Wyze Cam v3

One-minute review

Smart home startup Wyze is a relatively new name on the home security block, launching its first camera in 2017. Since then it's continued its assault on the smart home market, by launching a range of security cameras for both indoors and outside, as well as a range of other smart home products such as smart plugs, smart light bulbs, and even dipped its toes into the cordless vacuum and robot vacuum waters.  

Wyze initially stood out against its bigger competitors by offering super-cheap home security cameras with free AI person detection built-in, so you could protect your home yourself without paying monthly. Then, of course, Wyze followed industry trends: it moved its AI tech to a monthly subscription service, then launched its own home monitoring service.

Still, its cameras remain as cheap as ever. The Wyze Cam v3 is its most recent offer,  launching in late 2020. This full HD camera has a 130-degree field of view and comes with free cloud storage for up to 14 days, making it a more than worthy competitor to other budget cameras such as the Blink Mini and Ring Indoor Cam. But how does it stack up against the best home security cameras?

The Wyze Cam v3 has plenty of positives that make it worth considering. Its night vision without a spotlight is truly impressive, and fans of local storage will appreciate the microSD card slot. In addition, it's easy to set up and relatively simple to control through the Wyze app, although the latter can be somewhat labyrinthine at times.

Other cameras may offer a better resolution for clearer footage, but Wyze's full HD video can upload more easily on slower wi-fi networks. The Wyze Cam v3 is weatherproof, but requires a power outlet rather than using a rechargeable battery so its outdoor use is certainly limited. 

If you're looking for an affordable home security camera with free cloud storage, and the ability to save video clips locally, then this certainly fits the bill. However, if you're not willing to pay for a monthly subscription, you'll find the camera provides too many unwanted notifications if use outdoors, and lacks handy features such as person detection. That said, the Wyze Cam v3 represents great value for the money.

The Wyze Cam v3

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Future)

Wyze Cam v3 price and availability

  • List price: $33

The Wyze Cam v3 costs just under $33 today, although it originally sold for only $20, and is available directly from Wyze.com, where it is sometimes discounted, as well as online retailers including Amazon. Even at its higher price, it costs much less than most outdoor-ready security cameras today.

The Wyze Cam v3 is primarily available in the United States and Canada. It's possible to import one to countries like the UK, but certain features may be limited. Two-factor authentication requires a US phone number, for example.

The Wyze Cam Plus subscription service offers person detection and enables unlimited recordings (without it, the camera will record no more than 12 seconds at a time), and is priced at $2 per month or $20 per year.

The Wyze Cam v3

The Wyze Cam v3, power adapter, USB-to-micro-USB cable, mounting plate, and mounting adhesive. (Image credit: Michael Hicks / Future)

Design

  • Wired power
  • Weatherproof
  • Compact design

The Wyze Cam v3 is a wired indoor/outdoor security camera with IP65 water resistance, which means it repels all dust and handles rain and low-pressure water flow, but high-pressure sprays or submersion will damage it. It also has a temperature range of -5 to 113 degrees F, so it can handle most climates.

Measuring 2.05 x 2 x 2.3 inches / 5.2 x 5.1 x 58.5 cm (h x w xd), the Wyze Cam v3 is compact and boxy, although it can be pulled up from the bottom to reveal a small adjustable stand that adds up to an inch (25mm) of height.

Unfolding the camera also reveals a microSD card slot that takes cards up to 32GB in size. That enables you to turn on 24/7 recording, enough for up to three days of non-stop recordings at least. If you decide to forego a monthly subscription for cloud storage, the camera will record no more than 12 seconds, after which it will wait five whole minutes before it can trigger a new event. In this case, insert a microSD card and set the camera to 'record on event', ensuring the full length of footage will be saved to the local storage as a backup.

Lightweight at 3.5oz /98.8g, the V3 can easily become dislodged or knocked over unless you secure it in place. It comes with a 3M adhesive and a small magnetic plate for sticking it to different surfaces, plus a pair of screws for hanging it upside-down. 

Unlike wireless cams, this requires a nearby outlet to function. The Wyze Cam v3 ships with a power adapter and a 6-foot / 1.8-meter USB-to-micro-USB cable, which plugs into a rubber sleeve that protects the connection from water seepage. 

However, it lacks a privacy shutter found on other home security cameras such as the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera. This is an issue because the app allows you to remotely turn the camera on while disabling the 'On' LED indicator, leaving anyone in its field of view unaware it's recording. 

The Wyze Cam v3 setup takes just a few minutes, with most of that time taken up by downloading the Wyze app and creating a Wyze account. Actually syncing and activating the camera is easy, thanks to a QR code generated by the app that pairs the camera to your account. 

The Wyze Cam v3

The Wyze Cam v3, and what its footage looks like on your phone (Image credit: Michael Hicks / Future)

Performance

  • Full HD footage is clear during the day and night
  • 130-degree field of view captures plenty of detail
  • Sound detection is unreliable

We tested the Wyze Cam v3 indoors and outdoors and found the full HD footage was clear enough to recognize people you know, but not quite sharp enough when it comes to identifying strangers intruding on your property. It's easier to get good footage if they stand still close to the camera, but further out, they tend to look a bit blurry and oversaturated. That said it was perfectly respectable for a budget camera. 

