Reolink RLC-511WA WiFi Outdoors Camera Review

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On the top right side, underneath the Settings icon, you will be able to find some new elements (if you come from a previous Reolink camera): there’s a torch sign that, when tapped will enable the four bright LEDs from the front and next to it, there’s an Alarm icon which, when tapped will enable the horn. Underneath the live video, there’s the usual set of quick action buttons: Start/Stop, Mute, Capture photo, Record video, Enlarge and the image quality (depending on your WiFi connection, you can choose between Fluent, Balanced and 5MP).
Obviously, Fluent should be fine for most connections and will have the least amount of lag, while the higher quality should be suitable for better connections and you may see some lag, especially when zooming (in my case, it was negligible).

Image Quality and Zoom

The RLC-511WA has a 5-megapixel 1/2.7″ CMOS image sensor that supports a resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels and, just like on the RLC-511 and the RLC-511W, there is support for 4x zoom. To check out the image quality, I set it to the 5MP, but I kept the connection purely WiFi (the router was about 20 feet away, after a couple of walls). During the day, after pointing the camera towards objects as far as 200 feet away, the footage was excellent, as expected from a Reolink camera, with the objects clearly defined, no issue with sun flares and overall, the colors looked good. The contrast is a bit high (to help the colors to pop off – doesn’t affect the clarity in any way) and I did notice some distortions at some buildings in the distance (about 250 feet away).

Daytime video – No zoom.
Daytime video – 4x zoom

Zooming in (4x) shows that the clarity is maintained and, just like on the RLC-511W, the latency between the zoom command and when the action gets triggered in the app is minimal, less than a couple of seconds (it remained at about a second when connected via cable). The issue that I had when I tested the RLC-522 was that it took its sweet time to zoom and focus, which meant that the object of interest may already be gone from the frame, but the RLC-511 seems to have fixed it since it was way faster, therefore suitable for dynamic events.

Night time – Black and White – No zoom.
Night time – Black and White – 4x zoom.

The RLC-511WA is just as fast on focusing on the object (it takes less than two seconds via either WiFi or the cable connection). So, the issues that you can encounter will not related to the focusing on the object, but on the triggering of the zooming action if your WiFi connection is not stable (not the fault of the camera, though). During the night, the RLC-511WA performed really well, so the black and white footage is clear, the objects are well defined even in the distance and I did like that the light sources aren’t overblown. And the same remains true for the 4x zoom – there’s also minimal lag when the camera was positioned about 20 feet from the router (same as before). The Reolink RLC-511WA does support color night vision but it does need to rely on the spotlight, unlike the Annke NC400 which didn’t need the help of an additional powerful light source.

Night time – Color – No zoom.
Night time – Color – 4x zoom.

The good news is that the colored footage is excellent, again with the light sources kept in check (not overblown) and the details all being there. Zooming in four times has kept the clarity of the far away objects and near the camera, everything was crystal clear and felt more detailed (the effect of color versus black & white). I need to mention that the viewing angle is decently wide, going from 90° to 31° horizontally and from 67° to 24° vertically.

Other Features (including Smart Motion Detection)

If we return to the app, you will be able to see that there are four icons at the bottom, the first is called Talk and, if you tap on it, you can talk with someone in front of the camera (thanks to the speaker + mike combo), there’s also the Clip icon (clips a specific portion of the footage and enlarges it), PTZ and Playback. The PTZ allows you to do two actions, Zoom and Focus – this way, you can manually adjust the preferred amount of zoom and to quickly adjust the focus, but I saw that most of the time, it’s best to leave the Focus on auto since it’s both faster and better than anything was able to come up with in a short period of time. The PlayBack section is the same across all Reolink cameras which means that it’s the place where you can check all the recorder videos that are captured when the motion detection sensor gets triggered or when you set a scheduled recording session. This section is fairly easy to navigate and you can go forward and backwards on each video, but I have noticed an interesting addition at the bottom – it said Any Motion, Person and Vehicle. And that’s when I realized that even if it doesn’t seem to be advertised, the Reolink RLC-511W does actually have the smart motion detection feature built-in. And that’s to be expected considering that the Reolink RLC-511WA does indeed have the smart motion features built-in.

Of course, I immediately put it to the test which has showed the same behavior as on the s the RLC-510A and RLC-520A and that’s a good thing because these two performed great in this regard. Indeed, the smart motion detection could easily tell apart a moving car from a person walking and the best results I saw when the area of interest was no farther than 100 feet (and yes, I still relied on the same YouTube video – DNA of New York · Aviation · White Noise · Unwind – since testing a camera outdoors nowadays is mostly out of question).


Furthermore, wearing a mask will still trigger the sensor, as well as walking towards the camera with your hands in your pocket. If you stand still, then the camera will not see you, but as soon as you make any noticeable movement, I saw that the camera’s AI will detect that a person is in front of it (there’s a small icon on the live footage that changes depending on the type of detection). The Notifications were fast enough and would reach my smartphone after about 3 seconds which is more than enough to react in case of any trespassers.

In order to keep the false motion detection triggers in check, it’s best to choose the area of interest – you get the possibility to draw on the live video where the sensor should check for changes – so, in case there’s some moving cloth or any other similar object in the view, it won’t sound the alarm. In terms of storage, you can simply rely on a microSD, but you also get the possibility to use a Reolink NVR, a NAS and it seems that it will work with some third-party NVRs as well (that support ONVIF and RTSP protocols).


At first, I thought that the Reolink RLC-511WA was just the non-PoE variant of the RLC-511 that allows you to connect wirelessly to your router and, while it’s true to a certain degree, the camera seems to deliver so much more. You do get the same excellent daytime and night time footage, but the RLC-511WA also comes with color night vision which works really well due to the integrated spotlight (that will also be a great deterrent for any potential trespasser) and the integrated speaker that doubles as a horn is another new feature that will greatly improve the security of your home or office. I also noticed that the smart motion detection feature worked great on the RLC-520A and it does work perfectly fine on the RLC-511WA as well (the RLC-511W lacked this feature). As a conclusion, if you need a camera to surveil your home’s surroundings, but don’t have the means to run an Ethernet cable outside, then the Reolink RLC-511WA will not only deliver an excellent footage quality, but it also comes with a plethora of modern features that a lot of its competitors (in the same price range) still don’t offer.

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Reolink RLC-511W













  • Excellent image quality
  • Color night vision + spotlight
  • Smart motion detection
  • Speaker with loud alarm
  • Support for both 2.4 and 5GHz bands


  • 64GB microSD card slot

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