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Review: Reolink 4MP PoE NVR Kit (RLK8-410B4)

If you are looking for a complete home CCTV solution, a kit including a Network Video Recorder (NVR), IP cameras, hard drives and all the cabling needed, is a very attractive proposition. The Reolink RLK8-410B4 we have under review today is such a kit.

As the popularity of digital home CCTV increases and becomes more affordable, its only natural that more companies try to get a piece of the action. That’s why it is so important to choose your CCTV system carefully. There are a lot of companies selling white-labelled Chinese junk and its not easy to know whether you are getting a reliable product.

Reolink Digital Technology Co. Ltd. has been around since 2007 and from our research seems to be one of the more reputable 2nd tier security products companies. This manufacturer from Shenzen, China may not be as well-known as Hikvision, Dahua, Axis, or Mobotix, but this fact is reflected in their distinctly budget oriented pricing.

While most Chinese manufacturers prefer to dump their wares on foreign shores and let the bargain pricing do the talking, Reolink actually seems to have its marketing act together. They have a well-designed and informative corporate website, and their customer service has been well-reviewed by users.

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What to look for:

These are alll the possible features one can look for in an NVR. This will also be the basis for our rating in the ‘Features’ section of our overall rating:

NVR Must-havesNVR Nice-to-haves
Simple motion detection Advanced motion detection such as Line Detection, Intrusion Detection, Face Detection
Email alerts for motion detection Push alerts to mobile devices
Backup footage to an external hard drive Simultaneous recording to a second hard drive (RAID) or external HDD
Power over Ethernet (PoE) feature Mouse and keyboard support
At least 1 high speed port (eSATA/USB 3.0/Firewire/Gigabit ethernet) Multiple high speed ports
Live view at least 4 channels simultaneously (unless it is a single channel NVR) Live view all channels simultaneously
Synchronous playback of at least 4 channels while recording all channels (unless it is a single channel NVR) Synchronous playback of all channels while recording all channels (unless it is a single channel NVR)
Zoom in on areas of interest Create virtual cameras
Camera Must-havesCamera Nice-to-haves
IR LED illumination EXIR LED illumination
Metal body for outdoor cameras On-board storage. eg. SD card
Power over Ethernet (PoE) Built-in NVR features (works like an NVR without needing any other device such as an NVR or PC)
Weatherproofing to IP66 for outdoor cameras Motion detection
Email and Push notification alerts
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What’s in the box

ReoLink 4MP PoE NVR Kit - Box contents - NetworkCamera.Reviews

  • 8-channel PoE NVR with power adaptor – can also be purchased separately as the RLN8-410
  • 4 x RLC-410 4MP PoE IP Camera
  • HDMI Cable
  • 1 metrenetwork cable for connecting the NVR to your router
  • 4 x 18 metre network cable for connecting the 4 cameras to the NVR
  • USB Mouse
  • CD with manual and software
  • Quick start guide
  • 5 x Mounting hole template, screws
  • 4 x surveillance warning sticker and waterproof connector

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Technical Specifications

SpecDetails
NVR
Channels 8 channels
Decoding resolution 4MP/3MP/1080P/720P
Playback resolution 4MP/3MP/1080P/720P
Synchronous layback 4 channels
Storage included 1 x 2TB HDD
Maximum capacity 4TB
External HDD 1 x e-Sata (4TB max)
USB 2 x USB 2.0
Protocols TCP/IP, HTTP, uPNP, SMTP, NTP, DHCP, DNS, FTP
Alarm in / out
Audio in / out Supports camera's on-board microphone only
Power consumption <10W without HDD & PoE
Camera (RLC-410)
Resolution 2560 x 1440
Sensor 1/3" 4MP
Focus Fixed
Focal length 4mm
IR distance 30 Metres (36pcs Ring LED)
Angle of View 80°@4.0mm
Onvif V2.1 compatible
Power Consumption 5.5W
Working Environment Temperature: -10 ℃ ~+55 ℃ (14°F~131°F), Humidity: 10%~90%
Network Protocol TCP/IP, HTTP, HTTPS, uPNP, RTSP, SMTP, NTP, DHCP, DNS, FTP, ONVIF, URL, P2P
WiFi
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ReoLink 4MP PoE NVR Kit - Connection Diagram - NetworkCamera.Reviews

The Reolink kit comes with a very good quick setup guide that shows you how to set up the NVR and connect the IP cameras. This is how setup goes:

