Wyze Security Camera Review
Most startups say they’re “disrupting” an industry, but Wyze actually is. With their incredibly affordable cameras costing as little as $20, we got the same great features as other smart security cameras we’ve reviewed, but at a fraction of the price. In this review, we’re testing out the Wyze Cam, their original camera, along with the Wyze Cam Pan, its sister. Which one is right for you? Read on to find out, or watch our video reviews below.
Wyze Camera Video Reviews
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so how many words is a video worth? Well, whatever that number is, double it because we’ve made two videos of the Wyze Cam and the Wyze Cam Pan, so you can see their day and night vision for yourself.
Wyze Cam Video Review
The Wyze Cam has nearly all of the features we’ve come to expect from a smart security camera with 1080p HD video, two-way audio, and infrared night vision. Check it out!
Wyze Cam Pan Video Review
The Wyze Cam Pan is basically the Wyze Cam pushed up to the next level, and fortunately for us, it only costs about $10 more. We loved seeing our entire living room by panning this camera around 360 degrees! See it for yourself.
The Wyze Cam vs. the Wyze Cam Pan
|Wyze Cam||Wyze Cam Pan|
|Number of Times It Can Zoom In Digitally||8||8|
|Field of View in Degrees||110||120|
|Number of Infrared LED Sensors||4||6|
|Smart Platform Integration||Alexa, IFTTT, Google Assistant||Alexa, IFTTT, Google Assistant|
|Artificial Intelligence||Smart sound recognition for smoke/CO alarms, person detection with Cam Plus||Smart sound recognition for smoke/CO alarms, person detection with Cam Plus|
|Extras||Activity zones||Activity zones|
As you can see from the above chart, the Wyze Cam and the Wyze Cam Pan are extremely similar, although the Pan costs $10 more. Sure, that’s 150 percent more than the Wyze Cam, but when you’re starting at only $20, that didn’t make much of a difference according to our bank account.
First, let’s talk about what the cameras had in common when we tested them out.
- Indoor cameras: We set up both the Wyze Cam and the Wyze Cam Pan in our home, specifically in our living room and kitchen to monitor both sides of our house. Sure, in the past we’ve used the Wyze Cam Outdoor Starter Kit to make these babies weather-resistant, but this time we’re sticking to the great indoors.
- Video quality: Both cameras had that 1080p HD video that we’re looking for, which made us feel at home even when we were simply starting at the Wyze app. While there’s no place like home, the footage from the Wyze cameras was pretty darn close.
- Zoom: When we wanted to zoom in on details while we were creeping from the Wyze app, we did so eight times with both cameras. This really came in handy when we wanted to see what our families were watching on TV, especially when we discovered a family member continuing a show without us. Rats!
- Two-way audio: When we wanted to call out this alleged family member, we did so right through the Wyze app thanks to the cameras’ speakers and microphones. “You said you were going to wait for us to finish 30 Rock!” we screamed, causing our family member to jump in her seat. You know what they say about karma.
- Storage: When we wanted to laugh about this footage of our family member jumping in her seat, we had the video automatically saved to cloud storage, where it remained for 14 days. But since both cameras also uploaded the footage to their micro-SD cards, we made sure to save these files on our computers so we could laugh at the video for years to come. We love that Wyze gave us local and cloud storage for free; with Ring’s cameras, there’s no local storage and 60 days of cloud storage costs at least $3 a month or $30 a year. Not terrible prices, but you can’t beat free.
- Smart platform integrations: We admit it: part of our affinity for smart home technology definitely comes from a part of us that doesn’t want to leave our beds unless we’re practically forced to. That’s why controlling our Wyze cameras with Alexa and Google Assistant was so fun. From having Alexa show our living room livestream on our Echo Show to telling Google Assistant to show us our kitchen on the Nest Hub Max, controlling our cameras didn’t require our hands, or even our Wyze app. On top of that, both cameras worked with IFTTT, which allowed us to create some convenient automated actions. Since we also have the Wyze Sense security sensors, we made sure that the sensors were armed as soon as the cameras did, protecting our entire home with a click of a button.
Did You Know: Home automation means that you can have connected devices trigger one another, like having your doors lock when your security system is armed.
- Smart sound recognition: It’s a sad but true fact that 60 percent of deaths from home fires occurred in homes with no smoke alarms or homes where the smoke alarms weren’t working1. In our house, we actually have old-fashioned smoke alarms, meaning they’re local-only and not Wi-Fi-connected. So if a fire somehow starts when we’re not there, will we lose everything? With the Wyze cameras installed, that wasn’t the case. That’s because they could recognize the sound of our smoke alarms going off so we got notified through the Wyze app. We decided to test this out by lighting a candle near our smoke alarm. Within a few seconds, the alarm beeped and so did our phones, making us confident that we’d know asap of a fire emergency.
- Person detection available: If we invested in a Cam Plus plan, you’ll get person detection; the cost is either $1.99 per camera a month or $14.99. Plus, clips will go from 12 seconds long to however long the motion is. Learn more on our Wyze pricing page.
