Reolink C1 Pro Smart Home Camera Review
There are dozens if not hundreds of no-name home security cameras and baby monitors at Amazon. It’s difficult to sort through all the paid and fake reviews just to find a decent one. I limited my own search to a few preferences. First, it had to be eligible for Amazon Prime for the return policy, just in case. Second, I wanted at least 1080P HD, preferably higher. Next, I preferred local recording capability, either FTP or SD card. Finally, the company had to have a legitimate website and support information.
A handful of cameras met all my criteria, including the Reolink C1 Pro Wireless Smart Camera. It has all the basic features you’d expect, including pan/tilt/zoom and 2-way communication. It also has full desktop (Windows/Mac) and mobile apps (Android/Apple) that can manage all the settings. Setup is a breeze and the peer-to-peer network allows operation on your home WiFi network and on cellular when you are away from home. There are some additional features found in only a few of the more deluxe internet-ready cameras:
- 4MP sensor for up to 1440p resolution.
- Micro SD slot allows for local recording
- 2.4 and 5 Ghz WiFi network compatibility
- Dual MIMO antennas for improved reception
- Motion detection w/mobile app + email alerts
- Night vision infrared LED illuminators
I had no issues getting the C1 Pro going. Once the app is installed, you follow the app step-by-step instructions, point your cellphone camera to the code on the bottom of the camera and it was working within just a few minutes. The picture quality was very good on automatic settings, with resolution up to 2560×1440 at 25 frames per second.
- Relatively inexpensive for $85 or less on sale
- Easy to setup and use on mobile and desktop
- No pricey subscription required to record
- High resolution 720p/1080p/1440p up to 25-30 fps
- Relatively quiet pan/tilt movement
- Works as a baby and pet monitor
- Also handy as security/babysitter cam
- No backup cloud storage if you need that capability for extra $$$
- No battery or ethernet power, so you need a nearby power outlet
- Expected lag and occasional connection issues when using cellular
I did compare a few other models from reputable companies. I generally avoided obscure brands that seemed to have mostly fake reviews and no substantial North American support website.
The Nest iQ camera with 4K sensor was easiest to use and had the nicest app with great 24/7 playback capability. The picture quality was also the best of the cameras I tried. The main drawback was the $300 price tag. Plus, if you want to see anything that happened overnight or yesterday, you have to fork over another $100 a year for 24/7 recording with a 10-day cloud backup. $500 over two years seemed way too expensive, unless you really require cloud storage and easy home automation connectivity. Plus, it lacks the pan and tilt feature, so you are stuck with one wide-angle view only. The standard Nest camera is a little less expensive at under $200.
I also tried the Foscam R4 2K Ultra HD camera. It simply could not maintain a WiFi connection in the locations I tested. Plus, I had issues getting local recording to reliably work on the SD card and it had a narrower field of view and relatively short power cord. It’s a reputable company with many enthusiasts, but it just didn’t work well in my house. Plus, at $130, it was more expensive than the Reolink for essentially the same features.
The last model I tried is the Amcrest UltraHD 2K camera. This one is perhaps the best comparison to the Reolink C1 Pro. The regular price is about $10 more than the C1 Pro at $95 and sometimes has coupon or sale prices for $85 or less. Overall the features are pretty similar so both are reasonable choices. They do have various differences, though. For example, the Amcrest lacks the two external antennas, but still seems to get good reception.
The Reolink C1 Pro is a nice step up from the many budget baby monitors and cameras you find online. It’s great while you’re at home to keep an eye and ear on a sleeping baby or two. It also works remotely on the mobile app so you can watch your pets or babysitter while you are out for the evening. I had no issues getting it setup and working. At the normal price of $85 on Amazon it’s a good deal, and it is a great value when it goes on sale for $74.99 or less.
|Hardware Features||Model||C1 Pro|
|Image Sensor||1/3″ CMOS Sensor|
|Display Resolution||2560 x 1440 (4.0 Megapixels)|
|Lens||f=4.0mm Fixed, F=2.0, with IR-Cut|
|Angle of View||Horizontal: 80°|
|Pan/Tilt Angle||Horizontal: 355°|
|Minimum Illumination||0 Lux (with IR Illuminator)|
|IR Distance||40 feet|
|Dimensions||103 × 95 × 117mm|
|Power Input||5.0V/2A, <6W|
|Interface||One 10M/100Mbps RJ45|
|Built-in Micro SD socket|
|Built-in Microphone and Speaker|
|Protocols & Standards||HTTPS, SSL, TCP/IP, UDP, UPNP, RTSP, SMTP, NTP, DHCP, DNS, DDNS, FTP, ONVIF, P2P|
|Maximal Frame Rate||PAL: 25fps, NTSC: 30fps|
|Code rate||1024Kbps ~ 8192Kbps|
|Maximal User Access||20 Users|
|Browser Supported||IE, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari|
|OS Supported||PC: Windows; Mac OS; Smart Phone: iOS, Android|
|Record Mode||Motion Record/Schedule Record (default: Motion Record)|
|Wireless Features||Wireless Standard||IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n|
|Operating Frequency||2.4GHz / 5GHz|
|Other parameters||Temperature||Operating Temperature : -10℃~+55℃|
|Storage Temperature: -40℃ ~ 70℃|
|Humidity||Operating Humidity: 20% ~ 85%|
|Storage Humidity: 10% ~ 90%|
More information can be found at the Reolink C1 Pro web page. They have a full list of frequently asked questions and and documentation. The sample used in this review was provided by ReoLink. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.