I’ve owned the Wyze Cam v2 for almost a year. I thought I’d try it out before considering a Nest Indoor Cam or one of the Nest IQ series. I was hoping that I could get some of the same features for a fraction of the price.
Reading the box, you can see that Wyze Cam features, Night Vision, 14 Days of free cloud storage, 8x digital zoom, 1080p resolution, Two way Audio, and Motion Detection.
I would say that Wyze Cam does provide these options, however, most of these options function better with a higher bandwidth wifi connection and the addition of the MicroSD card (not included). I used the Wyze Cam without an SD card and have been satisfied, until just recently – will explain later in the article. Let’s take you through how to setup a camera and configure some of the features.
Wyze Cam – Setup
You will require the Wyze app from Wyze Labs, Inc. The Wyze app is your main point of interface for your camera(s). The Wyze app has gone through a major update in the last month – fixed a couple of bugs, and added more accessories in the Wyze Shop. Wyze is on their way to bring more security sensors to your household. The Wyze can be found on the Google Play Store, Apple App Store. It can also integrate with the Amazon Echo smart displays. Here is how to install a Wyze Cam.
Add a device
You can add a device (Wyze Cam v2, Wyze Cam Pan) on the ellipsis (…) on the top right corner of screen. From there, choose your product [Wyze Cam], then continue. The app then gives you a breakdown of the ‘Wyze Cam Setup’ right on the screen.
You’ll need to connect camera to power. Connect the adapter and micro-USB connection. You’ll see the yellow light starting to blink behind the camera, beside the USB power connection. Press the SETUP button under the camera and hold until you hear the camera say “Ready to Connect”.
Important to note that the Wyze Cam uses 2.4 GHz to function. The setup will ask for your wifi network credentials. Once you’re ready to connect, the Wyze App will generate a QR code, which you flash in front of your camera, then the camera will sync to your app. You will be asked to name the camera (i.e. Garage, Entryway, Kitchen, Baby Monitor, etc.) The setup take approx. 5 minutes.
Wyze Cam – Features, Functions
Once you’ve added a device, you’re going to want to make it functional for the area you’re monitoring. The camera has range, resolution and functions that you’ll need to work with.
One of the functions is the Event Recording. Once you select your camera view (i.e. Entryway), you’ll see the ‘Live Stream’ of your video. Now, without a microSD card inserted, your default resolution could go to 360p or ‘SD’.
Click on the ‘Camera Settings’ gearwheel icon on the top right of the screen. You’ll find the option for Event Recording, along with Detection Settings, Alarm Settings, and Advanced Settings.
Starting to recognize that this little Wyze Cam can do many things that the Nest Cam can do.
Once you’re in Event Recording, you have the option to adjust the Schedule to ‘All Day’ or a set start or end time. Set up your schedule, then back out of the schedule settings to go back to Event Recording.
You will need to select/toggle the Detects Motion and/or Detects Sound to record an event. Don’t worry if you don’t have a microSD card right away. Once you toggle either one of the Detect Motion or Detect Sound options, you’ll get recordings that last 12 seconds. These recordings are recorded in the Wyze cloud for up to 14 days. Then they are gone. (Hint – get google photos or onedrive to backup the folder). I suggest that you toggle the ‘Send Push Notification’ too. If you’ve setup your camera properly, you’ll minimize the false alerts.
Once you have your camera setup properly, you’ll notice a few things about the view: your visibility range, the amount of light (streetlights, house lights), possible reflection off of surfaces, sight lines, etc. Think about what this might look like at Night.
The Wyze Cam can switch to Night mode by going infrared. Infrared activation can cause some reflection, which can put your camera notifications into a annoying notification loop (especially if the camera is setup behind a window)
In the Detection Settings function (from the Camera Settings, under Event Recording), you can setup the Sensitivity of motion detection. Now, I’ve been working with this setting for about a year; I must say that this camera can be quite sensitive to reflections (Day: sunlight exposure through windows, Night: Headlights shining against driveways, houses, etc.). I would suggest lowering your sensitivity and testing it out, then increasing the sensitivity if you find it’s not picking up objects as they move across the camera view.
You can also setup the Detection Zone. This is a pretty neat feature. You can create a detection ‘box’, so your camera will start recording once motion crosses or enters the ‘box’. You can scale/crop the box to a functional size. You will need to be nimble with your fingers to adjust the box size. The functionality is intuitive.
If you don’t have a Nest Protect at home or some other device that will notify you of a smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in the house, the Wyze cam can also provide a solution. In the Alarm Settings (in Camera Settings), you can toggle ‘Smoke alarm sound’ and/or ‘CO alarm sound’. This functionality is great for living rooms, bedrooms, furnace rooms, etc. It gives you real time evidence of any root causes for harm in the house.
Advanced settings is where you can configure recording an event when detecting motion, as we’ve been talking about in this article, or you can go continuous (need an SD card).
You can also configure the Night Vision Infrared Lights to go Off, Auto, or On all the time. Depending on what the conditions are outside, you may not require night vision to be activated if you have a well lit area. However, if things continually change at night, you may need to go Auto or On.
Recognize: when Night Vision IR is activated, it is also giving off light, so beware of reflection, if behind windows or around walls which could reflect the light back into the camera. Your camera may not function properly. This can be managed in Detection Settings.
Wyze Cam – Experience
My neighbor texted me a picture of a ‘visitor’ that showed up at his porch at three o’clock in the morning (See below). I appreciate my neighbor texting me these pictures first thing in the morning to give me a heads-up.
I had my Wyze Cam setup to capture this event (not shown to maintain security); the motion crossed my detection box. I was satisfied with catching a 12 second event. However, I recognize that events can occur for much longer; I wanted to record how much time the visitor was spending. With an SD card storage I can get the full context of what happens for a longer period of time.
Wyze Cam: Verdict
I must say that I am happy with the Wyze Cam. I thought this would be a great tester/starter for the Nest Cam, however, with all the features Wyze Cam brings, I think I’m getting a great amount of value.
The Wyze Cam is small, compact and can operate at 1080p. There are number of 3rd party mount accessories already on the market that you can utilize to fit your Wyze Cam anywhere. In the meantime, Wyze Labs provides an excellent magnetic mount as well. Wyze Labs also provides sensors to assist with security.
There are some negatives of the Wyze Cam: The camera is very light weight and can crack if dropped. The Wyze Cam app has some bugs, and the connection to the camera can time out intermittently when accessing the settings functions. Accessing your cameras when on other networks can also be a problem. Most networks (work, or public wifi) have firewalls that will not allow you to stream video, so you might have to rely on your mobile network (GSM) to connect reliably to your cameras. Be prepared to experience some ‘timed out’ errors, or ‘lost camera connection’. Also the scheduling can change to default, so you’ll have to go back and check if the last settings were actually saved. These are minor issues, when compared to the cost of the device, and Wyze Labs is working everything out.
There are tons of ways to integrate the Wyze Cam into your existing home automation scheme. For starters, if you’re connected to the Amazon system, you can use the Echo show to show you streaming of your current camera views. Otherwise, you can use IFTTT (If-Then-This-That) to also trigger other functions in the house and vice-versa. The options are ‘endless’
The Wyze Cam could be an excellent addition to your home automation needs.
I hope you enjoyed the article. Thank you for reading.
If you need any recommendations for home automation products, including the Wyze Cam v2 and the Wyze Cam Pan, you can find them on our Amazon Influencer Shop. It’s a curated list of high-quality smart home products (and it’s an affiliate link).
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