Since having a positive recent experience reviewing the Logitech Circle View Doorbell, I’ve been anxiously awaiting a loaner Circle View Camera. This $159 HomeKit-compatible security camera arrived just over a week ago, and I’m nearly as impressed with it as I was with its doorbell sibling. Logitech is making some great connected cameras these days.
Like the doorbell, the Circle View offers what Logitech calls its “True View” optical technology. It provides full HD images, has a night vision mode offering 15-feet of visibility, and works with Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video. That requires a paid iCloud subscription plan, but I think it’s worth the money for iOS homes. The video is fully encrypted and doesn’t count against your iCloud storage, so you still have plenty of free bits and bytes for storing iOS data.
I like the Circle View design as well. The camera itself is attached to a metal base and you can rotate it if needed and even swivel the camera vertically. That’s handy for privacy since you can just tilt the camera downward if you want. And it’s easier than pressing the “off” button in the back of the camera.
The metal base can be used for mounting the Circle View indoor or outside with the included hardware.
Indeed, part of me thinks this would be a better camera for outdoor monitoring, mainly due to the super-wide 180-degree viewing angles it captures. However, while the camera, base, and 10-foot USB cable are weatherproof, the USB power brick is not. So that means you’ll need either a weather-protected outdoor outlet or a really long USB cable that you can somehow route to an indoor outlet.
Since I have neither, most of my testing was done inside my smart home.
I keep a camera pointed out our back window to monitor the deck and back door, for example. For the last six months, I’ve been using a $20 WyzeCam for this. That works, of course, else I wouldn’t keep using it. But as I continue my transition to HomeKit products, I can say the Circle View camera is a better experience. Then again, for eight times the price, it should be!
If you’ve used any HomeKit products, you know that the device setup is easy and seamless compared to most other products.
I didn’t have to install a Logitech app on my iPhone or create any accounts to get going. Plugging the camera into an outlet and scanning the device’s unique HomeKit code in the Apple Home app is all I had to do. Within two minutes, the Circle View camera was connected to my home’s wireless network “automagically” and showing a live feed of the deck. Even though Logitech only uses a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi radio in the Circle View, it connected to my Eero 6 Pro mesh network without any interaction on my part.
About that feed and the image quality.
Well, you be the judge by looking at these two images with the cameras placed right next to each other.
The WyzeCam does a decent job with a good viewing angle but the colors are a bit off. By comparison, the Logitech Circle View camera captures much more of the deck and the image looks cleaner with more accurate colors. I will say that I miss the HDR support that the Circle View Doorbell has, but I can live without it. The image brightness also could use a boost but every lighting situation is different, of course.
Since my window frame actually skews the full view of the Logitech, I turned both cameras around to face inwards. Again you can easily see the difference between the two in terms of the viewing angle and image quality. You can also see the difference in paint colors we’re testing for our kitchen; don’t judge me!
Again, I’m not totally surprised given the price difference between the two. But image quality and viewable angles aren’t the only benefits of the Circle View. It uses local processing from a HomeKit hub for face detection, which is another nice feature that doesn’t compromise privacy.
Wyze did have on-device person detection until its partner was purchased by Apple; the company has provided an alternative solution with WyzeCam Plus but that will cost you $1.99 a month or $10 annually per camera. And it currently only supports person detection, not actual faces.
The Circle View also has a microphone and speaker for two-way communications, typical of most connected home security cameras. I found the audio quality to be better than other cameras I’ve used and the volume may be the loudest I’ve heard.
Well, at least from my phone.
A quick test using my Apple Watch to talk through the speaker sounded fairly quiet. But that’s likely a result of the watch microphone and not the camera speaker.
Like all other HomeKit cameras, you can use the Circle View for automations in the Apple Home app. When the camera detects motion, for example, you could have a nearby smart light turn on.
Supported automation rules also support time of day and location events. So you can have the camera disabled during certain hours or enabled when the last person to leave is out of the house.
The Circle View camera also reports light brightness in the Home app, but I don’t see a way to use that information for any automations. It would be nice to use the light sensor to turn on our indoor lights when outdoor brightness drops to a certain lux level. Instead, I still rely on time-based automations near sunset for that. I suspect that this is a feature that Apple would have to add since Logitech is already providing the lux data.
All in all, if you’re looking for an indoor HomeKit camera with a super wide view, great image quality and some nice on-device processing features without a subscription, the Logitech Circle View is well worth the look. It works well outdoors too; just keep in mind that you’ll have to supply USB power to the device somehow.