Could it be the best security camera you’ve never heard of? Say hello to Ezviz, a robust China-based tech manufacturer that’s been around since 2013. Despite its relative obscurity, we counted more than 100 products in Ezviz’s lineup – from home security cameras to NVRs, alarms, sensors, doorbells, and even smart air purifiers. All of this, and we still aren’t quite sure how to pronounce “Ezviz.”
Names aside, Ezviz is also a brand we were very excited to test out for our next review. For this, we purchased two of their Wi-Fi security cameras: the sharp-eyed indoor C1C and the high-powered outdoor C3N. Check them out below.
We also learned, through our extensive hands-on testing and research of these cameras, that Ezviz does things a little differently than other security camera brands we’ve tested. Not bad, necessarily – just different.
Here, we’ll lay out our full experience with Ezviz cameras – the good, the bad, and the in-between. Let’s find out if Ezviz is the right fit for you and your home.
With that, back to the boxes. To our delight, we discovered that these cameras run on our home Wi-Fi, and they both come with power cords to attach to a wall outlet. That meant no pesky ethernet cord or bulky battery pack to deal with when we installed them. Of course, ethernet- and battery-powered cams have their advantages, but we think you’ll like the Ezviz Wi-Fi hookup.
We did know, however, that a power cord can be restrictive and can make installation tricky in other ways – especially if you don’t have lots of exterior wall outlets (we only have one). So, before we dug out our drill to start mounting our outdoor camera, we decided to use an extension cord as a temporary placeholder and run it outside, as discreetly as possible. You’ll want to keep this option in mind.
Pro Tip: You’ll need a pretty strong Wi-Fi connection if you want to run more than one Ezviz camera in your home. And, like any product that runs on Wi-Fi, you might notice some delays and bottlenecks from time to time. Standard Wi-Fi network speeds tend to fluctuate, and it might affect the speed at which you receive motion notifications. It’s not a perfect experience, but it’s pretty close!
It’s not the prettiest setup, having the cord exposed, but it does allow us to test positions and angles, get to know the Ezviz app, and learn all of the camera’s features before committing to a permanent location.
Early on in our setup process, we downloaded the Ezviz mobile app from our app store. It’s available on iPhone, Android, and desktop, but we chose the iPhone route.
From there, the setup was pretty intuitive. We typed in our Wi-Fi password, scanned the QR code on the camera with our phone … and voila. We could see both cameras from our app and explore all of Ezviz’s features with ease.
Did You Know: Most of today’s home security systems and security cameras can be controlled remotely using your smartphone. It is the 21st century, after all.
And wow, the features here are impressive. From the clear-as-day 1080p video quality to advanced features like color night vision1, person detection, and motion zones, we admired the wide range of coverage we got from these cameras both inside and outside our home.
For us, Ezviz cameras reminded us of another DIY camera brand we’ve tested: Reolink. Like our current Ezviz outdoor cam, the C3N, Reolink’s outdoor model boasts a rugged, durable exterior and an attractive body design. But as far as video quality goes, we have to give that nod to Ezviz. We found both the crispness of our Ezviz playback videos and live views, as well as the efficiency and user-friendliness of the Ezviz app, to be a noticeable improvement over Reolink.
Now it was time to explore each camera a little more deeply.
This one’s got an eye for detail! C1C is one of several Ezviz indoor models, standing at a compact 4.06 inches tall and 2.52 inches wide. The camera’s sleek, small design and durable construction gave us a lot of flexibility in placement and installation.
For our purposes, the camera fit perfectly among the organized chaos that is our living room. We knew that, whether we were home or away, this camera would put its laser-sharp technology to work for us, protecting creatures great, small, canine, human, or otherwise.
While this camera doesn’t offer us that extra-wide field of view we’d get from, say, the Zmodo Sight 180 C camera, we found that with all the customization and hardware adjustments offered on our C1C, the difference in field of view (that’s 180 degrees on the Sight versus 130 degrees on our Ezviz) was negligible.
Case in point: Our camera caught this little furball in all sorts of precarious acts, from stealing not one, but both pairs of our slippers; jumping on the coffee table, a big no-no; and trying to knock down our DVD tower.
