Check out T3's list of the best security cameras available now, and you'll see that each one brings its own set of features and strengths to the table – like the Eufy S220 SoloCam that I'm reviewing here, which can keep itself charged around the clock using solar power.
That does depend on how much sunshine you get of course, and Eufy reckons that around three hours of direct sunlight a day should be enough to keep it going. You can recharge the camera with the supplied USB cable as well, if nature's resources aren't sufficient.
I've been testing out the Eufy S220 SoloCam and can help you decide whether it's the right security camera for you. Be sure to check out T3's other related buying guides too, including expertly curated lists of the best smart speakers and best smart lights available.
Eufy S220 SoloCam review: unboxing and setup
The Eufy S220 SoloCam comes tightly packed in a compact box – there's no space wasted here – and as well as the camera, you get a USB cable for power, a wall mount complete with fixings, and a quick start guide which isn't all that necessary. As usual with today's smart home gadgets, all the setup and installation is done via a phone app.
Full marks to Eufy for how quickly and efficiently the app works – you'll be up and running in just a few minutes. I also like that there's plenty of advice packed into the app as well: advice on where to position your camera, how it should be tilted, and some warnings (don't point it at waving trees, as you'll probably be overwhelmed by alerts).
Measuring 96.5 mm x 81 mm x 57.5 mm, it's about the size of two packs of cards. One drill hole is all that's needed to get the camera fixed up on a wall or fence, with a simple mount and screw pack included. It's easy enough for anyone to do, though you can also leave the camera freestanding and propped up somewhere if you prefer.
As with other Eufy products, you don't need to sign up to a monthly subscription fee to get the best out of the camera: there's 8GB of storage on board for recording clips. If you have a Eufy Homebase, you get facial recognition as well – so the camera can spot someone who is a stranger – and better integration with other Eufy devices.
Eufy S220 SoloCam review: performance and features
Having got the Eufy S220 SoloCam installed, it was hard to find fault with the way it performed: the 2K resolution video is crisp and clear, the night vision is excellent, and in my testing, the camera was able to tell the difference between an actual person and other movement (mostly passing birds in our back garden).
In short, you can expect the Eufy S220 SoloCam to operate fully as advertised – it's fully reliable. The 135-degree field of view is more than enough, and through the app you can tweak the motion sensitivity for notifications, as well as set up 'privacy zones' that won't trigger alerts if there's movement in them.
There's IP67 waterproof protection here too, so the camera should stand up to the elements – we tested it during a two-week heatwave so can't offer any first-hand experience on either this or the battery life, which wasn't put to the test because of all the sunshine. According to Eufy, a full charge can last up to 3 months in cloudy conditions.
You also get two-way audio here if you want to ward off thieves or admonish your children, but there's no siren or light. I should mention the camera only uses the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band – the slowest one, but the one with the longest range – which shouldn't be a problem but is worth bearing in mind for your network setup.
Eufy S220 SoloCam review: price and verdict
Yours for £109.99 / $129.99, you can't really argue with the price of the Eufy S220 SoloCam, especially when there's no subscription attached. Other camera manufacturers often let you use their cameras for free, but hold back some of the best features – like people detection or privacy zones – for those who are willing to pay a monthly fee.
Not so with Eufy, which straight away makes you disposed to like this security camera. It gets high marks in just about every other department as well, from the ease with which you can set it up, to the quality of the video and the audio that comes through the camera. In our testing it worked perfectly well, with no issues at all.
That it's all solar powered really is the icing on this particular cake – there's no need to take it down and recharge the battery every few months, as long as you're getting enough sunshine wherever you live. I also like the wealth of customisation options in the app, from notification types to motion sensitivity.
Admittedly you can find cameras with more impressive specs lists than this one – cameras with an integrated spotlight for example, or that offer a 4K video resolution – but they're invariably going to cost you more money as well. In terms of what you get for what you spend, and how it performs in use, the Eufy S220 SoloCam is hard to beat.
Eufy S220 SoloCam review: alternatives to consider
You've got plenty of alternatives to the Eufy S220 SoloCam to consider, not least from Eufy itself. The Eufy S100 All-in-One Wall Light that I recently reviewed is worth a look if you want something that's going to provide illumination as well as video monitoring – and there's no need to worry about battery life because it's all wired up.
If you definitely want the solar charging feature, then weigh up the Arlo Ultra 2 Spotlight Camera, which you can buy with an accompanying solar panel charger. The camera offers 4K image quality and a stylish design, though it is going to cost you – and unlike the Eufy I've reviewed here, there's no option for free video storage over the long term.