Twice the camera for half the money
There’s no shortage of smart home security companies right now, and if you’ve been around the world, you’ve probably heard of Wyze. Wyze has differentiated itself from the competition by selling repairable hardware at great prices. The Cam Pan v2 is no exception, costing just $50 while Nest’s entry-level cameras sell for twice as much. This camera can also rotate 360 degrees, giving it much wider coverage than a single fixed camera. Add to that its user-friendly interface, easy setup, and decent image quality, and this camera starts to look very appealing. There are a few downsides, but nothing big enough to give me second thoughts.
The Wyze Cam Pan v2 is an affordable security camera packed with powerful features. It offers more camera coverage for less money, making it an easy recommendation for anyone looking for home security.
- Resolution: [email protected], 15fps night vision
- Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n 2.4Ghz
- Night vision: Night vision range up to 30′ with 6 IR 940nm lights
- Internal or External: internal only
- Energy source: 5v/2a power adapter
- Axis control: 360° horizontal pan, 93° vertical tilt
- Operating limits: 32℉ – 104℉
- Measurements (camera): 5″ x 2.3″ x 2.3″
- Lens: f1.6 with 120° field of view
- Powerful AI detection settings
- Excellent low light performance
- Micro SD card slot for local storage
- Very affordable subscription model at $2 per device per month or $15 per year
- Pans and tilts
- Easily download the video directly to your phone
- Not weatherproof
- Only supports 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
- The included cable is only 6 feet long
- Unable to combine motion detection zones with panning.
Design, Material, Box Contents
The Cam Pan V2 is a subtle update to the original Pan model, with the exterior virtually unchanged. It’s an innocuous-looking block of plastic that rotates and saves things. It doesn’t look as nice as something like the Nest Cam, but it doesn’t have to be pretty to be a good security camera. Inside is Wyze’s new “Starlight” sensor for improved night vision, as well as a more powerful processor.
As the name suggests, this camera can pan. With a 360 degree rotation range and just over 90 degrees of tilt, full room coverage is pretty much guaranteed and covering multiple rooms is easy. The base has a 1/4″-20 mount (the most common camera mount) and a grippy pad on the bottom, giving you the flexibility to mount it long term or just lay it anywhere near your camera. ‘a take.
The only other things in the box are the 5v wall adapter and the extremely short power cord. It’s only 6 feet long, which greatly limits your camera placement. Wyze’s wall mount kit includes a much longer 15ft cable, but being able to place the camera more than 6ft away from an outlet without spending extra money doesn’t seem like an unreasonable expectation. The cable isn’t hardwired into the camera, so you can just use a third-party cable, assuming you still have micro USB cables lying around. While it might have been nice to see a USB-C port here, that’s understandable given the price.
There is a MicroSD card slot for local storage. Out of the box, it only supports cards up to 32GB, but Wyze has says that this limit will be increased in a firmware update by February 15. The presence of a card slot is refreshing though, as many other companies ignore this feature to push their cloud storage subscription.
The Cam Pan v2 has two-way communication, so you can tell your dog to get off the couch wherever you are. The same speaker doubles as a “mini siren” in case you want to try and scare off intruders. Personally, I think the “siren” feature is too quiet, but it’s still better than trying to scare someone off by shouting “wee-woo” through a glorified intercom.
Unlike the cheaper stationary Wyze Cam v3, this model doesn’t have an IP rating. So this isn’t the right camera if you need it in the elements. Another problem: it does not support 5 GHz Wi-Fi. It’s only a dealbreaker if you’re unlucky enough to have bad 2.4GHz congestion where you live.
Software, features, video
Pan v2’s main selling point is, of course, panning, and the app lets you use it in a number of ways. By default, it will pan continuously through its full range of motion, pausing for a few seconds at a time. You can also set up to four waypoints for him to stop at instead, which is useful if you don’t want him staring at the wall half the time. There’s also the motion tracking option, allowing the camera to track any movement it detects. Although the Pan v2 has access to the same motion detection areas as other Wyze cameras, it only works with the camera in stationary mode. At this point, why not buy the cheaper non-motorized Wyze cameras?
Like all of their competitors, Wyze has an optional paid subscription, but they also provide access to some great features for as low as $0 on a pay-what-you-want plan called Cam+ Lite. The paid Cam+ subscription obviously offers you a lot of additional user-friendliness, but it is not a requirement. Pairing the included person detection with a MicroSD card gives you a great experience. You can easily select any recent event in the app and take it to your local recording, all without a subscription.
It’s worth mentioning that Person Detection was initially promised as a free feature, but was only available as part of a paid subscription when it launched. Also, the basic plan was hampered. Initially, you had 12 second recordings saved in the cloud for 2 weeks, but with the introduction of Cam+ Lite, you now only get thumbnails. While you can still get these features for free, you need to sign up to get them, rather than just having them out of the box. With all the changes Wyze has made to their subscription model in a very short time, it’s hard to say what you might or might not get even in the very near future.
The app is very user-friendly and has plenty of options to tailor the experience to your needs. It’s easy to set watch schedules, location-based triggers to turn on your cameras when you’re away, and more. You can also check any of your cameras on smart displays (Alexa and Assistant) or a Chromecast.
A feature-laden security camera wouldn’t be useful if the camera part was not good. The Pan v2 is no slouch, however. Wyze promises better low-light performance with its updated starlight sensor, and it delivers. Between the new sensor and the wide-aperture f1.6 aperture of its lens, I got excellent low-light performance well after sunset. Awesome, I was able to see clearly and in color at 2am with nothing but moonlight and a street light at the end of my block. If you have no light, however, the night vision mode works just fine, and I had no problem seeing entire rooms – it’s completely black in the video above. While something higher resolution would have been nice, 1080 is still good enough to make out faces across the room.
Should I buy it?
Probably. If you wanted to add a smart camera to your home without breaking the bank, Wyze has a lot to offer. This camera costs just $50, is incredibly easy to set up, and offers better low-light performance than any of their competitors. If you want something for the outdoors, however, the lack of weather resistance makes it a pass.
Buy it if…
- Want more indoor camera coverage for not a lot of money
- You want to monitor your pets while you are away
Don’t buy it if…
- You want an outdoor camera
- The 2.4 GHz band is saturated where you are
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