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Wyze Outdoor Cam v2 Review: Few but Impactful Improvements

It isn't much different or much more expensive than the previous outdoor camera from Wyze, but it's a noticeable upgrade nonetheless.

8.5

Wyze Outdoor Cam v2

Like

  • Color night vision
  • Customizable detection settings
  • Free cloud storage option
  • Easy to install, setup

Don't Like

  • 1080p resolution
  • No automatic siren
  • Not HomeKit compatible

It's been a couple of years since Wyze released its first outdoor camera. We liked it then, 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 Outdoor Cam still holds up today as a high-performing, low-cost camera -- but now there's a new and improved model: the Outdoor Cam v2. 

The Wyze Outdoor Cam v2 is equipped with a larger field of view than its predecessor and comes with color night vision, a more advanced PIR 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 Outdoor Cam.

I got my hands on a Wyze Outdoor Cam 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 live streams 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 Outdoor Cam 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

A mounted Wyze outdoor camera.
David Anders/CNET

Once I found a good spot for the camera, mounting it took less than 2 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 Outdoor Cam, 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 Outdoor Cam v2 does at least has a wider field of view, 130-degrees compared to the v1's 110-degrees. 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 Outdoor Cam 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.

Screenshot of the Wyze motion detection settings.

Adjust the motion detection distance and sensitivity, or create a detection zone, for more focused monitoring and fewer notifications.

Wyze App screenshot by David Anders

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 out 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.

About the security of your security camera

We've said before to treat your home security cameras as compromised, and that was due in part to vulnerabilities found in Wyze cameras at the time, as well as Ring and Google sharing user footage with the police. Wyze has since taken measures to limit vulnerabilities via software updates but it ultimately had to discontinue support for the Wyze Cam v1 (not to be confused with the Wyze Outdoor Cam v1).

The Wyze Outdoor Cam 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

Wyze Outdoor Cam v2 and base station.
David Anders/CNET

While the Wyze Outdoor Cam v2 isn't perfect, it's a worthy upgrade to the already capable Outdoor Cam v1 without a significant price increase.

At $74, the Wyze Outdoor Cam 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.