- Power: We plugged both of our Wyze cameras into outlets. Now, this could’ve been an issue if you don’t have conveniently placed outlets like us; if that’s the case, check out our list of the best wireless cameras. However, plug-in cameras have the advantage of never running out of battery. Of course, they also turn off when the power goes out, but since New York City hasn’t had a blackout since 20192 a little over a year ago, we’re not too worried.
Tip: If you live in an area where blackouts are common, get a camera or system with cellular backup so it’ll stay on during a power outage.
- Activity zones: Sure, we want to be able to see our living room and kitchen from literally anywhere with Internet access, but there are certain areas of our home that we decidedly don’t want surveillance, like the powder room right off the kitchen. Thankfully, both Wyze cameras let us create what the company calls “motion zones”; we typically call them activity zones. In a nutshell, activity zones let us tell our cameras what areas to pay attention to and what areas to ignore, namely the powder room. While we like to get up close and personal with our guests, some things are best left in private.
- Wyze App: Finally, we used our Wyze app with both cameras to livestream footage, review cloud storage, speak through two-way audio, and set up smart platform integrations. It was cool to be able to do this all from one app, especially when we were setting up IFTTT triggers. Smart lights, meet our smart security cameras; we think you guys will become the best of friends!
Although the Wyze Cam and the Wyze Cam Pan are twins, they’re more fraternal than identical. Here are the reasons why.
- Prices: The Wyze Cam costs only $20, about a fifth of the price of similarly-featured cameras like the Nest Cam Indoor. The Wyze Cam Pan adds another $10 to the price, bringing it up to $30, still less than a third of the average indoor camera.
- Fields of view: Field of view meant how wide our cameras’ scopes were. While the Wyze Cam had a field of view of 110 degrees, a bit narrow for our tastes, the Wyze Cam Pan added another 10 degrees at 120 total, which showed us most of the living room.
- Infrared night vision: Sure, both cameras have infrared night vision, meaning our night time footage was in black and white. However, the nighttime footage from the Wyze Cam Pan was significantly clearer, as it has six infrared LED sensors as opposed to four like the Wyze Cam. If you want to see better in infrared night vision, the Pan is for you.
- Pan: This one’s so obvious that we saved it for last. Unlike the original Wyze Cam, we could pan the Wyze Cam Pan around 360 degrees from the Wyze app, which meant that we saw 100% of a room as opposed to being limited to the camera’s field of view. We felt vaguely like the FBI as we rotated the camera, seeing not only our kitchen but also the window outside. We think the Pan is definitely worth the extra $10 for this feature alone.
Installing the Wyze Cameras
Part of why the Wyze cameras cost so little is the fact that we had to install them ourselves. But don’t worry; you don’t have to test out security cameras for a living to set up either camera. We did so in a few simple steps:
- First, we downloaded the Wyze app and connected it to our Wi-Fi network, which for some reason we can never seem to remember the password of.
- We made a new account including a username and password and clicked continue, then the app told us step by step what to do next.
- Next, we plugged the cameras in using the USB cables and power adapters that came with them. Once we plugged in the cameras, their LED lights showed yellow, and once they started flashing, we knew they were ready for setup.
- From there we jumped back into the Wyze app and clicked on the plus sign to add a new device (or devices, we should say). Once we selected the Wyze Cam and the Wyze Cam Pan, we held the setup buttons on the back of the cameras until we heard a beep; then, a robot voice said “ready to connect”. We tapped next, added our Wi-Fi information into the app, scanned the cameras’ QR codes, and tapped “I heard QR code scanned” in the Wyze app. The app took it from there until it said: “setup is completed”.
From start to finish, it only took us about 10 minutes to set up each camera, so if smart home technology is new to you, you probably won’t run into any issues getting your Wyze cameras set up and running.
Which One Should I Get?
Overall, we’d recommend getting the Wyze Cam Pan over the Wyze Cam. Sure, it’s $10 more, but it’s superior in terms of field of view, the ability to pan, and its infrared night vision. Plus, it’s still only $30, which is a tiny slice of what indoor cameras normally cost. However, if you’d like to save even more money, the $20 Wyze Cam can do no wrong.
If neither camera seems right for you, check out our list of the year’s best security cameras, all tested by yours truly.
Is there a monthly fee for the Wyze Cam?
No, the Wyze Cam doesn’t require any monthly fees. However, if you want person detection and unlimited clip lengths, they have a subscription service called Cam Plus, which costs $1.99 per camera per month or $14.99 per camera per year.
Are Wyze cameras outdoor?
The Wyze Cam is an indoor camera, although there are outdoor protective cases available.
Does the Wyze Cam have a battery?
The Wyze Cam doesn’t have a battery; it’s plugged in.
National Fire Protection Association. (2019). Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires.
AMNY. (2019). A brief history of blackouts in New York City.