Soliom Solar Wirefree Camera REVIEW
The Soliom S60 solar camera is an easy-to-use way to keep an eye on your surroundings. Setting it up doesn’t require a lot of technical expertise, and it doesn’t require regular upkeep like changing batteries or charging due to its solar panels. In addition to being easy to use, it also has useful features like two-way audio, PIR motion detection, free cloud storage and customizable in-app settings that make it a solid security camera no matter your skill level.
Packaging and First Impressions
Full disclosure, I received two Soliom S60 cameras due to a possible fault with the first product. It wouldn’t stay on unless the power button was held down. I believe this is because of the configuration of the power button itself. It is a small silicone button that you have to press fairly hard until the button clicks into place. The first camera’s power button often did not stay in place, shutting down the camera once I stopped pressing the button. At first, I thought the camera was a complete dud, but after receiving the second for comparison, I managed to get it to work a few times by using the included reset pin to press the button in past the camera’s plastic exterior to get it to stay on. The second camera I received worked smoothly, and Soliom was quick to respond and send the replacement following my initial complaint.
Both cameras were shipped in sturdy boxes. The cameras themselves were snugly fit into the packaging with thick foam for protection. Included with the camera are a metal mount, USB to Micro USB charging cord, a reset pin, a second silica port cover, a user manual, mounting screws, tiny solar panel screws, a “Protected by Soliom” sticker, and a small screwdriver for removing the solar panel.
The camera itself looks kind of like a bird. It has an oblong white body with an oval face that houses the camera lens, infrared light, light sensor, motion sensor, and indicator LED. At the bottom of the body, there is the speaker/microphone, mount input, power button, micro SD card slot, reset button and micro USB power input. The last three are covered with a silica gel flap. The camera’s solar panel wings are removable, if you want to use it indoors. In the course of my testing, I did notice that the solar panels did charge a little from artificial light. The camera has a 4000 mAh battery and can continuously record for up to 12 hours during the day or eight hours using infrared night mode. On standby, the camera can last for up to six months on a charge, according to the user manual.
Setup and Installation
Setting up the Soliom solar camera is quick and easy but also annoying because it’s a noisy process. You first need to download the Soliom app onto your smartphone and make sure that your device is connected to a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi signal. Most Wi-Fi routers put out both a 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signal, so you may need to connect to a different one than you usually use. Make sure your phone ringer is on and the volume is turned all the way up. Then, turn the camera on and wait for the status LED to turn blue and announce that the camera is ready to begin pairing. You need to put your Wi-Fi name and password into the app and begin sound wave configuration. This makes your phone emit a few long, high-pitched whistle-like chirps, which the camera picks up and uses for pairing. Once your camera and phone are paired, they no longer have to be on the same Wi-Fi network. The app’s homepage shows a still taken from the camera’s view. You can add more cameras using the same process, or allow other devices to view the camera’s feed using a QR code.
Once paired, you can place your camera in its permanent location, though it needs to be somewhat close to your Wi-Fi router. Other considerations to keep in mind when placing your camera include sun exposure and exposure to the elements. The Soliom camera is IP66 rated, which means it’s fine against dust and particulate ingress, as well as water spray. It is made to be outdoors and feels sturdy, but I’d make sure that it’s not in a location that could get too wet, just in case.
I was pretty satisfied with the Soliom S60’s image quality. It can record in either SD or HD quality, and the picture is perfectly sufficient for security monitoring. It has a 160 degree wide field of view and automatically shifts between normal and infrared modes according to ambient lighting. The camera does sometimes record this shift as movement and sends you a notification, which is odd. Speaking of notifications, Soliom’s default notification settings are annoying, so I’d advise changing those to your preference immediately upon setup.
The PIR motion detection worked and sent a notification to my phone every time the camera detected significant movement. You can set the PIR sensor’s sensitivity or disable the function in the Soliom app. One complaint I have here is that sometimes it would take the app a few seconds to notify me of the moment after the camera sensed it, and then it would take a further few seconds for the feed to load, meaning that I sometimes entirely missed the cause of the alert. Reviewing the cloud recordings, I noticed that several of the clips showed absolutely no movement, meaning that the camera missed the motion trigger in the recording as well. The motion recordings are only eight seconds long, regardless of how long the motion lasts. You can, however, manually record video in the app after receiving a motion alert if you need more footage.
In order to use an SD card with the Soliom camera, it must be between eight and 64GB, and you must first format it through the app. I used the cloud storage option, which allows you to save up to 20 recordings for free.
I have an overall positive impression of the Soliom camera. It has good image quality, is easy to set up and use, uses solar energy, offers free cloud storage, and is controlled by an intuitive app with customizable settings. The camera’s motion detection lag is a weakness, but this doesn’t outweigh the Soliom S60’s usefulness.
Originally published at macsources.com on April 10, 2019.