Do the best things come in small packages? I recently unpacked the Wyze Cams, a line of super affordable cameras created by a former Amazon employee who spent weeks testing and analyzing their features and technology.
Wyze released the original Wyze Cam in 2017 for $19.99, gaining a certain following among pet owners, apartment dwellers and people on a budget. The brand has evolved over the years and recently released the third generation of the Wyze Cam with some sweet upgrades, which I’ll discuss in the next few pages.
The full Wyze Cams experience
As I rotated through three Wyze cameras – the Wyze Cam v3, Wyze Cam v2, and Wyze Cam Pan – I focused on two things: the completely hassle-free setup process, and the fact that the other of these cameras Minimalist cameras lack impressive features such as people detection and color night vision. Here’s a more in-depth camera-by-camera breakdown: the
Wyze Cam v3
Wyze Cam v3 features HD resolution, people detection, IP65 weather protection, color night vision, custom motion zones, two-way calling, timelines, device triggers, and other features typically reserved for expensive alternatives or locked in after subscription. And everything in the Wyze app is fully customizable; you can create all kinds of “rules” to make your device shine.
Let’s be honest: Wyze Cams won’t blow you away with great video clips you can show off to your neighbors. (And even if you could, please don’t.) While Wyze records usable, good-quality video, Wyze isn’t known for sharp video recordings that show every detail of your property. Instead, the camera has only enough “parts” to make up a functional “whole. Let’s review the parts that round out Wyze Cam v3, aka features.
1080p HD resolution
Most of the security cameras out there offer 1080p HD resolution. This is the industry standard2, and I find it more than adequate for Wyze Cam. However, if your purpose is more sophisticated, these cameras still rival several high-end brands in terms of video clarity. Here’s what some of my outdoor footage looked like on a hot August afternoon.
Many times, I use the Wyze Cam v3 to track the family dog in testing and simple everyday scenarios. They seem to get into the most trouble when the adults are not around. The extra set of eyes comes in handy, especially when we bring our rescue dogs home.
For comparison’s sake, when I view the Canary cameras, I get crisp 1080p recordings, and the quality is even sharper because I connect them to my Wi-Fi router via an Ethernet cable. These cameras also include some unique and advanced features, so they will cost much more than the Wyze. It all depends on your preference, but as far as video quality goes, 1080p does a great job.
When I didn’t feel like spying on my pups, I turned to an outdoor location and used the Wyze Cam to do two things: test the camera’s night vision and track down potential burglars. I’ve been hearing reports of car and home burglaries in my neighborhood, and a small, hidden camera on my front porch helps me sleep a little better. Fortunately, as far as we know, our house has not been a target.
With Wyze, our night vision footage looks colorful, but not completely clear. If you’re looking for clear, detailed night vision in your camera, I recommend looking at the Reolink. while these will be more expensive than the Wyze, they do record some great video at night, as you can see in my Reolink camera analysis.
As with 1080p and night vision, two-way audio has become the standard we expect in home security cameras. the Wyze has it, and it’s seamless and effective, but I’m not going to lie – its communication isn’t as clear compared to other camera audio, like the sharp-looking Arlo camera system I recently reviewed.
But, again, what are your priorities? Do you want to have a full conversation with your babysitter on date night, or do you want to use it more as a home intercom (“Honey, can you give me a pair of scissors?”) . Again, with such a low-cost camera, you won’t get clear, quality audio. But you will get an effective two-way channel that can help you spook a potential burglar or two. You never know.
Smart home compatibility
Wyze works well with Alexa and Google Assistant, and it’s effortless to set up either device. For Google Assistant, you can use voice control to change from home mode to away mode. If your device has a screen, you can say things like, “Show me the living room. But other than that it has some limitations.
If you like security cameras that work with Alexa, there’s good news: Alexa’s Wyze skill now includes voice alerts from Alexa herself! By connecting Alexa to my Wyze Cam, I have two options: I can tell Alexa in my own voice, “Show me my external camera!” Get on-demand footage. Plus, I can set Alexa to notify me when the camera captures a person, which I really like. I have to hand it to Wyz here; this is not a feature I see every day, and certainly not in a $32 camera.
Smart Sound Recognition
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors protect against potential hazards in our homes. But in a hurry, you can sometimes overlook these dangers in favor of outside threats like burglars or intruders.
So while visual monitoring is always important, detecting unusual or problematic noises can also be a very useful feature. In Wyze cam, you can activate intelligent sound recognition, which is free in the app. This way, if your smoke alarm goes off, your camera will trigger an alert on your phone, no matter where you are, so you can take immediate action.
Wyze Cam v3 has people, pet and vehicle detection, while the original V1 Wyze Cam does not. Ideally, this means that Wyze Cam will tell you via smartphone alerts whether the person, pet, or vehicle it’s tracking is a person, pet, or vehicle.
It took some time to understand how this feature worked in the Wyze app, but once I got everything figured out, I think Wyze handles this technology very well-maybe not enough to impress smart home enthusiasts, but certainly enough to rely on scenarios and basic intruder protection every day. Here are some of the most common alerts I received.
However, with all the upgrades to the Wyze Cam v3, one of my wishes is that it include a battery backup. This would go a long way toward maintaining Wyze’s reputation for reliability, as well as ensuring uninterrupted system operation. Because, let’s face it: property crimes do happen, and some of them involve criminals cutting wires to take cameras offline. Just something to keep in mind.