The Wyze Cam Outdoor Is Almost Unbelievably Good for $50

Evaluation:
9/10
?

1 – Absolute hot garbage
2 – Sorta warm garbage
3 – Strongly imperfect design
4 – A few advantages, many disadvantages
5 – Acceptably imperfect
6 – Good enough to buy on sale
7 – Excellent, but not the best in its class
8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
9 – shut up and take my money
10 – Absolute Conception Nirvana

Price: $ 50

Wyze Cam Outdoor mounted on a wallMichael crider

Wyze may be one of my favorite companies right now, making quality smart home products, with great software and apps, at prices that seem impossible. I use the inexpensive Wyze Cam for a while, and my only gripe was that it wasn’t actually rated for the exterior conditions of the porch where I was using it.

This is what we like

Incredible value
Great easy to use app
Many additional features
Travel mode

And what we don’t do

Odd gap for motion detection
No direct Wi-Fi option
Poor smart home compatibility

Enter the Wyze Cam Outdoor. The upgraded version of the base Cam can handle rain, snow, heat, and especially the darkness of the night (because it has night vision) in places the original camera cannot. It also has extended wireless powers, a more versatile stand, and a long battery life to ensure it doesn’t need to be plugged in. This is, in short, exactly what I was looking for including the price, just $ 50 for the starter kit. A new outdoor camera with its extended range wireless base station costs only fifty dollars.

That would have been enough to make this thing an instant buy for me. But Wyze went above and beyond, giving the Outdoor Cam access to local storage for recording when the wireless connection is off, scheduled recording, time-lapse, and audio. two-way to talk to people at the door.

Wyze Cam Outdoor and Wyze Cam V2“Never talk to me or my son again.” Michael crider

It’s truly amazing how many abilities are crammed into this thing. With a few exceptions, I would say this is a perfect low budget home camera for almost any outdoor application.

Cube in a box

Open the replacement Wyze Cam package and you will see the camera itself, the magnetic mounting bracket, the wireless base station, a set of cables (chargers for camera and base station, Ethernet) and mounting screws.

Wyze Cam Outdoor, base station, stand and power cablesMichael crider

The camera itself looks a lot like Wyze’s classic Cam, although it’s larger in all dimensions and a bit heavier. The two-axis mount returns, this time with the magnetic plate on top instead of below: the magnets are inside the mount itself, and the cubic camera comes out of the mount instead. Once powered off, you can access the charging port (unfortunately MicroUSB, not USB-C) with a manual power button and the MicroSD card slot. All are under silicone covers for protection from the elements.

Aside from the visible microphone hole, a bottom trigger speaker, and a tripod screw mount under the magnetic mount, the only other feature of the camera is an extremely soft mark on the top. The 1080p wide-angle sensor on the front also has infrared emitters, but these are only visible in the dark.

Wyze Cam Outdoor bottom and charging port Michael crider

The camera is a two-inch cube that is much heavier than it looks, thanks in large part to two 2600mAh batteries (5200 in total), which give the camera a runtime of 3-6. months, depending on usage and environmental conditions. The mount has hinges on both sides of its arm, with the magnetic plate allowing the camera to rotate 360 ​​degrees. Between those three points of movement and screw mounting to horizontal surfaces or upside down, you should be able to point it more or less where you want.

In a nutshell, the Wyze Cam Outdoor is cute. No one will ever mistake this for anything other than a camera, but it’s simple and appealing enough that it can fit into any outdoor montage without being an eyesore.

Easy installation

Unlike previous Wyze cameras, the Cam Outdoor does not connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network. It was a little disappointing – my front door is only about 10 feet from my Wi-Fi router, so my existing Wyze Cams reach the door just fine. But if you need it to go further without using a mesh network or multiple access points, the base station is a plus. The starter kit comes with a dock and up to four cameras (additional $ 40 each) can pair with it.

Wyze Cam Outdoor wall mountedMichael crider

The base station looks like a small Wi-Fi router on its own. (Again, the long-range RF wireless used between the station and the cameras is proprietary.) Plug it into a power outlet and your network router with Ethernet, and it’s ready to go. The starter kit includes a camera and a base station, and you can add up to three additional cameras to the station for $ 40 each.

The base station has its own MicroSD card slot for camera backup recordings. There is also a full size USB port to connect a Wyze Sense device. With the Cam Outdoor running on batteries, it doesn’t make sense (ha!) To have this expansion option on the camera itself.

Wyze Cam Outdoor and base station with MicroSD cardThe camera and the base station can record to MicroSD cards. Michael crider

The Base Station is a tiny, wireless remora fish hanging on your Wi-Fi router, and it can also be mounted on a wall. Once you’ve plugged in the base station and turned on the camera, all you need to do is launch the Wyze app (ios, Android) and connect to the same network to add the device. It takes around 5 minutes, with the exception of software updates for the camera (s) or base station (which will almost certainly be present out of the box).

It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s extremely familiar if you’ve used any of Wyze’s previous cameras. And while I hesitate to risk underestimating the ingenuity of fools, I would call it “fool proof.”

Using the camera

Once your camera is mounted and connected, it works more or less the same as the standard Wyze Cam, which is fine. This one has a 1080p sensor with a wide angle, which is more than enough for most applications of the technology. Between the extremely flexible magnetic mount and the Wyze app (which lets you adjust night vision and orientation), you should be able to get it to more or less any angle you want.

Wyze app for Android screenshots

Accessing video feeds through the app is easy, although it could be a bit faster, and the Cam Outdoor was reliably messaging me whenever it detected motion, day or night. I was able to share access with my spouse and easily access the camera from multiple devices.

