Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 Review: A Great Camera for the Money
Minor improvements over the original Wyze Cam Outdoor, without a major price increase, make this camera worth checking out.
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Reviews ethics statement
David AndersSenior Writer
David Anders is a senior writer for CNET covering broadband providers, smart home devices and security products. Prior to joining CNET, David built his industry expertise writing for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. In his 5 plus years covering broadband, David's work has been referenced by a variety of sources including ArcGIS, DIRECTV and more. David is from and currently resides in the Charlotte area with his wife, son and two cats.
ExpertiseBroadband providers, Home internet, Security Cameras
Currently, Wyze's forum report on the latest breach includes an update from February 19, 2024: "Our engineering team has added a new layer of verification between users and event videos to prevent this from happening again. We've also removed the client library and will not be using caching until we can find a new client library and stress test it for extreme scenarios like we saw on Friday."
This response is a start, but Wyze has repeatedly struggled to reliably update its approach to security and meaningfully communicate with its users. While we have seen security companies bounce back from security problems in the past, we haven't seen this kind of improvement from Wyze yet. So we are not endorsing their products or any services where you need to create a Wyze account with your personal info.
We'll keep you updated on Wyze's security and privacy if our recommendations change. If you're looking for security brands that have made notable security improvements or have good privacy track records, we can recommend products from Ring, Google's Nest, Blink, and Arlo.
Since entering the home security market a few years ago, Wyze has released a number of budget-friendly cameras, including its first outdoor model. We liked the Cam Outdoor when it came out, despite a few minor qualms like the then-lack of free person detection and a limited 110-degree field of view. Quibbles aside, the Wyze Cam Outdoor still holds up today as a high-performing, low-cost camera -- but now there's a new and improved model: the Cam Outdoor v2.
The $74 Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 is equipped with a larger field of view than its predecessor and comes with color night vision, a more advanced passive infrared lens and the option for free person detection alerts, among other improvements. It's not entirely perfect -- better image resolution, for example, would have been nice -- but the v2 is still a noticeable step above the original Cam Outdoor.
I got my hands on a Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 and tested it out over the course of about two weeks (here's how we test security cameras). I played with the settings a dozen times, tested the two-way audio, watched livestreams and recorded videos in the light, dark and rain, and even tried out a Cam Plus subscription. Here are my thoughts on the whole experience.
Still a budget-friendly setup
One of the more appealing aspects of Wyze security cameras, whether indoor, outdoor or both, is the reasonable pricing. The Cam Outdoor v2 is understandably more expensive than the first model, but at just $74, it's still one of the lowest-priced wireless outdoor camera setups I've seen (from a known and trusted manufacturer, that is).
Everything you need is included in the box -- the camera, mounting bracket with hardware, a base station, power cords for the base station and charging the camera's battery, an Ethernet cable and a brief owner's manual.
Additional cameras are available starting at $63, and a single base station will support up to four in total. They won't work on their own without a base station, though, so you'll want to start with the $74 bundle before adding any of the $63 single cameras to your network, a la carte style.
Couldn't ask for an easier installation
Once I found a good spot for the camera, mounting it took less than two minutes. Just drill a couple of screws for the mounting bracket to slide over, then place the camera on the magnetic base and adjust the foldable arm as needed.
You can install the mount on a horizontal or vertical surface. Camera settings within the app allow you to flip the view 180 degrees, suggesting you could also mount the camera upside down. The magnet may be strong enough to hold the camera upside down without it falling to the ground below, but I didn't risk trying it.
The base station is a little less convenient as it needs to be plugged into your router during setup, hence why there's an Ethernet cable included. If you have a mesh Wi-Fi system, plugging into any of the devices or nodes, not just the "main" one, should suffice. It did for me.
After your setup is complete, do what I did and change the connection settings to Wi-Fi. This will free up an Ethernet port on your router and allow you to move the base station to a more out-of-sight location -- ideally, one that's closer to your camera for better signal quality.
As for the setup itself, the Wyze app will guide you through the process step by step. There's little more to it than plugging things in, turning the camera on and waiting for the base station's blue light to go from blinking to solid before naming your camera. Towards the end of the setup, you'll be prompted to connect the camera to your Alexa or Google smart home hub, but that's optional and you can do it later, if you like. There's currently no compatibility with Apple HomeKit.
