While you can get some useful items for less than $20, you wouldn’t expect a home security camera to be one of them. The Wyze Cam V3 will make you rethink your expectations because it has a surprisingly long list of features, including color 1080p video, free cloud storage, and motion detection with custom zones.
Nothing else in this price range comes close to the Wyze Cam V2, which is already the best budget home security camera available. The Wyze Cam V3 features a faster video frame rate, a more versatile mount, IP65 water resistance, and color night vision. Best of all, it’s available for the same $20 price.
I put the Wyze Cam V3 through its paces at home to see how it compares to its predecessor. While there were a few bugs, and person detection now requires a subscription, this small camera is a steal.
Wyze Cam V3 specifications
- 2 x 2 x 2.3 inches
- 1080p resolution
- 130-degree field of view
- Color night vision or Night vision with infrared
- Two-way audio
- MicroSD storage up to 32GB (not included)
- IP65 (indoors or outdoors)
- 14-day cloud storage
- Custom zones
- Motion and sound detection
Wyze Cam V3 design
The Wyze Cam V3 costs $19.99 if purchased directly from Wyze. If you buy from other retailers, you may have to pay a little more, as with the previous version. When you open the box, you’ll find the cube-shaped camera, a power adapter, a 6-foot-long outdoor-rated flat power cable, a wall mount plate, screw kit, and mounting tape. The base can be screwed into a wall or ceiling, magnetically attached, or even taped down.
The Wyze Cam V3 is designed in the same cute boxy style as its predecessor. It’s a rounded white plastic cube with a base that folds out of the bottom and can rotate, allowing you to set it in any position you want. Because it’s water-resistant (IP65), there’s a short power cable permanently attached to the back of the camera with a covered connector to slide the power cable into this time.
Although the camera and cable are water-resistant and could be used outdoors, the power adapter is only for indoor use, so you must place your Wyze Cam V3 near an outlet.
The Wyze Cam V3 is 2 x 2 x 2.3 inches in size and weighs 3.5 ounces. The camera lens, sensors, microphone, and a tiny LED to show camera status are all housed in a black square on the face. A speaker grille can be found on the back. If you extend the base out of the way, you’ll find a flap for the MicroSD card slot and a single Setup button on the bottom.
The Wyze Cam V3’s IP65 rating allows you to use it both indoors and outdoors, and the numerous mounting options give you a lot of options. I tested mine indoors, which is how I imagine most people will use it, because mounting this outdoors and reaching an indoor outlet would require a longer power cable.
It is simple to set up.
The Wyze Cam V3 can be placed on a shelf, mounted on the ceiling or wall, or stuck to the fridge; the only restriction is that it must be plugged into a power outlet. Install the Wyze app for Android or iOS and then tap the + icon to add a new camera. Scan the QR code on the camera’s base to instantly connect it to your network.
The Wyze Cam V3 connects to your Wi-Fi router directly, eliminating the need for a separate hub, but it only supports 2.4GHz networks. Unfortunately, Wyze has not added 5GHz support. It took me about five minutes to set up from start to finish.
The mobile app
Wyze Cam V3 app
The Wyze app is simple, with the Home tab displaying your connected cameras or other Wyze devices by default. On the right, there’s an on/off button, and you should see a frame from the most recently recorded video, which you can simply tap to enter the camera’s live view. There are options to turn on or off the sound, manually record video, a microphone icon for speaking, a photo option, and a few extras like motion tagging, time-lapse video, and siren.
The settings cog in the upper right corner allows you to access detection settings, notifications, scheduling, and other advanced options. When the camera detects motion or sound, it can start recording. You can also create a custom detection zone by dragging a box around the area you want to cover.
This is useful for avoiding many false positives, such as passing traffic outside a window. The fact that you can only set a single detection zone box limits its utility slightly; for example, Ring cameras allow you to set three separate custom motion zones.
The sound detection will activate if it detects the activation of a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, which is a useful safety feature.
If you insert a MicroSD card, you can enable continuous recording. You will also receive 14 days of free cloud storage.
Person detection was free when I tested the Wyze Cam V2, but Wyze has now restricted it to Cam Plus subscribers. Cam Plus costs $1.99 per month or $15 per year, which works out to $1.25 per month.
Other benefits of the subscription include unlimited motion triggers and video length; without the subscription, videos are limited to 12 seconds with a 5 minute cooldown period between triggers.
In the coming year, Wyze intends to add package, face, animal, and vehicle detection for Cam Plus subscribers.
You can use Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant to turn your camera on or off, and you can jump to a live feed using a Fire TV or Chromecast, or an Echo Show or Nest Hub device. You can also use IFTTT to program various triggers for your Wyze Cam V3.
