Soliom S600 Solar Security Camera review: Home security, powered by the sun

Soliom S600 Solar Security Camera review: Home security, powered by the sun

One of the challenges with outdoor surveillance is powering your camera. It’s usually not feasible to run electrical wire to a camera mounted near your roof, which means relying on batteries. The problem is that batteries must be recharged, which means periodically breaking out a ladder a few times a year.

With its model S600 Wi-Fi security camera (reviewed here in its V3 design), Soliom offers a classic solution: solar power. And while that is a capable answer to the battery problem, it presents some other challenges that must be considered.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best home security cameras, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

First, let’s talk hardware. As features go, the 1080p camera is loaded, starting with a pan/tilt motor that lets you rotate the camera on demand through 320 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically. The camera offers a record-on-detected-motion feature, but unlike, say, the Imilab C20, the camera does not automatically follow objects as they move.

Soliom S600 Solar Security Camera review: Home security, powered by the sun Soliom

Big Brother isn’t watching, it’s just your solar-powered security camera.

The S600 includes two forms of night vision, accessible on demand: A black-and-white version lit up by infrared LEDs, or a “color night vision” feature which actually just fires up four white LED spotlights to illuminate the scene—at least to a range of 32 feet.

Recordings can be saved to an onboard microSD card (cards with capacities up to 64GB are supported, but one is not included) or to Soliom’s subscription-based cloud service. After 30 free days, this service will run you $2 per month for 30 days, $11 for 180 days, or $22 for 360 days (though these prices seem to be in flux). Connectivity is via 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, and two-way audio is built in if you want to chat with any potential intruders.

soliom app 2 Christopher Null / IDG

The Soliom S600 captures clean video, but its app would be much more useful if it presented a thumbnail image for each recording.

Naturally, there’s also a large solar panel attached, as well. The 10 x 7-inch (HxW) panel is mounted on a swivel/hinge system, and while Soliom doesn’t provide the wattage of the panel, it does seem capable at keeping the 9000mAh battery topped up. Soliom says the panel should keep the battery charged for a year of regular use.

The first catch? All of this takes up a daunting amount of space, so if discretion is what you’re going for, the S600 isn’t a great fit. The full setup isn’t the most attractive design and it weighs a beefy 3.3 pounds, so once you mount it to the wall with the four included screws, you probably won’t be moving it. You’ll want to plan carefully not just for the camera’s video coverage but also to maximize sun exposure on the panel.

Once you complete an initial charge via wall power and figure out the ins and outs of connecting the solar panel to the camera proper—a separate power cord runs between the two pieces—setup is fairly simple. The Soliom+ mobile app quickly gets the camera connected to Wi-Fi, though steel yourself for the booming voice instructions that emerge from the unit during configuration. Once you’re live, the handholding largely stops, however, and Soliom’s manual is particularly confusing, suffering from an even worse translation from Chinese than is the norm.

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