Reolink C2 Pro 5MP: Crystal Clear Indoor Security Camera (Review and Giveaway!)
The Reolink C2 Pro brings incredible image quality to indoor security, while still being affordable at $99. There are no ongoing costs, and you'll find comprehensive software for mobile and desktop platforms. It's a great starting point for a larger system, too.
Reolink thinks security cameras should be better, and I’m inclined to agree. The C2 Pro is their newest indoor model, incorporating the 5MP sensor that previously only found on their RLC511 model. This produces a crystal clear image, with 2.4 times the resolution of a standard HD camera. It integrates beautifully an existing Reolink setup, has a desktop client for the prosumer, and best of all: is really quite affordable at just $99–with no ongoing storage fees.
Read on to find out what we thought of the C2 Pro, then at the end of this review we’ve got TWO of these incredible cameras to give away! If you can’t wait, we’ve also got a 20% off coupon for you–just enter code GW4I55SW at checkout!
Reolink C2 Pro Specifications
In the box you’ll find:
- The C2 Pro camera
- Mounting plate and screws
- A long micro USB cable
- 5V 2A USB power adaptor (with UK and Euro plugs on our model, US will vary)
- Short Ethernet cable
- Quick start guide, manual, and “24 Hour Surveillance” sticker to warn off potential thieves
The C2 Pro features:
- 2560 x 1920p resolution @ 25FPS max
- Dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, and two “2T2R” MIMO antennas
- Pan / tilt / zoom
- Ethernet port (not PoE)
- MicroSD slot for local storage (card not included)
- Mobile and desktop client for all major platforms
The only thing missing is an SD card, and you’ll definitely want to add one. This enables local recording and playback of events. Without one, you’ll only get alerts of motion and the ability to live-view the feed.
Unlike the rugged Reolink RLC511, the C2 Pro is not waterproof or rugged in any way, and should not be used outside. It is strictly an indoor camera. Visually, the design of the C2 Pro is identical to that of other indoor cameras in the range, such as the Reolink Keen .
Setting Up the C2 Pro
Before you move the C2 Pro to its final location, you’ll need to connect it to your router and ensure you have the Reolink app downloaded to your phone. Use the included Ethernet cable to connect the C2 Pro directly to your network switch or router. After the initial setup, you’ll be able to unplug it and run solely from Wi-Fi. But in order to add those Wi-Fi details, you do need to use the Ethernet cable first. This is admittedly less elegant than Reolink’s battery-powered devices that work by encoding the Wi-Fi details in a QR code. That said, I had no connection issues, and the camera automatically appears in the Reolink app. From there you can tap on it to change the password, rename it, and add Wi-Fi connection details.
Note that the unit is not able to draw power from Ethernet, so regardless of where you situate it in the end, it’ll always need a power socket nearby. There’s no internal battery and no option for a solar charger. Use the included 5v 2A USB adaptor.
The C2 Pro can either be placed as is on a flat surface (any height is fine, since it has pan and tilt to adjust the view); or mounted to a wall or ceiling with the included plastic mounting bracket. I screwed the bracket to a beam in my garage. Once powered back, it connected to the Wi-Fi, and everything worked as expected. I was able to log in immediately to view the live stream, and adjust the camera angle. Also out of the box, remote live viewing was automatically configured and could be viewed on a 3G/4G connection, or Wi-Fi in another location.
After a little while of living with the device, you may want to adjust the motion sensitivity, perhaps the times of day that motion recording works, and configure email alerts. You’ll need to provide your own SMTP server credentials for the email feature to work. Gmail is supported, but only if you enable insecure third-party access on your Gmail account, which you may not be comfortable with.
Using the Reolink C2 Pro
The mobile app is perfect for quickly checking in on the cameras, and can be set up to receive app notifications of motion alerts. As mentioned, you can check in on the feeds from anywhere in the world, not just on your local Wi-Fi. No additional setup is needed for this. You’ll probably want to tweak the motion sensitivity though, as well as mask off certain areas. I found the motion was being triggered too often by the bright sun as it passed by a window. The app is well designed, responsive, and easy to use.
The camera feeds on the initial screen are not live however–the image appears to be a capture of when the camera was last accessed. To live view, you need to tap into the camera screen. You can then view a single camera stream, or 4-up. The only limitation to using the mobile app is that videos exports are limited to 30-seconds. To grab the full clip, you’ll need to use a desktop, or pull the SD card out of the camera.
Optionally, a desktop client is provided for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Like the mobile app, it auto-detects cameras; all you need to do is add the password (assuming you created one). The interface is quite different from the mobile app, but self-explanatory for the most part. I found the MacOS app to be slightly buggy when trying to download clips directly from the camera, but swapping to Windows or the web browser worked. It was also missing the camera-cycling feature found on the Windows app.
The market is flooded with cheap security cameras at the moment, so why should you buy into the Reolink ecosystem?
Firstly, the quality of these new sensors is fantastic, both at night and day. While most other cameras only go up to 1920×1080, the C2 Pro blows them away at 2560×1920. That added clarity can make all the difference–particularly if you need to zoom in on a particular area. Even for use in a smaller room, you’ll really appreciate those extra pixels should the worst actually happen. Night-vision is equally as clear (albeit black and white). Some cameras look great in the day but degrade significantly without light.
Secondly, Reolink is one of the few companies that offer a comprehensive desktop client for viewing the cameras–as well as industry standard video feeds to enable the cameras in other third-party apps (such as Synology Surveillance Station, for use on NAS drives like the Disk Station 418Play ). The Reolink desktop client now works with all of the Reolink range, including battery and solar powered cameras, and their bigger NVR devices.
Lastly, there’s a Reolink camera for every need. From PoE rugged outdoor cameras to completely wireless solar-powered devices, you’ll find something that works for you. While each model has its own strengths and weaknesses, they all work together in the same apps. If you’re looking to build out a wider system of more cameras, Reolink is absolutely a great way to go.
Should You Buy the C2 Pro?
For the critical indoor areas where clarity of image is important, the C2 Pro is ideal. You’ll find other high resolution Reolink models for outdoors. Don’t be tempted by the ultra-budget security cameras that only come with a weak mobile app, or devices that require on-going subscription fees for more than 24 hours of storage. Reolink offer great value, with no ongoing costs, and incredible image quality from the newest sensors. The only thing missing is Alexa Show support. Grab it while you can with this fantastic 20% coupon: just enter GW4I55SW at checkout.
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