Wyze is continuing their push Down Under, recently launching the Wyze Cam Pan V3. The blurb reads well, considering that it offers automatic sound and motion tracking, full weather resistance, two-way audio and full colour night vision. And all these features at an eye-catching price point. Is it too good to be true?
The Elephant in the Room
Wyze has taken a reputation hit over security flaws with their devices in the past, in particular their response to the issues. While no system is perfectly secure, the latter was what was more concerning.
However it is not in my scope to bat for or against how Wyze handled the situation. Huge steps have been taken to secure their products and DRN is here to review the functionality of the Wyze Cam Pan V3.
To say the Wyze Cam Pan V3 looks different would be doing it a disservice. It eschews the stereotypical camera design in favour of … two cubes stacked on top of each other. If BB-8 was a statue and not rolling over desert dunes, you are probably getting close to the Wyze Cam Pan V3.
Not gonna lie, my first thought was, htf will it pan 360 degrees and tilt 180 degrees?
There is some assembly required and a screwdriver is a must.
The Cam Pan V3 comes in two parts – the camera unit itself. And once you have taken the camera out, helpfully in the box there are arrows pointing to the side to say “don’t forget the bracket”.
In saying that, if you don’t plan to mount it on a wall, you can forget the bracket as the unit can stand on it’s own.
It comes with a 1.8m micro-USB cable, but it is not just any cable. The plug is right angled and designed to fit flush into the base of the unit and covered by the mounting bracket. I guess this forms as part of the IP65 weatherproof rating.
If you intend to mount it on a wall, the instructions calls for 30mm clearance around and 150mm above the unit. To point out the obvious, you can’t mount the bracket on the wall with the camera affixed to the bracket.
To configure the Cam Pan V3, you need the Wyze app and an account. If you don’t have an existing account, just follow the bouncing ball and make sure you also enable 2FA.
The app guides you through the process of adding a device, and it requests location permission to scan for WiFi.
Interesting enough it does not check to see if WiFi is enabled on your device, so if you did what I did and had it turned off, you will end up with an error message. Easy enough to fix but would have been a nice touch.
The camera will provide audio feedback during the setup process. You do need to hit the physical “setup” button on the unit itself to get into the setup routine and when ready, it will say “ready to connect”.
The app will then generate a QR code which you have to position in front of the camera for it to scan. Once successful it will say “QR code scanned”.
Let the app and camera do the work at this point, it will install any firmware updates and prompt you to name the device.
The whole process only took a few minutes including the updates.
First thing first. If you have been jockeying the Cam Pan V3 around manually, as in, not via the app, do yourself a favour now and recalibrate the unit. Actually just recalibrate the unit regardless.
This can be done in the app, in the Device, Settings, Advanced Settings, Motor Controls, Reset Position. Doing the recalibration now will save you some headache later on, as I discovered the resting position of my camera was pointing at my ceiling – after I set up everything else.
Let’s talk about the basics. I ran the Cam Pan V3 indoors for about a week, putting it through the paces whilst perched on my workspace before mounting it in it’s final position.
There were a few things I was looking for. It is marketed to have a significantly quieter tracking motor compared to the previous generation. At a 52 per cent dBA quieter, the idea was that you could monitor a napping baby or keep your eyes on your pet without disturbing them.
It was a claim that I put to the test, surreptitiously checking on my daughter sitting on the couch, or what the cat was doing as he stalks through the lounge room. Neither of them was wise to the fact that the camera was panning around to follow what they were doing.
Regardless whether it was indoors or outdoors; daylight, dusk, evening or pitch black, the imagery is crisp and clear under all kinds of conditions. It was pretty impressive to see the details in everything in darkness or just dimly lit by the light leakage through the curtains.
One feature that Wyze boasts with the Cam Pan V3 is the automatic tracking of things of interest. The feature works as advertised – as long as you enable the “Track Motion” button under the video (you’ll have to scroll to the right to see it). If you are watching the video live, a green box appears around the object it is tracking.
It is important to note that in my testing, it will track the first object to come into view. For example if my cat comes into the room ahead of my daughter, the Cam Pan V3 will track the cat as the priority. Is it wrong? Not really, but digging a bit deeper it seems with the Cam Plus subscription you can leverage the AI smarts to put a preference on what you want to track.
