A pan and tilt surveillance camera with 4K resolution and optional solar connection that can also be used without a cloud connection? Sounds tempting. In the Reolink Argus PT Ultra test, we find out whether it’s worth buying.
|The product||Reolink Argus PT Ultra|
|Image sensor||1/2.7″; 8 megapixel progressive CMOS sensor|
|Operating temperature||-10 to 55° C|
|Field of view||horizontal: 90°, vertical: 47°, 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; 21.6 Wh|
|Local memory||microSD slot (max. 128 GB)|
|Cloud storage||Reolink Cloud|
|Price||€ 239.99 *|
Reolink Argus PT Ultra test: The scope of delivery
- coherent scope of delivery
- all accessories included
The Reolink Argus PT Ultra comes in a compact, white and blue card that has a lot to offer despite its dimensions. In addition to the surveillance camera itself, we find a kit for wall mounting including stickers for the drill holes in the packaging.
There are also instructions, a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, a 15-centimeter antenna and a strap for attaching to trees or poles. The scope of delivery is rounded off by the obligatory instructions and multilingual information stickers about video surveillance.
Practical: A hexagonal key and a SIM card opener for optional resetting are also included in the scope of delivery.
Reolink Argus PT Ultra test: Design and workmanship
- classic, high-quality design
- impeccable workmanship
The Reolink Argus PT Ultra PTZ camera has a simple, white design that is strongly reminiscent of the manufacturer’s older models, such as the C1 Pro (our test). Accordingly, the Ultra model also features a round, rotatable and tiltable head and a base unit with a flat base.
The camera unit itself measures 98 mm x 122 mm (width x height) and weighs 480 grams. The comparatively high weight is due to the fact that the manufacturer has already integrated a battery, but more on that later.
The camera can be screwed to the underside with a 3/4-inch thread, while the on/off switch and the USB-C charging port are located on the back – protected from the weather under rubber covers. The antenna is also screwed in here.
There is also a microSD card slot at the bottom of the camera module itself to save videos and recordings without a cloud connection. The build quality is impeccable, all components feel very robust and of high quality. The camera is also weatherproof to IP64, meaning it can withstand dust and water.
- Also worth a look: Imou Knight 4K test: Weatherproof surveillance camera with a strong image
- quick and easy to set up
- Pairing via smartphone
Setting up the Reolink Argus PT Ultra is very simple. It can be set up either via smartphone app or PC, both of which are quick and easy. During the initial setup, the camera must be connected via the QR code on the underside – a voice prompt within the camera guides you through the setup process.
The next step is to connect the Argus PT Ultra to the WLAN; the model supports both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and WPA2 encryption.
The system is then set up and ready for use in just a few steps. The image is then displayed in the Reolink app and you are ready to go.
- stable connection
- 5 GHz band is supported
- awkward operation in the app
With two Wi-Fi bands and encryption, the Reolink Argus PT Ultra is very well positioned in practice. The connection strength to the Wi-Fi network is also impressive across the board.
However, there is a delay when playing back the live image, which increases the further away the camera is from the router. However, this is quite normal for Wi-Fi cameras and is still perfectly acceptable.
Unfortunately, operating the camera within the app is very awkward and is accompanied by a noticeable delay until adjustments to the viewing angle or alignment are applied. This could have been solved better.
The Reolink app in detail
The Reolink app, which is available to download free of charge on Android and iOS, is used as the control center. It has a clean and clear design, with a preview image of the camera and an indication of the battery charge status displayed directly on the start page.
Very practical, but the display sometimes hangs when the app is minimized to the background; in rare cases during the test, I was also told that the camera was not connected – but this was fixed after restarting the app.
Above the preview image, you have the option of making settings for the camera. For example, you can rotate the display vertically or horizontally, adjust the brightness or adjust the volume of the alarm siren and intercom system.
Motion alarms and the PIR sensor can also be customized, while up to three privacy zones can be set in which no monitoring or recording can take place.
The Reolink app offers extensive customization options and, with its clear structure, is also suitable for beginners. The range of functions leaves nothing to be desired.
Optics, image quality and more
- excellent, clear picture quality
- 4K UHD resolution
- large field of view; problems with backlighting
The Reolink Argus PT Ultra comes with a 1/2.7-inch CMOS sensor that records with 8 megapixels in 4K UHD quality (3,840 x 2,160 pixels), although a maximum frame rate of 15 fps is possible.
