We may earn a commission from links on this page.
For the past year, I’ve been installing and uninstalling security cameras to test them on the exterior of my home. My goal has been to see which ones have the best video, are the most responsive, easiest to install, and stay charged the longest. While they’ve been a pain to install and uninstall, I have enjoyed how paranoid it’s made the neighbors. Eufy has many outdoor security cameras, but I’ve had two of their dual cameras (which both launched last fall)installed for months now, and while they’re not perfect, there’s a lot to like about the Floodlight Cam E340 ($219) and the Solocam S340 ($199).
Dual lenses paired with pan, tilt and rotation
Essentially, these are the wired and wireless version of the same dual camera: you have a macro lens on top and a micro lens on bottom. The wired version comes with absurdly strong floodlights, and the wireless version comes with a solar panel. The cameras are pan-and-tilt, and able to rotate 360 degrees. Aside from being able to provide almost any angle because of the rotation and tilt, this expansiveness brings up some opportunities to mount the camera in different places that you normally might.
Solidly built units
Unlike some smaller wireless models on the market from Nest and Blink, these are substantial units, large and well-built. The black-and-white molded plastic, coupled with metal and glass, feels sturdy. Wired versions will be less flexible in placement, since you need exterior wiring to connect to—and like a lot of smart products, you do need a neutral wire. The wireless version can be mounted anywhere, and the solar panel can be mounted any place within 15 feet of the camera via an included usb cord, or you can simply mount it to the top of the camera. Because of my yard, and wanting as much sunshine on it as I could get, I mounted the wireless cam on a post about 15 feet in the air above my yard, with the solar panel attached to the top of the camera. Once it was mounted, my wireless camera never showed less than a 90% charge, even through the Pacific northwest winter, including a two-week stretch of cloud cover.
Reliable, even in rough weather conditions
The Eufy app is well-designed and easy to navigate, without much clutter, and the cameras paired easily. At no point over the 10 weeks they were installed did I suffer an outage, even through sideways rain and the toughest stretch of weather the PNW had seen in years, with freezing rain, temperatures in the single digits and winds that took out power and trees across the city.
Endless options for wireless installation, while wired installation is tricky
While choosing where to put the wireless cam will be the hardest part of installing it, it was much harder to install the wired cam. Eufy includes parts, including an S hook, to help you suspend the camera while wiring it up, and that’s helpful. However, there are two pain points in installation. First, you run the wires through a mount that attaches to the building, and then slide and snap on the camera to that mount. Despite reading instructions, watching company produced and user videos, I tried for days to snap the camera on, unsuccessfully. Eventually, Eufy sent a second unit, and while I was far more careful this time, it was still quite difficult to line up and took many attempts. The second issue is that the wired camera has the floodlights—which are so powerful, they come with stickers on them to protect you during installation. You don’t pull the stickers off the lights until installation is complete, except the stickers don’t come off easily, and now you’re on a ladder trying to peel stubborn stickers off with your fingernails. I would advise peeling the stickers off while on the ground before installation, and covering the lights with paper bags you can pull off at the end. (The lights are, in fact, blinding, so exercise caution.)
Live streaming your yard becomes entertaining
Once the cameras are up, you’re going to spend time just watching the video on your phone, fascinated, while playing with the pan and tilt, which allow you to focus on literally anything in view of the camera. While the detail on both lenses is spectacularly clear, the micro lens is something else. On my side yard, the macro lens captures a sweeping view down to the street, but the micro lens is so good I can see aphids on my cabbage plants, 50 feet away from the camera. Sound is also captured, and although voices are crystal clear within 15 feet, you always have a white noise effect from the wind. Both cameras have two-way audio, so if you’re looking to scare the living crap out of someone walking around the yard, or want to convince your dog you’re the voice in the sky, Eufy’s got your back. In the live view, you can manipulate the lenses in any direction (together, they work in conjunction) using the virtual joystick. You can also preset a number of “stations” the camera should work through. This is all layered on top of the camera’s ability to pick up activity by people and pets, alert you that there’s activity, and then track that activity.
