Wyze Cam Pan Review
Pros: Good video quality, inexpensive, user friendly, generous non-subscription services
Cons: Real time viewing can be laggy, saves only 12-second video clips every 5 minutes, pan feature somewhat inefective
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Providing most of the low-cost benefits of the Wyze Cam v2, the Wyze Cam Pan adds a slightly wider field of view and the ability to pan side-to-side in order to follow motion.
The Wyze Cam Pan is quite good as a budget camera, but can't quite match the performance of the higher end and higher priced models.
The Wyze Cam Pan offers a decent bevy of monitoring services without a subscription, with a few quirks. It does not offer any subscription services. This earned it a slightly above average score in our monitoring performance metric.
Monitoring Services Without a Subscription
True to its budget pedigree, all of Wyze's monitoring services are free, and the company does not even offer and subscription services. These services include general motion alerts, a 14-day history of 12-second long motion-activated clips stored on the cloud, and the ability to create one "motion zone" to direct where exactly the camera should look for motion.
These services are generally enough to monitor a home effectively, but they are a bit limiting when compared to the much more costly subscription services of some other brands. For example, the Wyze Cam Pan will only record one 12-second long clip to the cloud every 5 minutes. To record more frequently you must insert an SD card into the camera and record footage locally (which will be lost if an intruder steals the camera). In comparison, a Logitech camera with a subscription will save all the motion it sees, and a Nest camera with a subscription will save a 24/7 video history.
Storing Extra Footage on a microSD Card
If that 12-seconds every 5-minutes video history isn't enough for you, you can insert a microSD card into the camera itself. With a card installed you can have the camera record 24/7, or record all of the motion it sees, on top of the short clips that are saved to the cloud. The main disadvantage of this method is that you'll lose all that footage if an intruder decides to steal your camera. For reference, a 32GB card will store about 48 hours of high-definition footage.
The Wyze Cam Pan has both a microphone and a speaker, so you can hear things happening in front of the camera, and you can speak through the camera to ward off intruders or reprimand your pets.
The video this camera recorded in our testing generally looks truly high-def. If you closely compare it side-by-side with footage from something like a Nest cam you can see that the Nest footage is a bit crisper, but in a functional sense we were able to recognize faces and generally see what was going on equally well with both cameras.
Overall, the Wyze Cam Pan's video quality is on par with that of its slightly less expensive sibling, the Wyze Cam v2. The major difference is that the Pan has a 120˚ degree field of view as opposed to the 110˚ field of the v2. This brings the field of view a bit closer to the average of 130˚, but the difference between the two cameras isn't readily noticeable. The Pan does have a motorized base that allows it to twist and follow motion laterally, but we found this process not reactive enough to be of much use. Unless someone slowly ambled in front of the camera, it generally panned too slowly to follow the action.
Nighttime images on the Pan generally look good, but glass tends to confuse its infrared sensor, creating odd image distortions. Motion also tends to look quite blurry in nighttime images.
The Pan's video generally looks good, but the panning feature is typically ineffective. As you can see in this clip, the camera jumps a bit to the left to try and follow the subject, before quickly giving up.
App Ease of Use
Overall, we feel that the Wyze app is going to be intuitive and user-friendly enough for even relative technophobes. We found getting the camera set up, adjusting settings, and even setting specific schedules to be hassle-free.
The only real complaints we had with the app arose when we stored footage locally on a microSD card. Managing that footage through the app proved to be a bit glitchy and clunky. If you want to store lots of video on an SD card, we would suggest plugging said card into an actual computer for reviewing and managing that footage.
Real Time Viewing
We would call the Wyze Cam Pan's real time viewing functional, but not great. We measured a latency of only 5-seconds, making its feed one of the more immediate ones amongst the cameras we tested. However, the feed did tend to pixelate and jump a bit more regularly than feeds from the Nest and Logitech models. Those jumps and pixelations were never frequent enough to make the feed unusable, but they do take a bit away from the experience of checking in on what your pets are doing.
For only $40 and no subscription fees, the Wyze Cam Pan provides decent performance and a good amount of monitoring services, making it a great deal for those shopping on a budget. However, we don't see any significant advantage in getting the Pan over the $28 Wyze Cam v2 so if you're looking for a budget option we would suggest saving the extra $12.
The Wyze Cam Pan is a good budget camera, but isn't enough of an improvement over its less expensive sibling, the Wyze Cam v2, to make it our favorite low budget options.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata