Usually, when I find a very cool or useful gadget, I’ll play with it for a while and then tell my mom about it.
If it’s something that piques her interest, she’ll buy one, and sometimes she asks me to help her set it up.
Last Thanksgiving, she turned the tables on me. Mom bought a Wyze Cam Floodlight ($84.99 plus shipping at wyze.com). I volunteered to install it and ended up liking it so much that I bought one for myself.
Usually, companies send me gadgets to review. This time, I spent my own money, and I’ve been using the Wyze Cam Floodlight at my house for a few months.
Let there be light
Late last year, my mom decided to replace the old motion detector floodlight on the front of her garage.
She already had a Wyze Cam in her back yard, and one day she noticed the Wyze apps shopping tab featured a floodlight camera.
Mom decided she needed one.
On the garage, not too far from the old floodlight, was an original Ring standalone camera she bought years ago.
The Wyze Cam Floodlight would replace the old light and the Ring camera.
On Black Friday morning, I drove to Home Depot and picked it up.
The Wyze Cam Floodlight comes with everything you need to get it up and working.
Wyze has videos online and on the app to walk you through the entire installation and setup process.
The first step was finding the breaker to turn off power to mom’s detached garage.
Then I unmounted the old floodlight, leaving only the wires sticking out of the garage.
The Wyze Cam Floodlight can be mounted on a wall or ceiling, but you’ll need to install it where there is an electrical box. If you’re not replacing an existing light, you may need to consult an electrician to get a box installed where you want the floodlight installed.
The only tools needed for the install were a step ladder and a screwdriver.
The online videos gave clear instructions about connecting the two wires for power plus the ground wire and getting the light attached to the box.
The Wyze app walks you through every step.
Once I had the wires connected and the light mounted, I turned on the power and returned to run the camera’s setup wizard.
If you’re not comfortable working with electrical wires or up on a ladder, you’ll need a handyman or electrician for the installation.
The camera on the Floodlight is the same Wyze Cam v3 you can buy in stores or online.
You’ll need the free Wyze app on your phone or tablet to set up the camera.
Mom already had a Wyze cam, so she had the app on her iPad.
Touch the plus sign on the app’s home page, and you’ll see the option to add a device.
The Wyze Cam Floodlight is found in the camera section. There is also a light section for adding Wyze bulbs, but since this floodlight features a Wyze Cam v3, you’ll set it up like a camera.
The app will walk you through the steps.
You’ll need to tell the Wyze app about your home’s Wi-Fi network and password.
Then you’ll press a setup button on the bottom of the camera and a voice will tell you when the camera is “ready to connect.”
The app will create a QR code on your phone’s screen. You hold up the code in front of the camera’s lens to complete the setup.
You’ll get to name the camera and after a few seconds, you’ll see the live camera view on your screen.
When you are up on the ladder, you should adjust the two flood lights where you want them to shine. I have mine facing 180 degrees from each other to light up my front sidewalk and a gate to my backyard. The lights, camera and motion sensor are all adjustable.
Once the camera is set up, you can dive into the settings to customize it as you like.
You can set the level of motion and sound detection sensitivity and also set up a detection zone in the camera’s view. The detection zone is handy if your camera faces the street and you don’t want a notification every time a car drives by the front of your house.
I have my detection zone to just include my driveway and the sidewalk and front porch of my house.
You can have the camera set to record motion in 12-second clips that get saved to the Wyze cloud for 14 days or you can insert a microSD card (not included) into the camera for continuous recording.
The camera can record on motion two ways, based on the camera view or the motion detector. You can choose one or both. You can choose to be notified every time the camera detects motion.
The cam has night vision, illuminated by a ring of red LED lights that works very well.
You can also choose to record sound along with your clips.
There is a separate settings page to control the floodlights.
The 2,600 lumen LED lights are very bright, but you can dial down the brightness to any level you prefer. You can set how you’d like the lights to be triggered. They can be set to automatically turn on at sunset and off at sunrise, or when motion is detected by the sensor or the camera. You can also have the light turn on when sound is detected.
Once the light is on, you can specify how long it stays on, from 15 seconds to 15 minutes.
The light also has a built-in siren that you can invoke by pushing a button in the app. You can also have the lights flash while the siren sounds.
There is no subscription necessary to use the Wyze Cam Floodlight, but Wyze does offer two subscription levels with features that are worth exploring.
Cam Plus is $1.99 per month or $15 per year and offers features like longer video clip length and back-to-back recordings. If you don’t have a Cam Plus subscription, your video recordings are limited to one 12-second clip every five minutes.
Cam Plus also offers person detection, package detection, vehicle detection and pet detection. You can set up notifications for any or all of these events.
It’s nice to know that there is a box on your front porch or that a vehicle was detected in your driveway.
Cam Plus Pro costs $3.99 per month or $40 per year and it adds home alarm features like arming and disarming, 24/7 professional monitoring and facial recognition.
Note that the prices for these subscriptions are per camera.
The Cam Floodlight has a USB port on the base that can provide power for an additional Wyze Cam. This is handy if you want to mount an additional camera near the floodlight, perhaps facing a different direction. Just run the cam’s USB cable to the port on the floodlight and set it up in the app.
This is a very good web cam with a nice, bright pair of LED floodlights.
I do like the functionality of the camera and the floodlight, and when it’s working right, I’m very happy.
I wish I could say things have been trouble-free, but twice in the last three months the floodlight has stopped responding.
To fix it, I delete the floodlight in the app, reach up and press the setup button and configure it again.
I keep hoping a software update will make it more stable. It has been a month or so since the last reset. I’m optimistic things will go smoother going forward.
Mom has reported no connectivity issues with her Cam Floodlight.
Pros: Easy to install and set up; good control over camera and lights; very clear image.
Cons: Loses connection more than it should.
Bottom line: I’m sticking with the Wyze Cam Floodlight and hoping the connection issues are settling down.
Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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