More impressive is the night vision. Obviously, the floodlight on the wired camera is able to light up the space so effectively you gain back all the color you’d have in daylight, albeit without the brightness. But even without floodlights, the wireless camera has a light you can turn on for night vision that’s shockingly effective at throwing brightness into the space. Even without the lights, you can still see pretty clearly at night, particularly if you’re using it to spot a human or pet.
The view from the macro lens, with standard night vision and illuminated by the light.
Credit: Amanda Blum
The same view as above, but using the micro lens.
Credit: Amanda Blum
Goodbye, cloud subscription fees
This brings us to one of the benefits of Eufy cameras, and that’s local storage. Some of the cameras, including both of these models, can store clips locally on the camera itself. I was never able to figure out how to enable this function and eventually gave up in favor of a Homebase. When paired with a Homebase ($149.99), which acts as a hard drive and sync module that you keep inside for the cameras, you can store your captured clips on a USB stick plugged into the base. This means you can completely skip the cloud, and with it, cloud fees. You can effectively use the Eufy cameras with no monthly charges, which is, in my opinion, a big fucking deal when you’re talking about security cameras. (Eufy offers a cloud solution on some models, but not for these particular cameras.) Your storage capacity will be determined by the capacity of the USB stick in the Homebase, and you can still call clips up to your phone, securely, from anywhere. That said, even when I was just inside the house, not more than 20 feet from the camera and Homebase, the lag time on pulling up clips was sometimes tiresome, and occasionally would time out. Going to the live feed, even when away from home, is faster, but can take 10 seconds or more if you’re away.
More features than you’ll need or understand how to use
Eufy cameras are full of features—so chock full, I found it confusing to understand what each feature really did, and some don’t work as well as you’d hope. It’s easy enough to understand that within a line of sight, you may want to set zones that the camera ignores for activity notifications, like a sidewalk. But no matter what I did, my wired camera would alert me every time a car drove down the street. At the same time, it didn’t capture the raccoons 10 feet away, well within its visibility, that every other camera mounted in the same space caught. There are a whole raft of sensitivity settings for video and audio to be played with, in addition to the zone settings.
You can set automations within Eufy, but I couldn’t understand why you would. For instance, if your front camera detected a person, you could turn your back camera on automatically. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t simply rely on the back camera to pick up activity on its own, which it does pretty well. You can integrate Eufy cams with Alexa and Google Home, so I suppose you could add them to automations there, as well. The big new feature on Eufy models is the AI service, called BionicMind. It uses “face management” to tell you if the person skulking around the yard is your partner or a creeper. It can also detect packages and pets, although my doberman was identified as a person about 85% of the time (she’s a dead ringer for Al Pacino).
Eufy has hardened their security practices
The one un-ignorable issue is that these are security cameras, and like a lot of companies, Eufy has had some security issues in the past—namely, around thumbnail images being sent with notifications (and there were some questions around the live view feature). Eufy is clear that no customer data has been exposed, and took great pains to explain the audits they conducted and how they changed their policies after. End-to-end encryption is utilized on all notification images, which are deleted after the notification is viewed. Live views have moved exclusively to the secure web portal, and all AI and biometric data remains stored locally, never moving to the cloud. A large segment of the public remains highly skeptical about the security of our security devices, and I think it’s a healthy skepticism, but I also feel reassured by Eufy’s work in this area.
Room to improve, but well worth the money
It’s impossible to ignore how sweeping Eufy’s views are using the 360 pan and tilt, and the exceptional video quality and detail available in the macro and micro lens. The stability of connection these cameras provided through tough conditions was admirable, and they reliably notified me of people-related activity, and to a lesser degree, animal-related activity. The wireless camera’s ability to stay charged with just a small solar panel in mediocre weather really impressed me, and I loved how responsive the cameras both are using the joystick in real time. Best of all, Eufy is the first security camera I’ve used, inside or out, that doesn’t require a subscription just to see recorded clips. While I’d like to be able to call up recorded clips faster, and I wish the app made features a little clearer, neither of these are a deal breaker. For the quality of the build and all the notes above, I think both models are quite reasonably priced, particularly since you don’t need a subscription. I’ll keep installing new cameras to test, but I’m reluctant to take down these Eufy cams.