The camera has a bunch of tricks up its sleeve, including the ability to manually take still photos, schedule a recording at a specific time, use the built-in speaker as an intercom (great for scaring the cat away). neighbor) or work as a basic time-lapse camera. I use it for a little LEGO stress relief:

Oh, about motion detection: Wyze upgraded the system to support both Pixel comparison and passive infrared light (PIR) detection methods. The settings menu indicates that the ideal spot for this combined detection only covers about 60% of the image frame. This was not a problem for my modest home setup – I only really use it to check and see if I have a package at my door – but those who need it specifically for security or surveillance may need to. -be flip the camera, then flip the image in the app to get everything in that range.

Wyze Cam Outdoor detection area

There is a 12 second limit for recordings in automatic mode, and the Wyze Cam Outdoor is currently not compatible with the Wyze budget. full motion capture subscription. Presumably this will be added later, but it’s a ding against not having it at launch.

Wyze Cam Outdoor night vision mode

I would also like Wyze to work better with Google Home, as this is my chosen automation system. I can’t use a voice command to access the camera feed from the Home app or send it to my Chromecast, it will only stream to the Home Hub in my kitchen. And my God, I really want a way to access the Wyze app from Chrome or Windows because I’m on my computer more or less all day and would like the option to actively monitor.

But these are minor issues. For the ease of installation and the excellent Wyze software, not to mention the incredible price for such solid hardware, I’m willing to forgive a lot. And I do: the Cam Outdoor is great to use.

On the road once more

What about this so ballyhooed mode of travel? It’s an interesting extension, of course. When you travel only with the Cam Outdoor, you can set the camera to travel mode by pressing the sync button twice. This will broadcast the video signal through a dedicated Wi-Fi hotspot, which your phone can access with LTE at the same time. This allows for live monitoring, as long as you are within Wi-Fi range, and recording to the MicroSD card if you are not.

Wyze Cam Outdoor MicroSD card slotMichael crider

This raises an interesting point. The camera itself is equipped with standard Wi-Fi and could connect to a network without the base station. But at launch, he doesn’t want to. I wonder if Wyze could enable this in a future update, allowing the Cam Outdoor entry point to start at just $ 40 for the camera alone. It would be ideal for smaller houses and apartments. In short, I digress.

The base station can also use Travel mode, again with MicroSD recording, if for some reason you need to bring more than one camera. With this easy to turn on and off magnetic mount, that’s a big plus for this system.

Pretty hard

To be useful outdoors, a camera needs three things: battery-free operation, long wireless range, and resistance to the elements.

In the first test, the Wyze Cam Outdoor seems to pass with flying colors. After fully charging and using it for about two weeks, the Cam Outdoor battery was at 70%. Considering all the times I’ve needed live streaming and other battery-hungry performance for this review, I think it should indeed last 3-6 months with more typical use. When you need to recharge it, just remove it from the magnetic base and place it on a MicroSD cable for an hour or two.

Wyze Cam app with battery percentage

This fancy base station is designed to give the Cam Outdoor enormous range, so I tested it by getting as far away as possible before losing the live video feed on my phone, connected to LTE instead of Wi- Fi of my house. I did it about 90 feet before the camera could no longer connect to the base station, and it’s through a brick wall and into a suburb bathed in wireless connections of all kinds. So the Cam Outdoor should be enough for any standard sized home, but you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want a security solution for your lavish 40-acre mansion / ranch / doom mountain-top fortress.

What about the elements? Well the outdoor camera survived a day in full summer 100 degree sun in Texas and an hour of sitting in the “rain” of my shower (because Texas did not give me a practical thunderstorm during the summer period. ‘exam). Note that I did not soak the camera because it is not rated for it (IP65, if you are wondering). If the water completely submerges wherever you’ve ridden this thing, you’ve got bigger problems.

Wyze Cam Outdoor, wall mounted, covered with water dropsMichael crider

The camera went through it all unscathed, able to charge and use its speaker again without a hitch. So it’s not bulletproof and the range isn’t amazing, but it does what it says on the box.

If I could add one thing, it would be a way to lock it in place on the magnetic base – as is, anyone can step on and pop it. A small hex bolt, just enough for it to need a solid jerk, would be an effective deterrent. Wyze’s solution here is that it will not accept a new Outdoor Cam if it has been associated with an account and not manually deactivated. Which, alright, is bad for the thief … but they don’t know it when they steal it, and I’m still without a $ 40 camera. Wyze says they are looking for other solutions.

But again, this thing is $ 40-50. Even given its limitations, it’s really fantastic.

Worth every penny

Should you buy the Wyze Cam Outdoor? If you’re already invested in Wyze’s growing smart home tech ecosystem, and especially if you’re already using the standard Cam for outdoor use (perhaps via one of those adorable blankets?) or through the window, I would say that’s a no-brainer. Battery-powered and weatherproof upgrades are quality of life improvements well worth the low price.

Wyze Cam Outdoor on a shelf with potted plantsMichael crider

If you are new to home cameras, I would also say the Wyze Cam Outdoor is a great option, especially for those on a budget. You will find the Wyze system easy to learn and access. As a travel camera it is also very practical, a nice bonus if you are looking for security in a campsite or a hotel room.

Those with a deep investment in Amazon, Google, or Apple smart home systems might wish for something a little more interoperable. And the camera isn’t at super long range, so if you need to cover tons of open space with multiple views, you might have to upgrade to something more expensive. But for the majority of users, it’s hard to go wrong with the Wyze Cam Outdoor.

This is what we like

Incredible value
Great easy to use app
Many additional features
Travel mode

And what we don’t do

Odd gap for motion detection
No direct Wi-Fi option
Poor smart home compatibility

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