And through it all, our camera did great work recording all those moments of joyful delinquency and helping us keep more eyes on him, and the rest of us, pretty much all the time. So if you’re like us, constantly trying to wrangle your mischievous pet to keep him from destroying your worldly possessions, you’ll appreciate this flexibility.
Throughout our tests of the C1C, Ezviz’s app made it really easy to play back recordings from all that activity any time we wanted. Just to make sure we’d be able to focus on the “right” kind of motion, the app let us draw over areas we didn’t want the camera to trigger, just like that.
We have to say, we really like this grid style. It’s a lot smoother than Ring’s motion zone feature, which lets you tap on the screen to block out zones, but doesn’t respond nearly as quickly as our Ezviz C1C.
Our Ezviz cameras boast A.I. person detection. Sounds cool, right? Right, but with a note of caution. Our camera does tell us when the motion detected is the human kind, but it just kind of ends there. If an animal passes through the view, the camera thinks it, too, is a human.
We don’t know too many humans with four legs. But we understand. These are, after all, relatively inexpensive cameras; while Ezviz’s motion detection technology handles exceptionally well, it doesn’t perform at the level we’ve seen in Google Nest Cams, which have leapt boldly into A.I. facial recognition, literally reading our faces to learn who’s familiar and who’s not. Those cameras, you’ll note, are pricier than our Ezviz, at $199 for the indoor Google Nest IQ.
What we will say, though, is that not too many other cameras can stack up to Ezviz in both price point and advanced features. As with so many security cameras these days, you tend to get what you pay for.
“Attention, students. It is now time for lunch.”
Here’s the thing. In our little house in the Midwest, we’re currently heading into the fall of 2020, which is right around Month 7 of the Covid-19 pandemic2. We’re spending lots of time at home. Our children, both sixth-graders, are attending school online.
And we parents?
We’re stretched just a little thin. Sometimes, we need to be in two places in the same house at the same time. Other times, we need an extra set of hands.
Most times, though, we just need to keep those lines of communication open. And if it takes using our Ezviz C1C as our very own intercom system, using our big, booming voices to usher our youngsters through their daily class schedules, reminding them of tasks to finish before the day’s end … we’ll gladly oblige.
That said, our young scholars were kept on task throughout the day thanks to our camera’s Two-Way Talk feature. We used it to check in on their progress from time to time while still keeping up with our own daily activities, even when those activities took us outside the house. Remember, you’ll have smartphone access and controls with Ezviz cameras.
Finally, we felt like productive humans again!
Pro Tip: Ezviz, in a relatively new update, now has Face ID. That means, if you’ve got an iPhone like we do, you can use that super-handy Face ID to open your app, monitor your cameras, and make changes whenever you need to!
After spending some serious one-on-one time with our C1C for our tests, we were eager to see what tricks our outdoor camera, the Ezviz C3N, would have up its sleeve.
Initial observations? Mother Nature is no match for this camera! The hefty C3N is made to withstand weather, with an IP67 dust and water rating3. We believe that’s weather-speak for ”this thing can handle anything.” Maybe you live in the northwest and get hit with those Arctic blasts. Or maybe you deal with extreme heat in the southwest (we know… it’s a dry heat). Either way, we think the C3N will be able to withstand just about any weather condition.
In our case, however, the camera captured our sunny days, showed us impressive detail in its playback, and delivered clear images the whole way through.
Pro Tip: Our Ezviz cameras both came with slots for Micro SD cards. This is great, but it’s important to note that Ezviz does not include the cards with the cameras themselves. You can buy them separately, and some retailers even offer 2-in-1 packages for pretty cheap, but we thought it was worth a warning.
Before we even opened the box, we knew our Ezviz C3N was equipped with some serious night vision technology. Rather than the standard infrared night vision we’re accustomed to, this one’s got color night vision – and we were keen to test it out.
And we’ll say this: When night fell after our first day testing this camera, we were met with a pretty all-consuming halo effect from one of our light fixtures. We realized that we had positioned our camera so that the light was directly in front of our view. Oops! So this is something to keep in mind.
