Among the many brands of smart home cameras available, Wyze stands out as one of the most popular. One reason being is that unlike many of their competitors, their cameras can store video footage locally via a microSD card, thereby reducing reliance on the Cloud, and offering more secure backup.
With the rise in porch pirates running off with our coveted Amazon packages, many have opted for outdoor cams to catch these thieves red-handed – or at least know when a package has arrived so that they can grab it before a thief does!
But many who purchase Wyze outdoor cams notice that in addition to the cameras, they also come with a Base Station. Not many outdoor smart cameras come with a base station – in fact, Wyze may be the only smart camera manufacturer that does.
This leaves many with the question; is the Base Station necessary? If so, why?
What is the Wyze Outdoor Cam?
The Wyze Outdoor Cam is a smart home camera specifically designed to capture outdoor footage – whether of visiting family, or shady characters on your premises. They’re also great for capturing rare footage of wildlife that normally shies away when humans are present.
Unlike the Wyze indoor cams, the outdoor cams can withstand various weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, snow, rain, and wind – as long as they’re mounted securely, so no need to worry about water damage, or a storm sweeping your camera away!
The Wyze outdoor cam can capture footage up to 25 feet away – even at night, so you don’t miss a thing, day or night.
Another great feature is that they’re wireless, and with average usage, the rechargeable battery can last anywhere from 3 – 6 months. Their two-way audio adds extra convenience as it gives you the ability to talk to people at the door, such as delivery personnel and give them instructions, even when you’re not home.
These cameras also feature ‘People-Only’ motion detection that uses heat sensors, greatly reducing false motion alarms from inanimate objects like trees and passing cars.
Like most of their other cameras, they have microSD slots that support cards up to 32 GB so that any footage captured can be stored locally. These 12-second recordings are saved so that you can view them later and save or delete accordingly.
How the Wyze Base Station Works
According to Wyze, the Base Station is designed to back up the 12-second video recordings that the camera records. It also has a microSD card slot with which to store these recordings.
You can connect up to 4 Wyze outdoor cameras per Base Station, and a wired Ethernet connection is required for installation. After initial set up, however, you have the option of either keeping the wired connection, or switching to a wireless Wi-Fi connection via the Wyze app.
The Base Station must be set up and remain indoors, as, unlike the outdoor cams, it’s not weather-proof. Fortunately, the operation range of the Base Station in relation to the cameras is fairly long, so this isn’t an issue.
Can I use the Wyze Outdoor Cam without a Base Station?
Unfortunately – this just isn’t possible. The Wyze outdoor cams are made to work with the Base Station, which is why they often come packaged together in the Starter Kits and Bundles. Without that connection to the Base Station, the outdoor cameras simply will not operate.
Unlike other Wyze cameras, your Wyze Cam Outdoor must be connected to a Base Station to work. This article explains why.Wyze Help Pages
In fact, without the Base Station, your cameras can’t even connect to the internet – and this includes the Wyze app, and all of the useful settings and important configurations that the app provides. Without the internet, you’d also be limited to operating your cameras in Travel mode only.
Travel mode allows you to take your outdoor cameras with you if you happen to be traveling, but it also has limited functionality, and allows you to record motion events to your microSD card only. Even in this case, in order to enable Travel mode, you would still need an internet connection, which can only be achieved via the Base Station.
Making the Base Station necessary seems to be Wyze’s way of ensuring that you get the best possible use out of your outdoor cameras, as they made sure to include a lot of useful features for both security and ease of use.
In addition to being able to access the internet, making use of the Base Station actually comes with quite a few other benefits.
Benefits of using the Wyze Outdoor Cam with the Base Station
Besides it being required for your outdoor cameras to even function, the Base Station offers a few other advantages.
For example, it improves battery life. Having video backed up to the Base Station reduces the need to rely solely on the camera to record and store video. The Base Station alleviates some of this, thereby helping the battery last longer between recharges.
If you’re using a wired Ethernet connection, using the Base Station also reduces router compatibility issues. And since a wired connection is usually more stable and reliable than a wireless one, it also increases response time.
Using the Base Station can also provide more peace of mind. Being the cameras are placed outside, even though they’re mounted securely, they still run the risk of being stolen. If that were to happen though, the Base Station has you covered. How?
For one thing, all recordings are backed up to the Base Station. This means you don’t lose any precious footage – perhaps even of the individual who stole your camera!
Second, using a Base Station makes the stolen camera unusable by the thief. Until you delete the camera from your account, the thief cannot reset it nor can they use it on their Wyze account. And have no fear, they won’t be able to access your account either.
It can also indicate camera status and connection strength for each camera connected to it, helping you diagnose any connection problems quickly and easily.
The Base Station also allows you to place your cameras at further distances, as it can extend the signal over greater distances than if you were just using the camera and the Wyze app. You can place your cameras up to 300 feet from the Base Station – provided there are no major obstructions. Obstructions such as walls and concrete will reduce the distance it can operate.
Alternative outdoor smart cameras that don’t require a Base Station or Hub
While Wyze is one of the leading smart camera brands, many people don’t like the idea of needing a Base Station in order to use them. To that end, there are some other options to consider.
Ring, another leading brand of smart cameras, is one such option. They don’t require a hub or base station for their smart cameras. However, they also don’t support local storage. This could be a potential problem for some customers, especially if the Wi-Fi signal in the area is spotty or weak. Still, they remain a popular option for many smart homes.
Logitech also offers an outdoor camera that doesn’t require a base station. Their Circle View Camera is compatible with Apple HomeKit and offers a weatherproof design perfect for outdoors. The downfall here, however, is again, no local storage. Everything is stored to your iCloud account. In addition, there is no wireless option, so when mounting this camera, you’d have to tether the cord to the wall and make sure it has a power source to plug into – preferably inside the house where a thief can’t easily disconnect power and make off with the camera.
The closest to Wyze you can possibly get, is the Arlo Essentials Wireless Security Camera. It not only features a compact, wireless design that’s weatherproof, but also offers both local and cloud storage – and they do this without the need for a Base Station.
Google Nest has an outdoor cam as well. However, it only offers cloud storage, not local storage. So it compares more closely to Ring and Logitech.
Even though the Base Station is far from a crowd pleaser, it’s hard to ignore that Wyze may be onto something by implementing its use.
A more secure connection, better security for your home and your cameras, and multiple ways to back up recorded footage, make the Wyze outdoor cams a great idea – Base Station or not.