Usually when I find a very cool or useful gadget, I play around 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 things around with me. Mom bought a Wyze Cam Floodlight ($84.99 plus shipping from wyze.com). I volunteered to install it and ended up loving it so much I bought one for myself.
Usually companies send me gadgets to review. This time I spent my own money and have been using the Wyze Cam Floodlight at home for a few months.
Let there be light
Late last year, my mom decided to replace the old motion sensor floodlight in the front of her garage.
She already had a Wyze Cam in her backyard and one day she noticed that the purchase tab of the Wyze apps had a spotlight camera.
Mom decided she needed it.
In the garage, not too far from the old projector, was an original Ring stand-alone camera she had purchased years ago.
The Wyze Cam Floodlight would replace the old Ring light and camera.
On Black Friday morning, I went to Home Depot and picked it up.
The Wyze Cam Floodlight comes with everything you need to make it work.
Wyze offers online and in-app videos to guide you through the installation and setup process.
The first step was to find the circuit breaker to turn off the power to Mom’s detached garage.
Then I disassembled the old projector, leaving only the wires sticking out of the garage.
The Wyze Cam Floodlight can be mounted on a wall or ceiling, but you will need to install it where there is an electrical box. If you are not replacing an existing light, you may need to consult an electrician to install an enclosure where you wish to install the projector.
The only tools needed for installation were a stepladder and a screwdriver.
The online videos gave clear instructions on how to connect the two power wires plus the ground wire and how to attach the light to the housing.
The Wyze app guides you every step of the way.
Once I had the wires connected and the light mounted, I turned on the power and went back to run the camera setup wizard.
If you are not comfortable with wires or on a ladder, you will need a handyman or electrician to install.
The Floodlight’s camera is the same Wyze Cam v3 that you can buy in-store or online.
You will need the free Wyze app on your phone or tablet to set up the camera.
Mom already had a Wyze camera, so she had the app on her iPad.
Tap the plus sign on the app’s homepage and you’ll see the option to add a device.
The Wyze Cam Floodlight sits in the camera section. There’s also a lighting section for adding Wyze bulbs, but since this projector has a Wyze Cam v3, you’ll be setting it up as a camera.
The app will guide you through the steps.
You will need to tell the Wyze app your home 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 screen. You hold the code in front of the camera lens to complete the setup.
You will be able to name the camera and after a few seconds you will see the live camera view on your screen.
When you’re on the ladder, you need to adjust the two spotlights to where you want them to shine. I have mine facing 180 degrees from each other to light up my front walkway and a doorway to my garden. The lights, camera and motion detector are all adjustable.
Once the camera is set up, you can dive into the settings to customize it to your liking.
You can set the motion and sound detection sensitivity level and also set up a detection area in the camera view. The detection zone is useful if your camera faces the street and you don’t want to receive a notification every time a car passes by your house.
I have my detection area to just include my driveway and the sidewalk and porch of my house.
You can configure the camera to record motion in 12 second clips which are 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 motion in two ways, depending on the view of the camera or the motion detector. You can choose one or both. You can choose to be notified whenever the camera detects motion.
The camera has night vision, illuminated by a ring of red LED lights which works very well.
You can also choose to record audio with your clips.
There is a separate settings page for controlling fixtures.
The 2,600 lumens LED lights are super bright, but you can dim the brightness to any level you prefer. You can define how you want the lights to be triggered. They can be set to automatically turn on at sunset and turn off at sunrise, or when motion is detected by the sensor or camera. You can also turn on the light 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 summon by pressing a button in the app. You can also flash the lights while the siren sounds.
No subscription is required to use Wyze Cam Floodlight, but Wyze offers two subscription tiers with features worth exploring.
Cam Plus costs $1.99 per month or $15 per year and offers features like longer video clips and consecutive 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 configure notifications for any or all of these events.
It is good to know that there is a box on your porch or that a vehicle has been detected in your driveway.
Cam Plus Pro costs $3.99 per month or $40 per year and adds home alarm features such as arming and disarming, 24/7 professional monitoring and facial recognition.
Note that the prices for these subscriptions are per camera.
The Floodlight Cam has a USB port on the base that can power an additional Wyze Cam. This is handy if you want to mount an additional camera near the projector, perhaps facing a different direction. Simply connect the USB cable from the camera to the port on the projector and configure it in the app.
This is a very good webcam with a nice bright pair of LED spotlights.
I like the camera and projector functionality, and when it works well, I’m very happy.
I wish I could say everything went smoothly, but twice in the last three months the projector stopped responding.
To fix this I delete the projector in the app, raise my hand and press the configure button and configure it again.
I’m still hoping that a software update will make it more stable. It’s been about a month since the last reset. I am optimistic that things will be better in the future.
Mom reported no connectivity issues with her Floodlight Cam.
Advantages: Easy to install and configure; good control of camera and lights; very sharp picture.
Cons: Loses connection more than it should.
Bottom line: I’m sticking with the Wyze Cam Floodlight and hope the connection issues resolve.
Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He can be reached at email@example.com.
© 2022 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.