Costing less than a tank of gas, the Wyze Cam v2 offers an effective home monitoring device that doesn't require any monthly subscription fees. For those that want to be able to check in on their home whenever they'd like, and to review chunks of what has happened over the past two weeks, this is by far the cheapest effective option. Sure, you can get a more streamlined, slightly higher-quality experience from the likes of Nest or Ring, but that would require spending nearly $200 for a camera, and then at least $50 annually on subscription services. The Wyze gets you very similar, if slightly inferior, functionality for a one-time fee of just $28. So unless you can't deal with a real-time video feed that occasionally lags or gets pixelated, or want field-leading monitoring services like facial recognition, the Wyze Cam v2 is a great choice and an incredible value.
Wyze Cam v2 Review
Pros: Good video quality, very inexpensive, user friendly, generous non-subscription services
Cons: Real time viewing can be laggy, relatively narrow field of view, Saves 12-second clips only every 5 minutes
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Offering slightly above average performance for a rock bottom price, the Wyze Cam v2 is far and away our top recommendation for those shopping on a budget.
The Wyze Camera v2 earned an above average overall score in our testing, despite a far below average list price. This earned it our Best Buy Award.
While the Wyze Cam v2 doesn't offer the best monitoring performance out there, it is more than serviceable.
Monitoring Services Without a Subscrption
One of the reasons the Wyze Cam v2 is such a great value is the fact that you get all of its monitoring services without a subscription. That includes a 14-day history of 12-second long motion activated clips stored on the cloud, general activity alerts, and the ability to create motion detection zones. This is similar to the monitoring services you'd get from a high-end security camera with the added cost of a subscription service.
We say 'similar' because brands like Nest and Logitech do offer slightly better, if more costly, services. For example, the Wyze only stores 12-second, motion activated clips on the cloud. It also takes a sometimes excruciatingly long 5 minutes for the camera to "cool down" before it will look for motion again. That means that if there is continuous motion in front of your camera for 10 full minutes, you're going to end up with 2 12-second long clips, one when the motion started, and one in the middle. That will generally be adequate if you just want to monitor who walks through a doorway, but if you're hoping to catch a usable picture of a burglar's face, the odds are stacked against you. You can fix this by inserting a microSD card (more on that below). In comparison, A Nest camera with a subscription gets you 24/7 recording to the cloud, and a Logitech camera with a subcrition records all the moments when the camera detects motion.
Additionally, Wyze's motion detection zones are not quite as nuanced as the comparable technology offered by other manufacturers. Wyze lets you create one rectangle in which the camera will specifically look for motion, ignoring all other areas of the image. This works perfectly if you just want to get alerts if someone walks through a doorway, but it doesn't really help if you only want to avoid motion detection in one specific area of the image, like if you want alerts for everything but leaves blowing around outside the window. Both Nest and Logitech let you accomplish that very easily.
That being said, we think in most situations the Wyze's monitoring services can provide quite a bit of value for those that want to keep an eye on their home, and for just a one-time cost of $28. Nest and Logitech provide undoubtedly better services, but they come with $100+ entry points and/or continuous subscription fees.
Continuous Recording to microSD Cards
For those that want more video history than just 12-second clips recorded every 5-minutes, you can put a microSD card into the camera and store footage locally. With an SD card you can either set the camera to record all the motion that it sees or for it to just record continuously. This greatly improves the camera's monitoring performance, though with this option you are out of luck if a burglar decides to steal your camera. In that case you would still have the 12-second clips stored on the cloud, however.
For reference, a 32GB microSD card will store about 48 hours of HD footage, or about 7 days worth of noticeably pixelated standard definition footage.
The Wyze Cam v2 offers 2-way audio, so you can both hear the people in front of the camera, and talk to them via the camera's speaker.
The Wyze Cam v2 offers great, if not field leading, video quality, with it's only relative shortcomings in its slightly subpar nighttime footage and somewhat narrow field of view.
Wyze's daytime video is quite high quality with good clarity and accurate colors. If you closely examine the footage side-by-side, the Nest and Logitech footage does look just slightly more crisp, but we highly doubt anyone is going to look at the Wyze's footage and think it's not clear enough. Nighttime footage also looks great if there is even a trace of ambient light around the camera. However, the footage can get a bit grainy if the camera has to rely on its own infrared light for illumination. Also, the sensor seems to get confused by glass when using infrared at night. It fails to see through windows and things next to a window can look a bit distorted.
The 110˚ field of view of the Wyze is a bit narrower than the 130˚ and 135˚ field of the Nest and Logitech cameras, respectively. However, it still covers a large enough area to be useful in most situations.
App ease of Use
In general, we found the Wyze App quite easy to use. Finding clips, setting schedules, and even setting up time-lapses is all quite intuitive and easy.
The only place we ran into any frustrations with the app was when it came to managing extra storage on the optional microSD card. Settings for this storage are a bit buried under an "Advanced Settings" menu that took us a bit of time to find. Also, watching and managing clips stored on the SD card via the app was a bit slow and sluggish. If you want to use this option we would probably suggest plugging the SD card into a proper computer to review and manage the footage.
Real Time Viewing
In general, real-time viewing on the Wyze Cam v2 gets the job done. We never measured a latency of more than 5-seconds, meaning you're seeing the events in front of the camera pretty much as they happen (this could change if you're in a remote area with poor internet). The quality of the video was also generally good, certainly not high definition, but not grainy either.
The one issue we ran into when using the Wyze's real time viewing feature was occasional jumps, fits and starts. These never lasted more than a second or two and were spaced out enough that we could still tell exactly what as happening in front of the camera. However, when compared to the almost silky-smooth feeds of the Nest and Logitech cameras, this is a slight drawback.
Considering the number of services you get without a subscription and the above-average quality of the Wyze Cam v2, the $28 list price is astonishingly low. Yes, there are other cameras that provide noticeably better services and quality, but they generally cost well over $100 and require being tethered to subscription costs.
The Wyze Cam v2 certianly isn't the best home security camera around, but it is far and away the best value. For those that want the option to check in on their house from anywhwere without spending a lot or being beholden to subcription payments, this is a great option.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata