Whether you need to keep tabs on the kids, misbehaved doggies, or you’re seriously watching out for nefarious creepers… security cameras are now smaller and easier than ever to set up and use. Two of the absolute smallest options are from Wyze. With live monitoring, the ability to auto-record based on movement, and cloud-based storage, they’ve established themselves as a popular choice for home-based monitoring.
WyzeCam v3 vs WyzeCam Pan
I recently got hands on with the Wyze Cam V3 and the Wyze Cam Pan, to test them out and see how they work. In this blog I’ll also take a look at how these two cameras compare to each other.
Wyze Cloud recording
Before we get to the cameras, it’s worth talking about the recording options.
Wyze gives you the option of limited free cloud recording for your cameras. You’ll get 12 second videos only, and they only get saved for 14 days. If you want full length videos, and access to them for longer, you’ll need to opt into Wyze Cam Plus plan, which costs about $19US per camera per year. That cost could add up with multiple devices but it’s in line with what some other camera companies charge for similar services. The Cam Plus plan will also give you person, pet and vehicle recognition and alerts.
Setting up Wyze cameras
Setting both cameras up was super easy and I was ready to view in seconds; essentially you’ll sign into or sign up for an account, then add the camera in the Wyze app. The app found my cameras right away and they were online and recording in an instant.
Make sure to turn on recording
The Wyze app is where you can view live feeds or videotaped events, and download footage too. Important to note that with each camera you need to turn on recording if it detects either motion or noise; otherwise you won’t have anything to look back at. You can do this by going into each camera, choosing Settings then Event recording. I’m not sure why this wouldn’t be enabled by default, but mine was not.
Wyze Cam V3 and the Wyze Cam Pan: how to choose?
Let’s do a quick survey of the key differences between these cameras in case you’re deciding: both are wired cameras with 1080p video resolution, but the Wyze Cam v3 is weather resistant and can be used outdoors, while the Wyze Cam Pan is not.
WyzeCam v3 has colour night viewing while the Cam Pan has only black and white nighttime video, if you got the V1. The new Wyze Cam Pan V2 adds colour night vision. Wyze Cam Pan has 360-degree motion, and the camera lens can tilt up and down, meaning you can see all over your space. The Wyze Cam v3 by contrast is completely fixed, but it does sit on an articulating base you can adjust manually.
What is Wyze Cam v3?
The Wyze Cam v3 is a wired, AC-powered 1080p video camera with color night viewing, powered by 4 infrared LED lights. It’s a super compact camera at just 3x2x3 inches and can be raised and adjusted using the tiny scissor lift underneath.
This budget priced camera is meant to be both tiny and ultra affordable, so it’s a solid option if you’re trying to get home surveillance on a budget.
When it comes to recording you can use Wyze’s cloud recording for a fee, or add an extra micro SD card and record right to the device. A 32gb Micro SD card will capture and view up to about 3 days of continuous video, by the way, and you can also use the card to record time lapse videos.
Wyze Cam v3: video quality – day & night
With 1080p HD video and color night vision, Wyze Cam v3 is solid and provides a clear view of your surroundings. It’s easy to see people, monitor pets, and keep an eye on what’s going on.
The night vision is really good too; it’s clear and easy to interpret. You’ll have no trouble seeing who’s eating cookies at midnight, or who got in after curfew.
Wyze Cam v3 : Features
Wyze Cam v3’s small square shape gives it a lot of stability, and you can easily place it on a shelf. There’s also hardware included for mounting the base permanently with screws, or even easier is a sticker and magnet option that lets you stick this camera up almost anywhere.
The v3 has a few other improvements over the previous generation too if you have one or have been shopping those: it’s got a faster processor, renders images and streams video faster, shoots more frames per second and has smoother video playback at 20 FPS. Finally it has a wider field of view at 130º.
Wyze Cam v3: Power
Wyze Cam v3 connects via USB to a power source. The USB cable and wall charger are included in the box; the cord is 6-feet long. This camera is not rechargeable and can’t operate cordless in case you’re wondering.
Voice control options
The v3 can be integrated with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, allowing you to add it to routines or access features with voice commands, if you want.
Use Wyze Cam v3 indoors or outdoors
Wyze Cam v3 is rated IP-65, meaning it’s waterproof, and offers a temperature range of -20C to 45C; it can handle most weather conditions. I will need to test it outdoors this winter, but Calgary routinely gets well below -20 so I do have some concerns. But with that said, this does match the range for the most part of other outdoor rated cameras.
