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Soliom Video Doorbell review: This video doorbell is powered by the sun, but fails to shine

The $199 Soliom Video Doorbell has potential, but it needs serious work.

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Megan Wollerton
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Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton has covered technology for CNET since 2013. Before that, she wrote for NBC's Dvice.com (now SyFy). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

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The $199 Soliom Video Doorbell (£155 and AU$265, converted) has a couple of things going for it: It's solar- and battery-powered, and it has a microSD card slot for optional local storage (the microSD card is sold separately). 

soliom-doorbell-2
5.5

Soliom Video Doorbell

The Good

Soliom's $199 Video Doorbell is solar-powered and has a microSD card slot for local storage -- two clever, unique features for a smart buzzer.

The Bad

The app, in its latest software version, is very glitchy. Every time I tried to enable motion detection, the app changed the setting back to "disabled." It doesn't support any smart home platforms.

The Bottom Line

The Soliom Video Doorbell is a neat concept that simply isn't ready for real-world use. Don't buy it.

You don't find those features on many smart doorbells. They're clever additions because you can bypass any need to hardwire your buzzer -- or pay for cloud storage. And even if you don't want to buy a microSD card and go the local storage route, Soliom's app can store as many as 20 video clips at a time in the cloud. That isn't many, but it's something. 

Unfortunately, I couldn't get this product to work. At all. And I don't recommend that you buy it. 

That said, there's a lot of opportunity for the Soliom Video Doorbell to improve over time. It's still in the midst of its Kickstarter campaign, and I technically reviewed a "test production unit." A spokesperson for the startup told me the full production unit "will have a little bit better performance." Here's hoping.

Solar-powered buzzer soaks up the sun, charges your doorbell

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Take a look at how the Soliom compares to the Ring Video Doorbell 2

Comparing video doorbells


Soliom Video DoorbellRing Video Doorbell 2
Price $199/£155/AU$265$199/£155/AU$299
Color finish BlackSatin nickel, venetian (both finishes included with purchase)
Power source Solar power and batteryHardwired or removable, rechargeable battery
Resolution 1920x1080p HD1920x1080p HD
Field of view 165 degrees160 degrees
Live streaming YesYes
Cloud storage Yes, 20 recorded video clips for freeYes, 60-day storage for $3 per month
Local storage Yes, microSD card sold separatelyNo
Mobile app Android and iPhoneAndroid and iPhone
Web app NoYes
Night vision YesYes
Alerts MotionMotion
Activity zones NoYes
Dimensions (HxWxD) 8.0 x 3.2 x 2.0 inches5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches
Third-party integrations NoneAlexa; Google Assistant; IFTTT; Wink
Operating temperature range -4 to 176 degrees F (-20 to 80 degrees C)-5 to 120 degrees F (-20 to 48 degrees C)

The Soliom app looks decent, and it's easy enough to find what you're looking for. But I had a really difficult time getting the settings to work correctly. For example, when I toggled over to the microSD card option (after inserting a microSD card), the app randomly toggled back over to cloud storage.

Similarly, when I selected "enabled" on the motion sensor option, the app reverted to "disabled." This happened at least a dozen times. And even when it was enabled, the camera never successfully sent me a notification (even though they were enabled) or recorded a cloud motion event. I checked to make sure there weren't any pending software updates or any other obvious issue, but I never got it to work. 

soliom-app-1

PIR motion detection randomly switches between "enabled" and "disabled."

Screenshots by CNET

The Soliom is a neat concept. I like that it's solar-powered and adds in an SD card slot for folks who prefer local storage. But this doorbell feels like it's still very much in beta mode, and perhaps it is. It also doesn't work with any smart home partners. And while I understand that it needs to be larger to accommodate the built-in solar panel, it's a really big doorbell -- more than 8 inches in height.

Ultimately, I don't recommend this doorbell as it is today. But I'm hopeful that some of its glitches will be worked out in the coming months. If that happens, I'll update this review accordingly. For now, don't buy it. 

soliom-doorbell-2
5.5

Soliom Video Doorbell

Score Breakdown

Features 6Usability 5Design 6Performance 5
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