I saw Reolink’s new ColorX security cameras at CES 2024 and they can do full color night vision without lights

A picture of one of Reolink's new security cameras with the company's ColorX technology
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I’m here at CES 2024 this week and while I’ve seen all kinds of weird and wacky gadgets, there have also been some practical ones too, like these new security cameras from Reolink which feature the company’s ColorX true color night vision technology.

When it comes to the best home security cameras and especially the best outdoor security cameras, they capture footage at all hours of the day. If you have a security camera inside your home, it likely uses night vision tech while outdoor security cameras often incorporate lights to produce a color picture. During a real break in or disturbance, these lights can be quite useful but unfortunately, the same can’t be said when a lost pet wanders into your yard at night or bad weather triggers your outdoor security cameras.

Back in June of last year, Reolink released the first security cameras in its true color night vision ColorX line. By using a F1.0 aperture, 1/1.8” sensor and ISP technology, these cameras can capture footage in full color even at night. The best part though is that they don’t use any lights to do this.

It’s one thing to read about something like this or see a video online but it’s entirely different when you see it in-person. Earlier today I had a chance to meet with Reolink at CES and I got to see the company’s ColorX technology in action with my own eyes. I walked away impressed by just how bright the night vision on its security cameras with it built-in were. 

If you’re tired of having a bright light go off every time you step out into your backyard or front yard at night, A ColorX-equipped camera from Reolink could be the perfect upgrade for your own home security system. Here’s why.

Be sure to check out our Best of CES 2024 award winners to see the 23 best gadgets of the show.

No lights necessary

A picture of two Reolink security cameras set up side by side in a box

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

To show off the capabilities of its latest ColorX security cameras, Reolink placed two of them inside a box and pointed them at a small cutout of a house. The box was then completely sealed so that no light could get in, though one of the company’s staff members at CES did open it up so that I could take the picture below.

With the box all sealed up, I walked around in front of it where one of the best iPads was showing the feed from both cameras in real-time. While one of the cameras came equipped with Reolink’s ColorX tech, the other didn’t and the results really surprised me.

A tablet showing the feeds from two Reolink security cameras simultaneously

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you look at the picture above, you can see that the camera feed on the top was using ColorX while the one underneath it wasn’t and instead relied on black and white night vision. Though it may be difficult to make out some of the more minute details in the picture above, you can still see how the colors pop. The red shutters and door are clearly visible as is the fact that the side of the house is a lighter yellow while the roof is a darker shade.

With traditional black and white night vision though, these details are barely visible. Instead, the house looks much darker and a light would be useful in this case. Reolink’s ColorX technology gives you a picture that’s “bright as day” and even shows more colors than are visible to the naked eye.

Something like this may not seem like a big deal at first, yet as someone who tests out new security cameras fairly often, it’s the kind of thing you’ll come to appreciate over time. Likewise, you may find yourself wishing you had considered just how annoying the lights on a security camera can be after the fact. I know I’m definitely in the second camp after seeing what Reolink’s ColorX security cameras can do in-person.

Wi-Fi or PoE, the choice is yours

A picture from CES of another one of Reolink's security cameras with ColorX

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Reolink has a wide variety of different security cameras available depending on how you want to install and use them. The company’s cameras that use Power over Ethernet (PoE) need to be hardwired but because of this, they’re more reliable, especially when you need them most. Even the best Wi-Fi routers go down from time to time but with a PoE security camera system installed at your home, you won’t miss a second of what’s happening inside or outside your house.

Not everyone has a home that’s wired for Ethernet or can commit to doing an installation like this themselves, though. This is why Reolink also has Wi-Fi security cameras. There’s pros and cons to either setup but the good thing is that if you want full color night vision without the need for lights, Reolink’s ColorX technology is available with both types of security cams.

Full color night vision without any lights seems to be in the works for security cameras from other manufacturers too, and it’s a trend I’m really excited for. The lights from a security camera can scare off an intruder but it’s always great to have the option to turn them off entirely without sacrificing being able to make out the details in their footage.

Reolink’s ColorX technology is making its way into more of the company’s cameras at this year’s CES, and I was really glad I had a chance to see it in action for myself in person at this year’s show.

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Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.