At first glance, the Logitech Circle View looks like an average security camera. It has all the tropes: a sturdy build with an aluminum hinge for adjusting the view, a wide front panel with a decent-sized camera and an LED status light to know when someone is watching.
The real story with the Logitech Circle View, though, is that this camera works only with Apple HomeKit, aka the “Home” app that comes installed on your Apple devices and allows for smart home control. The view, management and setup of the Circle View live entirely in this app.
All of this means that you’ll need to be an Apple user to use Circle View. And if you are, the launch of another HomeKit camera is terrific news, as, currently, it’s slim pickings. So after a few weeks, we’re ready to lay out our thoughts on the $159.99 Logitech Circle View.
A sleek design that is unobtrusive
Security cameras, especially inside of the home, have to be visible but not distracting. After all, these aren’t necessarily designed to be hidden, and Circle View is a sleek one that doesn’t stick out.
The Circle View comes only in a matte black finish, but it’s a nice choice. From a functional standpoint, this can go on a shelf, the back of a desk or a mantle without being a distraction.
The main hull of the Circle View is aluminum, while the front is shiny black plastic. You’ll find the lens in the center, an almost hidden “logi” logo underneath, a speaker, a microphone and an LED status light at the top. The light’s curved line provides a friendly feel.
On the back, you’ll find the non-removable 10-foot power cord, which, interestingly enough, is white, but it’s thick and weatherproof.
There’s also an aluminum stand that feels quite sturdy and lets you angle the circle in a number of positions. You can point it all the way up or even have it face down. Either way, we don’t get the sense that it’s going to break or fall apart.
There’s also a dedicated button on the back that turns the Circle View off, which is great for privacy. A notification confirms the change.
We’ve tested the Circle View inside the home, but you can also use it outside as it’s fully weatherproof. But you will need to plug the cable to a standard wall outlet. The Circle View comes with the main stand, a mountain plate, cable clips, screws and anchors.
Setup and daily use
Once you’ve decided on a spot for the Circle View and powered it up, the setup process is ridiculously simple.
On an iOS device, like your iPhone or iPad, open the Home app. Click the “+” sign in the top right, select “add accessory” and scan the barcode on the bottom of the stand to pair.
You’re all set.
Apple’s HomeKit will connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi network in just seconds. You’ll then get a brief look at settings and can choose which family members have access to the Circle View. Most importantly, you’ll choose what room the Circle View will live in. You also have the option to add it to favorites, so it’s available from the whole homegroup.
The Circle View will link with your Home and your iCloud Account during this process. The Circle View lives in the Home app, which makes it super easy to access the view, record a clip, speak to someone in the room and adjust settings. The app will also take care of all software updates.
You will need an iCloud Storage Plan to save recorded videos for up to 10 days. If you have one Circle View, the 200GB plan will suffice, but the 2TB plans gives you support for up to five cameras.
With this, Apple will securely store recorded clips for up to 10 days and, interestingly enough, those clips don’t use your storage plan. That’s a win-win, and at $2.99 or $10.99 a month, this undercuts nearly every other security camera recording plan. If you need to store recorded footage for longer than 10 days, you can save it to photos.
It’s also secure and uses the HomeKit Secure Video standard. Essentially, any video streamed or saved from the Circle View is end-to-end encrypted from the camera to iCloud, specifically only your account and your Home app. It will only be available to view or adjusted by the people you’ve approved.
And since you likely don’t need it to monitor while you’re at home, there’s a setting for that.
When the Home app detects that you’re home, it can have the Circle View stop recording or streaming video. It can intelligently turn it back on when you leave and will be on the prowl for people or even animals.
Given that this is integrated with Apple’s Home app, you can access this from nearly every Apple device: an Apple TV, iPad, iPhone or even a Mac.
And video quality on all of these is solid. The 1080pHD lens casts a wide net with a 180-degree field of view. There’s a fish-eye effect, which gives you a nice wide view of any given room, but it doesn’t deteriorate the quality that much, so you can make out objects, people and pets with ease.
The image also doesn’t get blown out when it faces windows with streaming sunlight. It’s not a full quality HDR, but it helps to make it a better situation for viewing. At night, infrared automatically switches on and can see as far as 15 feet. For a 1080pHD night mode, the Circle View performs admirably and gives you a usable view.
If you’re in the Apple ecosystem, use the Home app for other devices and are looking for a camera, the Circle View is likely your best bet. For $159.99, you get a capable and dependable security camera that integrates flawlessly with Apple’s ecosystem.
Setting it up with Apple HomeKit was simple, and chances are, you’re already enrolled in a storage plan, so you’ll get 10 days of recorded video. It’s great.
The design is what a security camera should be: simple, sleek and easy to power off for privacy.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.