I come bearing bad news: The Wyze Cam Outdoor is… exceedingly bad.
However, hope remains as Wyze generally leverages its Early Access purchasing program as an extended beta test. So, with pre-order shipments scheduled for October, they have plenty of time to work these issues — perhaps most can be corrected or, at least improved, via software updates.
Before we delve into the ugliness, let’s pause to praise Wyze for some clever packaging and hardware that feels quite solid, belying it’s low price point ($50 + shipping). Perhaps most impressive is the single-screw, magnetic mount. Because no one wants to deface their home more than they have to and periodic charging of the batteries comes with the territory – you want an efficient release.
My go-to for connected cameras is LifeHackster. And it turns out that he’s not a huge fan of the Wyze Outdoor Cam either, having itemized a variety of deficiencies — including some I’ve experienced, such as significant alerting delays and subpar speaker volume+quality, given placement at the bottom rear of the camera under silicon. And while the speaker is weatherproofed to its detriment, I conversely worry about long-term durability of the two port gaskets (vs an o-ring sort of seal utilized by Arlo, Ring, and Blink).
Having run the Wyze Outdoor Cam a few days, I can tell you (and show you) the video quality is awful. It’s full of artifacts and even appears to periodically drop frames. For testing purposes, I ensured I had all firmware and app updates. I also hung the Wyze bridge off two different eeros to try and improve performance. I was not successful. In fact, I even ran a test in my basement with the camera about 18″ from the bridge to ensure max 3-bar wireless – yet the video remained poor. My shirt (below) was still muddy, albeit legible, at this short distance even with slow, minimal movement; There’s no way you’re getting the license plate of the jerk who turned around in your driveway and took out the azaleas. Perhaps that’s not even reasonable for a camera of this stature. However, I will tell you my Wyze Cam v2 suffers from none of these video defects.
On the flip side, the ding against Wyze’s 12-second video clips is easily remedied with an inexpensive $15/year subscription that includes full-length motion capture (and person detection, for those not grandfathered) once it becomes available. In fact, given frequent alerts for passing cars in the distance during my testing, you’re going to want Wyze Cam Plus to limit the false positives.
Like all their products, the Wyze Cam Outdoor’s top feature is its price point. No other “known” brand can compete. Now they’ve got about two months to turn this into a compelling solution.