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Wyze Cam Outdoor Cam review: Nearly perfect and definitely affordable

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After introducing new devices and selling $ 95 million worth of smart home gear in 2019, Wyze this year broadened its product portfolio with the Wyze Cam Outdoor Cam. More than 83,000 early access backers purchased this 1080p outdoor camera and wireless base station for $ 49.99 plus shipping. I’ve been testing one for the past two weeks to see if it’s worth the relatively low price.

Overall, I’d say yes, although I did experience a glitch with my Google Home smart display made by Lenovo.

Before sharing my experience, let me tell you what you get for your money. Included is one Wyze Outdoor Cam with magnetic arm mount, one wireless base station with power adapter, an ethernet cable, a USB cable for charging the camera as needed, and mounting screws. Each additional camera costs $ 39.99 plus shipping and each base station can manage up to four cameras. 

The Wyze Outdoor Cam holds an IP65 rating for weather resistance and both the micro-USB port and SD card slot are behind a removable rubber cover to keep them safe. Like other Wyze cameras, there’s also a microphone and speaker and it works with Google Home and Amazon Echo devices (though an Alexa Skill)

The Outdoor Cam is larger and heavier than the original Wyze Cam

Although I couldn’t test the weather resistance as we’ve had nothing but sunny and humid 90+ degree days lately, Wyze says the camera will operate between -4℉ and 120℉ temperatures. I did splash a little water on my unit and it was unaffected.

Having set up other Wyze products that I’ve previously purchased, I can confirm that setup is simple. To get started you plug in the wireless base station. This requires an ethernet connection on your router; the base station can’t connect wirelessly to your network.

The small base station includes a USB port to charge the Outdoor Camera

Using the Wyze app (I used a beta version of software for this review), I paired the base station first and the Outdoor Cam second, pressing the Sync button on the camera, to add it to my home network. Aside from naming that camera in the Wyze app, that’s all there is to it, and it takes just a few minutes.

Of course, being an outdoor camera, the next step was to mount the camera to my home’s exterior. The mounting arm is similar to but a little beefier than, Wyze Cam mounts. That’s likely because this camera is heavier due to the pair of 2600mAh batteries inside, which should last between three and six months between charges.

For initial testing, I just used two 3M Command Strips. Once I decided I liked the camera location, I screwed the two included screws into wood around my front window, leaving just a small amount of the heads exposed. The mount goes on the screws and you slide it down over the screw heads for a firm connection. The wireless camera attaches magnetically to the mounting arm, which can be adjusted or extended as required. This too only takes a few minutes.

Those familiar with or who already have a Wyze Cam product will feel right at home with this Outdoor Camera because it’s essentially just a weather-resistant Wyze Cam.

You use the same app and the output generally looks like it does from its peer. The Outdoor Cam uses a 1080p sensor with 110-degree field of view, has a 25-foot night mode range and PIR motion detector. 

There’s no hiding in the night

Video quality is generally good, especially at 1080p but you can drop down to SD, 360p or let the camera use Auto quality mode. Two-way audio between the Wyze mobile app and the Outdoor Cam is good; not great. I have yet to find an outdoor camera that has a great speaker and to be fair, this is one good enough, just not super clear, for conversation.

Here’s where I experienced my glitch, however.

When set to HD or Auto mode and viewing the live feed on my Google Home-compatible smart display, the image took 10 seconds to appear and then continuously dropped out and back in, making it unusable. Lowering the camera output to either SD or 360p resolved the issue but at the cost of video quality. 

No, you’re not actually playing the feed…

For my base station setup, the only open ethernet port is on a router in the back of my home while the camera is mounted on the front of my house. I later unplugged our TV from the router we have in the front room of our home and connected the Wyze base station in its place, about 10 feet from the outdoor camera. I figured a stronger signal between the base station and camera would resolve the issue on my smart display, but it didn’t. This could be due to the beta software.

Aside from that, the Wyze Outdoor Cam worked perfectly.

Just like my other cameras from this company, there’s an SD card slot that supports up to 32 GB of footage for local storage. This is a key feature to many as you don’t need to pay a subscription fee or rely on the cloud for your video feeds.

It also has a motion tagging zone feature like the other cameras, as well as night mode, notifications for sound or movement, a time lapse feature, scheduled recordings, and the ability to trigger automations, such as turning on a Wyze bulb if motion is detected outside between specific times.

One new feature worth mentioning is called Travel Mode. Since this is a battery-powered camera, you can take it with you on a trip and record videos to the microSD card. To enable Travel Mode, you just double press the sync button on the bottom of the Outdoor Cam.

Due to the pandemic, I “traveled” to my kitchen to test Travel Mode

Once in Travel Mode, your phone can see the video feed being stored on the SD card through a secure WiFi direct connection or you can press a button to snap a photo. I wouldn’t use this like a GoPRO but it could be handy for vacation footage or a landscape timelapse shot.

All in all, the Wyze Outdoor Camera is a great deal at $ 49.99 for the starter pack with each additional camera not breaking the bank either. I’m not thrilled that the base station requires a wired connection, but it’s a minor nit to pick: A cheap ethernet hub adds more ports to any router.

Aside from that and my smart display woes, if you want a camera, or cameras, outside your home and you can do without HomeKit integration, the Wyze Outdoor Camera is a great choice. And compared to competing outdoor cameras, the price can’t be beat.

The post Wyze Cam Outdoor Cam review: Nearly perfect and definitely affordable appeared first on Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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