We know, from our previous tests of dozens of other security cameras, that this is a no-no, for one key reason: It could cause the light sensor to malfunction, meaning we could miss important motion. We quickly solved this problem by positioning our camera a little farther to the left, and all was well again.
Did we mention all the fun we’ve been having customizing our alarm notifications on this camera? Just one peek into the Settings menu on our C3N, and we knew we could truly make these cameras perform exactly the way we wanted them to. And customizations are important to us.
When we wanted to change our motion detection so that the only shapes our camera detected were human, we could check that box.
Or, if we would rather be alerted every time the camera detected a change in motion, we could check that box instead.
When it seemed like the camera wasn’t picking up the motion it should, we adjusted motion sensitivity using this handy-dandy tool:
And then, just like our indoor C1C, we were able to go in and block off the areas of motion we didn’t want monitored. Be careful doing this, though; you don’t want to block out too big of an area and end up missing crucial activity!
To subscribe or not to subscribe? That is the question, and we’re here to answer it once and for all: Yes. If you don’t already have local storage (a Micro SD card or your own self-monitoring) with your Ezviz cameras, you’ll want to buy a subscription for CloudPlay, Ezviz’s cloud storage network.
For what it’s worth, we’re seeing subscriptions almost across the board as an option for video storage. For that truly smart home we’re all shooting for, with multiple cameras sending all of that data back and forth at all times of the day, we know it’s important to have a secure place for all of that data to live. CloudPlay delivers that, but be warned: It’s not without a (significant) price.
The monthly fee of $11 for a standard 30-day storage plan, in our view, is a bit steep. And bear in mind that Ezviz does not offer a free option for cloud storage. Compared to DIY cams we’ve reviewed with much larger customer bases, like Ring or Google Nest, these Ezviz subscription prices fall on the higher side.
|CloudPlay Plans||Basic||7-Day Standard||30-Day Standard||7-Day Home Plan||30-Day Home Plan|
|Video History & Playback||X||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Daily 24/Hour Recap||X||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Cameras Covered||X||1 Cam||1 Cam||Up to 4 Cams||Up to 4 Cams|
Everyone’s favorite little smart assistant, Alexa, has a skill for Ezviz4, which we were happy to discover in our tests. As we have with previous smart home products, we went to work setting up that skill for our Amazon Echo Show so we could use voice commands to display our Ezviz cameras, arm or disarm them, and enable two-way talk, among other actions.
Pretty straightforward so far, right?
Wrong. When we thought we’d had it all buttoned up, we said, “Alexa, show me my driveway.”
Alexa said, “OK.” Then, she paused, and the three little dots began to crawl across the screen. Alexa, in a much meeker-sounding voice, said, “Sorry, your cameras are asleep.”
We were confused. We didn’t see any indication on our end that our cameras were “asleep.” We consulted our palm-sized instruction manual and saw nothing in the steps about this. After several misfires that had us scratching our heads, we turned to an old buddy: customer service.
Who hasn’t, at least once in their lives, experienced bad customer service? We have – more times than we’d like to admit – so we’re always a little wary about calling customer service. What if we have to wait a long time to talk to an agent? What if we take all that time and our problem still isn’t solved?
So, we did what any self-respecting Gen-Xer would do.
We “chatted” our way out of our problem!
Using Ezviz’s Live Chat function, located on the support page of their website, we explained our issue and waited for a response. It was swift, and within a couple of minutes, “Karen” was on the line.
What was the issue, you might be wondering? That would be something called image encryption5. In order to use these cameras with Alexa, Karen told us, we had to go into our camera’s settings and turn off our Image Encryption setting.
This is great information, and it definitely solved our problem. We could now use Alexa to see our Ezviz cams, hooray! But we were left with one lingering question after our chat with Karen was over:
Why couldn’t we find that little nugget of information when we were setting up Alexa with our cameras in the first place? Perhaps this is an oversight within Ezviz’s smart home functionality. This isn’t something we’d dock major points for, but to us, it’s a sign that Ezviz’s software might need an update in the near future.
Now that we’ve laid out our full experience with these Ezviz cameras, we have one confession: We did not purchase our cams directly from the company website. That’s because we couldn’t. No one can; Ezviz is one of just a few brands in the industry that doesn’t sell its products directly to customers. (Samsung Wisenet is guilty of this, too.)