As for night vision, that's where the Wyze Cam v3 shines. By default, it switches between color night vision, provided by the starlight sensor, and black-and-white infrared based on how much ambient light is around. In a pitch-black room indoors, we found the Wyze Cam v3 didn't have enough light for colored footage. But placed outside, moonlight or nearby street lights offered up enough light to generate clear, vivid footage all night.

We also found 130-degree field of view is also quite impressive. Fifteen feet out from the camera, it could register movement in a forty-foot stretch from left to right. Its design is deceptive, looking like it can only see directly ahead but monitoring a much wider arc. You can bet that would-be robbers will think (incorrectly) they're out of view as well.

Overall, the v3 is very consistent at recognizing movements, even at low sensitivity. It can, in fact, almost be too good at it: pointed at a tree outside, the camera regularly sent one alert after another as the wind shifted the leaves.

If you have the Cam Plus subscription, this isn't an issue. You can set your camera only to detect 'Wyze AI Events', meaning you're only alerted if it spots a person, package, vehicle or pet; you can also disable any of these if you don't want it flagging every time a car drives down the street or your cat wanders across the room. This AI was mostly reliable: it always registered people on screen, but also randomly tagged those same people as 'Pets' on rare occasions.

For comparison, the Wyze Cam v3 sound detection underperformed, to put it lightly. Even at 100 percent sensitivity, it very rarely registered a sound as people chatted in the next room or as someone blew up baddies in Mass Effect in the same room. Only deep voices directly next to the camera triggered an alert.

We're certain it would hear broken glass or a fire alarm, but it's best to rely on motion detection for detecting intruders. And as for the sounds it did record, they come through very staticky, and spoken words are difficult to understand on replay as a result.

Screenshots of the Wyze app

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Future)

App

  • Easy to navigate
  • Customizable motion detection zones
  • Several features require subscription service

The Wyze app has plenty of useful tools for protecting your home. Unfortunately, several of them can only be accessed with a Wyze Cam Plus subscription, which may or not be a deal-breaker for you.

In the Home tab, you'll see a screenshot of each connected camera; you must tap the screenshot, then wait for the camera to connect and authenticate before you can see through the Cam. On that same page, you can change the video resolution, record or take a photo of whatever's on the feed, turn on the siren to scare someone off, activate two-way talk audio, or turn off the camera.

You'll also find individual settings for each camera. You can customize event sensitivity or what triggers a notification. You can set 'Rules' for each camera, such as scheduling when a camera turns on every day or activating notifications when the camera detects a person or a door opening. Plus, each camera feed is split into 144 detection zones so that you can focus its notifications to only trigger from motion in a certain portion of the screen.

Overall, we had very few problems with the Wyze app. If we had to nitpick, tapping an event notification can be unintuitive. You see a pop-up that a person was detected at 12:00pm and tap it, taking you to a live feed. But at that point, the person may already be gone, so you must navigate away from the live feed to the events tab. The new event won't be there until you refresh the page, after which you'll tap the event and be taken back to the live stream – except this time you can scroll back to the initial motion. It's unclear why the notification doesn't take you directly to this screen.

If you're someone with an actual smart home, you can activate or deactivate the Wyze Cam v3 with an Alexa or Google Assistant command, or have its motion alerts trigger your smart lights to activate through IFTTT commands. 

Should I buy the Wyze Cam v3?

Buy it if...

You want an affordable but reliable camera (or cameras)
A two-pack of wireless outdoor cameras often costs upward of $300 for premium brands. Two Wyze Cams would cost a fifth of that, or you could cover multiple entrances and rooms for the same price. Plus, you won't have to buy battery packs for each camera or upgrade your internet plan to better handle uploading 2K or 4K footage.

You want a subtle night vision camera
Many outdoor cams with color night vision rely on large spotlights that trigger when movement is detected. These are good for deterrence but also call attention to the cameras themselves. The Wyze Cam v3 takes great night footage without need of a spotlight.

You need 24/7 recordings of a given spot
Thanks to its 32GB local storage option, the Wyze Cam v3 can film continuously for days at a time before it runs out of space. Cameras with only cloud storage typically don't support 24/7 filming.

Don't buy it if...

You want to save clear footage
The Wyze Cam v3 had great motion detection in our tests, but the video quality is just average. If you want to clearly see people's faces when zooming in, you should find a 2K or preferably 4K camera instead, despite the high price.

You want more flexibility when placing your security cameras
Security experts generally suggest placing your outdoor cams high up, but the Wyze Cam's 6-foot power cord prevents that. Rather than try an untested extension cable, you could try a wireless camera; it'll ensure that no long cord gives away its position.

You want wider or panning coverage
130 degrees is excellent for a budget camera, but more expensive devices can hit upwards of 180º, or you could find a cheap panning camera that tracks movement automatically. If you'd rather not buy a bunch of cameras, buy one reliable camera with greater coverage.

First reviewed: June 2021

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