This is an initial review of the Soliom S600 pan-tilt-zoom wireless camera. The device has not been in operation long enough to catch any interesting video, die from lack of sunlight, or malfunction in any way. Here’s what I’ve found.
Update: battery lasted about two months with solar topping off, needed a couple of hours charge after two months.
Your first requirement is to charge the solar battery. You can do this in a few hours on a USB charger, or throw the solar panel out in the sun and let it go to town. I opted for charging, it claimed it wanted about six hours in the manual, it was done in two. This is to give the on-board battery enough juice to not die if you live in Seattle and never see the sun.
You’ll need to purchase an SD card or a cloud subscription to store video. As the camera sips power like a 4yo eats green beans, and as they want to sell you a service, there are no streaming to FTP options available with the firmware you’re given. This makes a lot of automation you could do not an option in a solar powered wireless device.
With the SD card in place you can record and receive alerts when motion is detected, log in and retrieve the video.
I am not a fan of the screws they included with this. They’re at best drywall screws. They even include drywall plastic expanders. These are not outdoor grade and when you try and drill them into exterior wood the heads shred. They do include a piece of paper you can drill through, but getting a standard drill in, you’re going at an angle. Not particularly happy with that
Set up (software)
Let there be no doubt here I hate the software. By default it’s set to call your phone “ring in” which … why? There are no quiet hours, no times that you just don’t want to be bothered by it. It can be changed but good luck finding that option (App, camera, camera settings – not to be confused with app, settings)
Putting an SD card in and not subscribing to the cloud service does not start the images or video recording to the SD card. It’ll sit there going derp for days because there’s no cloud subscription without a simple little logic test of if no cloud and SD installed record to sd.
There’s an option when pairing your phone with the camera to scan a QR code. On my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 this never activated the camera. Oh it requested and had the camera permission, I verified the QR code was readable. Nope, nada. Luckily it also had a pairing option for sound and the camera and my phone squeaked at each other for a bit and it worked.
Software can be fixed. I’ve asked about that as while it can be fixed many of these nifty gadgets never do.
I’ve mounted it low and easy to access for the first week of testing. It currently is about 34 feet away from my Portal WiFi router and the direct line of sight has a floor, kitchen, exterior brick wall in between it and the router. I don’t know that the signal isn’t bouncing around off the neighbor’s house, but it’s got a decent signal and operates much like my wireless (but plugged in) FOSCAM PTZ cameras do – down to the delay in signal.
Color night vision sounds cool, but all it means bright LED white lights that blind whoever’s in the way. Infrared looks standard (sorry forgot to snap anything.) You can stream in SD and HD (1080p) to your phone. When streaming in HD the controls seems to be a little slower. Guessing bandwidth or processing on the camera.
PIR human detection triggers recording on living creatures, not rock monsters. Does not appear to work particularly well when it’s 99 degrees outside however.
So far I’ve drained the battery (according to the indicator) less than a quarter and every day I check it’s back up to somewhere around 100. This is another part of the software I’m not a fan of. Vague battery indicator.
- No wires beyond the solar panel to the base unit
- Decent signal strength at distance
- No AP mode so not a particularly good trail camera
- At distance will require a range extender (do they make solar range extenders?)
- 2.4GHz only (for distance and wall penetration)
- No way to tie in or unify it with a custom security setup / Assistant
- Antennas not as long as I’d expect
- Good device if you don’t want to do wiring
The Soliom S600 is available on Amazon (tagged link, we’d get a commission if you buy anything through there)
I’ll be doing a follow up and link it here later.