Solar energy. That elusive renewable power we’ve by no means actually harnessed, regardless of it now being nicely into the 21st century.
As a toddler of the ’80s I bear in mind fondly my Casio HS-8 – a pocket calculator that nearly magically didn’t want batteries because of its small photo voltaic panels. It served me nicely by major faculty to school, and seemingly provided a window right into a doable future with out discarded Duracells or unwieldy energy provides.
Issues, in fact, didn’t fairly pan out like that, however not too long ago there have been indicators that solar energy is again on the agenda with tech companies. Samsung, notably, is utilizing panels in its newest high-end TV remotes, and is extensively rumoured to be creating a sun-powered good watch.
Right here, although, solar energy is the important thing characteristic of this new safety digicam from Chinese language model Eufy.
The SoloCam S40 has an built-in photo voltaic panel and Eufy claims the system requires simply two hours of daylight a day to keep up sufficient energy in its battery to work 24/7. This affords a tangible profit over many good safety cameras that both want their batteries frequently recharged, or require being related to the mains for energy, limiting the place they are often positioned.
The S40, which has a 2K decision, additionally has a built-in highlight, siren and talk-back speaker, whereas its 8GB of inside storage means you do not have to pay for costly cloud storage subscriptions for viewing the digicam’s motion-triggered video recordings.
So does the Eufy SoloCam S40 mark the beginning of a solar-powered revolution for safety cameras, or will a scarcity of sunshine go away your own home susceptible to intruders? Learn on for our verdict.
Design & Construct
Constructed-in photo voltaic panel
8GB on-board storage
USB-C charging port
Contained in the field, you get the digicam itself, a plastic ball-jointed, pivoting bracket for mounting the digicam to a wall, screws, a USB-C charging cable, plus a useful drill template for when attaching the unit to a wall.
Like its predecessor, the S40 is a standalone unit that connects on to your own home Wi-Fi community and might due to this fact be mounted wherever you want in your property as long as it might probably nonetheless obtain a robust sign out of your router. After all, you additionally have to place it in a spot that receives at the least two hours of direct daylight to maintain the battery topped up.
The matt black photo voltaic panel is on the highest, and does not have the standard shiny photovoltaic sheets we’ve come to anticipate of the expertise. The digicam weighs a hefty 880g and measures 50 x 85 x 114mm and is weatherproof to IP65 customary, so it ought to stand as much as regardless of the parts can throw at it.
Opening a flap on the again reveals a sync button and USB-C charging port, whereas the underside of the S40 homes the unit’s speaker. A microphone is positioned to the left of the digicam lens on the system’s face, alongside a photo-sensitive sensor and movement sensor LED indicator.
The S40 captures video footage at as much as 2K decision, has a 90dB alarm that may be triggered both manually or robotically, AI particular person detection, automated infrared night time imaginative and prescient by way of a single LED in addition to full color filming in darkness by way of its built-in flood-light.
The SoloCam additionally lets you management numerous options and examine the feed utilizing the Alexa and Google Assistant voice assistants, though Apple’s HomeKit is unfortunately not supported.
Options & Efficiency
Individual & animal detection
10-20 second default clips
Very similar to earlier Eufy cameras, the S40 is simple to arrange. You might be inspired to totally cost the system earlier than set up, and that took a full eight hours earlier than the battery had reached 100 per cent and we might get issues up and operating.
Theoretically that is the one time you’ll have to cost the due to the photo voltaic panel, however extra on that later.
The remainder of the arrange course of is a breeze. After downloading Eufy’s app onto your smartphone or pill and creating an account, it is only a case of urgent the sync button on the digicam, deciding on your own home Wi-Fi community after which utilizing the digicam’s lens to scan a QR code that’s displayed in your telephone. When you’ve named your digicam, it is able to be mounted for monitoring.
The Wi-Fi antennae seem like excellent, with the S40 simply capable of preserve a connection to our router when positioned over 20 meters away.
The companion app for the S40, which is used for the whole Eufy safety digicam vary, has undergone fairly just a few updates and refinements throughout our testing on each Android and iOS. Whereas initially susceptible to hanging and crashing, it grew to become reassuringly secure within the latter interval of the evaluate course of.
The app provides you thumbnails from any Eufy cameras you’ve got put in and tapping on one take you to a dwell feed from that digicam.
The S40 doesn’t document footage frequently, however as a substitute captures quick video clips when movement has been detected. You’ll be able to manually document footage for nevertheless lengthy you want by way of the app on to your cellular system’s storage slightly than the S40’s storage. However extended clips rapidly eat the SoloCam’s battery, which is why clips are so quick by default.
Within the default Optimum Battery Life mode, these clips are between 10 and 20 seconds however you may change to Optimum Surveillance mode which allows clip lengths as much as 60 seconds, or dig into the settings and customise the size as much as 120 seconds – two minutes.
After all, growing recording time will drain the battery, so you may need to discover a compromise between the 2.
In addition to movies, nonetheless pictures from the digicam can be captured and saved to your cellular system.
