Logitech has been making cameras of the web variety for years, and it recently got into the home security camera market with Logitech Circle. The initial reviews were alright, but Logitech was lacking some important features that other cameras had. I guess it took the criticism to heart because a series of app and firmware updates have added lots of new stuff to the existing hardware. It's actually gotten much more capable, and the pricing remains competitive. Taking another look at Logitech Circle, it's a great option for home video monitoring.
SpecsCamera 360p, 720p, 1080p Field of View 135-degrees Night Vision Infrared up to 15 feet Audio microphone, speaker Power AC adapter, built-in 1600mAh battery Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi Local storage No Cloud storage 24 hours free, 14-days ($3.99/mo), 31-days ($9.99/mo)
The GoodVideo Very short delay with clear video. Design Compact frame with built-in swivel stand. Charging ring the magnetic charging ring works well and is really slick. Portability If you need to set the Circle someplace else for a while, it has a battery so you don't have to move cables around. Notifications Granular control of notifications with built-in geo-fencing. Connectivity Supports 2.4 and 5GHz N networks, rock solid connection. Audio Loud, clear sound from the speaker and a capable microphone.
The Not So GoodPlans Some notification features require the more expensive premium plan. Only a day of free video storage. Too many subscription nags in the app. Local storage It doesn't have any, and 1080p video eats up a lot of bandwidth. Indoor only The Circle isn't weather-resistant, and Logitech doesn't make outdoor enclosures for it. Design again The swiveling stand doesn't tip forward very far, so placing Circle on a high shelf is tough. Design and setup
The Logitech Circle camera is adorable. It's a small orb sitting atop a flat base. The base is a built-in adjustable stand that lets you angle the camera as you like. This will work great for most positioning, although I will note that it doesn't tip very far forward. That makes placing it on top of a high shelf a little awkward. There's a status LED on the front that can be disabled, as well as a microphone and speaker.The housing is solid, but it's not weather resistant. This is an indoor-only camera.
Logitech's charging connector for the Circle is really neat―it's a magnetic ring that you set the camera down on, and the cable is a generous 10-feet long. It also gives you a helpful little chime when the camera is connected to the ring properly. You don't have to worry about orientation, and it's really easy to grab the camera and set it down someplace else. Not for very long, unfortunately. One definite bummer here is that the Circle only lasts about two hours on battery power in regular mode. In power-saving mode, which only steams when you view the feed, the camera will make it around 10-ish hours. Still, some cameras don't have batteries at all.
Getting cameras up and running is really, really fast. This is where a lot of camera systems stumble, but Logitech has it figured out. Simply turn on the camera and plug it in. In the Circle app, find the option to add a camera, and wait for the device to be detected. Your phone will connect directly to the camera so you can provide it with your WiFi network credentials. And that's it; seriously. The entire setup process takes about 30 seconds. I've had no connectivity issues with the Circle at all since getting it set up.Video and audio quality
I would class Logitech's video quality as very good. The recent firmware update added 1080p video as an option. The Circle was previously limited to 720p. Even that didn't look bad, though. You can really only tell a difference when you zoom in on the feed.
The video coming from Circle isn't very compressed. It looks good, but that also means each Logitech Circle camera will upload about 150-200GB to the cloud every month. Music to Comcast's ears with its new bandwidth caps, I'm sure. If you've got more than one Circle, you might want to keep the video set at 720p to save some bandwidth. Unfortunately, there's no local storage option on the Circle, so video of all detected events is being uploaded. Logitech does note that all video is encrypted before being uploaded.
Video loads when viewing live almost immediately. Some cameras have annoyingly long delays when starting a stream, and then continue to be delayed as you're watching. The Circle is only about a second behind real-time―among the best I've seen. Notifications of activity are also dispatched quickly.
The Circle has a fisheye lens with a claimed viewing angle of 135-degrees. I feel like it's not quite that wide in practice. I'm not sure what's going on with that. The distortion at the edge of the frame isn't as bad as some other fisheye lenses I've seen, so maybe Logitech is trimming off some of the useless warped pixels at the very edge. In the dark, the Logitech Circle does well. The IR light is bright enough to illuminate a medium size room completely, although you need to be careful not to have anything too close to the camera as that makes it hard to keep the foreground and background illuminated properly.
The Circle also has solid audio perform