UPDATED REVIEW (3/9/19): After several e-mails to the company, Reolink has updated the firmware for the NVR and it now supports showing motion events only on the timeline with a check box. It is EXACTLY what this app needed...
UPDATED REVIEW (3/9/19):
After several e-mails to the company, Reolink has updated the firmware for the NVR and it now supports showing motion events only on the timeline with a check box. It is EXACTLY what this app needed and makes it absolutely perfect. Now it is a cinch to find the exact section of video where there was motion. They also added the ability to draw custom motion zones directly on the iPhone app. There is still no fast forward option however that does not affect the app too much. I am beyond happy with the customer service from the company and support staff. Every one of my e-mails was answered and they were true to their estimated timeline for implementing the update. I recommend this system to everyone!
I purchased this Reolink system to replace the Ring Video Doorbell Pro and Ring Floodlight Cam that I had installed at my home. I wanted the Reolink because unlike the Ring and its Wi-Fi competitors, the Reolink records 24/7 and offers a lot more flexibility and user customization. Before I get into the full review I would like to say that I am extremely satisfied with this unit. Unlike other reviewers, my NVR is whisper quiet and makes no sound other than the sound of the hard disk drive writing its data. I have yet to hear a fan noise of any kind.
The most time consuming process of this system (or any wired home video system) is mapping out and installing the wires. I opted not to use the included Ethernet cables which are around 60 feet each. I purchased a spool of Cat5E from the local hardware store for around 60.00 and this proved to be more than what I needed for my installation. After my Ethernet cables were run, hooking up the cameras was quite straight forward. Plug them in, tuck in the wires and snap them to the base. Done deal.
After running all of my Ethernet cables to the areas where I wanted to mount the cameras, I found that everything hooked up and worked seamlessly. Once a new camera is plugged in, the NVR automatically finds it and adds it. The only configurations I had to make were for custom motion zones and my alert preferences. This system is very much plug-n-play. Because these cameras are POE (Power Over Ethernet), there are no other cables required for use other than one single Cat5 cable per camera.
The cameras are heavy duty and feel well made. Video picture quality is crystal clear and is much better than the Ring products I replaced which were only 1080P and were very dark in my opinion. The Reolink cameras have very good night vision and can light up nearly all of my rear yard (about 75 feet deep). If you have any flood lights or lights near your doors, the Reolink cameras are able to pick up light so well that you can keep them in full color mode even at night. The included cameras all record audio (you can chose to turn this off if desired) and the microphones are crisp and clear. They are quite sensitive and I could pick up my neighbors voice from around 50 feet away.
This is one of the biggest features in the age of home video recording. If I am recording video, I want to be alerted when someone is on my property or at my front door. The Reolink handles this with ease. You can set custom motion zones for every individual camera. Once the zone is set, you can customize the sensitivity and also when and how you would like alerts to be pushed to you (e-mail, push alerts, alarm on the NVR). You can also set custom time blocks where you may want more or less motion sensitivity.. Alerts are pushed instantly and on the iPhone they arrived every time without any delay.
Remote viewing from Windows, Mac & iOS:
Most people are going to be using this system for real-time alerts on their cell phone or mobile device to know if there is motion at their home. So far this system has shined in this area. The Windows and Mac client offer the full suite of customizations where you can tweak every aspect of the cameras and settings. The iOS app has many of the same features but lack a few abilities such as drawing the custom motion zones. For viewing, the iOS app works great. Upon opening the app, it immediately gives you a live stream of your cameras as well as the audio stream of whichever camera you have selected.
Playback and Recording:
This took a little time to get used to. Coming from the Ring, I was accustomed to having separate videos for every motion event or every time I pressed Live View. The drawback with Ring was that the videos were not available immediately. They had to be recorded and then uploaded to the Ring server before you could tap on it and view them. Unlike Ring, the Reolink video is a continuous timeline which gets broken down into 1-hour long segments. It is fairly simple to locate the chunk of video you want to view however unless you know the exact time you are looking for, you have to scrub through until you find what you need (I have been told this will be addressed in a future firmware update which will allow going directly to a motion event on the timeline). On the NVR itself, you can easily search by Motion Events and it breaks it down very simply for you. On the remote viewing clients, this is not the case (or at least I have not found the feature as of yet). There is no Fast Forward or Rewind so be prepared to scrub through the videos. Once you know what time you want, saving a video is very simple. On iOS, it saves directly to the camera roll and the videos are crystal clear. While live viewing any camera, you can also tap the record button to make an instant video which will save to your camera roll after you press stop. Overall, I love the ability to remotely view and save video, but I feel it could use some added features to make it better.
For the money, this system meets all of my expectations and then some. While it is chocked full of features, I would really like to see the company offer the ability to fast forward and rewind while reviewing video in ALL of the remote viewing platforms. The single feature which absolutely needs to be added to iOS, Mac and Windows Clients is the ability to see any motion events in the playback timeline (again, I was advised this is in the works in a firmware update which will be released soon). This way the user can easily skip to the portion of video that is most important to them. All things considered, I recommend this system to anyone looking to get a good video surveillance system for their home.