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A Wyze Cam v2 vs v3 Comparison - Should You Upgrade?
Reviewed in Canada on April 16, 2021
Wyze Labs has made a lot of noise about the incredible night vision of the Wyze Cam v3’s starlight sensor so I decided to do a quick head-to-head against its older sibling, the venerable Wyze Cam v2, which many of us have come to love for its amazing price and surprising durability.
The first thing to notice is that the two units are very close in dimensions, but the v3 has a short wire that hangs out the back like a tail for the micro usb cable to plug into. The connector has a rubber sleeve for the cable to slide into which helps to prevent water from getting in between the connectors as the new unit carries an actual weather resistant IP65 rating. That being said, many of us (myself included) have had no issues using the v2 outdoors even though it is rated for indoor use only, so the IP65 rating of the new unit may not be a convincing enough reason to upgrade.
Both cameras record at 1080p and daytime quality on the v3 has improved, but it’s only noticeable when comparing the two back to back. As the daytime image quality of the v2 isn’t that bad, this probably wouldn’t be a good enough reason to upgrade. Video fps has increased from 15 fps on the v2 to 20 fps on the v3 which certainly helps with the smoothness, but it’s still lagging behind most cameras (that are probably more expensive), which record at a more standard 30 fps. Field of view remains unchanged at 110 degrees for both cameras, and from what I could tell, they’re about the same.
Two way communication has improved in the sense that you no longer have to push a button to talk, then release and listen for the reply like a walkie talkie. The new camera acts more like a telephone now in that once turned on, you can have bidirectional communication at the same time. This makes it easier for those that use the Wyze cam at the front door to talk to people.
Some features unchanged are wifi connectivity is still only 2.4GHz, an SD card is still available and the cable and power brick are exactly the same as what came with the v2. The same power cable will come as a disappointment for those who were hoping for a longer cable. The mounting mechanism is unchanged as well as the ability to adjust height and swivel, but one improvement that is notable is that they finally got around to drilling a hole into the bottom of the feet making it easier to mount on a wall with just a screw. I’d been drilling my own holes on the v2’s feet prior, so I really like this change.
OK, now to talk about the proverbial pachyderm in the room that is the starlight sensor on the v3. I’ve included some pictures in my review comparing the nighttime footage of both the v2 and the v3 under different scenarios, but in short, the starlight sensor is indeed game changing.
In my opinion, the single biggest reason to upgrade is that the starlight sensor allows the ability to see in colour at night through a window (IR lights and glass windows don’t work), as long as there is some ambient light. The last part of that previous sentence is the key. You NEED to have some ambient light for the starlight sensor to work and this is what they don’t really tell you. You don’t need a whole lot of light, like a streetlamp, or even the light from a bright night sky/bright moon may be enough, just as long as it’s not close to pitch black.
If it’s too dark, the v3 is smart enough to revert to its IR lighting which is surprisingly much improved over the IR lighting on the v2 and the pictures in my review say it all. There is increased IR range and intensity that allows you to see so much more detail on the owl, and the detached garage behind the owl is noticablely more lit up with the new camera. Furthermore, there are settings to adjust the IR light intensity for further or closer range which is a nice option as close range use turns off the 4 IR lights that can be seen on the front of the camera at night.
The million dollar question is should you upgrade and my answer is that it depends on whether or not you need the improved night vision that the v3 offers.
If you are pointing the camera through a window and have ambient light outside (ex. streetlamp lighting), then the ability to see colour at night through a window is truly worth the price of admission.
If you are using the camera outside and rely on IR lighting because it’s just too dark out need the longer IR range of the new camera, the IR lights on the new camera are quite a step up as can be seen in my review photos.
However, if you don't need the improved night vision or you're just using the camera indoors to monitor a room, then the answer is probably a no.
• Starlight sensor for night vision is really is game changing and when there isn’t enough ambient light, the IR lights are much stronger on the v3 providing a substantial improvement in night vision over the v2
• Starlight sensor allows full colour at night through a glass window if there’s enough ambient light outside (ex. streetlamps). The takeaway is that you NEED some ambient light for it to work.
• IR light intensity can be set for near or far use
• 2-way talk is now bidirectional at the same time, vs. the v2 which is push to talk
• Approved for outdoor use with IP65 rating
• They finally drilled a hole in the feet to allow easier mounting on the wall with just a single screw
• Same 14-day free cloud service and SD card support for continuous recording
• 20 fps video recording is improved over 15 from its predecessor, but still lacks behind the more standard 30 fps
• Pricier than the v2 model and a lot pricier than the $23.99 USD price direct from Wyze ☹ Canadians are still getting bent here.
• Still only 2.4 GHz wireless
• Wyze interface for playback is still lacking compared to others
• Same limitations as with the v2 (ex. 5 minute cooldown on notifications unless paying for subscription)
• Wish included micro-USB cord was longer