Tech

Tested: cheap smart security camera from Reolink

We have previously tested a Reolink camera. The Argus PT from 150 euros. It performed surprisingly well (especially for its price). The price difference with more expensive cameras seemed to be mainly in the quality of the mounting bracket. The outdoor camera RLC 810 A that we are now discussing is a device for the more professional user, but is also affordable for the options it has on board.

The RLC 810 A is a so-called Power Over Ethernet (POE) camera. It can transmit power, internet and video via the same cable if you connect it to a switch that supports POE or to a Network Video Recorder (NVR). In a system with multiple cameras, the installation of such a camera is simple, because you only have to pull one cable and with such an NVR you get all images in one place.

The images can be saved on an NVR, but also on an SD card in the camera itself. With the maximum 256 GB you can record for almost a hundred hours. This means that if your bike is stolen from your garden, you must have noticed it within 4 days. Otherwise you will no longer have the images.

Great statue for this price

The image is 4K and at night infrared LEDs provide a good black and white image with relatively little noise. Compared to cameras of around 200 euros from Arlo or Google, that is impressive. You only see a serious difference with a camera like the Google Nest IQ Outdoor Camera. But it is three times as expensive.

For home use, it is useful that you can ask Google Assistant to conjure up the image on your Google Nest Hub or Chromecast if you want to take a look. Of course you can also watch live or replay previously saved images in an app for Android or iOS.

Recognition

The killer feature is the ‘Smart Detection’. The camera can distinguish between moving people, cars and other things. Instead of 100 notifications per day on your phone because a tree is moving in the wind, you now get two more, if there are actually people in your driveway.

You do need a handy place to hang the camera. One where the presence of a car or person is really worth reporting. It is possible to ignore certain areas within the view of the camera, but since you usually cannot hang a camera on the house of the neighbor across the street, a little spotting before purchase is important.

Conclusion

For 130 euros you have an impressive POE camera that (if mounted in the right place) can provide meaningful security. Whether you believe that your privacy is sufficiently safeguarded with devices like this is a second question.

Rutger Middendorp

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