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Smart Home

The Wyze Cam Pan: Home security for only $30

Wyze Labs' latest model adds motorized panning to the mix, but remains ridiculously affordable.

wyze-cam-pan

The Wyze Cam Pan features a motorized base and 6-foot power cord.

Photo by Rick Broida/CNET

Regular readers know of my mad love for the Wyze Cam, a versatile, high-quality Wi-Fi camera with a seemingly impossible $20 price tag.

Of course, it's a fixed-position camera, because for $20 you wouldn't expect motorized panning, right? Right.

wyze-cam-pan-angled

The Pan isn't as adorable as its predecessors, but it's even more versatile.

Wyze Labs

But how about $30? The new Wyze Cam Pan adds that feature while remaining incredibly affordable -- it's still a fraction of the cost of many competing Wi-Fi cams. I remain gobsmacked by the value.

Read more: Wyze Cam Pan review

The Pan stands about twice as tall as its predecessor, the better to accommodate its motorized base and eyeball lens. It's less adorable, but still compact and stylish. Indeed, I find this little white monolith a much friendlier addition to home decor than most Wi-Fi cameras, which look bulbous and often have antennas poking out.

The entire thing can rotate a total of 360 degrees, while the eyeball lens can move up and down. The end result is a camera that lets you see most of a room -- pretty much everything save for straight above and straight below it.

The lens itself captures a 120-degree field of view, so there's a bit of fish-eye to the images. But it's not bad. To pan, you just swipe the live feed. The camera rotates a little or lot depending on how big the swipe. In my tests, panning seemed slow at first -- there'd be a blur, a pause, then the live feed again -- but eventually this issue resolved itself. The feed updated nearly in real-time as I panned. Your mileage may vary depending on the speed of your home Wi-Fi. I should also note that my tests were conducted with a beta version of the app.

Speaking of which, the app is excellent, from setup to operation. You can easily set up alerts for motion and sound. The Wyze Cams can detect and tag specific objects and areas. They also specifically listen for smoke alarm and CO alarms.

The Pan affords live streaming at SD or HD resolutions -- though you're still limited to the app for this as there's no web browser option. You can pop in a microSD card for continuous recording, but Wyze continues to offer 14 days' worth of cloud storage for alert-detection videos at no extra charge.

Other noteworthy features include night vision (courtesy of six infrared LEDs), two-way audio, support for time-lapse videos and an 8x digital zoom.

With the Pan, Wyze bumped the frame rate to 15 frames per second -- a 50-percent increase over the Wyze Cam v2. In my tests, that made for much smoother video.

What more can I say? If you liked the Wyze Cam but wished it could pan around the room, now you've got it for just $10 more. The Pan has already earned a spot on my Best Cheap Tech of 2018 list.

Your thoughts?

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