Logitech Circle 2 Review (2017 model)
Logitech has released an update to its popular Circle security camera, with more mounting options that include a 3-month battery.
One of the most important features of a security camera is the picture quality, and the Circle 2 definitely has that covered. The 1080p picture is very clear, even in low light without the night vision LEDs. This allows you to see the details of what is happening and a clear view of the face of the person. The camera is set at 720p by default and you will need to use either the app or the website to increase it to 1080p.
Another notable feature is the wide field of vision, providing a 180 degree view of the area it is covering. This covers my entire backyard. In fact, I had to move it to the center of the window, otherwise the window frame would block a portion of the shot.
One of my favorite features of the Logitech Circle 2 camera is the “Day Brief”. This summarizes all of the events of the day into a 30-second video clip. It’s a great way to check out what’s been going on around your home while you were gone.
The Logitech Circle 2 camera does a great job analyzing motion events, detecting people and providing accurate notifications, if you pay for the $9.99/month cloud plan. Otherwise, you’ll only receive basic motion notifications (low motion and high motion).
The wire-free Logitech Circle 2 option includes a battery pack that allows the camera to operate for up to 3 months on a single charge, figured with an average of 5 minutes of recorded footage a day. It uses a separate, low power motion sensor so that it does not need to be “awake” to constantly analyze the footage. It’s important to note that the low power motion sensor does not work through glass. If you leave the camera plugged into a power source, you can configured the camera to be “always on” and analyze motion using the video feed.
Other “mounts” are available for the Circle 2, allowing you to take either the wired or wire-free version and mount it to a window or plug it into an outlet. However, these are at an additional cost and not included in the package.
Support for Apple Homekit is said to be coming soon, but wasn’t available at launch. Homekit support will not be available for the wire-free (battery) mounting option.
Ease of Use
I’m surprised how many cameras on the market still require a plug-in — or even worse, an Internet Explorer Active X control — in order to setup and operate. Thankfully, the Logitech Circle 2 works with all modern browsers without any additional software, not even Flash! I was able to use it on my Mac and my Chromebook without an issue.
The smartphone app allows you to configure most the camera’s settings: resolution, alerting and power management. One feature you cannot configure in the app is marking the zones for motion detection. For this, you must login to the website (https://circle.logi.com).
Events that have occurred during the day are shown as “bubbles” along the right-side of the screen. Grey bubble indicate low motion events (bird flying by, trees swaying in the breeze, etc) while the blue bubble indicate high motion events (such as a person walking close to the camera). The bubbles make it very easy to navigate between different events and the camera seems to do an accurate job of only placing important events in the blue bubbles. You can also filter the events if you want to remove the grey bubbles, for example.
The Logitech Circle 2 has a lot of smart features, such as detecting people and making determination between what is normal motion (leaves rustling in the wind) and what is not normal (such as a person walking up to the camera). However, a lot of this functionality is dependent on the cloud, or more specifically, Logitech’s servers.
On the Circle’s free plan, you get 1 day of cloud storage, unlimited streaming and downloads, alerts and day brief. In order to have person detection and motion zone alerts, you must pay $9.99 per month per camera for 31 days of storage, which — in my opinion — is a tad excessive for a camera that costs almost $200 in the first place.
There is no local storage on the device itself. If your internet connection goes out, you will not be alerted of motion events (although, you will be alerted that the camera is offline if you enable that specific alert). If Logitech’s servers ever go down, or — worse yet — they decide to abandon the Circle camera service, you’ll end up with an expensive, round paperweight. For those reasons, I still prefer an IP camera that has local Micro SD card storage so that the camera is not dependent on a third-party.
The Logitech Circle 2 is intelligent enough to only bring important events to your attention, but "smarter" alerts that include person detection and motion detection zones require a $9.99/month subscription. Picture quality is great even in low light and the app and web interface are intuitive. Unfortunately, the camera is very dependent on the cloud and is basically a paper weight without an internet connection
- Great picture quality and low light performance
- Wire-free model can last up to 3 months on a single charge
- Easy-to-use timeline navigator
- "Day Brief" 30-second summaries
- No local storage
- No pan or tilt functions
- Smart detection features require a $9.99/month subscription