Do the best things come in small packages? In the case of Wyze, we think so! We recently unpacked a couple of cameras from Wyze, the low-cost security brand founded by former Amazon employees.1 We spent several days testing and analyzing these cams, which are widely considered the entry-level answer to smart home security.
Their petite cams were made with minimalism and convenience in mind, and we’ve rated them as one of the best “cheap” security cameras in the industry.
For our team, reviewing the Wyze Cam Indoor and Wyze Cam Pan was our version of casual Friday. We knew we wouldn’t have to spend too much time getting these cameras working.
Overall, as we took these cameras for a spin, we were keen on two things: the totally hassle-free setup process, as well as the impressive features in these cams that other minimalistic cameras lack, like two-way talk and long-range night vision. Read on for our full experience.
These petite cameras initially caught us off guard when we first unboxed them; we wondered if something was missing. How could so many A+ features come in such a tiny little camera?
As 21st-century humans, we’ve seen this before. There’s nothing new about technology you can hold in the palm of your hand. But considering our history of reviewing and testing security cameras, we always prepare for at least a moderate challenge.
No such thing here! Open box, remove contents, plug in. That’s it! Keep in mind, as you decide where to place your camera, that you’re given a 6-foot power cord and adapter, which might be too short for some room setups. You can buy extra mounting kits with cord extensions, though.
Once we plugged it in and waited for the yellow light to flash, we entered our home Wi-Fi password in the app, scanned the QR code on the app with our camera, pressed the setup button on the back of the camera, and followed the prompts to complete the process. A few minutes and a firmware update later, and we were all set.
OK, so it wasn’t snap-your-fingers instant; there were some prompts to follow after downloading the app, and of course there’s the occasional stumbling block as we navigated through said app. But this is still modern tech; we know there will always be some learning, waiting, or tinkering involved.
As we analyzed the features and tech of our Wyze cams, our objective was to see how well our Wyze Cam and Wyze Cam Pan held up as effective security devices, despite their super-low prices. We know Wyze prides itself on keeping its prices low and wants its customers to abandon their preconceived notions about “cheap” technology.2
But cheap or not, when it comes to how to choose security equipment, it’s important to focus on how all of that technology works together in such a small device.
We also know they aim to impress; Wyze still packed these cameras with HD resolution, custom motion zones, two-way talk, schedules, device triggers, and other features usually reserved for expensive alternatives or locked behind a subscription. And, it’s totally customizable; you can create all kinds of “rules” to make your devices shine.
Pro Tip: Let the Wyze app monitor your smoke alarms and CO detector. Just enable the option under “Alert Settings” to get a smartphone notice if a siren sounds.
Despite all the perks, we do want to point out three key downsides:
Those factors weren’t deal breakers for us, but they’re certainly helpful to keep in mind. For more help with buying equipment, visit our complete security camera buying guide.
Our Wyze Cam V2 is the successor of the original Wyze Cam, and it still clings to the brand’s minimalistic design principles. Installing it involved little more than setting it on a shelf. We also used the included adhesive to keep the camera in place, but that’s certainly optional.
This little cutie comes with a nice array of features, which are standard in many of the best wireless indoor cameras on the market:
Our biggest gripe here is that there’s no battery backup in case the power goes out. But, again, Wyze is clearly thinking small. A battery pack would add a lot of bulk to these compact little cams, as we noted in a few of our Ring camera reviews.
FYI: Neither the Wyze Cam V2 nor the Wyze Cam Pan are outdoor cameras,3 but you can protect them from dust and water splashes with a slip-on cover if you really want to use them outside. Be wary of this and any other DIY “hack,” though, as you might end up voiding the warranty.
Overall, though, what a great little device! So small, yet so advanced. For the low price of $19.99, we’re in!
It’s Wyze … in 360! Wyze Cam Pan is Wyze’s most advanced camera. It’s got all the features we enjoyed in Wyze Cam, including night vision, adjustable motion detection, and two-way audio. But the special sauce is the 360-degree coverage. This is somewhat unusual in the industry – likely because some folks consider it antiquated or unnecessary. But we were charmed by this feature, to be honest. As the cam smoothly swivels from place to place, scanning the room, we couldn’t help but marvel at how expertly the makers of Wyze fashioned all these impressive features into a $29.99 camera.
