Until recently, securing your home required elaborate, expensive systems installed by professionals. Thanks to some pretty smart technology, you now have more convenient ways to monitor the safety of your home.
The Circle 2 comes in two models: wireless and wired, and both are made for indoor/outdoor use. The wireless version sells for $200, while the wired version sells for $180. We tested out the Circle 2 wired model along with the free basic app features that come with the camera.
How It Works
Right out of the box, the Circle 2 wired camera has very few working parts. It comes with the camera, swivel mount, USB power adapter, and the mounting hardware (wall bracket, four screws, two cable clips, and four wall anchors).
The camera offers an adjustable base, which can be used either as a stand or a wall mount. Mounting the camera takes some time, but it can still be done in about 10 minutes.
You need a high-speed, Wi-Fi internet connection and a compatible device to run this camera. The Circle 2 works with iOS 8.1 or later, and Android 4.4 or newer with Bluetooth low energy technology.
Since this camera comes with a 10-foot cord and a USB cable that must be plugged into the wall, it’s important to take your time to find the best location. Make sure there is an outlet close enough to reach the cord. Hold the camera in place, activate it, and check the app to make sure it captures the area you want to be monitored. Then mark the wall for mounting.
The Circle 2’s ultra-wide angle lens allows you to capture up to a 180-degree field-of-view. And the base of the camera has a swivel attachment, so you can rotate and tilt the camera to get the best view. In addition to monitoring the inside of your home, you can set the camera on a windowsill facing out, to get a view of the outdoors.
If you want better access to monitor the outside from an inside mount, you can purchase the Circle 2 Window Mount for $40. This allows you to attach the camera and place it on any window pane to see outdoors.
You can also purchase the Plug Mount for $30 and plug the camera directly into an outlet. This is a popular accessory for pet owners who want to monitor their animals while away from home.
Another bonus for pet owners, or anyone who is looking for audio, is the talk and listen feature. The camera has a built-in speaker and microphone which allows you to talk directly to people (or pets) on the other end.
If you want to mount the camera outdoors and you can’t quite reach the outlet, you can purchase the Additional Weatherproof Extension for $30, which gives you an additional 15 feet of cable. Another nice feature with outdoor mounting is the night vision that turns on automatically in low light.
After testing five locations (mounting it with two of the locations), I settled on using it for two purposes: monitoring the main living space, and using it to keep an eye on the cars coming and going from my driveway. The camera is small and inconspicuous, so it can easily be wedged in between a couple of books.
The Circle 2 integrates seamlessly with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. I downloaded the app on an iPhone 8. It was easy to register and set up an account. Once the app was downloaded, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection enabled, and the camera turned on, I went immediately to a live video feed.
It’s important to note that you do need a strong wireless connection and enough bandwidth to reduce lag in live view. That was an immediate frustration with the app. Depending on where in the house I was, the live feed could stop and the app would go into offline mode.
I live on a busy street, so being able to see my driveway and the cars that pull over on top of the property is important. But without the ability to define that area as an active zone (part of the motion zone option within the premium subscription) my phone buzzed each time a car passed by.
The daytime video quality is impressive and the nighttime images using the night vision option are not that bad. The night images are black and white, but still very clear. The camera automatically defaults to 720p footage, but that can be changed in the settings to 1080p. If you go with the 1080p option, be prepared for some buffering issues — but the picture quality is excellent.
While in the app, you have the ability to download footage or take a picture of something that seems suspicious. And if you don’t have time to sit through an entire day’s worth of footage, the app has blue-colored time icons you can scroll through, which allow you to look for a specific time of day or event. You can swipe through these events and view them in-app — a plus if you’re away from your home often.
You can also tap on the “day brief” feature, which is a 30-second time-lapse compilation of the day’s videos.
The camera comes with 24-hours of free cloud storage, but if you want more, there are two Circle Safe plans available. Circle Safe Basics offers 14 days of storage for $4/month and Circle Safe Premium offers 31 days of storage for $10/month.
If you want the best protection, you have to pay for the premium subscription. It includes person detection, motion zones, and smart alert filters. Motion zones allow you to define up to five activity areas. You can then have each defined area included or excluded in motion detection. With this subscription upgrade, you get alerts that tell you when a person is detected and exactly where in the home the action took place.
The camera and app are relatively easy to use. I had the Circle 2 figured out in less than an hour.
Circle 2 is entirely cloud-based, which hasn’t proven to be as reliable as we hoped. Lag is often seen in the live video feed, and the camera going offline when the internet goes down can be quite frustrating. (I have relatively good internet service, but in a week’s time I’ve experienced several delays and black “OFFLINE” screens.)
Who It Might Be Good For
- Users looking for an easy and quick installation
- Users looking for a camera that can work indoors or outdoors
- Users who don’t mind purchasing additional products for more features
- Users looking for a wide-angle lens
- Users looking for two-way communication
Who It Might Not Be Good For
- Users looking to get all of a camera’s features for one price
- Users with a poor Wi-Fi connection
- Users who want zero interruptions in monitoring
The Logitech Circle 2 camera has a lot to offer users who are looking for a range of mounting options, advanced app features, indoor/outdoor capability, clear video footage, and cloud-based encrypted storage. It’s a solid option, and for some users, the wider angle view Circle 2 offers may put it over the top.
However, if you think your camera should automatically come with all of the accessories and app features that maximize the quality of the footage — and you’re nervous about losing your connection — Circle 2 might not be the right choice for you.