Is the Wyze Free Ride Over?

Last week I got in the new batch of cameras that Wyze is rolling out, including their “OG” camera and the latest Pan Cam. One thing I noticed right out of the gate was that functionality that was once free on their old cameras now requires a subscription fee. I dig into that in my latest video.

The biggest change is that their new cameras will no longer get any free cloud storage. In the events feed you’ll only see a still image – not a video clip. In the past the cameras would store 12 seconds of video clips in the cloud each time a motion event triggered something. Additionally the older cameras also benefited from some of Wyze’s AI technology which could cut down on false alarms by only triggering when a person was detected for example.

Wyze went through some financial difficulties during the pandemic as their business relied upon hardware sales for solvency. When component supplies became constrained they couldn’t sell cameras and they had a hard time paying the bills for their cloud server overhead.

Their solution was to create a “name your price” subscription plan called “Cam Plus Lite” for their existing camera line. Customers could declare a price of 0 and continue using their cameras for free, but they did require everyone with an existing camera to sign up for the plan in an effort to reduce the load on their cloud services.

Wyze’s new cameras are not eligible for Cam Plus Lite. The only option is to subscribe to their “Cam Plus” subscription plan. Cam Plus currently costs $1.67 a month per camera but subscribers can also opt for the “unlimited” option that costs $99 a year and connect as many cameras as they’d like.

Competitively it’s fairly reasonable but I think many loyal Wyze customers will feel like the rug is being pulled when they buy a new camera and find it won’t work the way the prior ones did without coughing up a few more bucks on an ongoing basis.

Additionally Wyze has stopped development on their RTSP firmware that allowed their cameras to work with security NVRs like Synology’s Surveillance Station. While old cameras with the RTSP firmware installed will still work, the firmware is no longer available on Wyze’s website for download. There are no plans to offer it with the new cameras.

Stay tuned for reviews of the new Wyze cameras! I wanted to get this piece out first so people knew what to expect. In the meantime I have some first impression videos up on the Extra’s channel.