FYI: Design-wise, both cams happened to remind us of Blink, another minimalist camera that’s battery-powered and costs slightly more than Wyze. Visit our hands-on Blink camera review to see if Blink is right for you.
In our experience with the pint-sized Wyze Cam Pan, the 360-degree panning action — combined with a 120-degree lens — was a welcome bonus. We positioned ours at the top of our bookshelf for a view of our bottom stairway and peripheral view of our front door. As our motion alerts came through, we were able to see the rotation in action, noting how fast it all worked (under three seconds to go all 360 degrees, to be exact).
For only $10 more than the V2, the Cam Pan makes the grade.
|Wyze Cam||1080p HD Wi-Fi||$19.99|
|Wyze Cam Pan||1080p Pan, Tilt and Zoom Wi-Fi||$29.99|
The majority of the cameras we review provide 1080p HD resolution. It’s the industry standard,4 and we found it more than sufficient for our purposes in the Wyze cams. But, should your purposes be more complex, we think these cameras could stand up to several higher-end brands in video clarity. When we unpacked Canary cameras, for example, the cameras delivered video in 1080p, which in most cases was excellent. Those cams are also packed with some unique and advanced features, so they’re going to cost you quite a bit more than Wyze. It all depends on your preference, but as far as video quality, 1080p does the job well.
FYI: If you have an SD card, you can use it in the Pan Cam to record in HD nonstop for up to 48 hours. You can also keep storing continuous video after two days, but the clarity will drop to standard definition (SD) after that.
Many times, in testing and in our everyday lives, we used Wyze cams to keep track of our rambunctious puppy, who was going through an unfortunate and destructive chewing phase. In black and white, our Wyze Cam Pan produced a clear and detailed picture, as you can see above.
You won’t find colorized night vision with Wyze, though; if you’re interested in that, we suggest taking a look at Reolink. While those will cost more than Wyze, they do record some brilliant video at night, as you can read in our hands-on Reolink camera analysis.
Like 1080p and night vision, two-way audio has become a standard we expect in home security cameras. Wyze has it, and it’s seamless and effective, but we won’t lie – the communication is a bit less crisp than other camera audios, like the sharp-looking Arlo camera system we unpacked recently.
But, again, what are your priorities? Do you want to have full-fledged conversations with the babysitter while you’re on your date night, or do you envision using it more as a home intercom (“Honey, can you bring me a pair of scissors?”). Again, with such low-cost cameras, we weren’t expecting premium audio, and we didn’t get it. But we did get an effective two-way channel that didn’t glitch out on us once.
Our team is always happy when the cameras we review can be paired with a home assistant like Google Home or Amazon Echo. Luckily, Wyze works really well with Alexa and Google Assistant, and setting up either device is no sweat. We have a Google Assistant, and we were able to use voice controls to disarm and arm our cameras. Our device doesn’t have a screen, unfortunately, so we couldn’t say things like, “Show me the living room.” But … we’re usually in the living room.
Did You Know: Cameras are really getting into the home automation game. Learn how Wyze and other cameras can automate with your smart home in our comprehensive home automation guide.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors protect us from potential dangers from within our home. But in our haste, we sometimes overlook those dangers in favor of external threats like thieves or trespassers.
So while visual surveillance is always important, detecting unusual or problematic noises is also a really helpful feature. In the Wyze cam, you can activate smart sound recognition,5 which is free in the app. This way, if your smoke alarm siren goes off, your cam will trigger an alert on your phone wherever you are, so you’ll be able to take action right away.
Wyze recently leveled up its subscription service with Cam Plus. With our 14-day free trial, we got complete motion capture, allowing us to record full-length videos to the cloud as soon as motion was detected. Cam Plus also offers Person Detection, which is new to Wyze; you can activate this feature to receive notifications when people are detected and add a filter to your recordings.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you’d expect with a Cam Plus subscription compared to the basic (free) Wyze experience:
|Event Video Length||12 seconds||Unlimited|
|Cooldown Period||5 minutes||No cooldown|
|Price||Free||$1.25 per month per camera|
This is an affordable storage plan, especially compared to the bigger brands like Arlo and Amazon-backed Ring, which start at $3.50 per month. While that’s certainly not a huge fee either, it was clear that storing our video footage with Wyze was going to be very inexpensive.
