Reolink Argus PT Review

Our hands-on tests confirm Reolink Argus PT is the best outdoor pan-tilt camera of 2023.
Best outdoor pan-tilt camera
Reolink Argus PT outdoor pan-tilt security camera
Reolink Argus PT
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.45
  • pro
    Excellent video quality
  • pro
    Comprehensive settings adjustments
  • con
    No pan-tilt presets or motion tracking
Plan
Monthly price
Annual price
Cameras
Video history
Storage capacity
Basic
$0.00
/yr
17 days1GB
Standard
$69.99
/yr
530 days30GB
Premier
$104.99
/yr
1030 days80GB
Business
$157.99
/yr
2060 days150GB
Business
$262.99
/yr
3060 days250GB

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

John Carlsen
Oct 15, 2023
bullet6 min read

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review. We may earn money when you buy through our links.

bullet
Reolink Argus PT Ultra

Is the Reolink Argus PT Ultra a real game-changer or just an 'Ultra' exaggeration? We've put it to the test. See if this wireless security camera truly shines, or if you're better off with the standard version. Don't miss our deep dive into its features and performance—it's all here in our no-nonsense review!

Reolink delivers another excellent wireless security camera with the Reolink Argus PT. It combines the excellent performance of the Reolink Argus 3 Pro with an outdoor pan-tilt camera to supercharge how you watch over your yard. 

Argus PT's rechargeable battery makes it easy to install, and it supports solar charging if you throw the affordable Reolink solar panel into the mix. Our main complaint is that it offers fewer pan-tilt features than the Reolink E1 Zoom—an indoor-only model—specifically the option to create presets to point your camera around the yard quickly.

pro
Pros
pro Excellent video quality
pro Comprehensive settings adjustments
pro Multiple video storage options
pro Simple setup and installation
con
Cons
con No pan-tilt presets
con Some video lag at times
con Built-in speaker doesn't sound great

How Reolink Argus PT compares to other outdoor pan-tilt security cameras

Product
Price
Video resolution
Pan-tilt range
Night vision
Video storage
Power source
Learn more
1440p (2K)355º pan
140º tilt
InfraredLocal, cloudWired, battery, solar
1080p360º pan
180º tilt
InfraredLocal, cloudWired
1080p360º pan
117º tilt
InfraredCloudWired
1944p (5MP)360º pan
120º tilt
Infrared, spotlightLocal, cloudWired
1080p350º pan
90º tilt
InfraredLocal, cloudWired

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer

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What's in the box

Reolink Argus PT comes with mounting hardware, instructions, a charging cable, and a window sticker

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise

  • Reolink Argus PT security camera
  • Mounting bracket, template, and screws
  • Micro USB cable
  • Antenna
  • Reset needle
  • Quick start guide
  • Reolink window decal

Performance

Video quality

Unsurprisingly, Argus PT's video performance benefits from the same quality and customization tools we love about other Reolink cameras. Daytime and nighttime videos both look great compared to pricier brands like Arlo and Nest; though no security camera brand, Reolink included, produces perfect video at all times.

Video settings

Unlike the Reolink Argus 3 Pro and the Reolink E1 Zoom, there's no option to change the recording resolution from its native 1440p (2K) setting to maximize space on your microSD card. At least you can still bump down the frame rate and bitrate to save space, so it's not a huge problem for most folks. Reolink uses PIR detection (passive infrared) to capture motion event footage and doesn't offer a continuous recording feature, so it won't use up storage capacity very quickly.

Fortunately, there's more flexibility for live views and cloud storage, where you can choose a low-resolution setting; Reolink calls this Fluent Mode. Besides saving on cloud storage space, Fluent mode is mainly useful for reducing streaming lag, though you'll notice a stark difference in video quality. Even on a quick internet connection, we saw a decent amount of lag, especially with the full-resolution setting, making it somewhat difficult to reposition the camera remotely.

We love that Reolink gives you some control over brightness and contrast so you can tune the camera to fit its surroundings better. It's helpful for darker indoor areas with bright spots from windows that would otherwise wash out some details.

Pan-tilt performance

Argus PT's biggest advantages over its pan-tilt sibling, the Reolink E1 Zoom, are its weatherproofing, rechargeable battery, and a greater vertical tilt range of 140º—E1 Zoom tops at just 50º of vertical range. A tall vertical range is crucial outdoors for finding the best position for optimal recording.

Still, it lacks E1 Zoom's optical zoom, outstanding video quality, and pan-tilt presets. In particular, we miss the option to create pan-tilt presets, which makes it easy to change the camera view without the cumbersome on-screen controls. Argus PT holds its own for outdoor settings, but E1 Zoom is the superior indoor camera in every way.