The v3 also offers 2-way audio communication, which lets you use the device as a speaker for visitors to the door or warn off animals or potential prowlers. It also has a siren feature if the squirrels or prowlers don’t get the message the first time.
Along with an improved sensor, the v3 also offers color night viewing, even in very low light conditions. Wyze claims you can even use the V3 to watch the stars or take a time-lapse of star movements, since its sensor sees in environments up to 25x darker with an ƒ/1.6 aperture.
Motion and Sound Detection
Your Wyze camera will also record to motion and sounds. If you turn on this feature it will send a push notification to your smartphone if it detects movement or sound in the space. You can adjust the motion zones too so high traffic areas don’t always set off the alerts.
Smoke & CO Alerts
You can also set up your camera to send an alert the moment Wyze Cam hears a Smoke or CO alarm go off. Wyze Cam can also record a video during this time.
Downloading and Saving videos
Accessing the videos in the app is easy and saving them to your phone is quick and easy using the download button right on the viewing window, though the confirmation you get reads “saved successfully to system gallery” as opposed to ‘saved to your phone’.
Wyze Cam Pan
The Wyze Cam Pan offers many things the standard cam doesn’t, with the main upgrade being the ability to swivel the camera a full 360 degrees. Its spherical lens also gives the ability to tilt up and down. The Cam Pan is taller but still somewhat compact, at 5x2x2 inches, and can be mounted with a full range of motion. Unlike the Cam v3, this version is indoor use only.
The Wyze app allows you to watch the camera live and control the motion and aim of the camera.
The Pan offers motion detection and will follow any movement detected. You can also set the Pan to “watch” different parts of its range, moving the camera in a pre-determined pattern.
While the camera can be manually controlled within 360 degrees and sweep an entire space.
Wyze Cam Pan video quality
The Cam Pan is a 1080p HD video camera so it’s very good quality and it’s easy to see and identify people, pets and whatever’s going on. It offers video at 15 frames per second and has a range of about 30 feet.
Video quality & tracking
A cool feature of this camera is the ability to auto-follow motion, particularly of children and pets, for those who are trying to keep a secure eye on large areas. The camera will auto-follow detected motion when the “motion tracking” setting is enabled. This can be done by tapping “More” below the three dots, then tapping “Motion Tracking.”
Another helpful feature is the “Pan Scan” feature where the camera will auto-rotate between 4 pre-determined waypoints. You can customize the waypoints by tapping the gear in the top right corner, then Advanced Settings >> Motor Controls >> Pan Scan Settings.
Indeed the Cam Pan does a pretty good job of tracking people in its field of view, limited only by the range of its lens. Sometimes if the person is too close to the camera, you won’t see their head, but for the most part, the Cam Pan is a capable tracker, and will follow motion around the room, meaning there’s no worry about dead spots.
The overall video quality is really good; it’s clear and easy to see what’s going on. At night the camera does a good job of seeing in the dark. The night vision video is black and white, but it’s definitely clear enough to see who’s there or what’s going on. Overall, the video quality is top notch.
Like the v3, the Pan is powered via a USB cable. A six-foot cord and wall plug are included, along with mounting hardware.
Quick Comparison: Which Wyze Cam to choose?
While either the Wyze Cam v3 or the Wyze Cam Pan will get the job done, they have some differences that set them apart. Let’s look at some of these areas.
Field-of-Vision: Both cameras will do a great job of monitoring and recording events within their field-of-vision, but the Pan wins this round, as its field is wider and can be altered easily.
Size of Space: If you’re looking to monitor a smaller, static space, the v3 will be your choice, while if the area is more extensive and requires a camera that can move, you’ll want to look at the Pan. Each camera excels in its preferred space.
Night Images: The v3 wins hands-down in this category. It has newer hardware, allowing high-quality night recording, and most importantly, it offers color video in low-light situations. The Pan can’t compete with that, with its black-and-white 15FPS video. The v3 also has a spotlight (sold separately) which can be triggered through the v3.
Image Quality: The v3 comes out ahead again, simply because its hardware is newer. While both cameras offer 1080p, the color night recording sets the v3 apart.
Price: Wyze Cam v3 sells for $29USD/$45CAD, while Cam Pan sells for about $49USD.
Overall: If a new version of the Pan was released, this might be a horse race again, but as things stand, the v3 is simply the superior camera. Unless you need the camera to pan across a large area, the v3 will be the better choice.
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