Admittedly, we didn’t find much wrong with these cameras that would require asking for help. We did hit a bump when we tried to pair our camera with more than one smartphone; we had to resend the verification email a couple of times before the second user was able to share. For help, we headed over to Wyze’s customer support page, where we found ample content related to installation, troubleshooting, Wyze app functionality, and information about Wyze’s many other products and accessories. But what wasn’t so easy to spot was a phone number.
Indeed, Wyze doesn’t make it so easy to call them. After failing to locate a customer service phone number on their website, we ended up finding it through a Google search. We called somewhat late in the day, and we wondered if we’d get through. But we were greeted quickly, and our questions were answered to our satisfaction.
For other questions or concerns we had, we consulted the community forum and found a treasure trove of information, as well as the latest Wyze updates, news, and tips for using our cameras effectively.
And, we liked that at the end of every support Q&A on the page – and there are lots – we were directed to file a support ticket if our question still wasn’t answered.
Wyze has a free one-year warranty on their products. We haven’t had an occasion to use it yet, but we like that it’s there if we need it. We also like the 30-day return policy, which is a nice perk when purchasing any electronics product. So even though these cameras are remarkably cheap, we were happy to see a robust warranty as part of Wyze’s offerings. Clearly, there’s a reason these cameras have earned high marks in home security; despite their low cost, Wyze simply does not skimp on quality.
Warranty aside, you can expect Wyze Cams to work well beyond the first year, barring some unexpected calamity. We did come across a handful of customer complaints about hardware or app malfunctions, but among the tens of thousands of verified users on their support page, complaints were relatively rare.
We live in an era when a couple of home security cameras cost the same as dinner for two. What a time to be alive, right? With their V2 and Pan Cams, Wyze proves that its goal of “making great technology accessible” is in full force. In addition to their unmatched affordability, we love these cams for their simplicity, their reliability, and their effectiveness in protecting your home, your family, and your possessions.
Our only wish is that the cameras contained a battery backup. We think this would go a long way toward upholding Wyze’s reputation for reliability; not to mention ensuring the system stays running without interruption. Because, let’s face it: Property crimes do happen, and some of them involve criminals cutting wires to turn cameras offline. Just something to consider.
And, we don’t want to leave you without reiterating how much we love the size of these things. With all the tinkering and testing we do all day with our security cameras, we tend to clutter up our workspaces quite often — daily, really. Even the industry darling Google Nest camera system we got our hands on required its share of attachments, hardware, and tricky installation steps. This stuff isn’t always easy, so if you’re more of a set-it-and-forget-it camera user, the compact cameras of Wyze are a smart option.
Perhaps it’s time for all of us to start thinking small in home security.
No. Wyze cameras don’t include a battery, so you’ll have to plug them into a wall outlet with the included power cord.
Yes. In terms of smart home ecosystems, Wyze integrates with Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. It does not currently integrate with Apple HomeKit.
No. All Wyze cameras, including the most recent v3 releases, work alone.
In addition to saving your video history, Wyze’s cloud storage plan lets you record snapshots and video clips to the cloud, or download footage to your phone or tablet. Subscriptions start at $2.49 per month for 7 days of video history. That’s a great price compared to the competition.
Yes. Wyze Cams include 14 days of cloud storage for free, so you can livestream footage, receive alerts and control your cameras remotely through the Wyze app without signing up for a Cam Plus subscription.
Stiffler, L. (2017, Nov. 11) Amazon Vets Develop $20 WyzeCam Home Camera, End Up Competing Against their Former Employer. GeekWire.
Swearingen, J. (2019, Feb. 12). How Four Ex-Amazoners Made a Crazy Good Wireless Cam for $20. New York Magazine.
Wyze. (2019). Can I Use the Wyze Cam Outdoors?
General Security. (2019, Feb. 20). 1080p vs. 720p Resolution.
Wyze. (2019, July). How Does the Smoke Alarm and CO Alarm Work?