  1. Connect the NVR
    1. First connect the NVR to a computer monitor or LCD via a VGA cable (the default resolution of the HDMI port is too low and so your  TV will not show a picture, you can change it later).
    2. Then connect each of the IP cameras to the network ports on the NVR with the included 18 metre network cables. This is where the Power over Ethernet (PoE) feature comes in. Instead of having to use separate cables for power and data, PoE lets you use just the network cable.
    3. Connect the NVR to your router using the short ethernet cable provided.
    4. Connect the supplied USB mouse to one of the USB ports of the NVR.
    5. Finally plug in the power adaptor of the NVR.
  2. Mount the IP cameras
    1. Use the supplied mounting template to drill the holes correctly. It needs 3 mounting screws, and an allen key is provided.
    2. Take care that you do not point the camera against the sun.
    3. Also remember that at night, the infrared light from the cameras can reflect off windows and cause glare.
    4. Take care that the majority of a camera’s scene is not the wall it is attached to. Excess IR reflection off the walls can be an issue at night. The camera will then reduce the scene brightness to compensate leaving you with darkness in the rest of the scene.
  3. Power up the NVR
    1. There is a helpful setup wizard that will guide you through the initial setup.
    2. The default username is admin with no password – remember to change this!
    3. Make sure you can see the video streams of all 4 cameras in the live view section.
    4. Now change the output resolution to 1080p and connect the NVR to your TV using the HDMI cable.
  4. Install the Reolink mobile P2P app (optional)
    1. The Reolink mobile app is available from both the Play Store for Android and the Apple store for iPhones.
    2. When you start up the app, it should find your NVR.
    3. Next, set up a password. This should bring you to the live view screen.

The initial setup process through the NVR’s own user interface is quite straight forward and should get you up and running quickly. Any further setup (such as initializing the hard drive) and customization can be done via the NVR user interface using the USB mouse and virtual keyboard. But using the Reolink PC client software is much easier. The Reolink PC client software connects to the NVR and allows you to configure all the options.

Remote viewing

ReoLink NVR Kit - Reolink App - NetworkCamera.Reviews

Now you will only have local access to the NVR at this point, that is to say that you will be able to access the video streams and recorded footage only when you are on your home network.

To access your CCTV system over the remotely, such as over the Internet, Reolink provides a P2P feature. However be aware that all your traffic will then pass over their servers if you choose this option. We recommend using a VPN connection to access your local network and thus your NVR. Port forwarding (port 9000) is another option but we do not recommend it because it is not very secure.

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When people ask me for recommendations for home CCTV, I ask them how much time they are willing to invest into setting it up. If the answer is “I want to learn as much as I can about home security”, I recommend the DIY approach. On the other hand, if the answer is “as little time as possible”, I recommend a CCTV kit that comes with everything the would need.

The Reolink RLK8-410B4 NVR Kit is ideal for those who want a plug and play system. Since the cameras and the NVR are from the same manufacturer, you will not face any compatibility issues.

The NVR – RLN8-410

The NVR is an 8-channel model which is also sold separately as the RLN8-410. Interestingly, it runs on Linux and Reolink is obliged to provide you the source code if you ask.

According to Reolink, the NVR chipset is a Hisilicon 3535 , the CPU is an ARM Cortex A9 Dual Core @ 1GHz , and it has 4GB of DDR RAM.

The front panel of the NVR sports a red power LED, a green HDD activity LED, a USB port and playback control buttons. There is also a button that lets you quickly change the view on an attached TV/monitor from a single channel to a quad-view of 4 channels.

ReoLink 4MP PoE NVR Kit - Front Panel - NetworkCamera.Reviews

The NVR’s back panel has the expected 8 PoE network ports, each with their own activity LEDs. Display ports present are a VGA port and an HDMI port (max 1080p). The second USB 2.0 port and an eSATA port are available for connecting an external hard disk. We recommend the eSATA port as it is much faster than USB 2.0, especially as the NVR is missing USB 3.0 ports. An analog audio out connection is available for audio output. The DC power plug completes the back panel.

ReoLink 4MP PoE NVR Kit - Back Panel - NetworkCamera.Reviews

The NVR can record up to 8 IP camera streams at the same time. The kit comes with four RLC-410 IP cameras. The extra 4 channels gives you room to grow and expand to an 8 camera system if you need to.

The RLN8-410 NVR can simultaneously play back up to 4 camera streams while recording up to 8 video streams at 4MP resolution. You can scrub through playback at 2x/4x/8x/16x speeds.