Acceptable image resolution, impressive color night vision
It was just after 5 p.m. in early December when I finished installation and setup, so I got see how the camera performed in the dark right away. Granted, there was a little light left in the day, but the feed was so bright and colorful that I almost couldn't tell it was mostly dark out.
To be clear, that's the Color Night Vision feature, not the night vision setting. Traditional night vision is still an option, and you can illuminate objects up to 25 feet away thanks to four built-in infrared lights, but if you want to see color, turn the night vision off. Color Night Vision uses a Starlight CMOS sensor to automatically make the most out of low-light settings, returning colors and details that would otherwise be mostly obscured in the semi-dark. It's a new feature to the v2 camera, and it's a good one.
While the color night vision is a significant upgrade, image resolution, unfortunately, remains at 1080p. Along with the previous Wyze Cam Outdoor, Blink's Outdoor Security Camera and the Google Nest Cam with Battery, among others, sport the same resolution, but some manufacturers, including Arlo with its Pro 4 camera and TP-Link's Tapo C310, have made the jump to 2K resolution.
The Cam Outdoor v2 does at least has a wider field of view, 130 degrees compared to the v1's 110. That's still not the best on the market -- some offer a wider 160-degree view, for example -- but it is an improvement.
Installed approximately 25 feet from the back of my home, the camera gave me a full view of the house from one side to the other, plus most of my backyard and a good way up the side yards. In short, you can cover a lot of area with just one camera, and you can count on a prompt notification when something is detected.
Advanced motion detection, near-instant notifications and a loud siren
Like the previous model, the Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 features a passive infrared sensor, which helps cut down on false notifications from things like falling leaves and swaying branches. Still, I received a lot of push notifications, mostly from cars passing by or stopping at the stop sign some 75 to 100 feet away. Those notifications came quickly, almost immediately, but they were more than I needed.
To scale back the frequent notifications, I lowered the motion detection distance and created a custom detection zone. The vehicle alerts largely stopped save for someone pulling in the driveway and I received more relevant notifications and event recording, too. Not only did that cut down on the notifications, it also helped to preserve the battery since there were fewer instances of event recording.
Fortunately, none of the notifications I received indicated an actual security or trespasser event, so I didn't need to activate the built-in siren. I did anyway, once, to see how loud it was. It's loud -- definitely loud enough to startle someone who was up to no good. I could also hear it clearly while inside and it may even be loud enough to alert your neighbors, depending on how far away they are.
One other thing of note on the siren: It's not automatic, meaning you'll have to act as your own security guard and sound the siren manually via the app if you detect suspicious activity. If that's more demanding than you'd like, Wyze offers a professional monitoring plan, Wyze Cam Protect, starting at just over $3 per month. They won't activate the siren on your camera, but they can ensure emergency services are dispatched if determined necessary.
Free person detection and cloud storage if you want it
I didn't test the Wyze Cam Protect service, but I did use the free Cam Plus trial period. The Cam Plus plan grants 14 days of cloud storage for recorded events of any length, back-to-back recording (there's a 5-minute delay otherwise) and a number of other perks including person detection. After the trial period ends, a Cam Plus subscription will cost you a little less than $2 a month.
If you don't want to pay a subscription fee for cloud storage and person detection, consider the Cam Plus Lite plan. It comes with 14 days of cloud storage for recorded events up to 12 seconds in length, person detection and the option to "name your price" -- even if that price is zero.
The Cam Outdoor v2 has end-to-end encryption to help keep your live feeds and recorded videos private, but nothing is fail-proof when it comes to internet-connected devices. Be sure to download software updates when they become available as they often include patches for any discovered vulnerabilities. Also, be sure to keep your home Wi-Fi network password protected and secured.
The verdict: A solid outdoor camera for the price
While the Cam Outdoor v2 isn't perfect, it's a worthy upgrade to the already capable v1 without a significant price increase.
At $74, the Wyze Cam Outdoor v2 delivers about everything you could ask for, from live video feeds, two-way audio and the new Color Night Vision mode to free cloud storage and person detection if you want it. Minor things like 2K resolution and an automatic siren would be nice to have, but I still found the features, ease of use and all-around performance to be well worth the cost.