Wyze Sense review: Wyze continues its 'too good to be true' approach

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  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent

Pros

  • Small footprint
  • Easy setup
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Alerts are sometimes delayed

Wyze, a company known for its inexpensive home security cameras that deliver far more than the $20 or $30 asking price, recently expanded its product lineup to include two different sensors.

The $20 Wyze Sense bundle includes a Sense Bridge, two Contact Sensors, and a Motion Sensor. Perhaps what's more impressive than the small price, is just how small the sensors are themselves. From the Bridge to the Motion Sensor, everything in the kit is compact. I've spent a few weeks with the starter kit, and I have to say, Wyze has done it again. Wyze Sense is $20 well spent. 

Setup

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Wyze Bridge installed on a Wyze Cam V2. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Initial setup was rather painless. The Sense Bridge is a small device that interfaces with one of your existing Wyze cameras (it's compatible with all current models). You'll need to plug the bridge into the back of the camera, where the microUSB port is, and ensure it's plugged all the way in. After a few seconds, the status light on the bridge will turn blue, letting you know it's been added your Wyze account. Each bridge can handle up to 100 sensors, so you'll only need one. You can purchase an additional motion sensor for $6, and four contact sensors for $20 from Wyze

From there, you use the mobile app to add a new product to your account. That process consists of pressing a Reset Pin with the included tool (it looks a lot like a SIM card removal tool you get with a new phone). The Bridge will detect the new sensor and establish a connection, followed by the app asking you to name the sensor.

From the time I unboxed the starter kit until I had the motion and a contact sensor setup was under five minutes.

I installed the contact sensor on my office door, next to a Ring contact sensor. The size difference is stark -- for two devices that carry out the same task. The motion sensor was placed in the garage that leads to my office door.

Performance

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You can barely see it, but the Wyze Motion Sensor is there. And yes, it's crooked. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

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After installing the sensors, I immediately began to receive push alerts anytime motion was detected from the Wyze mobile app. There's an alert when the contact sensor is opened, and then another when it's closed. With the motion sensor, I receive an alert when motion is detected, and then another alert after a period of time when the motion has stopped.

If you're installing either sensor type in a high-traffic area, you'll want to go into the app and create schedules through the Shortcuts feature in the app.

The only complaint I have about Wyze Sense overall right now is that sometimes the push notifications are delayed. Not by a lot, but they aren't always instant. I'd say the longest delay I saw was around five minutes between when a sensor was triggered, and when I got the alert on my phone. For someone who wants to keep tabs on a remote office or home while away, five minutes can make a difference between catching someone breaking in and alerting authorities while they are still there, or finding out after the fact.

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

In addition to creating a custom schedule of when you want to receive alerts, you can also link your Wyze cameras to a sensor, and instruct the camera to begin recording when the sensor is triggered. The camera will then record a 12-second clip, upload it to the cloud, and make it available to you within a minute or so.

I've yet to receive a false motion alert, and every single time I've opened or closed my office door, the alert has (eventually) come through.

Inside the small housings is a battery that Wyze claims will last a year. You can replace the battery yourself when it dies, so you don't have to worry about buying new sensors down the road. The sensors use a CR16332 battery. Obviously, I haven't had the sensors long enough to back up Wyze's claim, but in the few short weeks I've had the sensors, the battery level is still at "normal." One thing Wyze does mention on its support page is that the sensors are designed to be used in environments with a temperature of 32-degrees Fahrenheit or above. Operating in temperatures lower than that will lead to decreased battery life.

The functionality of Wyze Sense doesn't rely solely on the Wyze app. The company has integrated its services with IFTTT, the automation website for almost anything that connects to the internet. Through the IFTTT integration, you can do things play a sound on your phone when a contact sensor is triggered. Or when motion is detected, you can have IFTTT turn on a connected light to make scare off any would-be bad buys.

Yes, you should buy this

There's no question thatm if you own a Wyze camera, you should spend the $20 and get a Wyze Sense kit. This bundle is an obvious upgrade for someone who wants to add more security features to their home, and the best part is it doesn't cost hundreds of dollars. And for those who are just getting started with home security cameras, you won't find a better kit to start with than a Wyze Cam V2 and a Wyze Sense starter kit at this price. It's just not possible. 

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