Wyze giveth, taketh away with its new Cam Plus Lite plan

Wyze’s new Cam Plus Lite plan includes people detection for whatever you want to pay, even nothing. But the free Basic plan is getting a major downgrade.

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Michael Brown / IDG

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Wyze made a splash on Wednesday when it announced Cam Plus Lite, a new “pay what you want” subscription plan for its security cameras that includes people detection, and you can pay as little as nothing for the privilege. But at the same time, Wyze’s free Basic plan is losing a key feature.

First, the good news. Wyze says it will roll out the new Cam Plus Lite plan starting February 15, and among other features, it includes account-wide, cloud-based event recording as well as people detection for whatever you’re willing to pay, including zero bucks.

Cam Plus Lite cloud-based event recordings will be capped at 12 seconds in length with a five-minute cooldown and a 14-day rolling video history. For event storage without the time cap, you’ll need to pony up for the existing $2-a-month Cam Plus plan, which adds pet, package, and vehicle detection while removing the cooldown. Cam Plus Pro throws in 24/7 professional monitoring for $4 a month. (The pricier plans are per-camera, although you can mix and match with the account-wide Cam Plus Lite plan.)

The Cam Plus Lite plan will be compatible with the Wyze Cam v2 and v3, the Cam Pan v1 and v2, and the Wyze Cam Outdoor, with Wyze adding that it needs “a little more time” to add its video doorbells to the compatibility list. Meanwhile, the original Wyze Cam will be left behind due to its outdated hardware, Wyze says.

Wyze stopped short of guaranteeing that Cam Plus Lite would be offered on future Wyze cameras. “We’re going to evaluate the results of this experiment before making [a] decision, but right now we plan to make it available on future devices assuming we can cover enough cost with user contributions,” Wyze said.

Overall, sounds good, but here’s the catch: Wyze’s free Basic plan, which used to offer cloud storage of 12-second video recordings of motion events (Basic users don’t get people detection), will replace those event recordings with snapshots, a fairly major downgrade versus the 12-second video clips.

Of course, there are mitigating factors, starting with the fact that Cam Plus Lite is—if you want—free. 

Also, you can always store motion events or continuous recordings locally on a microSD card, with Wyze saying that it’s removing the 32GB cap for local video storage now that it’s acquired a license for the exFAT drive format.

Still, Wyze’s frequent references to the pay-nothing-if-you-want Cam Plus Lite plan as an “experiment” give us pause, as does its “probably” pledge for future camera support.

For what it’s worth, Wyze seems genuinely committed to the idea, stating that “we believe a Name Your Price model can work.” But the loss of cloud-based event recording in the free Basic plan is worth noting for Wyze users, even if the Cam Plus Lite appears to be—for now, anyway—the obvious alternative.

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