NEWS: Just posted a review of the new Reolink Go. If interested, you can find details here: Reolink Go Security Camera Review
The following post is an unboxing of the Reolink Argus 2 100% wireless and 100% battery-operated security camera along with its optional battery charging solar panel. What you will see in the images below are only prototype versions which I expect the final production units to vary slightly from these; and in some cases, quite a bit. For those who are current owners of the previous Argus model, neither the solar panel nor the rechargeable battery pack are compatible with anything but the Argus 2.
Reolink was kind enough to have me evaluate and review the product by getting my hands on an early prototype model. Even these early units are fit for production use. But, be aware that the camera’s power connector from the solar panel in my test models do not form a weatherproof seal. However, the production released versions will have this option included.
If you are looking for my review of the Argus 2, you can find that posted by clicking on the link found HERE. My intention is to update the details in this post and my review as more information comes available. I have only had a few weeks to put the camera through its paces. I also plan on doing a comparison review of both Argus units over time showing the image quality and night vision updates, etc.; stay tuned.
It should be stated up front that I’m a long-time user of Reolink’s security cameras and have found the security and safety they provide unmatched in this crowed space. All of my IP security cameras save their recordings to my Reolink Network Video Recorder (NVR) for longer term archiving. As I wrote in my review post, the Reolink Argus is the only camera version that currently does not record to anything but the internal micro SD card. This concludes both the Argus 1 and Argus 2 units.
After being notified by Reolink that I was selected to participat in evaluating one of their latest Reolink wireless and battery-operated IP security camera, the new Argus 2, the package shown up on my door step a few days later as seen in the image below. It was a bit banged up on one side, but due to the great packaging by the Reolink team, thanks guys and gals, the camera and all the contents were in perfect working condition.
Figure 1: Package as shipped
I obscured the shipping details for security purposes, however I have left the other aspects of the packaging visible, so you can see where one of the boxes seemed a bit crushed.
Once the outer packing wrapper was removed, I found two separate boxes. One containing the camera and its mounting accessories while the second box contained the optional solar panel and its mounting brackets; shown later in this article.
Figure 2: Camera box and accessories
I’m always excited when I receive a new Reolink product in the mail, it was like Christmas in January. I know every one of the products I have ordered from them is well packaged and secured for transit, and I was not disappointed when I unwrapped these two boxes.
Figure 3: Camera box showing damage
You can clearly see in the above image and the one below that the box containing the camera had a few nicks and dings on its journey from China to my house in the United States. Again, I get very excited when I see a box having the Reolink logo as I know it will be something fun and exciting to play with once opened.
Figure 4: Camera box side view
Above you can see the side of the box along with the sticker showing the box’s contents, a “Reolink Argus 2”, and the default user name and password required to login to the system for the initial setup process. Once again, you can clearly see one of the corners quite dented where the box was not handled properly during shipping.
Figure 5: Opening the camera box
However, when the box was opened, I was greeted with the protection I have come to expect when buying Reolink products. The box has a defensive foam cover to keep the contents safe and in place no matter how much jostling it receives during shipping. Having a cover like the above also makes opening the package all that more fun by giving the opener one more layer to remove before seeing the final product.
Figure 6: Look what’s inside?
The above image shows how well the individual pieces of the product are packaged as every item has its own special cutout in a rather heavy foam protector. Understanding this is only a prototype model, I would suspect that units shipping to consumers will have the camera wrapped in an additional protective padding like all of their other cameras I have received. I would be quite surprised if they did not. Let me know in the comments below if you received a unit and if it had an extra protective layer to keep it from scratching.
Even without the protective layer that all my other Reolink cameras were wrapped in, you can see that this camera has a bluish light plastic film covering not only the camera’s lens, but also the PIR viewing window. Again, this is the extra steps Reolink takes to ensure the core camera components do not arrive scratched; like most other electronic devices having a screen.
Figure 7: Top down view of contents
Again, I was impressed that Reolink created a custom foam insert to fit all the pieces while also keeping them away from each other. When you order a Reolink Argus version 2 IP security camera, you will receive the items shown above.
Figure 8: Contents removed from packaging
Taking all the pieces out of the box and laying them on a table, you are given everything to mount this small camera nearly anywhere you would like. Starting from the top left and working around clockwise, Reolink give you the following: mounting screws and drywall plugs, tripod screw mount and ball socket, a surface mount which the tripod mount can plug into, the weighted magnetic base, a pole/tree mound for attaching to round objects, and lastly the camera itself.
