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With the Wyze Cam OG and OG Telephoto, Wyze returns to its roots

It was with the release of the initial Wyze security camera in 2017 that the company gained notoriety. It has launched many generations of the Wyze Cam throughout the years, with version 3 scheduled for 2020. Wyze is expanding its family with the introduction of its first telephoto camera, the Wyze Cam OG Telephoto, and a new version of its flagship product, the Wyze Cam OG, priced at $20 (later $24).

The initial pricing of the Wyze Cam OG Telephoto is set at $30, with a subsequent increase to $34. The standard camera has a 120-degree field of vision, while the telephoto lens has a 27-degree field of view and a 3x zoom. Other than that, they are almost indistinguishable. Wyze’s 1080p HD cameras enable its Cam Plus subscription, which adds capabilities including a web view and AI-powered package, car and pet recognition, as well as colour night vision, two-way audio compatibility, and motion detection. These cameras can record at a rate of up to 20 frames per second during the day but only 10 at night.

Despite Wyze’s recommendation that you use their $14 outdoor power adaptor, both cameras have an IP65 rating, making them suitable for use in most outside environments. The two continue to use the micro-USB connection. Assuming you won’t be constantly repositioning the cameras, this shouldn’t be a problem. Given that USB-C is rapidly becoming the standard for new devices, its inclusion here would be welcome.

The Wyze Cam OG’s distinguishing feature is a 40-lumen floodlight that can be activated by motion detection in very dim conditions.

Two-way audio should be more distinct after a recent upgrade to the microphone and speaker used in both cameras, and the cameras’ new CPUs allow them to detect activity and send out messages three times quicker than the company’s other cameras. The Wyze app’s live video from these cameras now loads much more quickly.

The OG Telephoto camera may be used independently, although most customers are more likely to purchase it in order to enhance an existing Wyze camera, for in order to focus in on a door. Wyze is releasing a new bundle for those customers that includes a mount and dual-power connection to enable the stacking of two OG cameras (in any combination). To facilitate this, modern cameras have a small depression on their tops that resembles a hot shoe. From a software perspective, this is improved with Wyze’s new Picture-in-Picture mode. Older Wyze cameras can’t access this PiP view, unfortunately.

As for the camera’s housing, Wyze made some changes, switching from a collapsible base to a simple pole that it now screws into. The camera’s aesthetic suffers a little, but I believe it’s worth it since you can attach additional accessories and the stand can be swapped out with ease.

After using both cameras for about a week, I can say that neither has thrown any surprises at me. The process of setting everything up is as simple as it gets. It is indeed less cumbersome now that you need not physically provide a QR code to the cameras in order to link them to your WiFi network. Now, you just input your WiFi password into the app and it will automatically connect to your new camera. When compared to older Wyze cameras, this process probably only takes 30 seconds. Although hardly a game-changer, it is a welcome addition.

Video quality from both cameras is more than enough, and the 3x zoom is a great bonus, but it’s not a deal breaker for my intended application (keeping an eye on my front and back yards). So, that’s about all. The two cameras performed as advertised, and the app on my phone, although not very spectacular, is always out of my way. However, I wish I could use the PiP perspective with any old set of cameras.

It’s important to remember that the first generation Wyze Cam had several security flaws that Wyze couldn’t fix due to hardware constraints. While vulnerabilities in a system’s security are unfortunately common, the key issue here was that Wyze was hesitant to recognise the problem. This is something to think about, and personally, I believe it is best practise to have your Internet of Things devices on a separate network from the rest of your house.