A no-hassle wireless outdoor camera, the Eufy SoloCam S40 can keep itself charged thanks to its large solar panel. There are no ongoing subscription costs, and the high-quality video (including full-colour night vision) is stored on the 8GB of storage. There isn’t quite as much control over how and when the camera records, as with more expensive rivals, but if you want something simple to install and maintain, this security camera is a good option.
- Solar panel keeps battery charged
- Great video quality
- Integrated storage
- Not much control over when the camera records
- No cloud subscription option
- UKRRP: £199
- TypeThis outdoor security camera requires two hours of sunlight a day to keep charged
- Smart home integrationYou can stream the live video feed to a compatible Alexa or Google Assistant smart display
- DetectionAlthough the camera offers basic motion detection, you can set it to record only people
Battery-powered security cameras are the easiest to position and install, but with them comes the eternal problem of having to remember to charge them. Arlo, Ring and others do sell external solar panels to negate having to do this job, but then there’s an extra device to deal with. The Eufy SoloCam S40, on the other hand, delivers everything you need in one neat package, with the solar panel integrated on top. Excellent video quality and clever detection options make this a great hassle-free outdoor security camera.
Design and Installation
- Easy to place
- Needs just two hours of sunshine per day
- Connects to the Eufy Security app
The inclusion of a solar panel on the top of the Eufy SoloCam S40 means this wireless camera is fairly large (50 x 85 x 114mm) compared to the rival models such as the Arlo Pro 4. The flip side is that you only need to mount this one camera, not the camera and a separate solar panel.
As with Eufy’s other cameras, the SoloCam S40 is super simple to set up. There’s only one thing to take into consideration: the solar panel needs two hours of sunlight per day to stay charged, so you have to install it in a spot that’s possible throughout the year.
Eufy provides a simple mount that can be screwed to a wall, with a ball joint providing plenty of flexibility to point the camera where you want it. Once in place, the camera needs to be connected to the Eufy Security app, which is also used for the company’s other products, such as the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K.
- Onboard storage
- Spotlight for colour night vision
- Basic but effective controls
The Eufy Security app isn’t quite as polished as that offered by the competition, but it does get the basics right. From the homescreen, you can view a thumbnail of all security cameras you have installed, including the Eufy SoloCam S40. There’s a menu shortcut on the thumbnail that lets you snooze the camera for your choice of 30 minutes or one, two, six or 12 hours. That’s handy if you want your camera to continue recording but you need a bit of quiet time.
Tap the Play button and you go through to the Live view, so you can see what’s happening in real time. From here, you can turn on the spotlight, and use the clear two-way talk to have a chat with anyone you can see on the feed.
For the most part, you’ll want the Eufy SoloCam S40 to run automatically to capture video, and for this you’ll need to set up motion detection. Out of the box, I didn’t find the camera sensitive enough: it would trigger an alert if I started behind the camera and walked away from it. I wouldn’t receive an alert if I started from further away and walked towards the camera, either. Adjusting the motion detection sensitivity was enough to fix this.
Cameras can be annoying when they flood you with alerts, but the Eufy SoloCam S40 is pretty good in this regard. It’s set to Human Only detection mode by default, so only triggers when it spots a person; you can set it to All Motion, if you prefer.
The Arlo Pro 4 offers more nuance, able to tell the difference between people, animals and vehicles; but if I had to pick one object to detect it would be people.
To further narrow down detection, you can draw activity zones to monitor. I found that I didn’t need them, and I had just the occasional miscategorised alert. For the most part, the Eufy SoloCam S40 is excellent at picking up people only.
At night, the camera can shoot with its IR lights in black-and-white, but I found it best to set up the two spotlights to turn on automatically. Not only do they draw attention to the fact that video is being recorded, but they also let the camera shoot in full colour.
Video is recorded to the camera’s 8GB of internal storage, which Eufy says is enough for two months of footage. Exactly where you’ve focused your camera will affect this, of course: it’s generally best to direct the camera so that it won’t pick up too much motion from outside of your home. There’s no microSD card slot to upgrade storage and no option for cloud recording.
Events are presented in a neat list, filterable by device and motion detection type. Any clip can be reviewed quickly and downloaded.
Having control over when and where a camera can record is important, and Eufy offers this through manually selectable modes, such as Home and Away. For each one, you can set whether your camera records and whether or not it sends you notifications. You can also set a schedule if you prefer.
Modes work well enough, but you have to remember to handle them manually. With the Ring Spotlight Cam, you can choose whether it records based on the state of your Ring Alarm; the Arlo system provides geolocation for mode changes.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility let you stream the footage to a compatible smart display.
- Excellent daylight footage
- Full-colour night footage
Leaving my Eufy SoloCam S40 outside for a few weeks, I found that I didn’t have to charge the battery manually at all; solar power was all that I needed. Where your camera is pointing and how much sun it gets may mean that you get different results.
To test how good the camera was, I captured some test footage at different times. The camera’s 130-degree field of view is capable of capturing video at a 2K resolution, which meant that it could easily cover most of my garden easily.
During the day, the footage is very sharp and detailed. Some cameras will tend to blur out detail in the grass or on bricks, but the Eufy SoloCam S40 doesn’t fall into those traps.
At night, I first tested the camera without its spotlight, using its IR vision instead to capture footage in black-and-white. Here, there’s a good amount of detail, although the image does become softer. As you can see from the sample below, my face loses some detail, although the footage is still good enough to see who’s in the frame.
With the spotlight on, the Eufy SoloCam S40 can shoot in full colour at night. The footage does get a little bit blurrier and doesn’t quite have the same level of sharpness as presented during the day. That said, the quality of the picture is excellent for night-time viewing, and it’s easy to spot individuals. Only the Annke NC800 shoots better footage at night, although that camera is a little fiddlier to set up.
Should you buy it?
If you want a simple to install, low-maintenance wireless security camera without subscription costs, then this is a great choice.
If you want a little more control over how and when the camera can record, or you’d prefer the option of cloud subscription, look elsewhere.
Although the Eufy SoloCam S40 doesn’t quite have the polish and easy app control of the Arlo system, it gets all of the basics right: it’s easy to install, shoots high-quality video, even shooting in full colour at night. With the right placement, you won’t have to charge the camera thanks to its solar panel. For those looking for a high-quality camera with no ongoing subscription fees, this is a great choice – but check out my guide to the best outdoor security cameras for more ideas.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every security camera we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Used as our main security camera for the review period
We test compatibility with the main smart systems (HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT and more) to see how easy each camera is to automate.
We take samples during the day and night to see how clear each camera’s video is.
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It needs two hours per day to remain charged, although the number of motion activations and recordings may mean you need more sunlight.
It has 8GB of integrated storage onboard.
No, there’s no cloud video option.