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If you've ever priced a smart-home or IP camera, meaning one that livestreams via Wi-Fi so you can keep tabs on the house, the dog, the kids, the elderly -- you know they tend to be expensive.
Indeed, models touting features like night-vision and cloud storage can run hundreds of dollars. There are cheaper options, including some no-brand cameras priced in the $40-$50 range, but usually with compromises: 720p video instead of 1080p, for example, or no cloud space for motion-detection vids.
That's what makes this so amazing: Today, Wyze Labs introduced the WyzeCam, a 1080p Wi-Fi camera priced at just $19.99. Shipping adds about $6. (It will also be available via Amazon, but for $29.99.)
I've been beta testing this camera for the past few days, and I have to admit it's pretty amazing.
For starters, it's an adorable little cube with a built-in adjustable stand. Wyze supplies adhesive metal and magnetic plates so you can mount the camera just about anywhere, no screws required. There's a 5.5-foot power cord included.
The 110-degree wide-angle lens can capture 1080p (HD) video, though you can also toggle into SD mode if need be.
You can snap a photo or record video directly to your phone or tablet, but if you want continuous or time-lapse recording, you'll need to pop a microSD card into the camera's slot.
It also has night vision, so you could set one up in, say, a front or back window for 24-hour home-security purposes. The app can alert you when the camera detects motion or sound, and it will automatically store 14 days' worth of detection-alert videos -- in the cloud, at no extra charge.
Finally, the WyzeCam incorporates both a speaker and a microphone, meaning you can use it as an intercom. At least, that's the promise: In my (admittedly informal) testing, audio was delayed by several seconds in both directions, making real-time conversation challenging at best. (YMMV.) But if you simply want to eavesdrop, it works quite well.
What's more, I found the app extremely easy to use and the image quality to be excellent -- even in SD mode.
The only thing you don't get here is the option to pan or tilt the camera (though you can zoom the image up to 8x just by reverse-pinching). But, I mean, $20! You could deploy five of these around the house for less than the price of a single IP camera from various bigger-name companies.
Like I said: pretty amazing. I've never seen such a full-featured IP camera for such a low price. Have you?
Bonus deal: Speaking of smart homes, what could be smarter than a home that keeps itself clean? OK, we're not quite there yet, but a robot vacuum is a big step in the right direction.
Like this one: For a limited time, Wellbots has the Ecovacs Deebot M82 robot vacuum cleaner for $199 shipped when you apply discount code CNETROCKS at checkout. (It's true: we do.) It's normally $245, and Amazon sells it for $269!
Designed for both carpeted and bare floors, the M82 offers four cleaning modes, two suctions levels, obstacle- and stair-avoidance sensors and a remote control. You can also control it via app. I haven't used this particular model myself, but it scored a 4.2-star average from Amazon buyers.
Bonus deal No. 2: Forgive me. I can't not share this.
For a limited time, and while supplies last, Tmart.com once again has the Boldclash Bwhoop B-03 quadcopter for $17.59 shipped. And it'll ship from a US warehouse, so it should arrive within a week.
Here's what's awesome about this little drone: It has blade guards, so it's both indoor- and kid-friendly. It has altitude hold and headless mode, so it's very easy for novices to master. And it relies on a handheld remote, not an app, so it's even easier to fly.
Less awesome: only 5-6 minutes of flight time. You can get additional batteries for about $5 apiece, though they ship from China, so expect a longer wait. Even so, this is a great starter drone for kids, and definitely an excellent gift for the upcoming holidays.