Review: Reolink Duo 2 Wi-Fi Security Camera: Expand your horizon with a 180º Panoramic field of view

Seamless Connectivity and Advanced Surveillance for Your Peace of Mind

Reolink have been creating advanced security products since 2009. Although aimed at both Domestic and Commercial customers, their range of security cameras are most popular among homeowners who may wish to consider a highly-specced product that also represents good value for money.

The impact of the volatile nature of the global economy is felt in local communities worldwide. Desperate times have caused some individuals to resort to desperate measures to sustain their unsustainable quality of life. While criminality is never a solution to any problem, it would be prudent to minimise the risk of becoming a victim by re-evaluating our home/office security solutions.

The Reolink Duo 2 Wi-Fi – Two cameras in one

I have to admit, I’ve had this camera for quite some time before finally committing to writing this review. As a product reviewer, I feel it’s important to live with some products as well as test them before publishing a review. It can be all too easy to become enamoured with a new product but in some cases, the novelty can wear off pretty soon.

As the name suggests, the Reolink Duo is an arrangement of two cameras each providing (give or take) a 90º (horizontal) field of view. The clever software built into the camera stitches both views together to create a virtually seamless 180º panoramic view. Now, I have only seen this feature on one other home security camera (the Annke FCD600) but I was quite impressed with the 4K UHD playback of the Reolink Duo 2. Playback is viewed on a mobile device with the exceptionally user-friendly and thoroughly comprehensive Reolink app which can be downloaded in both Android or iOS “flavours”.

Getting it up & running

First of all, you will need a micro SD card. I bought a 256GB SD card which is the maximum size it allows as I wasn’t sure if I would need to keep reformating it to clear space or if the files get over-written when the disk is full. Thankfully, this is an option that can be switched on or off in the App.

The user is then required to screw the two (rather imposing) rotating antennas on either side of the camera so they almost resemble the ears of a Doberman Pinscher. If nothing else, the antennas provide a visual deterrent to any would-be burglar or thief! Once this is done, it is time to connect the camera to the Wi-Fi router. This has to be done initially with the ethernet cable. The main unit of the camera has a power cable at the rear which splits in two. One cable is for connecting the DC adaptor to the mains and the other cable provides ethernet connectivity. I was initially a bit perturbed as I thought I had to run the ethernet cable from the final installation point (at the back of the house) to the router (which is at the front of the house.) However, a quick email to the Reolink Support team allayed my concerns. They told me that for the initial setup, I didn’t need to fix the camera to the wall or ceiling. Once the camera is connected to the router, it would remain linked to it over Wi-Fi, so technically I could place the camera anywhere there was a good Wi-Fi signal.

It just so happened that my chosen point of installation was at the back of the house where the signal isn’t probably the strongest but I have a Wi-Fi extender courtesy of my broadband provider that I plug into a mains socket in the kitchen which mercifully does the trick. I was panicking at the thought of getting an electrician in to do additional wiring.

At this point I should mention that the contents of the box the camera comes in includes a long power extension cable, an ethernet cable, a clever mounting bracket (which enables the camera to be fixed to a wall or a ceiling), all of the necessary screws, screwdriver and drilling template.

While the extra long power cable is a welcome addition, it did force me to question that a determined burglar could just snip the cable. So, I would advise any purchaser to carefully plan the location of the camera if mounting it outdoors so that the power cable is discreetly pushed through a hole in the wall to an indoor mains electrical socket instead of using an outdoor socket which may require unsightly trunking.

 

Get ‘appy

As I mentioned earlier, the Reolink app is very comprehensive. I feel it requires a dedicated section of its own in this review. So here goes…

Once downloaded to your phone, the user is required to set up a username & password and then to register the product. Clicking on the plus (+) button allows you to add multiple Reolink products to the App. The user is presented with a still picture of what the camera is seeing. When the picture is clicked, the user can see the “live” footage. I say “live” because, in my test, I noticed a lag of around 1.5 seconds between an action and seeing it on the phone screen however, I don’t think this will represent a deal-breaker as in normal use, a short delay in transmission won’t be noticeable. Below the video footage window, there are several icons; Pause; Enable Recording of Sound; Still Photograph; Record Video; Clear/ Fluent (You choose between clarity/ slower speed or lower 640P resolution / more fluid movement); Rotate the video window to cover the entire screen. Selecting the latter option does confusingly rearrange the icons and introduces new buttons for the user to explore.

At the top-right of the screen, there are four icons. The first will enable the alarm to be triggered. The second icon will toggle on/off the very bright cluster of eight LED floodlights (4×2) that encircle the lower half of the camera lenses. The third icon will allow the user access to the vast array of device settings. Things such as Resolution, frame rates, Anti-flicker, Day and Night settings, Brightness, Watermark positioning, Privacy Mask, Image Stitching, Day and night settings, Detection, push notifications, Email alerts, Siren… And so much more. It’s fair to say that this camera can be customised to meet almost every need.

Towards the lower part of the screen, there are two buttons labelled Talk and Playback. The Talk button allows the user to converse with whoever is in the picture for example the postman or delivery driver. The Playback button will playback the footage stored on the SD card with the help of a timeline featuring the date and time at which the images/footage was captured.

Another area where this camera excels is in its nighttime setting. With infrared lights and LED flood lights, the nighttime colour video capture is remarkable. There is no grainy image commonly associated with security cameras. Every detail is captured in 4K UHD. The camera is also enabled with Smart Detection so it can discern whether the subject is human, animal or vehicle. To top this all off, the Reolink Duo 2 is equipped with a Time Lapse function so you can watch an entire day or month’s happenings in a matter of seconds or minutes.

Summing Up

I’ve been bowled over by the Reolink Duo 2 Wi-Fi camera. At this price point, it really is punching well above its weight and it outshines other security cameras that can only offer a limited 90º viewing angle. We had a security camera system installed at home costing four figures. If only we had known about Reolink back then, we could’ve saved a small fortune.

To learn more about the Reolink Duo 2 Wi-Fi security camera, check out their website:

Or go to the Reolink store on Amazon here:

About Author
Chetan is a London-based designer by profession. He is passionate about the role design plays in everyday life whether it's graphic, digital, fashion, product or environmental design. Motivated by aesthetic design, function and the User Experience of emerging and new technologies, products and platforms, he is ever keen to learn, discover and innovate. Although he doesn't consider himself a nerd or a geek, he is a big movie fan and lists Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Shawshank Redemption and… Brewsters Millions among his favourites! Chetan is also an aspiring author and is currently working on his first novel.