Audio wise, the speaker is loud and clear coming through. However the microphone pick up is on the soft side and it can be a little hard to hear on the app side.
Storage and Subscription
The Cam Pan V3 has a microSD card slot for local storage. In this mode you can set it to do continuous recording or event only. Which route you choose depends on your needs but the highlight is that you do not need to rely on cloud storage. The alternative is to go with the cloud subscription and there are some value adds there.
Without a subscription the camera will be able to:
- motion-triggered alerts
- sound-triggered alerts
- smoke + CO sound-triggered alerts
- and motion alert is delayed by between 1 to 5 minutes.
With a Cam Plus subscription, either AUD $1.99 /month or AUD $19.99 annually (single camera), you unlock:
- motion-triggered alerts
- sound-triggered alerts
- smoke + CO sound-triggered alerts
- cloud video recording
- person detection
- package detection
- vehicle detection
- pet detection
- 2x and 4x even t fast-forwarding
- Wyze Web View
- The large print says there is no motion-alert delay with back-to-back recordings supported, but the fine print says there is a 0 to 5 minutes delay.
There are a lot of things going on for the Cam Pan V3, even if you are going the basic route without the subscription.
To reduce false positives, you can set up a Detection Zone so only movements in the active zone gets an alert. Handy for if you have tree branches that is always triggering alerts. This is set up for where the camera is in the “at rest” position. Now you see why calibration right at the start is important?
There are four waypoint positions that can be set to allow the user to quickly pan the camera around to Points of Interest. For example, during my testing phase I have the at rest position covering the approach to my house. My waypoints are set to cover in particular where the couriers usually leaves my packages if I am not home.
The Cam Pan V3 can also listen out for a T3 or T4 alarm sounds from smoke and CO alarms. Once detected it will generate a 12-second alert video with a push notification. I didn’t get to test this feature, but I assume that if it picks up the sound even from the neighbours, I will get an alert. Better to be safe than sorry right?
There is also a Privacy Mode that is described as the camera turning to point straight down. What they mean is that the lens element is rotated to point into the second module, therefore obscuring any views. If you mount the unit upside down, privacy mode turns the camera upwards.
Circling back to the IP65 rating, it means the camera has full protection against dust and other particulates, including a vacuum seal, tested against continuous airflow. It also has protection against low-pressure jets (6.3 mm) of directed water from any angle (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).
Automation and Rules
The Wyze apps supports creating rules for the devices, and these can be quite comprehensive. Some of these require the AI powered by their cloud subscription services such as people or pet detection.
However there are plenty more which can come in handy such as:
- shortcut to turn on all cameras
- set a schedule to toggle notifications
- device triggers – if something is triggers such as motion or sound, perform an action, but only between certain hours.
- location trigger – if I arrive or leave a a location (within 500 feet), perform an action, but only between certain hours.
I really like how Wyze didn’t just go with the basics here and has created some thoughtful smarts to go with it.
Stepping back to look at the experience, I think the app UI is less intuitive than it could be. Features are buried in menus and it does take some work to find where things are placed.
I understand that it keeps things clean and neat, but an average user is not going to go digging deep the way I do.
Perhaps the setup wizard should flag that that there is Detection Zone, or that there are T3 and T4 alarm alerts, it will make it more obvious. Some of these are set and forget so it is logical to get it done once at the start.
It doesn’t look like Wyze support RTSP anymore, so no integration with software such as DSM Surveillance Station and Home Assistant.
Smart home integration is limited to Alexa and Google only. There is no HomeKit support. Within the app itself, only Alexa integration is available.
Not a flaw but just something to point out. The Cam Pan V3 does not do full 360 degree rotation, there is a stopping point. But the field of view will cover the full 360 degree gamut.
There is a lot to love about the Wyze Cam Pan V3. It’s quirky appearance, the generous features, clear crisp video and audio. Incredibly Wyze have these units on the market for AUD $69.99 each.
The smart home integration is probably the bit that will give some pause particularly with the Apple crowd. But it shouldn’t take away the value for money that the Wyze Cam Pan V3 offers.
DRN would like to thank Wyze for providing the review unit. I am seriously contemplating getting a few more of these.