Wyze Cam v3 Review
Pros: Inexpensive, most features available without subscription, color night vision
Cons: Plug-in power source, no remote panning, no backup battery
Compare to Similar Products
Wyze Cam v3
$34.99 at Amazon
$39.98 at Amazon
$99.99 at Amazon
$24.99 at Amazon
$29.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Inexpensive, most features available without subscription, color night vision||Vertical/horizontal panning, color night vision, no subscription required||Great audio and video quality, color night vision, in/outdoor rated||Sufficient live and download video quality, good onboard microphone||Inexpensive, 1080p video, night vision|
|Cons||Plug-in power source, no remote panning, no backup battery||Indoor use only, no back-up battery, so-so sound quality||No local data storage, requires paid subscription to record, battery power only||Poor night vision, relatively slow frame rate, no onboard speaker||No local storage, requires a subscription, poor video and sound quality|
|Bottom Line||A high-performance camera at a low price that allows access to most of its features without a subscription||A top-performing, remote panning camera at a low price with no hidden charges||Good camera if you don't mind having to pay for a monthly/yearly subscription||An all-around decent quality camera that cuts a few corners to keep the price low||This camera performed poorly across the board and requires a subscription to boot — it's not worth the money|
|Rating Categories||Wyze Cam v3||Wyze Cam Pan v2||Ring Stick Up Cam B...||YI 1080p Home||Blink Mini|
|Recorded Video Quality (35%)|
|Monitoring Performance (35%)|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Specs||Wyze Cam v3||Wyze Cam Pan v2||Ring Stick Up Cam B...||YI 1080p Home||Blink Mini|
|Camera Type (Indoor or Outdoor)||Indoor and Outdoor||Indoor Only||Indoor and Outdoor||Indoor Only||Indoor Only|
|WiFi Type||2.4 GHz
|Encryption Types||AES 128-bit||AES 128-bit||TKIP, AES, TKIP + AES||Yes, type N/A||AES|
|Wired or Battery||Wired||Wired||Battery||Wired||Wired|
|Smart Device Compatability||Amazon Alexa
|Amazon Alexa||Amazon Alexa||Amazon Alexa|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Few home security cameras, or electronics in general, deliver such high quality and ease of use for a low price relative to their competition as the Wyze Cam v3. We find it hard to consider other products — even when they bested the v3 in one test or another — given the overall performance and low cost of this camera.
Recorded Video Quality
The Wyze Cam v3 came in well above average in the recorded video quality metric. This metric comprises overall video quality, night vision, and field of view evaluations. The v3 has 1080 resolution, which yields enough detail to differentiate facial features and identify individuals. However, we did find that bright surfaces tended to be overexposed and washed out.
The v3 night vision has the benefit of yielding color recordings. However, light-colored objects tend to be overly bright, and eyes pointed directly into the camera produce an eerie glow. That said, the recordings are clear, allowing us to identify facial features and read text, which is useful for capturing license plates.
As for the field of view captured by the Cam v3, the unit has a fixed setting of 130º of horizontal coverage. This camera lacks mechanical panning. However, the 130º of vision is more than enough coverage for common applications. We did not feel hindered or limited by the field of view or the fixed positioning.
For each test in the recorded video quality metric, we used a side-by-side method of comparison to assign product rankings. Specifically, all the cameras in the review were mounted in the same location and trained in the same area. Recordings were then captured of a subject walking through the room. The recordings produced by the Cam v3 were then compared to the same recordings produced by the competition. We looked for image stutter, color quality, and crispness in details like facial features. This process was repeated for the night vision analysis. The manufacturer provided the field of view, but this was double-checked by comparative analysis.
The monitoring performance metric is similar to the recorded video quality — the difference being that this metric focuses on live video. Monitoring performance is comprised of a series of evaluations, including latency, sound quality (delivered to the monitoring device and produced by the camera speaker), and alarm volume. The Wyze Cam v3 received a relatively high appraisal in this metric.
