Blog posts and video from Steven as he “COMBS” through the minutia to discover tech, retro-computing, physical computing, gadgets and sci-fi.
Commodore Plus/4 Series
17 August 2020
OPEN THE BOX and SETUP: WYZE Cam Outdoor (Squirrel Cam One)
by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.
tags: wyze - camera - unbox - setup - outdoor - squirrel
I’m a WYZE fan! Except for the WYZE Lock (#Ad), I “reckon” I have at least one of every product and not because they are sent to me to review–I purchase every WYZE product I review. Although, if you are out there WYZE…I’d consider review units as long as you know they will get an honest and objective look.
I’ve waited for an outdoor web cam from WYZE for some time. I’ve even used some third-party products (#Ad) to stick regular WYZE Cams outside with limited success. It has been fun experimenting but nothing can beat a camera designed from the ground up for the elements. Enter the WYZE Cam Outdoor.
Before I share additional thoughts, please take a few minutes to watch my YouTube video below. It includes an open the box, setup, and smile worthy squirrel moments. And who doesn’t like funny squirrel videos?
YouTube Video: OPEN THE BOX and SETUP: WYZE Cam Outdoor (Squirrel Cam One)
Watch the video below and then read on for my additional thoughts on this outdoor camera.
My final thoughts are always a numbered list. Here’s the list for the WYZE Cam Outdoor:
I wish there was a motorized option for the WZYE Cam Outdoor. That may come later since the WYZE Cam started as a fixed unit and was later joined by the WYZE Cam Pan.
I was surprised to learn that a base unit wired to a router was required. I assumed, wrongly, that I could connect the base station directly to my home Wi-Fi. Once I saw the capabilities of the base station (back-up all cams to a single microSD, protected and extended range network between cams, easy setup, etc.) I now understand why WYZE when this route; however, I would like another version that was simply a Wi-Fi only outdoor camera.
The WYZE Cam Outdoor includes a Travel Mode. I’ve not used this feature (maybe a later video or post); however, it appears to be a way to use a camera and base station, away from your home. Because the camera is battery powered, you set it up, connect your phone to the camera’s Wi-Fi, then use the WYZE app to view the camera. This would make a great camera for camping and in areas where you don’t have a Wi-Fi network. Here’s how WYZE describes travel mode and that same page provides further instructions:
Travel Mode gives you the freedom to use your Wyze Cam Outdoor anywhere, even when you’re away from home. This feature lets you use the camera without an internet connection, and it can be enabled on the camera or Base Station.
Since I now know that the camera has Wi-Fi built-in, I have to wonder if my wish in #2 could not be solved with a simple firmware update. It is also quite possible you can already do this and I just need to dig in more.
The outdoor camera feels robust and weather resistant. The magnet holding the base is strong. Just keep pulling. It will come off. The base unit, while not as robust as the camera, is adequate for an indoor component. I do like the “rabbit” design and the fact that you can put it on your desk, or mount it on a wall. My station still sits on a desk, but I can see myself mounting it at a later time when I determine exactly where I want to place the unit.
This is another instance where I REALLY like my Google Wi-Fi. Having three mesh units throughout my home gives me multiple locations to connect the base station since each Google Wi-Fi station as an additional network port. Most mesh units do include these ports, but a few do not. If you have a bunch of network devices and want to plan for the future, make sure your Wi-Fi mesh system includes these all important ports.
I mention in the video the moderate video quality for my first test. I reviewed signal strength in the app and there was only a single bar on the connectivity page. I was stretching the distance. I want the camera in that location; however, because of the placement of my Google Wi-Fi units, I can move the base unit closer to the camera and in a more central location.
I’m still trying to figure out the video back up system. I get notifications of movement and the standard length video; however, I can’t get anything beyond that default time. My guess is I only get notification length video because I don’t subscribe to their camera backup plan. It could also be a battery saving measure. More research to do. I also want to take the microSD card out of the base station and review the contents. That might reveal some hints.
That’s it for now. I do update and timestamp posts as I receive answers, so feel free to check back later and make sure you add this site to your RSS feeds.
Well, I can see by the time on WYZE Band (#Ad) that I’ve already taken up too much of your time! Have questions about the WYZE Cam Outdoor? Post them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them. I don’t have a lot of time on the device, but I will soon!