EZVIZ C3WN outdoor security Camera review: Strong security and a bargain price

EZVIZ's latest weatherproof camera delivers crystal-clear audio and 1080p video for just $50.

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At a Glance
  • EZViZ Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera (model C3WN)

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No matter the particulars of the latest EZVIZ security camera, history has proven I’m going to get three things: rock-solid surveillance features, a smooth setup, and multiple storage options to secure any video evidence it may capture. The EZVIZ Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera (model C3WN) hits that trifecta squarely. That it can be had for just $50, is icing on the cake.

Design

The tennis-ball sized C3WN has dual Wi-Fi antennas and is attached to its mount with a ball joint for easy angling. A tail sprouting from the back of the mount splits into a power jack and an ethernet connector (giving you the option of either wireless or hardwired connectivity to your network). The whole unit—minus the tail, which will be threaded through an external wall or overhang—is rated IP66, indicating it’s protected from total dust ingress and from high-pressure water jets from any direction, and operates in temperatures from -22 degrees to 140 degrees F.

The camera has a 110-degree viewing angle and captures 1080p video. It has a built-in noise-cancelling microphone to provide clear audio at up to 16 feet in cacophonous outdoor environments, and two infrared LEDs provide up to 100 feet of automatically activated night vision. 

This camera also offers smart motion-detection zones and notifications, so you can be alerted to activity in high-risk areas without needing to be glued to the camera feed.

ezviz c3wn 2 EZVIZ

The C3WN’s dual Wi-Fi antennas give you a lot freedom in placing the camera outside your home, although they could also prove attractive to vandals if within reach.

As with most EZVIZ cameras, the C3WN comes with multiple storage options. You can save video clips on the camera with a microSD card (up to 256GB, not included) or to the EZVIZ NVR (network video recorder, sold separately for $230). You can also store your video offsite with an EZVIZ CloudPlay subscription. A seven-day storage plan costs $6 per month or $60 annually, while 30 days of storage costs $11 per month or $110 annually.

Setup and performance

The ideal spot for the CW3N is within range of both a clear Wi-Fi signal and an indoor electrical outlet. Thanks to the dual Wi-Fi antennas, you have considerable latitude with the first requirement (provided you’re connecting to a 2.4GHz network); for the second one, you’re limited by the 5-foot length of the DC Power Adapter. If you’d rather wire the camera to your router, you’ll also need to consider the distance an ethernet cable will need to cover. EZVIZ missed an opportunity by not supporting power-over-ethernet (PoE); that would have made this camera much easier to deploy.

Once you have that sorted out, you can mount the camera to any wall or ceiling that can support three times the camera’s weight and that you don’t mind drilling a hole through to accommodate the cables. Screws, anchors, and a mounting template are provided for the mounting, but you’ll need to supply your own tools for this. After the camera is mounted, you can adjust the surveillance angle by loosening the adjusting screw on the mount, positioning the camera—it can rotate 360 degrees and tilt 90 degrees—then re-tightening the screw.

ezviz c3wn feed Michael Ansaldo/IDGVendor supplied stock art

The EZVIZ app has simple, inuitive camera controls.

To connect the camera to your wireless network, create or login to your account in the EZVIZ app, scan the QR code on the CW3N and follow the prompts to sign in to your Wi-Fi. When you’re done, the camera appears on the app’s device page along with any other EZVIZ cameras you have connected.

Tapping the C3WN opens its live feed. While viewing the stream, you can turn the audio on and off, toggle the resolution, manually capture video clips and snapshots, and activate a multi-camera view if you have more than one active.

The video quality is superb, with no distortion that I could see despite the wide viewing angle. Details were sharp and colors rich and accurate. Night vision illuminated the scene enough to make out facial details even with minimal external light.

Audio clarity was excellent, too; there were several rainstorms when I was using the camera and could hear a visitor speaking in the downpour, even with cars whizzing by on the rain-soaked streets.

By default, you’ll receive motion detection notifications 24/7. I found the detection pretty “hot” even at lower sensitivity settings, so I set a notification schedule to keep them from blowing up my phone all day. You set a time window that you want to receive alerts and then choose which days of the week you want to apply that schedule. So if you only want to be notified when you’re away at work, you could set a schedule of say 8 am to 6pm, Monday through Friday.

Motion detection areas can further reduce motion alerts. To set them, you draw on a grid overlay to mask in the areas you want to monitor. The C3WN will notify you only when it detects activity in those areas.

Each motion alert includes a thumbnail of the triggering object. Buried in the settings is a “mark face” option. When you turn it on, human faces are highlighted in the screenshot thumbnail. This is not the same as facial recognition, though—the camera can’t tell one person’s face from another—it’s just a way to draw your attention to the human in the frame.

ezviz app notifications Michael Ansaldo/IDG

You can set a schedule for when you want to receive motion alters so your not bombarded with notifications.

Accessing surveillance video is similar to other EZVIZ cameras. With a CloudPlay subscription, you can scrub through a timeline and see recorded activity identified as orange bars. Scrolling to any of these spots play back those events.

A library of timestamped video clips is displayed on the CloudPlay tab in the order they were recorded. You can download or delete these during playback.

Finally, video clips recorded to microSD card are accessed from the Messages tab on the app’s devices screen. These can be saved to your phone while you’re viewing them.

Verdict

The EZVIZ C3WN is just an all-around great outdoor security camera. And it’s priced low enough that you could purchase several to place around your property for the cost of just one competing camera. That’s a bargain that compels us to recommend it.

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At a Glance
  • With 1080p video, smart motion detection, and an easy-to-use app, the EZVIZ Outdoor Wi-fi Camera is a bargain at just $50. Just be aware of its installation limitations.

    Pros

    • Excellent video and audio quality
    • Customizable motion detection
    • Easy installation and setup

    Cons

    • Requires proximity to an indoor electrical outlet (the AC adapter is not weatherized)
    • You must drill a hole through an exterior wall to install it
    • No power-over-ethernet option
  
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