How well does it work?
Wyze Cam V3 Screen
The Wyze Cam V3 records video at 1920 x 1080 resolution, just like its predecessor, but the frame rate has increased from 15 to 20 frames per second (fps). Wyze also increased the field of view to 130 degrees and used a smaller aperture (f/1.6).
Because of the larger aperture, more light can enter, allowing for a color night mode. There are also additional infrared LEDs to improve night vision, as well as an increased frame rate of 10 fps to 15 fps. Simply put, the video is now smoother, higher quality, and captures more of the scene due to the wider field of view.
Although daylight video has vibrant colors and plenty of detail, overexposure is still an issue when there are very bright areas in the shot, such as sunlight coming in through a window. The night vision video is much brighter and capable of picking up far more detail than the previous Wyze Cam. Color night vision works well if there is some light in the frame, such as a streetlamp, but infrared should be used if it is completely dark, or close to it.
Detection triggers work well, and I didn’t get any false positives after creating a custom zone. My cats, on the other hand, frequently triggered alerts, so I miss person detection.
While delays of a few seconds are to be expected when connecting to a security camera, I found the Wyze Cam V3 to be relatively slow. It was much slower than my Eufy cameras, which only take two or three seconds, but on par with my Ring doorbell, taking around four seconds on average to load the app and jump into the live feed. There is also a slight lag in the feed, but not so much that it prevents you from having a real-time conversation.
The audio quality is suitable for live conversations but appears to be worse in most recorded videos. The Wyze Cam V3 appears to pick up a lot of background noise.
I activated continuous recording after inserting a 32GB MicroSD card into the Wyze Cam V3. This provides a scrollable timeline and an inexpensive way to go beyond the 12-second limit without having to sign up for a subscription.
Cons to consider
The main issue I had with the Wyze Cam V3 was that it refused to detect MicroSD cards. The first one I tried worked for a short time before disappearing. The next two I tried were unreadable. I eventually contacted Wyze support, who advised me to first format the card in my PC to FAT32 with a 32KB cluster size. After I did that, it worked perfectly and has remained operational for more than a week.
Connection lag is common with security cameras, but the Wyze Cam V3 is still among the slowest to connect of all the cameras I’ve tested. When the app was first loaded, it would take a few seconds to detect the camera and another few seconds to load the live feed. It may also take some time to process videos and make them available following a triggered event.
Because the Wyze Cam V3 must be plugged into an indoor outlet, it will not work as an outdoor option for most people. You could buy a longer cable, but it will most likely cost close to what you paid for the camera. In addition, I’ve noticed that the camera gets quite warm to the touch.
Another thing to consider is that Wyze Labs experienced a security breach in 2019 when account data was accidentally exposed. While there was no indication that hackers could gain access to camera feeds, security is obviously a major concern with home cameras.
I’m glad to see that Two-Step Verification is an option under Security in the Account tab, and you should definitely take the time to set it up for your Wyze camera.
While the SMS option, which sends a code to your phone for any new login, is more secure because the codes cannot be intercepted, the Google or Microsoft authenticator app option is more secure because the codes cannot be intercepted. It generates codes at random and refreshes them every 60 seconds, and it’s quick and simple to set up.
Low cost, two-way audio, motion and sound detection, color night vision, no subscription required, IP65 weather resistance, Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT support.
Person detection now requires a subscription, free service has limitations, and there are some glitches.
Should you buy it?
Yes, it delivers an impressive list of features for the price. This is a perfectly affordable way to start a smart home security system.
Which model should you purchase?
For $19.99, the Wyze Cam V3 does everything you’re likely to want, but if you want to cover a larger area, the is $10 more and allows you to pan the camera.
What are your alternative?
The Amazon Blink Mini,(Currently Unavailable) which costs $24.99, is an obvious contender, but once you factor in the subscription for cloud storage or the Sync Module for local storage, the price quickly rises.
If you want to avoid paying a subscription and want a camera that works outdoors without needing to be plugged in, the EufyCam 2C is worth a look at $199.99 for two cameras and a local storage hub. More information can be found here on Amazon.
The bottom line
Wyze Cam v2 and v3
You’d expect compromises in a device as inexpensive as the Wyze Cam V3, but I believe it’s a far better product than the price suggests. With good video and audio quality, 14 days of free cloud storage, and the option for local storage via a MicroSD card, this is by far the best home security camera for the money.
Even if you decide you need person detection, the Wyze Cam Plus subscription is significantly less expensive than the majority of competitors’ offerings.