The camera can be panned by 355 degrees and tilted by up to 140 degrees, which means that a fairly wide range can be covered. The viewing angle is also pleasantly wide at 90 degrees horizontally, 47 degrees vertically and 110 degrees diagonally. PIR detection is even possible at 120 degrees horizontally.
In line with the specifications, the picture quality is excellent. In the dark, the IR sensors automatically switch on and activate either black and white or color night vision, which also provides a clear and sharp image.
It even clearly exceeds the manufacturer’s range specification of 10 meters. A floodlight can also be added as an option to illuminate the surroundings (in the event of movement or permanently).
However, the image reveals slight problems with the exposure, especially in strong backlighting, although you can counteract this somewhat in the display settings if problems arise.
Person recognition and tracking
- Flawless person recognition
- Messages sometimes somewhat delayed
The Reolink Argus PT Ultra is able to detect not only people, but also animals, vehicles and other moving objects, which works quickly and reliably in practice. During my test, there were no false alarms, while alarms and notifications were transmitted reliably and very quickly as push notifications and emails.
In some cases, however, it took an unusually long time for the notification of a detected movement to arrive. When I checked, the trigger was sometimes no longer visible – other surveillance cameras are much faster in this respect.
The integrated AI within the PTZ mechanism otherwise does a good job, while tracking and image adjustment are almost completely silent.
Audio: intercom and alarm siren
- very good loudspeaker
- high volume
- Alarm siren too quiet
Thanks to two-way audio, the Reolink Argus PT Ultra enables communication with people, which is surprisingly loud and clear despite the mono speaker. Thanks to its excellent volume, the intercom system enables clear conversations with people who are several meters away from the camera.
However, the alarm siren is disappointing as its maximum volume is far too low. We are used to much better and louder sounds from other manufacturers.
Battery life and solar panel
- good runtime of up to 1 week with light use
- Stream and video recording very battery-intensive
- Practical solar panel
The Reolink Argus PT Ultra is equipped with a 21.6 watt-hour battery. A decent capacity with which, with normal and not too intensive use, up to one week of use should be possible.
This is certainly true, but depending on usage, the battery life can also be significantly shorter. For example, if you watch a lot of live streams and/or record videos, you should expect significantly shorter runtimes.
However, if you want to avoid charging altogether, you can also operate the PT Ultra with the Reolink Solar Panel 2. This has a permanently installed USB-C cable with a length of 4 meters, via which it is connected to the camera – more than enough space to mount it in a sunny spot away from the cam.
All accessories required for mounting and operation are of course also included in the scope of delivery. The cable also has a rubber coating to protect it from rain and the elements.
In fact, the panel is strong enough to supply the Argus PT Ultra with power even on slightly overcast days. It only becomes difficult in rainy weather and generally little sunshine – in winter it is even impossible, as temperatures of more than 0 degrees Celsius are required for charging.
Storage, cloud connection and smart home
- internal memory via microSD card
- Cloud subscription very expensive
- can only be integrated into smart home to a limited extent
The Reolink Argus PT Ultra stores data directly on a microSD card, but unfortunately the camera can only accept cards with a maximum size of 128 GB. With a correspondingly large number of video recordings, the card can of course fill up quite quickly.
Alternatively, up to 30 days of video history, images and more can be saved 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.
Integration into the smart home is only partially possible. Operation using the smart assistants Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa also works via voice command, and the camera live stream can also be displayed via compatible smart displays such as Echo Show or the Google Nest Hub.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to connect to Neolink’s NVR solution or NAS systems. Unfortunately, smart home standards such as IFTTT are also not supported.
Reolink Argus PT Ultra test: Conclusion
The Reolink Argus PT Ultra scores many plus points in the test with its excellent image quality, including night vision recordings, and the successful app with its ease of use. The motion detection works very reliably, although notifications are sometimes displayed with a significant delay.
The pleasantly loud and clear intercom system is also impressive. Unlike the alarm siren, which is significantly quieter and less shrill than many of its competitors. However, the battery life is somewhat disappointing, as it could have been significantly longer, especially with frequent use.
The solar panel proves to be extremely practical, but offers no added value in winter or on rainy days. It is also a shame that NAS or NVR systems are not supported.
Otherwise, the Reolink Argus PT Ultra offers a lot for the money. Anyone who can live with the limitations will have a lot of fun with this surveillance camera. Whether indoors or outdoors.