Behind the camera, in the image below, you can barely see the removable rechargeable battery pack poking out just a bit. This is a new feature to the Reolink Argus 2. The rechargeable battery is secured in its own small protective bag. More images of the battery pack are shown below in the article.
Figure 9: Front camera view
If you place the Argus 2 next to its sibling, the Argus 1, the front and even the side views look similar. Near the very top and back of the camera, there is a photo (light) cell used to detect if the camera should record video in either daylight or night vision mode. This small photovoltaic sensor allows the camera to automatically switch modes based on the ambient light around it.
Below the photocell is the camera lens which feeds light into the new starlight Sony CCD sensor giving the camera much clearer imagery at night. The large section below the camera is the PIR (Passive InfraRed) motion sensor. This integrated sensor allows the camera to be configured to record only when specific events are trigger by motion. One can configure the sensitivity level of the PIR using the Reolink App preventing small animals from setting of the alarm.
Lastly, there are seven small slits located below the PIR near the very bottom of the camera’s front. These are used for the built-in speaker and microphone allowing for two-way communication; if needed. The Argus 2 permits listen only mode like many other security cameras, but it also gives you the ability to talk via its built-in speaker.
Figure 10: Top camera view
One thing setting the Argus 2 apart from the original Argus is the rechargeable battery pack. In my opinion, this is one of the more welcomed features to this camera. In the image above, one can see the lever used to secure and remove the battery pack from the camera. The Argus 1 has a small push button on the bottom of the camera near the tripod mount used to opening the battery compartment when needed to replace the batteries. This is made easier by the Argus 2’s new design and quick release.
Figure 11: Top and side camera view
The above image shows the rechargeable battery pack attacked (but not locked) to the back of the Argus 2. Again, compared to the older model Argus, the Argus 2 looks and feels very much like the first Argus model apart from the top button and the small piece jutting out from the middle of the back. This strange bump will be covered in more detail below.
Figure 12: Closer isometric view
Like with the Argus 1, the Argus 2 provides a weathertight seal where the rechargeable battery pack connects, and the rubber flap covering the slot for the micro SD card and reset button. I would have no concerns using this camera in some of the harshest weather conditions you can throw at it. The design of the Argus 2 just makes it that much easier to place and service (if needed) over its predecessor.
Figure 13: Top battery release and lock
The above image simply shows the locking lever to release the new rechargeable battery from the back of the unit.
Figure 14: Camera back view
Now that we have looked at both the front and side of the new Argus 2, let’s take a peek at the back which for most will be where the majority of the changes have occurred. Those who currently own an Argus 1, the bottom screws are new along with the rubber flap right at the center of the camera’s back; when the battery is attached. Because Reolink needed to redesign the case of the Argus 2 allowing for the new battery pack, they also needed to implement a different way of securing the front and back portions of the case.
I have covered up the applied QR code sticker for security purposes in the image above. However, this QR code is used for quick setup and pairing the camera to the Reolink application. Any of the images below which show the QR code have been obscured. Nearly all Reolink products currently ship with a unique QR code for rapid setup and configuration. A nice touch for those in a hurry.
Figure 15: Battery pack removed
Figure 16: Rechargeable battery pack
A few people have requested I provide some details on the rechargeable battery pack itself. No need as Reolink has already included most of that information on the attached sticker. In a future post I hope to have some better real-world examples including the time this battery pack provides along with charging duration and even the optional solar charger which in theory would allow the camera to be mounted without requiring the batteries to be replaced. With that combination of features, this camera will be a difficult device to top. I would suspect with the release of the Argus 2 that other manufactures will be proving a similar option on their cameras.
Figure 17: Battery pack removed
Figure 18: Battery slid on camera
The above two photos give you a view of the connection used between the camera and the rechargeable battery pack. There are five (5) small pins which align to five small recessed points on the camera giving a solid and weatherproof power connection.
Figure 19: Battery close-up connections
Figure 20: Camera close-up connections
The above two images also show these battery connectors a bit closer for those who want a better view. It may be a bit harder to see in the image above, but you can get an idea of the molded rails which are used to easily direct the battery pack while installing it. It is a very easy and smooth motion to install.
Figure 21: Bottom camera view
One of the other changes between the two models is the base used in attaching the camera to its provided magnetic mount. The Argus 2 has a rougher material instead of the non-white smooth texture found on the Argus 1. The Argus 2 also has the standard tripod mounting hole used with the matching included mount, or you could attach it to any other tripod if you desired.