An important feature of any NVR is motion detection. The Reolink RLN8-410 supports basic motion detection – it compares a frame with the preceding frame to detect motion. This software-based motion detection is inferior to PIR-based motion detection. However you can adjust the sensitivity and detection areas for each camera to cut down false alerts such as insects and changing light levels due to clouds.

The lack of advanced motion detection is a disappointment, but not totally unexpected at the lower end of the market. Advanced methods such as line detection and intrusion detection which allow you to fine-tune motion detection and reduce false alerts significantly. If you need these features, you will have to step up to more advanced models such as Hikvision NVRs or Amcrest NVRs.

The NVR can send email alerts for a variety of triggers including motion detection. It includes pre-configured settings for Gmail and Yahoo mail which is a great feature. It can send alerts to up to 3 different email addresses. You can either set the NVR to send one image per camera or just one image from the camera that detected motion. We recommend the former as it gives you a record of all activity around your home.

While the NVR unusually can save video clips over FTP, it cannot write to a NAS. We would argue that NAS compatibility is far more important than FTP support.

The Camera – RLC-410

ReoLink NVR Kit - Reolink RLC-410 - NetworkCamera.Reviews

The RLC-410 is a 4 Megapixel IP camera that you can also buy separately from Reolink. It is solidly built with a full aluminium body that is also waterproof thanks to the IP66 rating. This should let you install it in any location, even where it is exposed to the elements.

The 4MP sensor of the camera allows for video recording at a very high resolution of 2560×1440, which is excellent for identifying suspicious people or number plates. The camera’s 36 IR LEDs are powerful enough to provide good illumination. However, our advice is to always supplement it with external IR illuminators to increase the chance of a positive ID. Use IR lamps with a wavelength of 850nm to ensure because this is the wavelength it is most sensitive to.

The camera comes with a 4mm lens installed which gives a viewing angle of 80 degrees. This is quite good as you want a good balance between viewing angle and images getting deformed too much.

What’s quite interesting is that these cameras can also work on a standalone basis. By this we mean that this camera can function without the NVR. It can be set up for motion detection, it can send email alerts with images or a 30 second video, it can even save images and videos to an FTP server.

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PROS:
  • Basic CCTV kit at a great price
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) supported
  • Good quality 4MP cameras included
  • NVR records 4MP resolution at 30fps
  • NVR records audio from camera’s built-in mic
  • Motion detection alerts, can FTP videos

CONS:
  • Does not officially support third-party cameras even though it claims ONVIF compatibility
  • No advanced motion detection methods such as line/intrusion detection
  • No audio or alarm in/out connections
  • Synchronous playback of only 4 channels
  • Doesn’t allow access to individual Reolink cameras (no Virtual Host feature)

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The NetworkCamera.Reviews Verdict

The Reolink NVR is a surprisingly good CCTV kit for the money. Do not dismiss this kit simply because it is from Chinese brand you may not have hear of. You get a no-frills NVR which does the basics right, 4 good quality ONVIF compatible IP cameras at a super 4MP resolution, an easy setup process, and the benefit of free firmware updates for life. We especially liked the high quality videos the cameras can produce.

If however, you need advanced features such as the ability to trigger an external alarm system, advanced motion detection methods, or redundant storage, this system is probably not right for you.

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Where to buy

Reolink Home Business Video Security Camera System Wired, 8ch 4MP PoE NVR...

Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
Last update was in: June 6, 2018 9:19 pm
$459.99

Note: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 Site(s) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

7.7 Total Score
Good all-inclusive CCTV kit at an affordable price

A no-frills NVR kit which offers great video quality in an easy-to-use package.

Performance features
8
Ease of Use features
8.5
Technical features
6.5
PROS
  • Basic CCTV kit at a great price
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) supported
  • Good quality 4MP cameras included
  • NVR records 4MP resolution at 30fps
  • NVR records audio from camera's built-in mic
  • Motion detection alerts, can FTP videos
CONS
  • Does not officially support third-party cameras even though it claims ONVIF compatibility
  • No advanced motion detection methods such as line/intrusion detection
  • No audio or alarm in/out connections
  • Synchronous playback of only 4 channels
  • Doesn't allow access to individual Reolink cameras (no Virtual Host feature)
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1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Aaron Curtis January 23, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    I use the camera and it is pretty good. Will recommend you too. Thanks reolink.

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