Power Cord
- Mounting bracket
When planning your installation location, you’ll have plenty of cable (about 10 feet) to place the solar panel wherever there’s maximum light. It doesn’t have to be installed right next to the camera itself.
Installing the Camera
There are a few things to consider when you’re looking at different locations for your Reolink camera. Before you start setting yours up, make sure to review our list of recommendations so you can avoid common mistakes.
In my scenario, the setup location is a front entryway facing the driveway. It’s mostly under cover, so the solar panel installation needs to be on the opposite side of the same post.
Step 1: Attach the mounting plate securely to whatever surface you’re installing onto, using the three included screws.
There’s no drilling required. The screws will sink into any kind of wood. If your’e attaching to drywall or some other service where there’s no backing material, then you’ll want to use the drywall anchors (also included).
Step 2: Attach the security mount by placing the bottom edge on the mounting bracket first. Then, press the small button at the top of the base while you press the top edge firmly against the bracket. You’ll hear it snap into place.
Step 3: Screw the camera onto the end of the security mount in a clockwise turn. You may need to hold the locking ring at the base of the screw post in place while you’re turning the camera.
Now that your camera is securely mounted, you’re ready to move on to the next stage of your installation — the solar panel.
Installing the Reolink Solar Panel
We’ve written about how solar panels now power a lot of electronic camping equipment, so it makes sense that solar panels would be used to power outdoor smart home electronics as well.
For this installation, the entire security mount is in one piece, so that’s the first thing you need to get affixed to your mounting surface.
Step 1: Attach the security mount that came with the solar panel using the included screws. Just like with the Argus 2 mounting screws, these will self-tap and sink into the wood. However drywall anchors are included if you need them.
Step 2: Screw on the solar panel in a clockwise motion, and then position it so that it’s angled upwards toward the sky in a 40-50 degree angle.
That’s all there is to it. You can see now why installation takes less than 20 minutes, with the camera installation done in three steps and the solar panel in two. And since the camera comes with a fully charged battery, you’re nearly ready to roll at this point.
As you can see, there’s plenty of cable for any layout you like. In this case I was able to mount my solar panel not only on the opposite side of the porch post, but also up closer to the roof. The more exposure to the sky you give the solar panel, the better.
Now that the installation is done, all you have left to do is use the Reolink app to set up your new security camera.
Using the Reolink App
The very first thing you’ll see when you open the app is a camera display with a small target square. You’ll need to locate the 3D barcode on the camera body. Once you scan, the camera is synced with your phone and the app will open to the settings menu.
Setting Up Your Camera
Your first step should be to Connect to Wi-Fi, where you’ll need to provide your wireless network password so the camera can connect. Also, don’t forget to create a password for your camera so no one can snoop on the video stream.
There area lot of settings — many of which you don’t need to worry about right away. However, when you first connect to the camera with the app, you’ll see the live view says the camera isn’t synced yet. Tap on that status and synchronize the camera with your phone’s time.
You can also set up your preferred date and time formats.
On the Display screen, you can customize the camera’s display, including the picture orientation (portrait or landscape), and adjust the refresh frequency to reduce any flickering effects.
Now that you’re finished setting up your new wireless security camera, it’s time for the fun part. Setting up automatic alerts.
Set Up Motion Detect Alerts
Under the Alarm section, you can configure how sensitive you’d like the camera’s motion detection sensors to be when they trigger alerts.
You’ll also define what you want the camera to do when it senses motion. The options are:
- Send an email to up to three users simultaneously
- Emit a loud siren from the camera’s speaker
- Record a segment of video to the SD card (not included)
Keep in mind that if you take a manual recording with your phone, it stores the video (or picture) directly on your phone, not on the SD card. The SD card is reserved for motion activated recordings.
By default, the camera is set up to send an email and record video, but if you do want to scare anyone away — feel free to enable the siren.
The Argus 2 comes with the capability to send email to any email service you use that allows sending via SMTP. If you have a Gmail account, then you’re all set. If you don’t know where to find these settings, you can learn how in our extensive Gmail guide.
Integrating Your Reolink Argus 2
One of the advantages of installing any new smart home device should be how well they integrate with the rest of your smart home ecosystem. Unfortunately, the Reolink Argus 2 doesn’t perform great here, right out of the box.
Several people in your household can access the camera to view the live feed and recordings. But if you’re hoping to do things like trigger your entryway lights based on motion from the Argus 2, it’s possible — but not simple.
The Reolink Argus 2 is also not compatible with the Reolink Network Video Recorder (NVR), so if your plans are to expand to a full-time recording system, this isn’t the right option. It also isn’t compatible with the Reolink desktop client (though an update is promised soon), so if you’re hoping to monitor the camera from your desktop you’re out of luck here too. It’s primarily for monitoring via mobile, and receiving email or app alerts the same way.
Reolink is not a supported platform on either IFTTT or Zapier. So, the only way to trigger anything is by taking advantage of the email alert that the Argus 2 will send you and using that to trigger an action in IFTTT or Zapier.
Should You Buy the Reolink Argus 2?
If you just want one or two cameras that you can connect with via a mobile app, and don’t need a very extensive system in the future, there are plenty of other less expensive cameras out there that would do the trick.
However, the limitations described above are manageable for you, and you’re interested in a high-quality security camera with high-end features like advanced color night vision, high quality video, worry-free solar charging, then we can recommend the Argus 2 camera.
The Argus 2 is well-made and easy to set up, but most importantly it gives you the flexibility of moving your cameras around whenever you like — without the worry of wiring up power each time.