While the Pro model of the surveillance camera from last year still relied on a 2K resolution, Reolink is now re-releasing the Argus 3 in an improved version with 4K resolution. Is everything even better now? Find out in our Reolink Argus 3 Ultra test.
|The product||Reolink Argus 3 Ultra|
|Image sensor||1/2.7″; 8 megapixel progressive CMOS sensor|
|Operating temperature||-10 to 55° C|
|Field of view||diagonal: 110°|
|Day and night||Auto switching|
|Night vision function||Yes|
|Max. Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|Image speed||15 fps|
|Connectivity||WLAN (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)|
|Spotlight||2 units; LED; 2.4 watts|
|Rechargeable battery||Yes; (presumably) 21.6 Wh|
|Local memory||microSD slot (max. 128 GB)|
|Cloud storage||Reolink Cloud|
|Price||€ 139.99 *|
Reolink Argus 3 Ultra test: Scope of delivery, design and workmanship
- Unobtrusive, compact design
- Good build quality
Visually, nothing has changed in the design of the Reolink Argus 3 Ultra compared to the Pro model. The camera still has a pill shape with a flattened front and a predominantly white color scheme with a black front.
With a height of 127 mm and a depth of 56 mm, the cam is kept relatively compact and is comparatively light at a weight of 265 grams. The front is dominated by the large lens, above which there is a Stratus LED and two LED spotlights.
The microphone and the PIR motion sensor are also located on the front. On the back, next to the speaker, we find the screw thread for placement on walls and other surfaces, as well as the QR code for initializing the camera.
Things get interesting again on the underside. Here, hidden under two large rubber seals, we find the on/off switch and microSD card slot, as well as the USB-C port for charging or connecting the solar panel.
The build quality of the Reolink Argus 3 Ultra is flawless. Despite its lightweight plastic construction, the camera feels robust and of high quality. Thanks to IP65 certification, even extreme weather conditions cannot harm the camera.
The scope of delivery also includes everything you need for use and installation. In addition to the camera, the box contains a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, the mounting bracket with plugs, screws and drill stickers, as well as a SIM card tool for resetting and instructions.
Setup, Wi-Fi reception and app
- quick and easy setup
- convincing WLAN reception
- App with a wide range of functions; but somewhat slow speed
The Reolink Argus 3 Ultra is identical in many respects to the Reolink PT Ultra, which we also tested recently. The only difference is that the Argus 3 does not have a rotating and swiveling lens, but must be fixed to a specific position.
I will therefore keep this test rather brief and refer you to the corresponding test of the PT Ultra for more specific, in-depth details.
Setting up both cameras is quick and easy and can be completed in just a few steps. Both models support both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands, including encryption.
Difference: The Reolink Argus 3 Ultra does not have a dedicated antenna, so LAN reception is slightly weaker. Nevertheless, there is not much to complain about in terms of signal strength. However, slight delays in live streaming are also noticeable at greater distances from the router. However, this is not really tragic.
Setup and operation is carried out using the clear Reolink app for Android and iOS, which impresses with a wide range of functions, but should respond a little faster and more smoothly.
You can adjust all the details in the options. From rotating the image vertically and horizontally, to adjusting the frame rate between 50 Hz and 60 Hz, to sound, volume and much more.
Optics and picture quality
- Strong 4K image quality day and night
- Impeccable motion detection and tracking
The image quality of the Reolink Argus 3 Ultra is no different to that of the PT Ultra. Thanks to an 8-megapixel lens, both cameras enable recordings in 4K UHD quality with 3,840 x 2,160 pixels and thus a very high level of detail.
This applies to both daylight and night shots, both of which can be displayed in either color or black and white. What is noticeable, however, is that the Argus 3 Ultra copes somewhat better with strong backlight situations at night. However, lanterns and other bright objects are still noticeably dazzling.
Detection and tracking also work very well using the PIR sensor, which can recognize people, vehicles, animals and other moving objects. In my opinion, this works a little faster and more reliably than with the Argus PT Ultra.
Notifications of detected movements are also sent quickly and reliably by email or push to the smartphone.
However, you should be aware that it takes a few seconds to open the app and that very quick, brief detections – for example by an animal or passing car – could then be over again. However, the integrated AI of the PTZ mechanism works quickly and reliably.
Audio: intercom and alarm siren
- Clear, loud intercom system
- Alarm siren too quiet; not very shrill
The intercom system of the Reolink Argus 3 Ultra proves to be pleasantly loud and clearly understandable, allowing reliable conversations with people in front of the camera thanks to two-way audio. Eavesdropping on the surroundings also works perfectly and at a high volume that reliably picks up even quiet noises.
However, the warning siren is once again quite quiet and could be a bit shriller. The alarm sound is not a real deterrent.
Battery life and solar panel
- Long battery life
- Can be used independently in conjunction with solar panel
Like the PT Ultra, the Reolink Argus 3 Ultra has an integrated battery, although the manufacturer does not specify its capacity. However, I assume that this should also be 21.6 watt hours, as the charging time and runtime are comparable.
The advantage of the Argus 3, on the other hand, is that the camera cannot be rotated or swiveled, which drained the battery of the PT Ultra, especially with frequent use. This means that the battery life of one week can easily be exceeded, even if you regularly watch the livestream.
Optionally, the camera can also be operated with the Solar Panel 2 and used in a completely energy-neutral way – provided there is enough sun, which is of course quite difficult in winter or when it rains. Nevertheless, it’s a great thing, especially as the sealed cable with a length of four meters provides sufficient flexibility.
Storage, cloud connection and smart home
- Local storage via microSD card
- Cloud storage quite expensive
The Reolink Argus 3 Ultra can store recordings locally on a microSD card. This can hold a maximum capacity of 128 gigabytes, which could of course be reached quite quickly with 4K video recordings – however, the space is sufficient for short recordings of movements for quite a while.
Alternatively, up to 30 days of video history, images and more can be stored in the Reolink Cloud. The manufacturer offers a choice of two plans, which can be paid for either monthly or annually.
The cheaper plan, which costs EUR 5.99 per month (EUR 59.29 per year) as standard, includes 30 GB of cloud storage space. In addition, up to 5 cameras from the manufacturer can be integrated.
The Premier plan costs €11.89 per month or €117.29 per year and includes 80 GB of cloud storage space and support for up to 10 cameras.
In terms of smart home connectivity, the camera is similarly sparse as the PT Ultra: displays on smart displays from Google and Amazon are possible, as is voice control, but unfortunately there is no connection to Neolink’s NVR solution or NAS systems and other smart home standards.
Reolink Argus 3 Ultra test: Conclusion
Like the PT Ultra, the Reolink Argus 3 Ultra is also a very good surveillance camera where you can save a lot of money if you do without a corresponding pan and tilt function.
It scores with convincing image quality in daylight and at night and reliable motion detection. The intercom system is clearly understandable and pleasantly loud, but the alarm siren is unfortunately too quiet.
The solar panel also proves to be practical, but even without its use, the battery life is quite impressive. There is only room for improvement with the somewhat bitchy and sometimes slow app, while there is of course plenty of room for improvement in terms of smart home connectivity – especially if you use NVR or NAS solutions.
All in all, the Reolink Argus 3 Ultra is absolutely worth the money for the price. Anyone looking for a reliable surveillance camera with strong image quality will be very well served here.