It’s not something we see every day, so it does make Ezviz a bit unorthodox by Western standards. We bought our Ezviz cams from Amazon, but we had plenty of other choices for where to buy them, too – Walmart, Best Buy, The Home Depot, and B&H, among others.
Keep in mind, though, that prices vary, even among the same cameras. Our C1C camera cost $25, but we also saw it for sale on another retailer’s site for $35.
This, to us, was disappointing. With so many retailers selling Ezviz’s products – and at widely varying prices to boot – it can be difficult to get a real feel for the brand. Personally, we prefer buying direct.
Here’s our breakdown of Ezviz’s pricing, keeping those price variations in mind:
|Model Name||Camera Type||Key Features||Price|
|C1HC||Indoor||HD camera with magnetic base||$34.95|
|C6N||Indoor||Wi-Fi pan & tilt camera||$39.90|
|C1C||Indoor||Full HD Wi-Fi camera||$24.99|
|C2C (Mini O & Mini O Plus)||Indoor||Automatic night vision||$59.99+|
|ez360||Indoor||Pan & tilt, 360° field of view, smart tracking||$68.41|
|Mini Plus||Indoor||Compact camera with swivel base||$69.99|
|C3N||Outdoor||3 night vision modes, person detection||$49.99|
|C4W||Outdoor||Built-in siren and strobe light||N/A|
|C3W ezGuard||Outdoor||Dual Wi-Fi antennas, siren, and strobe||$89.99|
|C4S||Outdoor||Vandal-proof, weatherproof dome camera||N/A|
|LC1||Outdoor||Smart security light camera||N/A|
|ezWireLess Kit||Wi-Fi Camera Kit||Wireless NVR & Wi-Fi Cameras||N/A|
|DB1 Video Doorbell||Doorbell Camera||Motion detection, two-way talk||$229.99|
|Alarm Starter Kit||Home Security System||Central hub, entry sensors, etc.||$299.99|
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed testing, living with, and interacting with these cameras for our tests. With that solid build, we felt confident our Ezviz cameras would hold up in most any weather. Add to that Ezviz’s powerful cloud-based network, and we saw our C1C and C3N cams perform smoothly from alert to playback, deliver top-notch images in 1080p HD and color night vision, and serve as a reliable layer of protection for our home.
As many as you want! Ezviz doesn’t limit the number of cameras you can run through the Ezviz app. If you do have multiple Ezviz cameras, however, you might need a premium subscription plan to store all that data.
Yes. In live view or playback mode, you can save recordings to “my album” in your mobile app. From there, you can save them to your phone or tablet or share them with others.
We had a pleasant experience speaking to a customer service agent via Ezviz’s live chat option. However, we have come across some less-than-favorable reviews from users who complained of unsolved tech issues and slow response times. The company did, at one point, have an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau, but that’s since been upgraded to an “A.”
No. Ezviz’s standard CloudPlay storage plan costs $5.99 per month. You can also use a MicroSD card for local storage and skip the subscription model altogether.
Yes. According to their support page, every Ezviz product comes with a factory-programmed verification code. This ensures that unauthorized users cannot access your videos, playback, and images.
Landon, E, MD. University of Chicago School of Medicine. (2020, May 8). COVID-19: What we know so far about the 2019 novel coronavirus. https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/prevention-and-screening-articles/wuhan-coronavirus
PR NewsWire. Ezviz Inc. (2019, Sept. 6) Ezviz Showcases its First Color Night Vision Security Camera at IFA 2019 to Bring 24/7 Color Images. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ezviz-showcases-its-first-color-night-vision-security-camera-at-ifa-2019-to-bring-247-color-images-300912886.html
Griffith, E. PCMag. (2020, March 4). Dust-Resistant? Waterproof? Making Sense of Gadget Ratings. https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/dust-resistant-waterproof-making-sense-of-gadget-ratings
Amazon. (2020). Ezviz Skill. https://www.amazon.com/EZVIZ/dp/B071XHC4VX
Long, B. and Zhou, Y. Information Sciences. (2015, Dec. 10) Image Encryption: Generating virtually meaningful encrypted images. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020025515004818