Reolink Argus PT Review

By
&
Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Oct 15, 2020
7.2
/10
Editor's Rating
Page Contents

Since 2009, Reolink has given “plug and play” a whole new meaning with its wire-free security cameras. In this review, we’ll be taking a look at the Reolink Argus PT, a pan-tilt camera that’s completely wireless and delivers an expansive field of view. From design to the mobile app, we cover everything there is to know about the Reolink Argus PT. Let’s get to the meat of the matter!

Do It for the Aesthetics

When we first laid our eyes on the Reolink Argus PT, we couldn’t help but notice that it was a bulky camera, and a conspicuous one at that. With a 335-degree pan and 140-degree tilt, it’s a camera better suited outside, where there’s more to see than inside. The IP rating — the level of protection against a solid object or liquids from various weather conditions — is 64, so it’s protected from water spray from any direction (i.e. rain) and completely dust-tight. The Reolink Argus PT can withstand temperatures between —14 degrees to 131 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a good choice for warmer climates than colder ones.

We also noticed that the camera has a power switch, which we don’t come across very often with other security cameras. Some caveats: the battery wasn’t removable, which meant that we had to take down the camera to charge it, and it didn’t have a long battery life. A one full-time charge lasted between one to four weeks in normal use, which isn’t very long. In contrast, in our Ring Spotlight Cam Battery review, we noted that their camera has a battery life of six to 12 months, which is the standard. For the Reolink Argus PT, we’d recommend using the Reolink Solar Panel, which was what we did to avoid the hassle of taking down the camera to recharge the camera on a regular basis. Rather, the solar panel charges continuously, making for no downtime whatsoever.

Tip: While the Reolink Solar Panel is optional, we think the addition will make life so much easier. With the panel, you don’t have to manually take down the camera to recharge the battery, especially since there’s no removable battery pack. The Reolink Argus PT stays fully charged day in and day out with the Reolink Solar Panel.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Here’s where we start to get into the thick of things. For the most part, the Reolink Argus PT left quite the impression, but that’s not to say it’s without its flaws.

Strengths

  • 1080p HD video quality: The Reolink Argus PT fits the bill when it comes to standard video quality for security cameras. At 1080p HD, we viewed crisp footage of our backyard without any glares or shadows.
  • Infrared night vision: What was also impressive was the infrared night vision, which enabled the camera to capture high-quality footage in low-light to completely dark conditions. Rigged with six IR LEDs, the Reolink Argus PT we viewed nighttime footage in black and white.
  • Expansive field of view: If not for the pan and tilt feature, we would’ve placed the Reolink Argus PT’s 105-degree field of view on the list of cons. We generally prefer security cameras with at least a 120-degree field of view, but the Reolink Argus PT has a pan of 335 degrees and a tilt of 140 degrees, which expanded the camera’s scope greatly. This way, the camera captured even our neighbor’s fence, which came in handy. Every so often, their Tabby cat leaped over the fence and landed in our backyard, so it was helpful that the camera covered areas that would otherwise be difficult to see without the PT’s pan and tilt.
  • Audio: As with most security cameras, the Reolink Argus PT incorporated two-way audio, which gave us many opportunities to speak to delivery folks and listen to visitors’ responses. A siren was also included, along with the ability to record a custom voice alert of up to five seconds. This saved us the trouble of pausing our activities to speak with a stranger; we recorded “Can we help you?” in the best steely voice we could muster, hoping to scare off potential intruders.
  • Motion detection: Passive Infrared, or PIR, motion sensors are designed for security and optimized for person and pet detection. The Reolink Argus PT was intelligent enough to detect our passing neighbors rather than leaves blowing in the wind. We scheduled motion alerts when we wanted to receive them instead of spontaneously as the activity occurs.

Tip: If you feel like you’re receiving frequent alerts from the PIR motion sensors, you can go onto the Reolink app and adjust the sensitivity. The higher the sensitivity, the more activity the camera will pick up. The lower the sensitivity, the more inclined the camera will ignore every small movement that’s picked up by the sensors.

  • Local and cloud storage: The Reolink Argus PT includes local storage with a slot that holds up to a 64 GB micro-SD card as well as multiple cloud options via the Reolink Cloud. Since we used the Reolink Argus PT as an outdoor camera, there was a lot of activity, which further prompted a larger video history that we either backed up locally or on the cloud. As for cloud storage, Reolink Cloud offers four plans, one of which is the free Basic Plan. This supports one camera and includes seven days of cloud history, one GB of cloud storage, and eight-second clips. The other plans are noticeably affordable, which you can find in the chart below.
PlanBasicStandardPremierBusiness
Number of Cameras Supported151020
Video History in Days7303060
Cloud Storage in GB13080150
Monthly Price$0.00$3.49$6.99$10.49
  • Notifications: When the Reolink Argus PT detected motion, we received push notifications on our phones. We had the option to set up email notifications as well, but we’d like to avoid filling up our inbox. Of course, we modified the notifications that we received based on motion detection levels and the times that we wanted to receive them. Wouldn’t want a barrage of alerts during an important Zoom meeting!
  • Accessing footage: We self-monitored our live feed on our phones or on compatible smart devices. We also recorded any footage that involved movement, whether that was the delivery guy hauling a 50-pound box to our backyard where it was safer or our neighbor’s Tabby cat prowling around. On the Reolink app, we viewed motion recordings in the playback history.
  • Shared access: During days or nights when we were too busy to monitor our home, we granted access to the Reolink Argus PT with our friends and family. We simply shared a QR code — no account signup required. This proved useful when we traveled abroad and the time zones changed. While we were sleeping in another country, our friends and family kept an eye out on our home for us during the daytime.
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant: It goes without saying that security cameras are more convenient to use when there’s voice assistant compatibility. The Reolink Argus PT paired up nicely with Alexa and Google Assistant, both of which we tested with the camera. We viewed footage hands-free by saying commands like, “Hey Google, show me the backyard” making our footage appear on our Chromecast-enabled TV.

