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The era of the $200 security camera is over

by Gretta Woodruff (2020-05-22)

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Wyze's growing lineup of affordable cameras is making Amazon, Google and other high-end competitors less appealing.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

When I started writing about the smart home in 2013, influential startup Dropcam, purchased by Google's Nest in 2014, set the industry prices for DIY security cameras. The Dropcam Pro, an HD camera with an intuitive app and solid performance and predecessor to the Nest Cam Indoor, cost $199. 

Dropcam cameras weren't the first to offer impressive features. The Samsung SmartCam HD Pro and the Arlo Q have similar capabilities, but Dropcam was among the first to package all of those things in a way that felt approachable to consumers. Its products helped define the contemporary concept of DIY home security technology, and video camera technology in particular.

But that era is over. 

Companies such as Wyze, Yi and Tend Secure are contributing to a burgeoning trend of cheap cameras (and other smart-home devices) with the same functionality as those $199 cameras -- just for much, much less money. 

The Seattle-based Wyze is a particularly good example of what is working well, with its lineup of uber-affordable, high-performance security cameras, bulbs, smart plugs and sensors.