WyzeCam is a Good Value in a Very Small Box

WyzeCamThe WyzeCam purports to have many of the features of the more expensive competition at a fraction of the price.  Wyze is a new company and the WyzeCam is their first generation home security camera.

We took some time this week to try out a WyzeCam.  We found some good things and a few things that we wish worked differently.

Software

You can access the WyzeCam through an iOS or Android device.  The camera cannot be accessed from a web browser.

Setup of the WyzeCam is simple.  First download the app and sign up.  After that, plug the camera in and hit the giant plus sign in the app.  You are walked through setup by a combination of app prompts and camera voice instructions.  Finally, hold the UPC code from the app in front of the camera lens and you’re all set.  No problems encountered during setup.

The included manual is a small pamphlet mostly containing setup information.  Not the first home security camera to include sparse information.  If you’re technically inclined, you should be able to figure out how the rest works but if not, you may need to rely upon web searches and their site for guidance.

Motion and sounds alerts can be activated within the app as well as sensitivity settings.  Absent are activity zones to minimize false alerts.  This means any motion that occurs within the line of site is going to trigger a motion event.  This would be a nice feature to have as it’s very useful, for example, in excluding the lower three feet of a room so that a pet walking by doesn’t set off an alarm.

The WyzeCam includes a free cloud service that stores up to 14 days of events.  The events are stored as 12 second clips every time it detects an alert such as motion or sound.  These are short clips only.  Viewing of a cloud video isn’t through the cloud.  The video is recalled from cloud storage then stored on your phone.  You will probably want to delete the video from your phone after your viewing or it will chew up your storage.  Not an optimal implementation of cloud viewing.  Constant video recording will require a micro SD card.

According to the manufacturer, data usage will take approximately 1-2MB per minute in SD, or 4-7MB per minute in HD. Important to be aware of if any ISP limitations are present. Video quality selection is available through the settings with the ability to select HD, SD or Auto.

Wyze is just starting out and as of today, there aren’t any integrations with third party automation services such as IFTTT.  Wyze has indicated they are aware of the demand for these integrations but do not currently offer it.

Hardware

The WyzeCam is one of the smallest we have seen and measures 2.20 inches tall, 1.97 inches wide, 1.97 inches deep.  It weighs in at a little more than 3.53 ounces.

It’s strangely shaped.  The camera reminds us of the Star Wars All Terrain Scout Transport.  Two legs that bend in the middle with a big head at the top.  The camera raises and lowers via the bending of these legs.  It also tilts forward and back and pivots to the left or right.

A typical micro USB cable is used for power.  The included cable is six feet, a little shorter than what we’re used to seeing.  If it’s too short, consider this 25 ft Power Cable.

The status light is found in the back of the camera.  Not sure if that’s good or not and it’s the first time we have seen the status light located somewhere other than the front of a home security camera.

A WyzeCam is made for indoor use only.  It isn’t made to deal with the weather so keep it indoors.

Audio is fully supported.  A two-way conversation can be held by pressing the microphone in the Wyze app.  Audio quality isn’t too bad.  We could hear what’s taking place in the room where the camera was located.  The small integrated WyzeCam speaker did make it a bit difficult to hear people speaking back from the phone app.

A 110 degree wide angle lens is almost enough for seeing most of a room when the camera is seated in a corner.  This isn’t a pan and tilt camera, i.e. the head doesn’t move via the app so you need to play around to cover the most territory using the stationary lens.

The 1080p (1920 x 1080) lens renders video at only 10 frames per second.  Other cameras, especially on the higher end such as the Nest Cam clock in at 30 frames per second.  Can you see a difference?  Yes.  The WyzeCam video will be a bit choppy versus a camera that records at 20 frames per second or more.  To us, this was the most major difference between a WyzeCam and many others on the market.  The picture quality is actually pretty good but the ten frames per second is something to keep in mind.  There is an 8x digital zoom feature to further enhance the picture.

The overall quality can be adjusted in the software settings to SD, HD or Auto.  Using auto seemed to work well here with the resulting image appearing as HD with a strong network connection.

Very clear night vision is provided with 850nm IR LEDs.  The manufacturer claims to achieve a range of 10 meters with the night vision.  That claim seemed credible based upon our use.

Continuous recording to an on-board SD card is fully supported on the WyzeCam and it supplements the cloud service nicely.  The camera’s micro SD slot can be found underneath he camera and can accept up to a 32GB card.  We wrote a detailed article on selecting the right micro SD card which is worth reading as not every card will work well in a home security camera.  Deploying a micro SD card allows you to see video history beyond the short ten second clip found in the cloud alert.  Be sure to read our tutorial on inserting a micro SD card into a WyzeCam as it can be a little tricky.

Connectivity

The WyzeCam only supports connectivity at 2.4 GHz using 802.11 b/g/n.  The 5 GHz band is not supported.

Mounts

A flat bottom coupled with a magnet is what’s used here.  Accompanying the WyzeCam is a metal disk with adhesive bottom to allow mounting to a vertical surface or a ceiling.  This means no screws.  The magnet seems strong enough to maintain a grip on the camera but just wish it were a little stronger.

You won’t find many alternative mounts for the WyzeCam.  Interestingly though, the ElHook Stick-On Nest Cam Security Video Wall Mount will work with this camera quite well. In fact, it looks like it fits even better than the Nest Cam. This mount is useful in that you can mount it to a wall or window without using permanent adhesive (the metal disk uses somewhat permanent adhesive).

Fun and Different

The WyzeCam claims to provide the ability to alert you when a smoke or CO monitor goes off.  We didn’t try this, but there are options under settings to alert you via your phone if the WyzeCam recognizes the unique sound patterns of smoke alarms and CO monitors.

Summary

The right audience for a WyzeCam are those looking for a fairly priced home security camera that has basic features.  It’s easy to setup with an application that is simple to navigate.  The 14 days worth of cloud storage is a great feature and seldom found in higher end cameras.  For the price point, you get your moneys worth.

The camera may not be a good choice for those looking for advanced alerting or integration features.  We were impressed with what you get for the price but would use it for locations that require only basic monitoring.  Places like the garage, perhaps a secondary camera at home.  It needs to be used in places where there isn’t a lot of activity to be seen (the 10 frames per second isn’t optimal for these scenes).

All in all, it’s a nice start for Wyze and we look forward to future generations of their products.

Quick Specs:

Video QualityField of ViewCloud SupportSD SupportNight VisionMobile/Web AppAlertsOutdoor
1920 x 1080110 DegreesYesYesYesYes/NoYesNo

Manufacturer Link:  Wyze Labs

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