Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Smart home company Wyze has a new doorbell cam. The Wyze Video Doorbell v2 is a 2K-capable doorbell camera with a head-to-toe view of your porch and local recording via a microSD card. Costing just $39.99 (plus shipping), it’s a wired doorbell (there’s no battery backup) and is an upgrade from the original Wyze Doorbell.

The camera comes in black, and the local storage feature allows for 24/7 recording. You have to buy the microSD card separately (it supports up to 256GB), but if you choose not to, you won’t need to pay a subscription, as Wyze offers free 12-second recordings when the doorbell is pressed. There are very few doorbells that offer 24/7 continuous video, and fewer still for free. The Verge’s top pick video doorbell, the Nest Wired, has it, but you must pay $12 monthly for the privilege.

The closest comparable offering to the new Wyze camera would be the Reolink Smart 2K Wired doorbell ($109.99), which also uses a microSD card for local storage. The Reolink has the option of POE and 5GHz Wi-Fi, whereas the Wyze is 2.4GHz only, and the Reolink can also record to an NVR, which the Wyze doesn’t support natively.

The Wyze Video Doorbell 2 comes in black and has a slot for a microSD card, up to 256GB.Image: Wyze

The Wyze Video Doorbell v2 will work with your existing chime and has an optional motion-activated voice deterrent that alerts anyone spotted by the camera they’re being recorded. Thanks to being wired, it also includes up to six seconds of pre-roll recorded video to catch events leading up to any motion event.

Alerts for motion and sound are free, but you’ll need to pay for Wyze’s CamPlus subscription (from $2 a month) for smart notifications for people or packages. This also adds cloud storage for full-length motion-activated recordings.

Wyze has a checkered history when it comes to security, with one recent incident showing people’s video feeds to other users and another security vulnerability that could have allowed bad actors to access WyzeCam v1 cameras going unreported for three years. While security is an ongoing problem and concern for all security camera companies, Wyze’s lack of transparency about its issues has caused some review sites to pull their recommendations for Wyze cameras.

I’ve reviewed several of Wyze’s products at The Verge, including its battery-powered Wyze Doorbell Pro, and I currently recommend one of its products as a budget option in our floodlight camera buying guide. I am evaluating that recommendation and have reached out to Wyze to ask if the company has put in place additional security efforts and better customer outreach measures since the most recent incident. Spokesperson Kyle Fitzgerald said that it has, but had not provided further details as of publication.

The Wyze doorbell will record for 12 seconds when someone presses the button.Image: Wyze

This is all important context for anyone considering buying a Wyze camera and something you should consider with any cloud-connected security camera purchase. Exterior-facing cameras such as video doorbells and floodlight cameras offer less potential intrusion into your privacy, but they are still seeing you come and go from your home. You need to trust the manufacturer or be able to keep your camera footage entirely under your control.

When you put internet-connected video recording devices in your home, it’s hard to guarantee no one else will see their footage

While local storage implies your data stays on your device, that’s not always the case. As Eufy customers found out, in order to get features such as smart alerts, snapshots, and thumbnail views in the app, “local” footage may still be processed through the cloud. I’ve reached out to Wyze for clarification on its methods, but as the doorbell comes with 12 seconds of recorded video for free and snapshots of motion events without a microSD card installed, it’s likely that the footage is leaving your location.

On its website, Wyze says livestreams from its cameras are encrypted during transfer from device to phone and that recorded videos are transferred securely to the cloud. However, its security incidents were not due to breaches of this security but through other avenues. Making this a good time to remind everyone that when you put internet-connected video recording devices in and around your home, it’s very hard to guarantee no one else will access that footage.

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