A key aspect of the monitoring assessment is the apparent latency observed between actual events and those appearing on the monitoring device, be it a tablet, desktop, or smartphone. The Cam v3 has a nearly unnoticeable latency of less than one second for video. However, fast movements can get a little blurry. On the other hand, the sound lags about two seconds, which wouldn't be so bad except that it is out of sync with the video. We found this to be a little annoying.
One aspect of live monitoring that some might not consider is how much time an app will allow you to watch live video. This is not a problem with the Cam v3. You can watch live video for as long as you like.
Moving on to sound quality, the sound captured by this camera is on the quieter side compared to other models in the class. This shortcoming was most evident with noises produced at a distance from the camera's microphone — they had to be relatively loud to be heard clearly. Voices were also a bit soft, and there was a slight static noise. Aside from that, we thought that the sound was relatively sharp. In contrast, the sound produced by the camera's speaker was quite loud, if not a little rough at times. In light of this, we're surprised that the camera's alarm is soft enough to make it nearly useless.
Our tests for live video and sound quality are practical. We have a subject pass through the camera's field of view and time (with a stopwatch) the delay of this event appearing on our monitoring device. This evaluation is repeated for sound. Image and sound quality is assessed by comparison to the other models under review. Alarm volume is measured at 10 feet distance from the camera using an SPL meter.
Ease of Use
The ease of use metric is about how the user interacts with the product. The Wyze Cam v3 thrives in this arena, earning a top spot in the class. The high score of this product is in part due to its easy-to-use app and data storage options. All cameras in our review require an app to use the device. As such, the intuitive quality of the app contributes significantly to the user experience. The v3 app home screen is organized with convenient tabs for the features such as 'Events', 'Monitoring', and 'Account'. Everything you need is right at your fingertips.
The app also allows you to access all the cameras connected to your network by simply tapping on the camera you want to select. This will take you to a screen for that specific camera. You can also make changes — such as turning the camera on/off, manually recording, or watching the live feed — without affecting other cameras in the network.
Another feature that we found easy to activate and useful is the custom notification that can be set on the Cam v3. For example, you can get alerts for people, vehicles, animals, or general motion using the camera's motion detector. You can set alerts for when the camera's microphone picks up sound. Moreover, if the camera is used indoors, it can sound an alarm if smoke or carbon monoxide is detected.
The ease of use evaluation also considers how a camera stores data. Most cameras require the data to be stored in the cloud, which requires a monthly subscription. However, Wyze provides free, rolling 14-day cloud storage (you will have 14 days of video; the oldest data disappears on your 15th day). Moreover, if you don't trust the cloud with sensitive personal data, a micro SD port on the camera supports 8, 16, and 32 GB cards. Also, in contrast to much of the competition, Wyze does not lock up the best features when you don't use their service. Essentially, the Wyze gives the user all the control. That said, there are some cool features available through its ultra-affordable subscription, such as car, human, and pet-specific alerts.
Finally, how the camera is mounted is evaluated. This may seem trivial — it is a one-time set-up detail. But we found that some camera designs leave a bit to be desired in this regard. The v3 is not one of those cameras. This camera comes with a rotatable stand which allows it to pivot up and down. The stand also functions as its wall mount by adding the included adhesive. Overall, the Cam v3 is super easy to set up and operate.
We see a product's value as a ratio of cost and performance. From this perspective, the Wyze Cam v3 is a chart-topping value product. You literally can not find a better-performing product at any price, and this product is one of the lowest cost items in the class. We highly recommend it.
The Wyze Cam v3 is a top-performing home security camera at a rock bottom price. The camera has nearly every conceivable feature one could want to monitor their property and loved one's safety. There are no hidden subscription fees, and with the SD card port, one can avoid using cloud-based services if they like. All told, this camera is the standard-bearer for the class. No other models approach its ease of use, functionality, user control, and affordability. We love this camera.
— Nick Miley, Austin Palmer, and Matt Spencer
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