Using Wyze Cam With And Without A MicroSD CardBy - 11/21/2018
To use or not to use a microSD card? For the past few days, I’ve spent most of my time testing Wyze Cam’s recording features with the goal of determining which recording option to recommend. Today, I’m ready to share my findings.
Using Wyze Cam Without A MicroSD Card
Out of the box, Wyze Cam offers a cloud recording option. This option is free and doesn’t require a microSD card, but it has its limitations.
First, it can only store event clips triggered by WyzeCam’s built-in security sensors and on-demand videos triggered by the Shortcuts feature.
Second, each clip is only 10 to 12 seconds long (for both event-triggered and on-demand clips). This is true even if there’s continued movement in front of the camera.
Third, there’s a 5-minute cooldown period between event-triggered recordings. For example, if Wyze Cam captures a clip at 10:00, it won’t record anything else until 10:05 even if it detects motion or sound.
And finally, videos stored to the cloud are saved for 14 days before they are automatically deleted. While I’m calling this out as a limitation, 14 days is better than what most camera’s offer for free. For example, Nest Cam includes a three hour history of snapshot (not videos). Ring doesn’t offer free cloud storage at all. To be fair, with Nest and Ring, you can upgrade your cloud storage to Nest Aware (as low as $5 per month per camera) or Ring Protect (as low as $3 per month per camera). Wyze Cam, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a premium cloud service.
How Cloud Recording Works
To take advantage of Wyze Cam’s free cloud storage, you will need a free Wyze Cam account and a Wyze Cam configured to detect motion or sound events. You can turn on and configure Wyze Cam’s detection features by going to the app’s device settings menu and selecting Alert Settings. On the other hand, you can create a Shortcut right on the app’s dashboard.
So here’s how cloud recordings work: When the camera detects motion or sound or when you fire up an on-demand recording Shortcut, Wyze Cam starts recording. The clips are saved to the cloud, but you can access them using the Wyze App. Simply go to the Notifications tab, and you’ll see a list of video clips, each with corresponding details (i.e., date and time taken, type of clip) and a thumbnail.
Recorded videos are listed based on the date they were recorded, so if you’re trying to view a clip recorded on a different day, you’ll have to select the date first using the slider at the top of the screen. Also, if you have multiple Wyze Cams, the Notification tab shows clips recorded from all of your Wyze cameras. If you want to view the clips recorded by a specific camera, simply select the camera’s name from the dropdown list that says All Cameras.
While viewing a cloud-recorded video, you have the option to share, download, or delete it. I’m not sure about the Android app, but with the iOS app, you can share clips via email, AirDrop, or social media and messaging apps such as Viber and Facebook. You can also save clips directly to your Google Drive. In my opinion, the ability to share event clips across various platforms is a big plus. It’s a helpful feature especially if you’re using Wyze Cam for home security as it lets you instantly share event recordings with family members or even the authorities. And as event clips stored in the cloud are shorter in length, they are easy to view and download even for family members who are on the go.
Using Wyze Cam With A MicroSD Card
Using Wyze Cam with a microSD card requires a microSD card (obviously!). Officially, you can use any microSD card not exceeding 32GB in storage capacity. You should also choose a Class 10 or higher card for better recording and file transfer performance. Unofficially, multiple users have reported successfully using a larger card.
Adding a microSD card to Wyze Cam unlocks three recording features: extended event recording, continuous recording, and time lapse. We’re going to talk about each feature in a bit, but first, let’s talk about how to add a microSD card to Wyze Cam.
You will find a slot for the card on the bottom of the camera. When you slide it in, you’ll hear a clanking sound coming from the camera once the microSD card is ready for use. Next, go to the app’s dashboard, select the camera to which you added the memory card, and go to its settings menu. Select Advanced Settings, then Local Storage.
To enable microSD card recordings, toggle the Local recording to microSD Card button to on. On the same page, you can select whether to Record events only or use Continuous recording (More on this later.), monitor the amount of available storage space, and format the microSD card. I recommend formatting the microSD card using the Wyze App before using it for local storage.
How The “Record Events Only” Feature Works
Let’s talk about the features tied to using Wyze Cam with a microSD card, the first of which is the Record events only feature or what I like to call “extended event recording.” I call it that because it’s similar to the cloud-based event recording but better.
