Eufy SoloCam E40 review: Cam security with no subscription required
Eufy’s SoloCam E40 eliminates a couple of pain points common to many home security cameras. Powered by a rechargeable battery, the E40 offers a wire-free installation that removes such logistical challenges as finding a convenient electrical outlet or installing entirely new electrical wiring that can make outdoor installations vexing. Secondly, it includes 8GB of onboard storage that stores about a month worth of video recordings, so you don’t need to buy a cloud subscription to get the maximum security benefit from the camera.
The E40 has a rectangular body similar to the EufyCam 2, enabling it to stand freely on any flat surface. It comes with a compact wall mount that screws into the back of the camera and can be affixed to a wall with the accompanying hardware. The mount’s ball-and-socket joint provides a lot more flexibility for angling the camera than you can get using it freestanding, and it’s essential if you plan to use the IP65-rated camera outdoors (you can read all about IP codes in this other story).
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best home security cameras, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
The camera has a 130-degree field of view and captures video in up to 2K resolution. It also includes night vision for low-light situations. The E40 can detect motion and determine if it is produced by a human or non-human source. A built-in microphone and speaker allow you to speak to anyone within range of the camera.
I was able to set up the E40 quickly, following the prompts in the Eufy Security app to connect the camera to my Wi-Fi. In addition to a live video stream, the app offers intuitive control of the camera from a scrolling toolbar at the bottom of the screen. This includes a handful of functions including the ability to manually record a video clip, take a snapshot, review captured video clips, and trigger the camera’s microphone. You can also pair the E40 with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to enable voice control of the camera and view live video on a compatible smart display.
In my testing, the E40 captured crisp, detailed video in both day and night modes. There was no detectable fish-eye distortion despite the camera’s wide viewing angle. Night vision video is rendered in black-and-white, so it won’t capture things like the color of an intruder’s clothes or car, but it provides plenty of illumination to make out facial features, license plate numbers, and other forensic details.
The E40’s motion alerts were prompt and the AI was consistently accurately discerned humans from other animals moving within its field of view. You can control the frequency of alerts by adjusting the motion sensitivity, enabling “human only” detection, scheduling monitoring times, and using activity zones to define a specific area where you want to detect motion. I used all of these methods together to find a sweet spot that didn’t bombard me with notifications.
All recorded video clips are saved by date and displayed in reverse chronological order. For each human-detected event, a thumbnail of the person’s face is saved along with the video and can be magnified by tapping it to get a closer look. Clips can be downloaded directly to your device, making it easy to share them with police, or shared via email, text, or social media.
Eufy says the E40’s battery can run for about four months on a full charge, but that will likely vary depending on how many videos you’re recording. At some point, though, you’ll need to recharge the battery, and herein is my only real knock on the camera: Because the battery isn’t removable/swappable, you must remove the camera from duty to recharge it, which means it will be out of commission for about 8 hours. The app includes a Power Manager feature that lets you monitor and optimize battery life, but an accessory like a solar charger to keep the battery topped off, as Reolink uses for its outdoor cameras, would be a welcome addition. Alternatively, you could look at the SoloCam S4, which features a built-in solar panel; but the models costs $200.
Overall, though, the SoloCam E40 is one of the better indoor/outdoor cameras we’ve used, and it’s a good value at just $130 considering there are no additional subscription fees. That makes it a compelling choice for anyone who wants a simple, affordable, and reliable home security solution.