Home Security

Wyze Cam Pan v2 review: The best indoor security camera

The super affordable home security developer continues its winning streak.

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The Wyze Cam can swivel, so I used it to monitor two rooms connected by an interior window.
David Priest/CNET

Indoor security cameras have always seemed less useful than outdoor cameras. It's a two-sided problem: Outdoor cameras usually cover easier-to-monitor areas (like a single entryway or driveway) and they often come with better features, like built-in spotlights, higher resolutions, motion zones and more.

The $50 Wyze Cam Pan v2 flips the script: It's an indoor camera that outpaces many outdoor devices from major developers -- and it's fully up to the task of monitoring complex indoor spaces from just about any angle. Next to its competition, the Wyze Cam Pan is cheap, smart and a breeze to set up and use. The panning and tilting functions allow the device to effectively cover a whole room and a few extra touches make it genuinely useful in nearly every scenario I can imagine.

In short, this is the best indoor cam on the market for the vast majority of people.

9.2

Wyze Cam Pan v2

Like

  • Low price
  • Free storage
  • Affordable subscription
  • Fantastic app experience

Don't Like

  • Nothing but minor nitpicks

What Wyze offers

The Wyze Cam Pan v2 is a straightforward device. You can set it up like any other indoor camera, live stream 1080p video from it, talk with people while you're away from home using two-way audio and set up motion and sound alerts. What the Pan camera provides above Wyze's other offerings is mobility. Via the app, you can spin the camera 360 degrees and tilt it up and down, capturing a 96-degree vertical view. What's more, you can set it to automatically follow motion around a room and to periodically scan the room when it isn't following someone.

Even if you don't subscribe to a monthly service, Wyze will store 12-second event clips for 14 days (though the 5-minute cooldown between these clips limits the security value), along with motion alerts, sound alerts and alarm alerts. These are triggered, for instance, if your smoke alarm sounds while you're away. You can also use local storage and 24/7 recording with the microSD card slot.

If you pay the $2-a-month per camera fee (which you can find discounted fairly often), you'll get a bunch of extra goodies including person, animal, package and vehicle alerts, unlimited event video length and no cooldown period.

In my experience testing the camera over the course of a week, it performed all of these actions nearly flawlessly. It followed me around the room and even tracked multiple people at once. It scanned back and forth if I set it to do so. It sent notifications promptly and reliably. Looking back over past recordings was quick and simple. In short, it worked as advertised.

All in all, this panning, tilting camera brings a load of smarts to the countertop. How does its price stack up against the competition?

Wyze wins value

Wyze continues to wow with its low prices. No, $50 isn't quite as affordable as the cameras that put the company on the map -- Wyze was forced to raise those prices amid chip shortages in the first half of 2021. But $50 for an indoor camera is a solid deal -- only $15 more than Blink's uber-cheap Mini camera and $50 less than more feature-rich alternatives from Google Nest and Arlo.

What sets apart the Wyze Cam Pan is the movement that gave it its name. Few major developers offer cameras that can do this and even fewer at Wyze's price. The closest devices to Wyze's are TP Link's Kasa Spot Pan and Tilt camera and Eufy's Indoor Cam 2k Pan and Tilt.

Prices are variable, but these three cameras usually sit within a couple bucks of each other, orbiting $50. Eufy's camera has better resolution, but otherwise Wyze beats both competitors with its free storage features and cheaper monthly subscription. Plus, Wyze's app is one of the most approachable for newcomers to the home security camera game.

Are there any flaws?

I was impressed with Wyze's performance across the board -- and its value is practically unbeatable -- but a few minor hiccups marred an otherwise great experience. First, the original camera I set up and began to review completely died two days into testing. I did a little research and discovered that the first version of the Wyze Cam Pan sometimes got its wires literally twisted, which could lead to a frayed power line. (Wyze didn't respond to a question about this problem with the older device.) I took the device apart to see if something similar had happened, but didn't find any obvious reason for the defect. Wyze's representatives seemed just as stumped as I did.

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I opened up my malfunctioning device and didn't find any obvious issues, like wires frayed from rotation; it appeared to just be a bad unit. (Don't open up your device if you're looking to get it replaced.)

David Priest/CNET

Before I spoke to Wyze's representatives, I contacted Wyze support and described what had happened as any regular customer would have, just to see how they'd respond to my situation. The technician on the phone immediately sent the form to replace the camera free of charge.

These things occasionally happen and Wyze was responsive in replacing the device, so I don't think the bad unit is representative in any way -- but I do need to report the experience. The second unit I tested had no such problems.

My other criticisms are slightly nitpicky; honestly, they're mainly features I'd love to see added in the future. First, the camera can pick up loud sounds and alert you to them, but it won't swivel to face the source of the sounds unless you have it scanning the room already. Second, the camera is so good at following you around while you're walking that the effect can be slightly creepy. I wish there were an obvious privacy screen of some sort -- like Arlo's indoor camera has -- to let you know when you're being recorded and when you're not. Finally, while Wyze's design isn't offensive by any means, it's no Nest Indoor Cam (you know, the one with the wooden base). I'd love to see more design options to fit in with different decors.

Who should buy Wyze?

At the end of reviews, I often rack my brain to think of different kinds of people for whom a particular product might be genuinely useful -- the best option to meet their needs. For Wyze, no brain-racking is required.

If you're hoping to monitor your house while you're traveling, check on the dog while you're at work, say hello to the kids and the sitter while you're on a date or pretty much any other activity you'd want an indoor cam for, Wyze is certainly the best option for the price. And it's often the best option, period.