Smart home cameras are a somewhat recent addition to the HomeKit ecosystem, coming with iOS 10. Many have pledged support like Ring and August, but only two cameras have come to market with support. We previously went hands-on with the D-Link Omna, and now we have the Logitech Circle 2, which recently had HomeKit support added.
There is a lot to cover with any smart camera so to get the best picture, check out our video review. We touch on all the top features of Logitech’s updated camera.
As someone who already has four other cameras in my home, and who has tested a few more, my expectations were quite high for the Circle 2. I put it through the paces testing a variety of features, as well as the HomeKit integration.
Like the Nest, Canary, or Omna, the Circle 2 is an easy-to-use camera for your home. It works both indoors, or outdoors, letting you keep an eye at what is going on. It is great to keep an eye on your cat, your door, or your kids.
There is a laundry list of features, but to give you the short version, it records video at 1080p, has built-in Night Mode, 180º FOV, two-way communication through the built-in speaker and mic, and uses smart notifications to let you know when something is going on. It is weather-proof, easily withstanding the wind, rain, and snow.
There are also many other accessories that you can pick up including a window mount, a socket mount, and an outdoor extension cable.
In the box you get the camera, the mount with an attached lengthy USB cable, a power brick, and a few pieces of mounting hardware. Basically everything you need to get going.
Setting it up
Setup is pretty painless for the Circle 2. I started out with the Circle app, and signed in with my Logitech account (I already had one when I set up my Logi Pop HomeKit button).
I then headed to the Home app, and chose to add a new accessory. The camera quickly showed up, and I was able to add both the camera, and the motion sensor to my HomeKit setup.
I tried a few different locations when testing out the camera, including using the handy window mount. The window mount (sold separately) allows you to adhere the camera to the interior of a window, minimizing glare, and comes with a list of pre-chosen setting optimized for the location.
I tried setting it up outside my patio door, where I could talk to package couriers while I was away, and up on the second story to keep an eye on our cars (we’ve had some recent break-ins). It performed admirably in any situation, and instead of finding the one best spot, it convinced me I should probably just pick up a second one.
Getting a hang of the features
One hangup of HomeKit, is that you are limited in what you can do. That means you are stuck using both Logitech’s Circle app, as well as the Home app (or your HomeKit app of choice).
Inside of the Circle app, you can do all the usual. View a live feed, playback recordings, view activity alerts, and change settings.
One of my favorite features, is the Day Brief. This is basically a time-lapse video consisting of all the motion alerts throughout a period of time, chosen by you. It is a fantastic way to see what happened overnight, or while you were away. I’ve become a bit addicted to checking these out each evening.
Smart notifications are also quite useful. You can set them up to alert you based on different criteria, such as high activity, or if it thinks it detects a person.
You can dig into the settings here too, like choosing the FOV (field of view) and controlling the status LED.
By using HomeKit, you can tie the camera into any of your other HomeKit gear. This is especially true with the motion sensor that it adds to your HomeKit setup.
As an example, with the Circle 2 mounted by my patio door, whenever it detected motion, and it was after sundown, it turns on all of my patio lights. My patio lights are controlled through the iDevices outdoor switch that we recently took a look at.
When I mounted it up above our cars, I had my sconces turn on to possibly scare away anyone going close to our cars. Those built-in sconces were controlled through my Elgato Eve wall switch.
You can perform similar actions when it is inside as well by having lights turn on anytime you enter a room, and turn off when you leave.
HomeKit is also capable of sending you notifications when it detects motion. In iOS 11, you got much more granular control over the motion notifications. You could set them up to only go off during the day while you are at work, during the night when you want to know what is going on, or any time of day as long as none of your HomeKit users are in the home.
When you get one of these notifications, it also includes an image preview of the motion it detected. It is pretty stellar experience on the Apple Watch as well, showing you the preview image in the notification.
While the video is recorded at 1080p, you can lower this quality while you are streaming on the go.
It looks particularly clear, and I was even happy with the night mode. It could clearly show what was going on, without being too grainy.
It all looked good in the app, but if you have anything you want to save, downloading it will get you the highest resolution.
Circle Safe plans
You can use the Circle 2 completely for free; other than the price of the camera. However, if you are looking for more flexibility and storage, Logitech offers different plans for you to opt into.
Circle Safe upgrades your storage from 24 hours in the free plan, to 14 days in the basic plan, and 31 days in the premium.
There’s a wealth of other premium features as well, including people detection, advanced filtering, and custom motion zones.
That’s a wrap
There isn’t enough time to delve into all the small nuances that make this camera great. Compared to the Omna, which was an overall good camera, the Circle 2 is far superior. You’ve got endless mounting options, both indoor and outdoor. That alone would put this camera higher on the list, but smart filters, Day Brief, and the additional accessories seal the deal.
If you are looking for a HomeKit-capable camera, or really just any solid home security camera, the Logitech Circle 2 is a fantastic option to consider. I didn’t encounter anything in my time with it that would make me shy away from recommending it.
As I said early in the review, the Circle 2 didn’t just convince me it is an overly adequate camera, it sold me on picking up at least one more to mount in other locations.
I’d love to hear your opinions on the Logitech Circle 2, as well as on HomeKit cameras in general. Do you think Apple has more to do to really support cameras in HomeKit? Let us know below.