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Wyze Sense Starter Kit review

The Wyze Sense Starter Kit proves smart home sensors don’t need to be an eyesore

Wyze Sense Starter Kit review
Wyze Sense Starter Kit
MSRP $49.99
“This low-cost, high-performance security add-on is a no-brainer for Wyze Cam fans.”
Pros
  • Tiny, unobtrusive sensors
  • Clever network bridge design that slots into camera
  • Responsive sensor performance
  • Configurable notification options
Cons
  • Connectivity issues with bridge during installation

Wyze Labs proved it’s possible to sell an 1080p smart camera for as little as $20 with its second-generation Wyze Cam. Unsurprisingly, it’s hugely popular.

Later in the year, Wyze Cam Pan came along and blew us away once again, adding 360-degree pan and scan features for just $30. It’s a great device with breakthrough pricing.

It’s tempting to sit back and think Wyze Labs’ crazy-low prices will inevitably cause the company to blow up, but there’s a strategy at play. Wyze Labs don’t want to sell you a camera (or two, or three or five for that matter). They’re going for the whole smart home ecosystem, armed with solid products, low prices, and friendly support.

The $8 Wyze Bulb, a tunable white LED, is on the way next month. It’s cheap enough to replace every bulb in your home. The $20 Wyze Sense is more interesting, however. It builds on Wyze Cam’s security smarts, adding tiny motion and door/window entry sensors to your home protection arsenal.

If you’re comfortable trusting a $20 camera to perform home surveillance, surely you’d be willing to invest another $20 to improve its security features?

Super tiny smart home sensors

From a design perspective, two words matter when it comes to sensors. Small and solid. Need a third? Sticky (for easy mounting, of course). Wyze Sense nails all three.

Let’s start with size. Everything in the Wyze Sense pack is tiny. Like Barbie Dreamhouse tiny. In a world blighted by a sea of oversized, ugly, cream plastic sensors, these are a real treat. Three sensors and a bridge all fit inside the footprint of a regular Post-it Note.

Rather than opt for another chunky network bridge taking up an Ethernet port on your router, the diminutive Wyze Sensor Bridge plugs into the Wyze Cam’s USB port. What Wyze Cam did for IP camera pricing, Wyze Sense does for sensors. It changes the game entirely.

Three sensors and a bridge all fit inside the footprint of a regular Post-it Note.

The compact sensor dimensions ensure there’s no room for creaky plastics. The corners may be curvy, but they certainly haven’t been cut. This is decent kit. The motion sensor is chunky enough to sit on a desktop, but most will take advantage of the shaped, self-adhesive foam backing. The entry sensors have that same backing, ensuring easy installation.

If you need convincing that Wyze Labs had figured out a multi-device strategy for the smart home well ahead of their Wyze Cam launch, then install the Sensor Bridge. You’ll see it slots perfectly into the rear of the Wyze Cam v2, connecting to the USB port with a beautifully flush finish.

Installation includes a few rough edges

Sadly, after being wowed by the hardware, we were let down by the software. As was true of the Wyze Cam v2, the Wyze Sense has a few rough edges. A hidden firmware update was required for the Sensor Bridge, but the software only informed us when we tried to turn off its status light. We should have been notified during the installation.

More seriously, when trying to install the motion and entry sensors, the Wyze app complained about the Wyze Cam or Bridge being offline – a roadblock that prevented us proceeding.  Magically, the next day, we tried to install the sensors again and had success.

Wyze Sense Starter Kit review
Terry Walsh/Digital Trends

Once installed, we were pleased to see a number of configuration options for each sensor in the Wyze app. The entry sensor offers variable push notifications to your phone when triggered. Conditions include when the sensor opens, closes, is left open for a user-defined period of time (for example, when a door or window if left ajar) or conversely, when left closed. The motion sensor offers slightly different triggers for when motion is detected or the area becomes clear. You can also choose to have your Wyze Cam switch on recording when a sensor is triggered, just send the notification, or take no action whatsoever.

We’d like to see schedules available so that sensors can be active or deactivated at certain times to reduce the number of notifications received, or the ability to disable notifications for a short period. However, what’s available is simple enough to configure, and sufficiently comprehensive for most families.

What Wyze Cam did for IP camera prices, Wyze Sense does for sensors.

The sensors perform well, triggering smartphone notifications almost instantly. Each sensor event is presented in the Wyze app with a detailed log, plus a supporting static image from the camera as illustration. A quick tap and you can view recorded clips, taking advantage of the easy download and sharing features we loved in our Wyze Cam review.

Despite our initial connectivity issues, the sensors’ connection remained stable after we set them up on the Wyze Cam via the bridge. Camera recording triggered reliably, and we were delighted to see clips were available for streaming from the cloud very quickly.

Warranty information

Wyze Sense is supported by a 1-year warranty.

Our Take

Wyze has done it again. At just $20, the Wyze Sense is a no-brainer add-on for Wyze Cam owners. Aside from offering value, Wyze Labs should be applauded for delivering low-cost accessories packed with innovation. The tiny, unobtrusive sensors can be installed with ease, and they’re almost invisible. It’s another (smart) home run.

Is there a better alternative?

No – these are specifically designed to work with Wyze Cam.

As for the Wyze Cam itself, it also lacks a good alternative. The camera’s low price point is hard to beat, and other cameras that you can buy for $20 usually aren’t worth your time or money.

How long will it last?

A budget price often means poorly built hardware with cheap materials. Not here. From the outside, they look and feel of great quality. If they do fail in time, just buy some more – they’re $20.

Should you buy it?

Yes. Wzye Sense makes sense. Buy it.

Editors' Recommendations

Terry Walsh
Terry Walsh is a British-born technology writer living in Canada, whose first computer was a cherished 48k ZX Spectrum…
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