Wyze Video Doorbell review: Spotty performance holds it back

The Wyze Video Doorbell comes at an incredible price for an app-enabled live-streaming buzzer: $30. Nothing from major brands like Amazon’s Ring or Google’s Nest comes close to that level of affordability. That said, I experienced issues with the camera’s performance on this video doorbell — something I haven’t encountered with other Wyze cams (more details on that in the section below). 

Like

  • Costs only $30
  • Includes a wireless doorbell chime

Don’t Like

  • Not compatible with wired digital or mechanical doorbell chimes
  • Phantom alerts
  • Person alert errors

The Wyze Video Doorbell has a counterintuitive installation process that involves hardwiring the doorbell (there’s no battery option), while disabling the wired chime on the other end of the system (there’s no Wyze chime power kit). Instead of your wired chime, you have to use the included wireless Wyze Chime. It works well, but a wireless chime is typically reserved for battery-powered doorbells that don’t connect to an indoor wired chime or used in the basements or second floors of larger homes where you can’t hear your wired doorbell chime.

I don’t recommend this device today due to its inconsistent performance, but I also tested it using a beta version of the app and will report back if it improves over time. The $30 Wyze Video Doorbell (with the included wireless Wyze Chime) is currently available for preorder, with shipping slated for January 2021. 

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It’s tiny.


Megan Wollerton/CNET

Wyze Video Doorbell

As you can see in the image to the right, the Wyze Video Doorbell is much smaller than your standard video doorbell. If you’ve installed a wired doorbell before, setting it up is straightforward at this stage. As always, consult a professional installer if you have any questions about your specific doorbell or electrical wiring. But, generally, the doorbell installation is similar to any other hardwired buzzer, so take a look at my Ring Video Doorbell Pro installation article and video to learn the basics. 

The chime is a different story. Most hardwired doorbells come with a chime power kit to help manage the power going to your doorbell. Instead, Wyze includes a plug-in wireless Chime accessory. That’s easy to configure in the Wyze app, but first you have to disable your wired doorbell chime. It isn’t hard to disable the chime and Wyze walks you through the steps in the app and provides the necessary jumper wire and the wire caps.  

Still, I wish Wyze included a power kit so that a traditional wired doorbell chime could work with the Video Doorbell, but the wireless Wyze Chime works well and offers 19 different chime sounds to choose from. 

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The Wyze Video Doorbell sent “phantom” person alerts every five minutes several mornings in a row.


Screenshot by CNET

The doorbell’s performance was glitchy throughout my testing, including many “phantom” alerts when the sun or a shadow hit the camera. The app regularly sent me an alert saying there was “someone at the door” and labeled the activity as a “person alert.” I have only a beta version of the Wyze app, so this could improve over time and I will continue to test it to report back if there are any changes. 

Like other Wyze cameras, you do still get 14 days of free video clips saved in the Wyze app, and the option to get person alerts and longer saved clips if you sign up for the Cam Plus cloud subscription plan, starting at $2 a month. I also like the way the live feed shows more of your front stoop than some competitors (thanks to the 3:4 aspect ratio), so you can spot packages more easily. The longer aspect ratio is something I love about our current favorite smart doorbell, the $150 Arlo Video Doorbell, as well.  

Wyze also says its doorbell is compatible with the Wyze Lock, so in theory you can see who’s at the door and then unlock the door from the app, although we haven’t tested out this functionality (yet). 

The verdict

At $30, the Wyze Video Doorbell is priced well. Unfortunately, its performance issues get in the way of its overall appeal. I would wait on this one to see if the reliability of its alerts improve over time. 


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