It’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to review anything new from Reolink, with the release of the Reolink Duo 2 in Australia, that changed. We’ve been up and running for a few weeks now, and there are a few features to talk about. Some of these features take it out of the crowded market and into a much less crowded area of the DIY home security market. It also ticks all the right boxes for users to be satisfied with the camera as a decent investment for their home.
One of Reolink’s claims is that their cameras are easy to install. So we tested it out by passing the camera on to my friend Alicia, who is tech savvy but has never installed DIY security cameras on her own before. We will explore his experience.
Specifications, features and packaging
One thing I liked about the Reolink cameras when I finished my first review of their equipment are the little touches. In this case, you get everything you need to install the device in your home, including the camera, network cable and power box (with long power cable), mounting plate with template, screws and wall plugs, and a screwdriver.
It’s not particularly small, and it’s certainly not a stand-alone camera, as you can see, but the coverage you get is very impressive. The dual lens provides an unprecedentedly wide viewing area with a total 180-degree field of view and 4K video recording.
An interesting engineering choice is the IP66 rating, which means it’s protected against direct “splashes” of water, but can’t be submerged. Although, if your security camera is submerged in water, the security of your premises is probably not your most pressing concern at the time. The features of the Duo 2 camera are also much more to like, starting at 2K resolution, which makes it very convenient to be a camera at the entrance of your property to recognize visitors as they arrive.
That wide angle also means you may only need one camera to cover the front of your area, with no real way to access the camera without getting caught on it. Combined infrared (6LED) and floodlights (8 LED) on the camera, you’ll notice whether it’s pitch black or daylight. Both have advantages. The night lighting is a huge bonus if you don’t necessarily want the camera to remain discrete. It also offers a greater, visible presence for your camera and safety for those approaching at night.
Regardless of who approaches your property, the device’s microphones and speaker mean you can effectively use the camera as a doorbell if you wish, being able to carry on a conversation with whoever is at your door.
Like many other DIY camera options. If you want all the features, you’ll pay for a subscription
It is not specific to Reolink. in fact, many of the major players in the DIY home security space do. The fact is, DIY home security, at least for Wi-Fi cameras, isn’t a one-time expense if you want the full feature set. You must spend a certain amount on the current subscription. In this case, you have several options that are quite reasonable as far as monthly costs are concerned.
If you’re thinking of delving into the DIY camera market, a Reolink subscription is pretty good value with a wide range of solutions available.
- 5 camera coverage + 30GB cloud storage for $3.49/month
- 10 camera coverage + 80GB cloud storage for $6.99/month
- 20 camera coverage + 150GB cloud storage for $10.49/month
So you’re not locked into a $15/month plan if you want cloud storage for just one or two cameras. It is a well thought out and structured subscription structure.
Installation: it is easy to understand and complete
Alicia said the installation was pretty simple and the only real need was to drill some holes and route the cables as best as possible. In his case, with cable traffic, strategically placed tape worked.
Given that this is the first camera in their home system and a wide-angle view, front yard placement wasn’t as critical as it might have been with other cameras. This was installed to be visible to those approaching the front of their house and it does a great job.
Typically, you need to consider access to the device by unwanted parties, maximize visibility, ensure that your viewing angles are adequate, and that you minimize false detection by setting appropriate detection zones.
The camera setup in the app looked like this: it’s easy!
Scan the QR code in the app and follow the simple, on-screen instructions. Even as a first-time user of the Reolink app and ecosystem, it took barely five minutes to connect the camera and stream footage to connected devices.
However, he commented that connecting the Reolink camera to his Google Home setup wasn’t intuitive. Requesting a cloud account and then linking the account; it is not as simple as it could or perhaps should be.
The app, notifications and streaming
It was interesting to see the perspective of someone who has never used a Reolink system before. Alicia noted that there is a need to specifically enable motion event notifications within the app. It seems a little counter-intuitive to join something designed to increase your awareness and visibility of what’s going on around you. maybe opting out would be a better option.
That being said, when notifications are enabled, speed notifications come to your device quite quickly. If you have a camera that covers the entryway to your space until your approaching guest reaches your door, you will receive an alert that someone is approaching.
Another consideration is that without a subscription, you don’t get the benefit of AI detection (reduced notifications), so if something moves in your motion detection zones, you will receive a notification. The only real option you have is to lower the sensitivity of your camera.
Video quality and recording
Video quality is very high, as you would expect from a camera that records in 4K. It’s crisp and clean, and even under IR the video has plenty of detail. The dual lens is a huge bonus. you can zoom in on the details in just 180 degree viewing angle.
When it comes to recording, you need to either have a Reolink Cloud account as previously mentioned, or insert a MicroSD card into your camera. Either way, you have event recording, because without them, you can only record if you’re streaming to a mobile device at the time of the event.
Is the Reolink Duo 2 worth buying?
There’s a lot going for the Reolink Duo 2 as a relatively inexpensive option to cover your property. There is good video quality, as well as good customization of detection zones and AI options (with subscription) to minimize false alerts.
The contents of the package are complete, which allows simple and quick installation of the device anywhere around your home. Once installed, you can connect it to your smart home, albeit with a bit of fiddling around.
What makes Reolink an attractive option for so many potential buyers is the value of the cameras, plus a relatively low subscription cost, which means you can start small from the start or go big with a complete camera system.
If you’re already invested in another brand, there’s no reason to switch to Reolink. But if you’re just starting out on your home security journey, Duo 2 and Reolink as a brand should be on your list to check out.
If you want to pick one up, you can pick up the Reolink Duo 2 Wi-Fi from the Reolink website for $278.99 or the PoE version for $277.99.
Due to shipping costs, Reolink did not request a return of the unit.