For one, it can record for more than 12 seconds. In fact, it records continuously for as long as the camera detects motion. It does so by dividing the live video stream into 1-minute sections. For example, the 10:00 to 10:01 video feed is one section and the 10:01 to 10:02 feed is another. If motion is detected within a section, the entire 1-minute feed is saved to the microSD card. And if movement carries on to the next section, the next section will also be recorded. Second, with extended event recording, there’s no cooldown period. If it records motion at 10:00, it can still record at 10:01. Finally, event videos can be stored indefinitely as long as there’s enough storage space.
Take note that unlike event-based cloud recording that deactivates when you turn off motion and sound detection, extended cloud recording isn’t affected by your Alert Settings. Even if you turn off motion and sound alerts, the microSD card will still record motion events. Also, event videos stored on the microSD card don’t appear on the Notifications Tab. Instead, you can access the videos by pressing ‘View Playback’ within the camera’s live view page. Event videos appear on a timeline-style interface wherein the times when there’s video playback are highlighted. To watch the recording, simply drag the timeline to the time and date of the video you want to playback.
The disadvantage of extended event recording, when compared to event-based cloud recording, is that you can’t directly share or download the video playback. If you want to share or download a video, you must either take out the microSD card from Wyze Cam and access its contents using a computer or use the Playback interface’s Record button. Using the latter, you must manually press the Record button during playback and the Stop button once you’ve ‘recorded’ the clip you need. The recording will then be saved to your phone’s gallery. You can also take snapshots of events.
The second feature is continuous recording, which means Wyze Cam will record continuously 24/7 regardless of whether there’s motion or not. Take note that continuous recording and extended event recording can’t work simultaneously. If you turn on the local recording to a microSD card option, you must choose one option or the other.
Continuous recording takes up more storage space than extended event recording, but it offers a complete overview of what your camera sees throughout the day. Besides, who knows what Wyze Cam’s motion sensor might miss? With continuous recording, even if Wyze Cam fails to detect an event, everything is recorded.
|Estimated Video Capacity|
|SD Videos||HD Videos|
|8GB||2 to 3 Days||0.5 to 1 Day|
|16GB||4 to 5 Days||1 to 2 Days|
|32GB||7 to 8 Days||2 to 3 Days|
Besides the fact that it records continuously and not just when motion is detected, everything about continuous recording and extended event recording is the same. You can playback videos using the timeline-style interface, download recordings to a computer by removing the microSD card from Wyze Cam or save parts of the playback video to your smartphone using the Record button.
If you want to dig into Wyze Cam’s CVR feature, we’ve reviewed it in detail here and also compared it to Nest Aware and Arlo’s CVR plan.
The third and final feature is Time Lapse. Using this feature, you can get an overview of an entire day, week, or even month’s activities by creating a condensed video that is shorter than a minute. The video is made of frames captured at a certain interval within the given period.
To create a Time Lapse, head to your camera’s live feed, click More, Time Lapse, and then you will set a start and end time. You can create a time lapse that’s as short as one minute and as long as one month. Next, set the interval between 1 second (Wyze Cam captures one snapshot per second) and 400 days.
When both fields are filled in, just press Start and the Time Lapse will begin. (Pro Tip: If capturing a Time Lapse of something that happens gradually and slowly, set a longer interval. For example, if you’re capturing the growth of a plant.)
Once you reach the Time Lapse’s end date and time, Wyze Cam automatically compiles all of the frames it has captured into a short video clip. When the clip is ready, it will be saved to your microSD card and appear in the app’s Album tab. To watch the clip, you will need to download it first, which means saving it to your phone’s gallery.
Should You Use Wyze Cam With Or Without A MicroSD Card?
I recommend keeping the event-based cloud recording feature turned on as it’s a free feature and it would be a waste not to take advantage of it.
I also suggest adding a microSD card to all of your Wyze Cams as using Wyze Cam with a microSD card makes a more complete security camera. If that’s not possible, at least add a microSD card to the cameras placed in strategic locations, such as in your living room or main hallways. Why? Because 12-seconds isn’t long enough.
Finally, one bonus bit of knowledge: Adding an SD card means that your camera will continue to record even if your internet is out.
Which recording option do you use with your Wyze Cam? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
(App Screenshots Provided by Rose)