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Wyze Cam Review

May 29, 2019

Fantastic camera, regardless of the price! We have a half dozen webcams scattered around the house, both inside and outside, that we use for security monitoring when we are away. Over the years I’ve installed cameras from Linksys, Foscam, Insteon and Wansview (NOTE: Foscam, Insteon and Wansview are, for all intents and purposes, the same camera). All of them have gotten the job done, and have cost anywhere from $50-$100 dollars. But after trying out this little camera, I’ll never buy anything else again. At least not for indoor use.

PROS:
–Incredibly easy setup. You just install the app on your phone, plug the camera in, push a button on the bottom, and then point the camera at a QR code the displays on your phone. Then you are prompted to enter the password for your wifi, and that’s it. It literally takes 1 minute to set up, with no messing around with firewalls, routers, ports, etc. There are voice prompts, played from the speaker on the camera, that guide you through the process. It’s an absolute breeze.

–Image quality is very good. It looks to me like 720p HD video. On my network it streams in full motion at a nice high frame rate. There’s none of the jerky low frame rate video that I get from some of my other cameras. Color reproduction is quite good.

–The camera includes both a microphone and a speaker, so you can listen in on the location of the camera, and/or speak through the camera. Speaker quality is what you would expect from a speaker that is less than an inch in diameter. But it works! The microphone is FAR better than the microphone on any of the Foscam/Wansview cameras that I’ve used in the past. On those you would have to be shouting in order to be heard. The Wyze camera picks up even faint sounds in the room.

–I LOVE the magnetic base! You can stick this thing to any ferrous metal surface, and it stays stuck. At the moment mine is hanging from the bottom of an air duct pipe in my basement. Just go into the app on the phone, tell it to invert the image, and you are all set! It really is slick, and is something that more camera manufacturers should do.

–The motiion detection is simple and reliable. It can be tuned from highly sensitive (triggerrs when my cat walks across the basement floor) to low sensitivity (my wife would have to walk in front of it). Upon triggering, a ~10 second video is captured and uploaded to the cloud. An optional push notification is sent to your phone. And you can go into the app and watch the recording.

–Night vision mode is decent, but not outstanding. There is a single IR LED for low light illumination. They state a night vision range of “up to 30 feet”. That’s pushing it. But 15-20 feet seems to be no problem at all. It certainly covers a room with no problem.

–The price. How can you beat a $20 camera that simply exceeds every expectation that I had? After reading about this camera online, and reading some reviews, I decided to order one on the spur of the moment just to test it out. Yeah, at this price point you really have no reason NOT to buy one as an impulse purchase. I received mine in 2 days. But the day after ordering, they went on 1-2 month back order. Apparently they are as popular as they deserve to be. Despite the backorder, I’ll be placing an order for a couple more before the end of the day.

CONS
–None that are really noteable.

–The app doesn’t always update the list of recorded motion detection video clips. If you close the app, and reopen it, they show up in the list. But that’s software, and will undoubtedly be updated in the very near future. –UPDATE– This was fixed quickly. The software continues to evolve and is very solid at this point (1/2019).

–Unlike many of the other cameras in the house, this one doesn’t support pan/tilt. But for the price, who cares? The Wyze has a nice wide field of view. They are stackable. So if you spend $60 you can stack three of them and have a full 360 degree view for less then the price of one camera that does pan/tilt. And the Wyze will have better image quality

–No idea what its environmental tolerances are. I know that it’s not weatherproof. But if I put one in my unheated garage, in upstate NY, is it going to survive the cold? Who knows? But heck, for $20 it might be worth just trying it to see what happens!

My wife was skeptical when I told her that I’d ordered a $20 high def camera as a candidate to replace some of the other cameras that we have in the house. But 20 minutes after plugging it in, configuring it, and playing with it, she said “WE NEED MORE OF THESE!!!”