Outside of Reolink, the Wyze Cam Pan v3 offers the best pan-tilt user experience since you can make presets and use the camera's automatic tracking to keep a subject in frame as they move through your yard. Wyze's video quality isn't as strong as Reolink's, and there's no battery-powered option, so the camera you choose depends on your needs.

Audio quality

Argus PT's sound quality is good in video recordings but is gravelly and rough through the built-in speaker. This is disappointing because the speaker is the only way to address someone with the camera. To make matters worse, the added noise of an outdoor setting makes it even harder to understand a voice through the speaker. It's acceptable for quiet yards but not near busy roads.

Battery life

The Argus PT's built-in battery handled our initial four-week test like a pro. While we managed to drain the battery to around 30% capacity through recordings and app interactions, it still outlasted a Ring Spotlight Cam from a different test. We didn't get a chance to try the solar-powered option, but it's nice to have a way to extend the time between indoor charging sessions. Our long-term battery tests aren't complete, so we'll update this review once we see how it holds up.

Notable features

Video storage

Argus PT hits the sweet spot for video storage by offering local and cloud options. It supports up to 128GB on a microSD card, which is a great way to save video without a recurring monthly fee, though you'll pay upfront for the storage.

Reolink Cloud storage is passable but certainly not the best value compared to Nest, Arlo, and Ring. Our biggest complaint is that owning more than 10 cameras makes Reolink cloud storage too expensive. Beyond that, you'll see more value from most competitors.

Reolink is one of the few companies still offering a free cloud storage option, but it has some heavy limitations. The free storage applies only to a single camera, so don't expect it to cover your entire camera system. Also, it doesn't renew automatically, which means there's some potential for gaps in your security if you forget to renew it each month. Still, it's a great option for deciding if a paid plan or a SD card is the best path forward.

Time lapse

One of our favorite Reolink features is Time Lapse Capture, which has little use in home security. Still, it gives you more creativity by capturing sunrises, weather, and seasonal changes over long periods. This gives your camera a way to pass the time while it waits for motion detection to trigger security recordings.

Reolink Argus PT setup and installation

Reolink Argus PT attaches to the mounting bracket using an adapter plate

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise

Setup

Reolink keeps the setup simple with a series of QR codes. You scan the QR code on the bottom of the camera with the Reolink app and enter your Wi-Fi network credentials to generate a QR code on your phone's screen to transfer the info to the camera. After connecting, the camera asks for a few details, and you can use it in the app.

It's easy enough to create motion zones and notification rules and to adjust other options in the camera's settings menu. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the menus during the first few days of operation.

Installation

The best way to install the Reolink Argus PT is the included mounting bracket, which hangs the camera above the ground using screws or a loop strap. Reolink's loop strap is beneficial for quick mounting to a tree or pole.

From there, it's simple to attach the camera via a slider and a small mounting plate on the top of the bracket. You can also attach the camera to anything using a standard tripod screw, which is common on most third-party security camera mounts.

Reolink Argus PT smart home features and compatibility

The Reolink Argus PT camera supports Amazon Alexa and Google Home, though its Alexa integration is only useful for viewing a live feed on an Echo Show smart display. You can't really interact with this Reolink camera in the Alexa app. Conversely, Google supports smart display streaming and shows a live view in the Google Home app. Beyond these basic features, Reolink won't bring much to your smart home system.

Final word

The Reolink Argus PT is one of the best outdoor pan-tilt cameras available because it offers the flexibility of battery power with an affordable solar panel add-on. Its excellent video quality is on par with the Reolink Argus 3 Pro, but it isn't the best pan-tilt camera that Reolink offers. Check out our review of the best wireless security cameras to learn more about our favorite security cameras.

Reolink Argus PT FAQ

Our hands-on testing shows that the Reolink Argus PT can easily last a month under real-world conditions. For comparison, this is longer than we've seen from Arlo Pro 4 or Ring Spotlight Camera.

While it seems counterintuitive, we're glad that Reolink doesn't list a specific battery life for its cameras—though they list a battery capacity of 6,000 mAh for the Argus PT. Instead of presenting a firm number based on testing in a lab—like most manufacturers—Reolink states that things like temperature, recording frequency, and live viewing will affect your battery life.

How we reviewed the Reolink Argus PT

Reolink Argus PT on a tripod during testing

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise

We tested the Reolink Argus PT camera for a few weeks across two testers, first for YouTube, then for this review. We explored the camera's features during testing, evaluated its video quality, and tracked battery life. While each tester reached unique conclusions, there was a strong consensus on how well this Reolink camera performed overall.

To enrich our hands-on tests, we also researched Reolink's customer service offerings, product pages, and customer reviews to look for perks and flaws. You can learn more about how SafeWise tests, reviews, and rates products in our complete methodology.

Related articles on SafeWise


Disclaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided "as is" and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over a decade of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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