Earlier this week, pre-orders began for the new $ 19.99 (plus shipping) WyzeCam V3. I’ve been using a review unit of this indoor/outdoor camera for a few days, and like every other Wyze product I’ve tested or bought, it gets the job done. Should you jump on the pre-order bandwagon and be among the first to get a V3 by the middle of November? Although I’m impressed overall, I’d say you might want to wait just a bit.
Before I explain my thought process, here’s a refresher on what this new product from Wyze is and can do.
The best way I can think of to describe it is to imagine that the indoor V2 WyzeCam and the recently released WyzeCam Outdoor product got together and had a baby. The end result has design traits from both so you could mistake the WyzeCam V3 for either of its “parents” upon first glance. But since this an indoor and outdoor camera, there are a few differences.
To plug in the new WyzeCam, you connect the included USB cable to the short, rubberized power cable of the camera. Wyze uses a rubber covering on the short cable to keep water from messing with the electronics when used outside.
And unlike the recently released outdoor WyzeCam, there’s no internal, rechargeable battery in the V3. That makes it trickier to use outdoors unless you have outlets everywhere you want to place an IP camera. For my testing, I powered the camera with a USB battery pack; it’s not waterproof though, so I didn’t test over a full night.
Also, the older outdoor WyzeCam connects to the Wyze Sense Bridge; this new camera doesn’t use that. Instead, the V3 connects directly to your Wi-Fi network; 2.4GHz only. That’s a pro or a con, depending on if you’ve invested in the bridge previously. Wyze says it plans to launch a Sense Hub in the future but until then, you can’t use Wyze sensors to activate or control this new camera.
There are a few standout hardware and feature differences with the WyzeCam V3 that trump the prior models.
First is the “Starlight” sensor with f/1.6 aperture that promises full-color video at night time. I tested it well after sundown and yes, Wyze delivers on this promise.
It’s impressive to see color video after dark. Oh and to actually use this feature, you turn the traditional “Night Vision” mode off. Yes, that’s counterintuitive but makes sense since most night vision webcams use IR; you can’t capture colors that way.
Here’s another image from Wyze illustrating the power of the starlight sensor:
Second is a built-in, 80db siren that can be activated with a touch of a button in the Wyze app. I don’t see a way currently to have the siren activated by motion in the app, however.
Lastly are the improvements for two-way audio. The same speaker used for the siren alert is used to hear conversations, so visitors hear you loud and clear. Actually, I’d say “clearer” than the prior models; it still sounds like an average speakerphone call to me. Indeed, this conversation between you and someone near your camera is more like a phone call because you only have to press the Wyze app’s Talk button once. After that, you have a full two-way conversation and press the in-app button to “hang up”. It’s a much better experience.
Overall, the WyzeCam V3 does what its predecessors do. It monitors a configurable area for motion or person detection. It records locally to a microSD card, so there’s no cloud subscription for basic use. And it alerts you if it hears a smoke or CO2 detector alarm. But it also adds colorful night vision, improved two-way conversations, and the option to be used outdoors for continuous recording if you have power available.
Based on that, I’d say why bother buying the indoor WyzeCam V2 for $ 20 instead of the WyzeCam V3 for the same price and the option to use outside along with other improvements?
It sounds like a no-brainer but my testing was done with an early release version of Wyze software, which may change between now and mid-November when the cameras start shipping. Some of my outdoor video playback was a little stuttery, for example, which I’m attributing to the software not yet finalized. Additionally, if you had your heart set on using Wyze sensors to automate this camera, this might be a pass.
Do I think Wyze will address the few video glitches I experienced that in the final app version? Yes, I do, but if you’re not sure and would rather wait, that might make sense in this particular case. Then again, for $ 20, it’s not a big risk to take a chance.