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

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

Comparing video doorbells

Soliom Video Doorbell Ring Video Doorbell 2
Price $199/£155/AU$265 $199/£155/AU$299
Color finish Black Satin nickel, venetian (both finishes included with purchase)
Power source Solar power and battery Hardwired or removable, rechargeable battery
Resolution 1920x1080p HD 1920x1080p HD
Field of view 165 degrees 160 degrees
Live streaming Yes Yes
Cloud storage Yes, 20 recorded video clips for free Yes, 60-day storage for $3 per month
Local storage Yes, microSD card sold separately No
Mobile app Android and iPhone Android and iPhone
Web app No Yes
Night vision Yes Yes
Alerts Motion Motion
Activity zones No Yes
Dimensions (HxWxD) 8.0 x 3.2 x 2.0 inches 5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches
Third-party integrations None Alexa; 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. 

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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. 

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