When Reolink released their E1 Pro dog camera I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. A dual camera bundle packed with features that could fit in the palm of my hand. This is my review of the Reolink Pro E1.
I based this review on a dual pack of Reolink E1 pros. One of the nice things about the entire setup is that the remote app allows multiple smart cameras to be setup in the same household which is handy when your dog tends to move between rooms. I’ll discuss more about this later. It’s worth noting that there are three main Reolink dog cameras on the market; Reolink E1, Reolink E1 Pro and Reolink E1 Zoom.
There are a few differences between Reolink E1 models, but not huge. For this review I’ve covered the Reolink E1 Pro – but lets see how the specs differ:
About the Reolink E1 Pro
Although the Reolink can be used for other things, it’s a nice little dog camera that doesn’t need to be mounted nor takes up too much space. This makes it a quick and handy device for setting up if you need to pop out and leave your pup alone.
Powered by an AC adapter (included in the box), the camera is a sleek, PTZ enabled joy which is easy to setup and simple to use.
The setup was fairly straight forward, if you put all the devices on the same wifi network to begin with you can sync everything up. It’s well documented and I never ran into any issues. You can do this on a computer, but I just used my phone. If you have awful (or no) wifi you can do this over a wired connection, and there’s an RJ45 LAN port at the back of the camera which can just be plugged straight into your router and configured using a wired computer.
I was also able to allocate access to my partner by sending a link.
It’s a feature rich pet camera, as well as offering a decent quality, particularly for the very reasonable price charged, it includes pan and tilt, app interface, night vision, recording, alerts, two way audio and more. We’ll cover some of these features in the next section.
Reolink E1 Pro Features
Pan and Tilt
One of my bugbears about dog cameras can be positioning. Unless you physically attach a camera to the roof, it can sometimes be difficult to get the entire room in shot – especially if you’re in a hurry. One of the benefits of the Reolink is the use of PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) which means I can move the camera remotely. The camera can rotate 355° horizontally and 50° vertically so you can see all areas of a room. The camera starts in a normal position, but using the app I can move the camera around in real time. This allows me, for example, to see my dog if they’re moved from one sofa to another. Like a CCTV camera, you can also set the camera to follow a pattern. This may not be so useful if using this to keep an eye on your dog, but it’s handy to know.
Video quality of the Reolink E1 Pro camera is pretty good. Standard image to the app is 4mp (4 megapixels, 2560 x 1440) which is great for being able to see what your dog is up to when you’re away. This is great for recording, but what about for when you’re on the move? Well, if your phone signal is good you can watch your pooch in full HD from afar. However, if your signal is spotty and relies on 4G or wobbly wifi, you can still view the feed in a lower standard definition.
When one of my dogs was a puppy she used to whine and bark whenever I left the room. This was being caused by separation anxiety which through training and time, she grew out of. Being able to hear audio if you leave your dog (particularly a puppy) alone is a big benefit. You can hear any noises they are making which may not always be obvious from visual inspection alone.
There is also a speaker on the camera, and you can speak through it using a button on the phone app. This is dog specific, but remember this may not always be a great thing. If your dog is settled or asleep, suddenly hearing your disembodied voice may unsettle or upset them – the last thing you want when you’re not home.
Night vision on the Reolink E1 Pro was very handy for me. If I need to leave my dogs for a while in the evening – I usually make one of the rooms dark to encourage them to sleep. The night vision is automatic when conditions become too dark for the standard camera. The monochrome image is sharp, detailed and the night vision reaches a distance of 40ft.
You can set the Reolink smart camera to alert you when it detects movement. This can be as a notification to your phone or as an email. Not only is this good for seeing a restless dog, but it will also alert you if your dog walker has come to collect your furry friend.
Reolink E1 App
Obviously the camera itself is not much use without a way to effectively monitor your dogs when you’re not home. This is where the Reolink really excels. I’ve used a lot of camera apps over the years and they can be clunky and unreliable. The Reolink app is excellent, intuitive, easy to use and simple to set up.
The app is available for both Android and IOS – for this section I will be using the app on my iPhone – though my partner uses an Android and the setup seems identical.
After initial setup, the home screen shows the camera (or cameras) that are currently connected.
One of my favourite features of the app is the ability to add multiple Reolink cameras to the same account and set them up as rooms.
As mentioned at the start, I bought two cameras, placing one in the bedroom and another in the living room. Because my dogs have a tendency to either settle on the sofas or move over to the bed (or sometimes split and do both) – I was never sure where to place the camera. With two cameras, I can place them in both locations. This was fairly straight forward to sync on the phone app and I now see two feed thumbnails on the dashboard.
When the feed connects, I can see my dogs (hopefully) fast asleep or playing with their toys. Most of the camera functions are contained on the single screen. Sound is muted by default and I can switch between HD and SD if my signal isn’t great.
The Pan and Tilt is like a game controller allowing me to move the camera with my finger. There are more advanced options on this to enable you to set paths or have default positions.
There are also simple buttons for two-way audio, snapshots, alerts and to play back any recordings the camera may have captured
Positioning the Reolink Dog Camera
Because this pet camera is not a treat dispenser, it can be positioned high up to capture more of the room. Where you place the camera is up to you, but if your dog is likely to go for it when the camera moves – it may be better to be on a shelf than on the coffee table.
Make sure the camera doesn’t have any obvious blockages. On a shelf, for example, if you push it too far back – you may land up with a lot of the shelf showing at the bottom which can obscure the view.
Reolink E1 Pro Review Summary
- A great camera for an affordable price
- The Pan and Tilt feature is handy for tracking your dog as they move about
- Some nice features including night vision, motion alerts and two-way audio
- A good interface and easy to set up
- Can be a bit laggy when using the pan/tilt options
- Make sure you have a good signal at source. Though the receiving end is forgiving of spotty signal, the source is less so.
A nice, affordable dog camera that packs a punch with handy features
The Reolink E1 camera is both affordable and lightweight. It can be placed on any surface quickly and without fuss. It's a simple setup and the app works on most devices. Once connected, the pan / tilt function makes it easy to see your dog when they move around your home. With night vision, motion alerts and two-way audio it's a wonderful piece of technology. It's not perfect, but for the price it's a great addition to your smart home which gives peace of mind when you're away from your doggy.
Editor and Head Writer | K9Gadget Magazine
Having worked in the technology sector for many years – he now immerses himself in all things dogs. Writes about subjects ranging from dog food to canine psychology with a little bit of pup technology thrown in. He’s been writing for nearly 15 years on the topics he loves. Lives in London.