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Eufy SoloCam S220 review: A subscription-free, solar-powered security camera

Our Rating :
£109.99 from
Price when reviewed : 110

The Eufy SoloCam S220 is packed with features, free to run and comes with an integrated solar panel to charge its battery

Pros

  • Solar-powered
  • No subscription needed
  • Sharp 2K video

Cons

  • Solar needs can affect positioning
  • Setting privacy zones is fiddly
  • Lacks 5GHz Wi-Fi

The Eufy SoloCam S220 is a standalone wireless security camera from Eufy. It can connect to the company’s HomeBase 3, but that isn’t a requirement; instead, it can be installed entirely on its own, recording footage to internal storage and topping up its battery with an integrated solar panel.

It promises to be a true set-it-and-forget-it security camera, with no need to even pay for an ongoing subscription, since all its features are available without the monthly fee demanded by many other security camera companies. Ring, I’m looking at you.

The Eufy records in 2K resolution, has a microphone and speaker for two-way audio, and there’s a siren for warding off trespassers and potential burglars. Infrared night vision is also part of the package, but this camera misses out on spotlights.

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Eufy SoloCam S220 review: What do you get for the money?

Priced at £110, the SoloCam S220 is a self-contained home surveillance system. It doesn’t need a hub (although it can connect to Eufy’s HomeBase 3, more on which in a moment), and it doesn’t need plugging in or charging. There’s also no compulsory subscription, so unlike many other security cameras you can view recorded footage and access all of the camera’s features right out of the box.

That said, if you do hook it up to Eufy’s HomeBase 3 hub it unlocks extra capabilities. Namely, the camera gains smarter AI detection technology, where it can tell the difference between humans, pets and vehicles, and even spot known individuals using facial recognition. Without the HomeBase 3, the S220 can still spot humans and alert you accordingly, but it isn’t clever enough to tell who they are, or specifically tell you when a vehicle or pet is detected.

The HomeBase 3 also acts as a storage hub for recorded footage. Without it, video is saved to the camera’s own 8GB of internal storage. This is still fine, and something Ring cameras with their paid-for cloud storage don’t offer, but it means if the Eufy camera is stolen then you lose its recordings. That’s not a deal-breaker but certainly something to bear in mind.

The box includes the camera itself, plus three screws and wall plugs for attaching the integrated mount to a wall or fence. The camera attaches with a ball-and-socket mount that allows for a good amount of adjustability, before a screw is tightened around the mount to lock the camera into place.

The big news here is the integrated solar panel. Other security cameras can connect to external panels for extra power, but by seamlessly integrating it into the body of the camera itself, Eufy has built a camera that is truly wireless and requires no other means of charging. In fact, the company says that once you’ve given the battery an initial charge with the included USB cable, three hours of direct sunlight per day is enough to keep it sufficiently topped up.

Eufy S220 SoloCam what's in the box

Another highlight of the SoloCam S220 is its 2K video resolution, which is a nice upgrade over the 1080p still offered by some other cameras and means extra detail for your recordings. There’s also infrared night vision, and Eufy says the motion sensor works at distances of up to 30 feet, which is pretty standard for a security camera in this price range.

The camera has a field of view of 135 degrees, connects to your home network over 2.4GHz Wi-Fi (5GHz is not supported), supports both Alexa and Google Assistant but not Apple HomeKit, and it has an IP67 waterproof rating. The latter means it’s designed to survive life outdoors without any protection or shelter – a necessity, given that the solar panel needs to be exposed to direct sunlight.

Eufy S220 SoloCam mounted on wall - pictured showing solar panel

Lastly, you can set up motion zones and privacy zones. The former lets you designate areas in the camera’s field of view where, if motion is detected, it will record and notify you via the Eufy smartphone app. The latter lets you draw black boxes over anything you don’t want the camera to record, such as your neighbour’s property.


Eufy SoloCam S220 review: What does it do well?

Setting up the camera is quick and easy, with the Eufy Security app walking you through the installation process. The camera connected to my Wi-Fi network with no issues and retained a strong signal, even when positioned two rooms and an external wall away from the router. Installation is also easy, as all you need is a screwdriver or a drill to fit the three screws of the mount, which then screws into the camera itself.

After that you’re ready to go, but it’s worth digging into the app and trying out all of the settings before you leave it to get on with monitoring your property. You can set up and adjust motion zones and privacy zones, tweak the motion sensitivity and change how the camera works when its status is set to Home or Away.

Geofencing and automation aren’t available without the Eufy HomeBase, so you have to manually set the camera to Away when you leave and remember to disarm it when you’re home, if that’s how you want it to function. Scheduling is also possible, so if you have a weekly routine you can configure the camera accordingly.

The camera’s motion sensitivity can be adjusted on a scale of one to seven. The former produces fewer recordings and saves battery life, while the latter records more frequently but drains the battery more quickly. You’ll want to spend some time tweaking these settings, along with the motion and privacy zones, so that you aren’t bombarded with notifications and the camera doesn’t run its battery down too quickly.

Eufy app screengrabs

Speaking of battery life, Eufy claims up to three months without any sunlight exposure. A graph in the app plots battery percentage over time; for me the charge fell a little during the first day as I played with the settings, but soon stabilised and barely fell at all over the next five days. Even during a distinctly grey British November, the solar panel seemed to be doing its job.

Until I cranked up the sensitivity, that is. At the maximum level, where the camera reacted to movement several times every hour, the 6,500 mAh battery fell by almost 20% in a single day. Unless you live in a very sunny climate, then, I’d advise against using the maximum sensitivity option.

Movement notifications arrive on the app in just a couple of seconds, whether your phone is connected to Wi-Fi or not, and footage from the 2K sensor is nice and sharp, with only a small loss of detail when the automatic night vision is enabled.

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Eufy S220 SoloCam review: What could it do better?

Buyers will, however, need to be aware of the S220’s limitations. Eufy says the camera can detect movement up to 30 feet away, and I found that’s about right, but reliability at that distance can suffer.

Installed two floors up, it alerted me to movement but couldn’t always tell the difference between a passing car and a person. When relocated to monitor a smaller space such as a hallway, however, it worked perfectly.

Eufy app screenshots

I’d also like the app to be easier to navigate. Activity zones are set up in the Motion Detection section of the app, which seems logical enough, but privacy zones are on the Video Settings page, where I expected only to find options for resolution and streaming quality. It definitely pays to have a good dig around the app and make sure you’ve explored every page.

I was also disappointed to find that setting up privacy zones is no easier than when we tested the Eufy SoloCam E40. It’s tricky to make them just the right size and shape, and the app would sometimes wrongly create a duplicate zone.


Eufy SoloCam S220 review: Should you buy one?

The S220 is very well priced, considering this is a wireless camera packing 2K video, local storage with no costly subscription, weatherproofing, a siren and solar charging. It’s easy to install, the app is fast and reliable, and video quality is good through both day and night.

The solar panel works, even in grey Britain, but you have to turn down the sensitivity to avoid excessive battery drain. And I really like how recordings are stored locally without Eufy insisting on you subscribing to cloud storage, as Ring, Nest and others do. There’s always the option of adding the HomeBase 3 for extra functionality such as AI face detection, but there’s no pressure to do so.

There’s a huge amount of value here and, at just over £100, the SoloCam S220 is very well priced. If you’re in the market for your first security camera this is an excellent choice.

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