Reolink Keen Review: The Completely Wireless Surveillance Camera
With the Reolink Keen, Reolink offers a completely wireless surveillance camera that can easily be placed anywhere. For 130 US dollars (currently not available in German shops) you can get the battery-powered security camera with microphone, speaker and night vision. In addition, you get a motion sensor that provides an automatic alarm. Overall, the package is therefore a good security solution for every household.
We have tried out how well the Reolink Keen works and will go through all the functions of the surveillance camera with you in the following.
Specifications and Design of the Reolink Keen
Included in delivery is the following:
- Reolink Keen camera with four CR123A batteries
- Black mounting kit for camera + screws
- Motion sensor with one battery
- White mounting kit for the motion sensor + screws and 3M tape
The Reolink Keen offers all the features a wireless surveillance camera needs:
- 1080p Video recording with 15 FPS and wide-angle lens
- night vision
- microSD slot for recordings that are triggered by the motion sensor (mSD card not included!)
- Motor to move the field of view 355 degrees horizontally and 105 degrees vertically
- Loudspeaker and microphone for communication and alarm
The camera is black and has two large antennas on the back for a good connection to the WLAN and the wireless motion sensor. Also on the back is the slot for the microSD card and a sticker with a QR code. This is required for setting up the surveillance camera. On the left and right side there is a loudspeaker for sound output. The actual camera sensor is of course located on the front and is mounted in a movable joint. To set an accent, there is also a silver ring around the complete camera body, as well as the Reolink logo on the front. Also the underside is interesting, because there are beside the switch to open the battery compartment also a thread for a camera tripod or similar as well as four rubber feet.
The motion sensor creates a contrast to the camera, because it is kept in white. Only the blue Reolink lettering stands out. The battery compartment and a switch panel for adjusting the sensitivity are located on the back.
In my opinion a uniform colouring – preferably in black – would have been better, but that is a matter of taste.
Assembly and Setup of the Reolink Keen
Building the Reolink Keen couldn’t be easier. The surveillance camera can simply be placed anywhere or alternatively turned onto a thread. The mounting kit is available for this purpose, which of course has to be screwed to a wall first, but you can also use any photo tripod if you prefer.
With the motion sensor, Reolink even makes it easy for us, because a double-sided 3M adhesive tape is included that the holder of the light sensor attaches everywhere without any problems. Of course you can also work with screws here. However, it is not possible to stand up because of the shape.
The setup of the surveillance camera is also very simple, because it is set to a QR code. After installing the smartphone app, the QR code on the back of the camera must first be scanned. The app can thus uniquely assign the camera and recognize the camera without delay. You can then select whether the camera is to be set up or only accessed. We select the setup and enter the WLAN access data. The app then generates a QR code that has to be read by the camera. The smartphone must be held about 20 cm in front of the Reolink Keen. Then we hear over the loudspeakers of the surveillance camera that the connection could be established successfully – or not. And already the setup is finished and we can manage and use the camera via the app. We can also assign a password here to protect against unauthorized access.
The motion sensor is automatically connected to the surveillance camera. So all we have to do is switch it on by inserting the battery correctly and it is already active. In order to get a message about the app, we have to arm it.
By the way, there are programs from Reolink for Windows and Mac as well, but these are unfortunately not yet compatible with the Reolink Keen. Perhaps this will be the case in the future, but so far only management via mobile devices with iOS or Android has been possible.
Functions of the Reolink Keen
Image Quality and Shooting
With multiple modes, the image quality can be changed to use different amount of bandwidth. The best quality is obtained in “Clear” mode with a FullHD resolution (1080p) of 15 frames per second. This consumes about 2,300 Kb/s, in “Fluent” mode it is only about 125 Kb/s. The middle “Balanced” mode reaches about 450 Kb/s. Of course, the resolution is also lower. During the transmission I had neither problems over WLAN nor over the mobile radio network.
Here’s a short daylight shot:
In addition, the Reolink Keen has IR-sensors to be able to take pictures without light, in addition here a picture:
Altogether the quality could be better, after all it is recorded with 1080p. Unfortunately the sensor doesn’t seem to be very good, so everything is a bit washed out and noisy. But for the price of the camera you can’t expect more. Therefore: top!
The camera can also be easily moved via the app. For this purpose, a motor is installed that allows horizontal movement of 355 degrees and horizontal movement of 105 degrees. So you can easily look around in the surroundings.
Recordings can easily be started via the app. In the case of manual recording, the material is stored on the smartphone. If, on the other hand, the motion sensor triggers a recording, the video is stored on the (optional) mSD card. Unfortunately, the compartment for the mSD card is completely open and accessible from the outside, so anyone can simply take the memory card with them. There is no internal memory or direct cloud recording. I see that as a disadvantage. At least you get a push notification on your smartphone at the same time to watch or record from there.
Microphone & Speaker
The surveillance camera has both a microphone and a loudspeaker. This means that the corresponding sound can also be heard or recorded during the video stream. The microphone also picks up relatively quiet noises so that nothing stands in the way of monitoring.
Through the two loudspeakers on the side you can also talk directly to the people who are in the vicinity of the Reolink Keen. They’re not very loud, but they work.
If the motion sensor sounds an alarm because it has been armed in the app, the speakers emit a loud alarm sound. Arming can be done manually or via a timer. However, the alarm sound can also be deactivated, so that only a silent notification by push on the smartphone takes place to get an idea of the situation and then call the police or similar.
Battery Instead of Cable
The two Reolink Keen modules, i.e. surveillance camera and motion sensor, are powered by batteries. An alternative power supply is not possible, because there is simply no connection available. Therefore you have to operate the devices with battery or rechargeable battery in any case. Unfortunately, with the camera batteries “CR123A” also special batteries are used, which are relatively expensive and – if you rely on rechargeable batteries – need a special charger.
However, the batteries seem to last quite a long time, so far not much has changed on my battery level indicator yet. According to Reolink, the batteries should last 180 days in standby or 500 minutes (a good 8 hours) of transmission.
There are some more settings that I won’t discuss separately, so here is a small picture gallery:
Result of the Reolink Keen Surveillance Camera Review
The surveillance camera works completely without cables and this is certainly an advantage for many users. It’s a shame that Reolink doesn’t use the usual AA(A) batteries here, but uses special camera batteries that cost good money and are not available everywhere. Even a small micro-USB port as an alternative power supply would have been great.
The integration and use of the camera could be better. So you can control the Reolink Keen only via smartphone, because the desktop application is not (yet) usable.
The surveillance camera offers FullHD with 15 FPS, but unfortunately the sensor is not very good and takes rather blurred and noisy pictures. However, the important details are certainly recognizable.
The Reolink Keen is definitely suitable for monitoring the hut in the allotment garden. Also in the domestic four walls a monitoring is possible without problems. Up to nine cameras can be managed with the app. However, the camera is not suitable for professional use.
All in all I can recommend the Reolink Keen for the home user. Unfortunately Reolink does not have a german distributor yet, in the Onlineshop you get with the coupon “reolink keen-basic tutorials” but still a discount over 10 percent. The coupon is valid from 02.05.17 15:00 o’clock to 02.06.17 15:00 o’clock.
Scope of Delivery
Perfect for the allotment garden!
The Reolink Keen impresses with a generous scope of delivery and simple setup. The sensor could be better, though.