Figure 22: Side camera view
As stated earlier, there is a protective weatherproof flap to ensure water does not get into the necessary opening needed for the camera. This is used to protect the micro SD slot and the reset button.
Figure 23: Battery recharge connector
The above image is showing the weather tight cover on the prototype model. This ensures water, wind, dust and such are unable to get in and damage the rechargeable battery pack. It is clear that Reolink though through the design as the molded plastic and silicone cover fit tightly ensure protection from the elements.
Figure 24: Battery power connector close-up
Moving the cover out of the way, one can see the micro USB connector which can be used to either directly charge the battery prior to taking the unit outside, or it could be used to connect the battery pack to power near where the camera is mounted for a continuous charge. Or, using the optional solar panel, one could maintain or even fully charge the camera by the power of the sun. How cool is that?
Future updates to this post will give some extra details on the battery pack such as charging time, solar charging, etc. Again, note that the version I was sent was a prototype, so the connection for powering the battery pack from an external source is not considered weatherproof. I was assured that production units will come with this option at no extra cost.
Figure 25: Battery packaging
The above image gives you a view of how the rechargeable battery is packaged when it is shipped within the camera’s box. It is protected in a rather heavy plastic bag along with recycling details.
Figure 26: Battery packaging and details
Here is an image of the rechargeable battery pack, in its protective bag, on the other side. Here you can clearly see the same details including the rating, charging, and other important details. I really like the attention to detail that Reolink provides with their products.
Solar Charger (Optional)
So, let us turn our attention to the provided (optional) solar charger. As stated before, this is a prototype version and the production unit will be slightly different. When I look at the online images Reolink has posted, the solar charger looks more refined and polished from the unit you will see in the images below.
Figure 27: Optional solar charger packaging
Not only was I enjoying opening up a new Reolink box, today I was enjoying opening two boxes from the company. In the above image you can see that the packaging was decent, not as well as the camera, but nothing was able to move freely and even with this box being a bit banged up, all the components were in pristine shape.
Figure 28: Solar charger mounting accessories
Removing the top protective foam cover reveals two small circular trays containing the mounting brackets and bolts. The both fit rather snuggly on either side of the solar panel mounting bracket seen jutting up in the middle.
Figure 29: Protected solar panel
After removing the mounting hardware and the packaging, you can see the well protected solar panel (facedown). The panel is wrapped in the same protective layer that most of the Reolink camera’s I own came with. So, again, Reolink really focus attention on detail and consumer perception even when it comes to product presentation and protection.
Figure 30: Solar charger back and cable
Once I removed the solar charging panel from the case and wrapper, you can see this prototype model is a bit rough around the edges. It seems rather plain and rustic in its design. The images which Reolink has on their website show a much sleeker and polished unit than what I received to evaluate the product.
Figure 31: Solar charger front view
Looking at the front of the optional solar panel, it seems this one again is a bit lower-end than what will be shipping with the actual units being sent to customers. This unit is rather sharp around the edges, not very flattering from a design perspective, and seems like the panel itself is a bit lower quality. Again, that is what can be expected from a prototype version of any product.
Do not let the images shown here scare you away from purchasing the optional solar panel, this is not the unit you will receive. If I’m able to get my hands on a non-prototype unit in the future, I will update the images and details.
Figure 32: Front camera and panel connected
Figure 33: Panel rotated and connected
The last two images above show the powered-up camera connected to the solar panel. I really like the design and look of the two units together and I know the solar panel will easily pay for itself compared to the cost of replacing the four lithium batteries every few months.
By Reolink releasing the Argus 2, it really shows that the company listens to its customers by address some of the bigger weaknesses and complaints others have had with the older model. They have also focused on improving areas that set it apart from others by including the updated night vision implementing a Sony CCD.
Some may be asking, should I upgrade to the newer Argus 2 if I already have an Argus 1? I would answer that with a maybe. If you are using the Argus 1 and it is meeting your needs at this time you may want to stick with the device you have. If the camera is placed in a location requiring few recording or alerting, so the battery lasts a long time, I would say you do not need to upgrade. However, if you find yourself replacing the batteries every couple of weeks because the area being covered is high traffic, such as a front door, you may find that upgrading to the Argus 2 will in the long-term pay for itself.
I like the areas Reolink has focused on improving and I think it is a very well-made product for those looking for security on a budget. Let me know in the comments below if you have other questions or things you would like to see added to this unboxing.