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Logitech Circle review: This camera puts more emphasis on 'home' than 'security'

Michael Ansaldo | Nov. 10, 2015
The webcam manufacturer's first security camera feels like a work in progress.

Recorded video is encrypted and stored free in the cloud for 24 hours, after which it’s deleted to make room for the next day’s footage. Each account has its own private cloud on the Circle Cloud Service and is protected by an account password. According to Logitech, longer-term storage options under a premium (i.e., extra cost) offering are in the works.

Setup and usage

The Circle immediately differentiated itself with its easy setup. The camera came charged, so I just set it on top our our entertainment center and downloaded the app, which is the sole interface for the camera—there is no web portal. Within seconds of launching the app and logging in to my home network I had a 135-degree wide-angle view of my living room.

The app’s main screen shows your live feed in landscape mode only, with a scrolling activity log of time-stamped events down the right side. To view a specific recording, you just press the time-stamp. Tap the Day Brief icon to get a CliffsNotes version of the day’s recordings. These daily roundups are actually the Circle’s best feature; one I’d love to see more security cameras adopt.

Logi Circle 
The Circle’s industrial design doesn’t stray far from Logitech’s webcams. Credit: Logitech

Swiping left on the feed screen opens an overlay with the camera’s control panel. From here you can turn the camera on and off, put it in low-power mode, activate night vision, and perform a few other basic functions.

One afternoon, I decided to use the camera to check on my dog while I was away. I corral him in the foyer when I know I’ll be gone for just a short time, but there’s no convenient surface there to place the camera, so I unplugged it and mounted it on the metal staircase banister. That gave me the perfect vantage point for monitoring him, and the two-way audio gave me the opportunity to listen in and give him voice commands when he got into mischief. I also found, however, that the Circle’s battery lasted only about half of the promised three hours.

Live video was clear in all my tests, with accurate colors in both day and night mode; but there was significant image bending at the top and sides of the frame. Predictably, using the pinch-and-zoom feature rendered the image fuzzy, making it hard to distinguish smaller details.

Because the Circle offers Scene Intuition in lieu of the manual motion-detection settings offered by most other cameras in its price range, you’re at the mercy of Logitech’s algorithms when it comes to determining what’s an “interesting” event. It became apparent that the Circle’s definition is “anything that moves in front of the camera.” After receiving generic notifications stating “Activity detected on My Camera,” I’d frequently find recordings triggered by a rotating fan or my dog’s wagging tail.

 

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