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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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Check out the full range of battery-powered Reolink cameras.
- 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.
- 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.