I recently recouped all of the money I spent (and then some) on a Nest web cam when our parked car was hit in front of our house. Thanks to the camera footage, I was able to prove who damaged our vehicle and saved myself more than $1,400 in out-of-pocket repair expenses.
Since then, I’ve been looking to add another camera to the back of my house but I didn’t want to spend too much. So I dropped $20 on the new Wyze Cam v2. It’s amazing how much you get for the price of a nice lunch.
The second-generation Wyze Cam looks identical to the first, that is to say, sort of cute. It’s just a little cube — matte not glossy finish this time around — with a built-in base that extends the camera up about two inches. It reminds me of the Pixar lamp, if you’re familiar with that. You power it via an included micro USB cable and power adapter, and there’s full-sized USB port to daisy chain up to three cameras on a single electrical outlet. Also included is a magnetic mounting kit for attaching the camera to a wall
Setup was quick and easy, taking all of three minutes. I downloaded the Wyze app, created an account, plugged the camera in and pressed a button on it to start the Wi-Fi pairing process with a QR code scan. Note, that like the original version, the Wyze Cam v2 only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. Even so, it connected to my Google Wi-Fi mesh network without any problems.
This new camera supports the same 1080p resolution as the original version but with an improved sensor and it now includes motion tagging to for detection. That means when the camera sees motion, it not only records but also places a box around the motion so you can see what triggered the recording. Recordings are still quite short though: 12 seconds is all you get. On the plus side, there’s no cost for cloud storage of the last 14 days worth of video, which is securely sent to Amazon’s web servers.
You can also use a microSD card to store your video if you’d prefer to have local data. I didn’t test this because all of my microSD cards are currently in Raspberry Pi devices. It should work the same however, with the Wyze app showing all motion captures.
In terms of integrations, I can’t connect this camera to my Wink Hub 2. However, Wyze did recently release a firmware update to support IFTTT and I tested a recipe to enable motion detection at bedtime, which worked fine. Depending on what you want to connect your Wize Cam v2 to, if IFTTT supports it, you can likely do it. Wyze plans to bring Amazon Alexa integration to the camera soon, and has also talked about adding geofencing features. In theory then, you could leave the house and the Wyze app might enable motion detection while you’re away.
Video quality and night vision look good to my eye. Similar in fact to the Nest cam which is several times more expensive. You also get two-way audio: Tap an in-app button on the live stream and you can have a conversation with someone through the camera. The field of view is pretty wide but I notice a bit more curvature at the edges than I’ve seen from more expensive cameras. You can see that in the video above, particularly due to the window screen. I can live with it at this price.
Note that my particular use case might be a little unique as well. Since I can’t have outdoor cameras, I’m using the Wyze Cam behind a screened window. That’s not ideal of course because the screen interferes with image quality. Motion detection appears to be immune, thankfully.
The app has plenty of setting options, ranging from creating a motion detection mask zone, enabling night vision, scheduling notifications on or off, and plenty more. Again, at this price, I’m pretty impressed by the controls you have over the camera.
Ideally, I’d like to see more integrations in the future. I’m spoiled by asking my Nvidia Shield TV with its built in Google Assistant to show me a live camera stream on command. But for the price, quality, and lack of subscription fees, I can’t see how you can go wrong for $20 on the new Wyze Cam v2.
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