In our testing it took about 5 to 6 seconds for an alert to be obtained to a cellular iOS system following a detection. Faucet on the notification and also you’re immediately offered with a playable video recording of the incident.
It is onerous to not be impressed with the 2K decision pictures supplied by the S40, with video from the 130° field-of-view lens delivered with readability and good color steadiness.
Reassuringly, there are not any over-exposure blow outs when the digicam lens is positioned in direct daylight, whereas color footage throughout night time time when utilizing the 600-lumen highlight additionally appears nice – with clothes particulars and tone precisely captured.
Using the flood gentle is, in fact, pretty taxing on the battery, so most customers will possible forgo utilizing the sunshine and go for the night-vision mode which additionally delivers distinctive footage, albeit in monochrome.
Audio efficiency from the microphone can also be wonderful, offering clear, distortion-free recordings even throughout hostile climate.
The S40’s in-device AI identifies whether or not movement has been attributable to an individual or one other supply, with choices on the app permitting you to filter if you wish to detect folks, animal or any vital motion registered by the system. The S40 can be set as much as solely register motion inside chosen exercise zones.
Considerably disconcertingly, the app additionally affords the choice for “crying detection”, with its operate not totally defined within the companion handbook.
The detection tech labored remarkably nicely throughout testing, with clear thumbnails of detected people supplied with alerts when triggered. The one false alarm was a pink hand towel left to dry on an outdoor faucet. This was detected as a human because it flapped within the breeze.
The app additionally lets you create a recording schedule, configure alerts and use your telephone’s mic for two-way communication with anybody in vary of the digicam – a characteristic which works impressively nicely with little lag.
Controls for the built-in spot gentle brightness, tone and the 90db siren are additionally to be discovered inside the app. It’s price noting that the choice for manually turning on the sunshine and the siren are buried in a sub menu – removed from very best must you rapidly want to discourage a would-be intruder. They should be on the primary display screen.
It’s additionally a pity that the sunshine is proscribed to quick bursts of utilization, stopping its use as an exterior gentle to your property.
We examined the S40 throughout a two month, mid-winter spell in persistently overcast Dublin – arguably the least beneficial set of circumstances for a photo voltaic panel this facet of Finland. Throughout that interval the battery misplaced between 1 to 2 per cent every day, with the remaining capability hovering round 63 % by the tip of our testing.
This was with the system partially aimed toward a doorway, which means the digicam was triggered on common 14 occasions a day. In accordance with the app’s useful dashboard, throughout that interval the photo voltaic panel supplied round 25mAh of battery replenishment a day– equal to roughly 0.2 per cent of the general battery capability. Not an enormous contribution maybe, however not unsurprising within the circumstances.
The large query, and one we will’t reply at this level, is whether or not the additional daylight within the spring and summer season is sufficient to maintain it going with out having to manually recharge the system. On the idea of our testing, it appears possible that the system would should be taken indoors and hooked as much as a charger inside the subsequent few months.
That is by no imply a deal-breaker – and for these in sunnier elements of the world it’s unlikely to be a difficulty in any respect – however it reduces the comfort of its key characteristic for customers the place cloudy climate is the norm throughout autumn and winter.
Value & Availability
Eufy, a subsidiary of rising Chinese language tech big Anker, garnered stable evaluations for its wi-fi, battery-powered SoloCam E40 final yr which featured onboard storage and Wi-Fi.
The S40 builds upon the tech featured in that mannequin, fairly actually, with it being a a lot larger system as a way to accommodate its photo voltaic panel. Unsurprisingly, it’s additionally dearer, coming in at £199 ($199/ AU$349.99), £60 dearer than the E40.
You should purchase it direct from Eufy in addition to from Currys and Laptops Direct.
See extra choices in our chart of the perfect indoor and outside safety cameras.
It’s onerous to make a full judgement of the S40’s photo voltaic efficiency inside the timeframe of this evaluate – it definitely works, and we anticipate photo voltaic charging to be a non-issue through the spring and summer season months. However what we will’t say for certain at this stage is whether or not it might final a full autumn and winter while not having to be manually recharged.
For some customers this gained’t be too massive an inconvenience, however with the equally specified, however solar-less SoloCam E40 capable of final for as much as 4 months earlier than needing to be juiced up, that cheaper mannequin could make extra sense for customers in elements of the world the place it is not all that sunny.
This level apart, with its cost-effective subscription-free storage and slick app, the S40 is about as hassle-free as outside safety cameras get.
Coupled with its excellent image and sound high quality, cable-free versatility and spectacular AI detection, it delivers on its promise of being a very fashionable safety digicam.
Eufy SoloCam S40: Specs
Shade Night time Imaginative and prescient (8m)
Color temperature 4000Ok—6000Ok
Constructed-in siren (90 dB)
Photo voltaic Energy and Constructed-In Battery
8GB emmc, 2 Months of Storage
AI particular person detection
Alexa & Google Residence Assistant
50 x 114 x 50mm