Weaknesses

  • Downloading clips is a hassle: Instead of downloading clips in one go, we could only download 30-second clips on our phones. If there was a two-minute clip, it would take four separate downloads. This felt counter-intuitive given the generous amount of storage that Reolink provided both locally and on the cloud.
  • Short battery life: We mentioned this earlier, but the Reolink Argus PT’s battery life doesn’t have any bragging rights. On standby mode, when there’s no access to the camera or any motion-activated activity, the camera lasts around two months. On normal use, a full charge lasts anywhere between one to four weeks. In continuous trigger and a one-time full charge, the camera only lasts for 18 hours, which is somewhat ridiculous.

Overall, the Reolink Argus PT offered a strong set of features. It’s also on the more affordable side compared to Reolink’s other cameras, such as the Reolink GO solar-powered camera. To learn more, read our Reolink GO review. Also, be sure to check out our Reolink pricing page for a broader overview of Reolink cameras and their costs.

Equipping Our Home With the Reolink Argus PT

While the Reolink Argus PT is both an outdoor and indoor camera, we wanted to make full use of the camera’s pan and tilt feature, so we decided to set it up in our backyard. To start, we charged the camera first before turning it on. Like most security camera setups, we downloaded the companion mobile app and followed the on-screen instructions. We added the device, scanned the QR code on the bottom of the Reolink Argus PT, and voila — the camera was ready for mounting.

With the Reolink Argus PT, we turned the camera upside down and installed it about two to three meters off the ground. Before that, we screwed the mounting bracket to the wall and then attached the camera to the bracket. But wait, there was more! As a bonus, we purchased the Reolink Solar Panel and set that up right next to the camera. We made sure that there was enough sunlight directly hitting the panel so that the Reolink Argus PT was always fully-charged. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there are now 81 gigawatts of solar capacity installed nationwide, which is enough to power 15.7 million homes.1 Lucky for us, it’s mostly sunny where we live.

Tip: Don’t attach the antenna to the Reolink Argus PT until you’ve mounted it up! Doing so would make the antenna get in the way of mounting the camera securely.

Using the Reolink App

Did you know that in the second quarter of 2020, there were approximately 37.8 billion app downloads combined from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store?2 These numbers don’t surprise us, especially when most of the security cameras that we’ve reviewed have a companion mobile app. Reolink is no different. The Reolink app has 3.1 out of five stars in the Apple App Store and four out of five stars in the Google Play store for Android. The app was the Reolink Argus PT’s base of operations where we modified notifications, scheduled alerts, viewed, recorded, and accessed footage, and communicated with visitors.

The Reolink app was user-friendly with familiar icons and easy navigation. We could’ve also downloaded the Reolink software on our computers, but we preferred to use the mobile app. That said, not very many security brands offer PC-compatible software that allows access to their security cameras, so we appreciated the alternative option, especially for those who’d rather view footage on a bigger screen.

Video Review

There’s no better way to decide if a camera is right for you then to see its video quality, audio quality, and night vision. Watch our video review of the Argus PT below.

That’s a Wrap

As it stands, the Reolink Argus PT is an affordable outdoor and indoor camera, priced at $139.99, with a bunch of features to tickle your fancy. We liked that person and pet detections were included with the camera rather than part of a separate monthly subscription. This helped reduce the number of false alerts on our phones for every movement that didn’t have a heat signature. On top of that, we really enjoyed scheduling when to receive alerts. The short battery life, however, was not a shining moment for the Reolink Argus PT.

Recommended for
  • Someone who wants the ability to “look around” with their camera
  • Someone who wants solid 1080p HD footage day and night
  • Someone who wants flexibility in their recordings — either local or cloud storage
Not recommended for
  • Someone who wants a wired security camera
  • Someone who wants a battery-powered camera with a longer battery life
  • Someone who doesn’t want to shell out more money for the Reolink Solar Panel

All in all, the Reolink Argus PT holds a lot of weight for the affordable price tag. We loved the pan and tilt feature, which covered more areas of our backyard. Despite the growing competition, we’re confident that the Reolink Argus PT is a strong contender. If you need a primer on some similar cameras, be sure to check out our best wireless security cameras of 2020.

Citations
  1. SEIA. (2020). Solar Industry Research Data.
    seia.org/solar-industry-research-data

  2. Statista. (2020). Combined global Apple App Store and Google Play app downloads from 1st quarter 2015 to 2nd quarter 2020.
    statista.com/statistics/604343/number-of-apple-app-store-and-google-play-app-downloads-worldwide/