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A Wyze Cam (v2) vs Wyze Cam Pan (v1) Comparison!
Reviewed in Canada on September 2, 2018
***** Review Update - September 17, 2019 *****
An entire year has gone by since I initially posted this review and I was curious to see if a year worth of software updates had changed anything in terms of image quality so I retested the Wyze Cam Pan against the Wyze Cam v2 and was surprised and a little disappointed that my initial findings were still accurate.
That being said, there have been some improvements and things worth mentioning.
* Wyze has implemented person detection as a free feature which has helped to address the motion detection algorithm falsing during light transition changes. Person detection is fantastic as it also helps prevent alerts from squirrels and cars.
* The two way audio through the cameras have improved by leaps and bounds.
* Wyze has added two-factor authentication to Wyze accounts for better security. This is great as it helps to prevent people from getting access to your account and being able to view your cameras.
* Viewing of cameras can be shared across different Wyze accounts. This is handy for being able to view cameras at different physical locations on a single account. We keep a camera at the grandparents in the kids room so when the kids are staying over, we can spy on them to make sure they're behaving and napping when they should be.
* Although this is a "do so at your own risk" and it is not something I am endorsing nor will assume responsibility for if your Wyze Cam should pack it in, I have multiple friends that have mounted their Wyze Cams outdoors under the soffet without using a third party cover and the cameras have survived even through a Canadian winter.
*** Original Unmodified Review ***
This review mainly focuses on the differences between the two Wyze Cams. Please skip to the bottom if you just want a summary, including the pros and cons that pertain to both units.
Having owned a couple Wyze Cams, I decided to pick up a Wyze Cam Pan for comparison. I had a Wyze Cam pointed out a window above the rear French doors of the house to monitor the backyard and have since replaced it with the Wyze Cam Pan. I wanted the pan so I could remotely spin the camera around to view the inside of the house if desired.
Included in this review are some screenshots comparing the picture quality of the Wyze Cam v2 to the Wyze Cam Pan v1. All tests were taken with the cameras side by side and I sat the smaller Wyze Cam on top of a small box so that it would be at roughly the same height as the Wyze Cam Pan. IR testing and extreme darkness without IR test was done outdoors, while everything else was shot with the cameras pointing through a window.
The Wyze Cam Pan is physically about two and a half times taller than the Wyze Cam, and has slightly wider footprint. It also has less flexibility for mounting as it pretty much has to sit in top of something for the pan to work.
Both cameras offer similar 1080p quality and using the 8x digital zoom on either camera results in the same blurry mess. Interestingly both cameras are said to have 110 degree field of view, but the screenshots seem to indicate that the the Wyze Cam has a slightly wider field of view compared to its larger sibling.
During the day, the Wyze Cam offers better colours and noticeably better dynamic range as can be seen in the pictures where the back door is all blown out on Wyze Cam Pan. In low light testing, the Wyze Cam Pan seems to fare a bit better and more details are able to be seen in the background.
Once the night vision kicks in and the IR lights are on, the tables are turned as the Wyze Cams IR lights appear to light up a wider area allowing for more details to be seen. This came as a surprise as the Wyze Cam Pan has 6 IR lights vs only 4 on the Wyze Cam.
All said and done, the low light performance between the two cameras probably isn't large enough to be a difference maker especially with the lack of optical zoom on these cameras. That said, the slightly wider field of view of the Wyze Cam may be helpful for some and its better dynamic range is definitely noticeable. The Wyze Cam Pan is good if you need that feature, but the regular Wyze Cam is such a fantastic bargain that unless you need pan and tilt, paying ~50% more for just those features seems pretty tough to justify.
* Pan has 360 degree pan and tilt ability.
* Pan costs ~50% more than Cam at time of writing.
* Cam has much better dynamic range.
* Cam has slightly wider field of view.
* Pan has better low light performance when IR is off.
* Cam is better with IR on as it has wider beam allowing more to be seen at night
* Pan is about 2.5 times taller than the Cam and a bit wider
* Cam has more mounting options
* Both cameras have good picture quality given their price but dynamic range is noticeably better on the Wyze Cam v2.
* Amazing price (Wyze Cam v2).
* Makes for an excellent baby monitor.
* Feature packed with motion tagging, real time alerts, and two way voice communication.
* Free cloud recording for two weeks (first 12 seconds only).
* Supports Micro SD card for video playback. Card not required, but is needed to view playback of events exceeding 12 seconds).
* Super easy to set up.
* Wyze is constantly improving the software and camera firmware which shows good support.
* Video playback software needs improvement. It's very difficult to scroll through history but thankfully this can be improved.
* Wyze Cam Pan is not as good of a bargain as its little brother. It's tough to justify a 50% premium for just pan and tilt especially considering the noticeably worse dynamic range.
* Indoor use only, but there are third party housings claiming outdoor use available for the Wyze Cam.
* Motion tagging is only limited to only one adjustable rectangle.
* Motion detection algorithm used by cameras is prone to falsing during light transition changes.
* WiFi only supports 2.4 GHz.
* 15 fps recording makes recording of moving objects less fluid.
* Canadian pricing has quite the premium versus US pricing. :(