Soliom S60 Wireless Camera Review

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There are many wire-free external security cameras on the market now and most commonly, they will have a detachable battery that you will need to take indoors and charge overnight, once a month. We’ve also seen cameras come with their own mini solar panel, which you locate nearby and it will help top up the battery life but this is the first time we’ve seen a solar panel built into the camera, or perhaps it’s the other way round. Let me introduce you to the Soliom Bird S60 wireless outdoor camera.

Tech Spec

– 1080p recording resolution [15fps + 160deg FOV]
– SD card support upto 64GB
– 2 way audio via built in microphone and speaker
– WiFi connection via 2.4GHz
– 4000mAh rechargeable battery via USB
– PIR angle at 110deg and effective detection from 13ft away
– Night vision upto 32ft
– IP66 rated, fully waterproof for external use

Within the box, you get the camera itself, fully assembled with wings attached, plus a mounting bracket, screws and screwdriver, a USB cable, reset pin, some stickers and a user manual.

The camera comes in white and looks very similar to many other wireless cameras on the market, it has that spherical, egg-like shape and size. The difference here is the solar panel either side of the camera and attached at the rear. The solar panel is detachable and can be removed if desired. To the front of the camera is the lens itself, plus associated infrared and presence sensors, underneath a small hood. To the bottom of the camera is the power button, speaker and screw for mounting. Also on the bottom and underneath a small rubber cover is the micro SD card slot, reset button and micro USB port.

The overall appearance of the camera is quite smart and I like it. It makes perfect sense to include a solar panel for an all in one solution. Some may want a discrete camera though, one that remains hidden and catches things by surprise, which this is not. This is more of a show it off and use the camera as an initial deterrent, where people will see this camera and realise they are being recorded before anything bad happens.

Installation

Set up was very straight forward and probably one of the easiest I’ve come across to install. Download the free app on iOS or Android, fully charge the camera, turn it on and follow the on-screen instructions. It will ask you to scan the QR code on the underside of the solar panel, connect to your network and that’s it. Very simple and very quick.

Installation of the camera was also very straight forward, although a little more time consuming and thought was needed. A metal arm mount is provided, with a ball joint for adjusting. The mounting system is very crude, it’s basic and not made particularly well but it works. When you read through the instructions, it details the best positions to gain the most sunlight to help offer the most energy generator. It’s worth trying out positions before you install, as you will have a limited distance between the camera and your router. With that in mind, I tried my best to position the camera in as much sunlight as I practically could. If fixing into wood, you may get away with using the provided screwdriver. If masonry, you will need a drill.

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Performance

Video performance is good. The image is very clear and vibrant, it’s very easy to identify objects in detail up to about 5/6 meters but the image can show up to 20-25 meters away quite well too. The image is very wide, so you can see plenty but that fish eye effect does appear in the corners quite significantly. The motion detection was very efficient, too efficient at first and I had to tone it down a little. Night vision also works well but can only identify things in detail within 1 or 2 meters.

The audio quality is average at best and was expected. None of the cameras we’ve tried has been that great. That being said, it does work and if the circumstances are right, you will be able to hear conversations via the camera. You can also talk through your smart device for it to come out of the camera but this was a little muffled.

The app itself is ok but the weak link in this partnership. It works and you can get by, but the options are limited, it’s a little sluggish and it’s just very basic. We’ve seen a lot better from their competitors. I found that every time I got a motion detection, I’d get a notification on my phone but three times for the same detection, which was off-putting. I found that I’d select HD video, then it would switch back to SD quality from time to time.

I also found it unclear on battery life and whether or not it was being charged by the sun. There is just one small battery indicator in the top right of the app screen and when the solar panel was charging, you’d see the charging animation, similar to what you would find on your phone. I would have liked more detail on this, a percentage and feedback on solar performance and whether or not the position was the best possible. A full charge with just motion detection alerts/recordings, plus the occasional solar top-up in January (half-day sun how positioned), I imaged to get about a week’s worth of battery life. During summer, a tweak to the detection sensitivity and in the perfect position, you could easily achieve 2, maybe 3 weeks of battery life.

You can use the camera as a live viewer only, record to a micro SD card or save the footage to the Soliom cloud service. I used the cloud option, I didn’t have to pay anything and it wasn’t made clear what the deal was but upon detection, it would record an 8-second clip and save it for me.

The camera currently has a retail price of just £99, which is far cheaper than the offerings from the likes of Netgear and Dlink. It’s an attractive price, with a solid video image but average audio and app performance.

For more info, head over to the official Soliom website.

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