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Ezviz Mini review: The $70 Ezviz Mini security camera is big on value

At just $70, the pint-size live-streaming Ezviz Mini security camera is decidedly budget-friendly -- and cute to boot.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
4 min read

Back in October, camera retailer Ezviz added a new model to its lineup -- the $70 Ezviz Mini -- a 720p live-streaming Wi-Fi camera with night vision, motion-detection capabilities, local and cloud storage, Web and mobile (Android and iOS) apps and alerts with an included scheduling feature.


Ezviz Mini

The Good

At just $70, the Ezviz Mini offers an exceptional value and solid specs, including high-definition live streaming video.

The Bad

Too many false motion alerts made the feature essentially unusable. The camera doesn't integrate with any third-party products or services.

The Bottom Line

If you can live without its hit-or-miss motion alert feature, the Ezviz Mini is an otherwise ideal, no-fuss DIY security cam available at a great price.

Available for purchase now in the US through Amazon and Sam's Club, this pint-sized powerhouse offers a lot of the same features as other do-it-yourself cams for a fraction of the price.

It also works well, with one important exception -- phantom alerts: The camera is supposed to send an alert and record a video clip when it detects motion, but several of the notifications and their related recordings showed no activity whatsoever. And although the Mini doesn't work with devices from other manufacturers or offer an IFTTT channel, anyone looking for a basic video-streaming cam should consider the $70 Ezviz Mini. (Did I mention that the first year of cloud storage is free?)

The $70 Ezviz Mini has the lock on value (pictures)

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Up close with the Ezviz Mini

Ezviz's $70 camera is tiny (hence the name "Mini") -- it clocks in at under 4 ounces and stands just 3.5 inches tall -- so it's about as good as it gets as far as an unobtrusive design. And it has a magnetic base (like Arlo , Nest Cam and others) and the stand pivots and angles for easy installation.

Using the Ezviz app (available for iOS and Android), setup took about 5 to 10 minutes. To register, enter your country, email address and verification code. (This should appear in the inbox of the address you provide. I found this somewhat confusing, though, because there's a verification code on a sticker on the back of the camera. Ignore it and use the one you receive in your email instead.) Then create a username and a password, scan the QR code on the back of the camera and input your Wi-Fi details as well as your time zone, and you're done. It's a few more steps than most Wi-Fi camera configurations, but it isn't too inconvenient.

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From the Ezviz Mini live stream to viewing a saved clip. Screenshots by CNET

While setup was pretty straightforward, the app looks dated. It's still easy enough to navigate, but there's something generally unpolished about it that reminds me of the old-school-style Foscam Plug and Play Wireless IP Camera FI9826P . Even so, I was able to view the live stream on the iOS app as well as on the web interface, receive motion-related alerts and scroll through the activity log to see saved clips.

The Ezviz Mini comes with a 16GB microSD card for local storage and currently offers users one full year of free cloud storage. If you still want cloud storage after that period, you'll have to pay $5 per month/$50 per year for 7 days of storage or $10 per month/$100 per year for 30 days of storage.

The Ezviz Mini vs. every other DIY cam

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Night vision mode.

Screenshot by CNET

Ezviz's Mini performed well overall. The 720p live streaming video is crisp in both regular and night vision mode and you can set it to either portrait or landscape view (and even monitor up to four cameras simultaneously in "quad" view if you happen to have more than one Mini installed). And, you can manually adjust between basic, standard and HD video quality, depending on your bandwidth limitations.

But, there's one issue. The Mini sent me a lot of phantom alerts. This will likely vary by user depending on your install location, but the motion sensor is very sensitive in general. Shadows and other non-security-related movement occasionally sent it into a frenzy -- one night I woke up to alerts popping up on my phone every few minutes -- only to check the saved video clips and realize that no significant motion had taken place.

Then, I responded by disabling the notifications altogether, assuming that most of the alerts I would receive (that particular night, at least) were due to shadows and perhaps the particular spot where it was installed.

After that, I moved the camera to various other locations and never experienced this issue to the same extent, but I still received the occasional phantom alert, which makes its reliability as a security notification device questionable.

$200 is the norm when it comes to buying do-it-yourself high-definition security and webcams these days. One quick tour of our own camera coverage shows that Nest Cam (and its Dropcam Pro predecessor), Flir FX , Logi Circle , Netatmo Welcome and Piper (the original model, not the night-vision-equipped version ), all cost 200 bucks. And others, like the Samsung SmartCam HD Pro , ArcSoft Simplicam , Homeboy , Netgear Arlo (the two-camera kit we reviewed costs over $300, but you can buy one camera and the hub for just $180) and new Kodak Video Monitor CFH-V20 are all within $50 of that now-standard retail figure.

Sure, when you're comparing DIY and professional firm camera setups, the DIY route is likely to cost less overall, but there haven't been many cameras that are a true bargain. The $100 Guardzilla is reasonably-priced, but it has a standard-definition resolution and underwhelming performance -- and that's it as far as models we've reviewed that cost significantly less than $200. That makes the Ezviz Mini truly unique.

But, it doesn't work with any third-party devices or IFTTT, a mobile and web service that connects devices with different manufacturers to one another so you can set rules like, "If my Homeboy security camera detects motion, then flash my Philips Hue LEDs."

Connect with these 35 IFTTT-friendly smart devices (pictures)

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The Verdict

You really can't go wrong with the $70 Ezviz Mini if you're looking for a basic live-streaming camera. The features you get for the price are incredible -- a 720p HD resolution, night vision and more. However, if you're looking for something with reliable motion alerts that also works with other connected devices, this isn't the product for you. But, with a year of free cloud storage and an included 16GB microSD card, the Ezviz Mini offers the absolute best value of any security camera I've reviewed to date.


Ezviz Mini

Score Breakdown

Features 7Usability 7Design 8Performance 7