Size: 4.68 x 1.65 x 1.1 inches
Wireless Connectivity: 2.4/5 GHz a/b/g/n/ac 2 x 2 MIMO Wi-Fi
Resolution: 5MP/1200 x 1600
Field of view: 160 degrees/3:4 portrait view
Night vision: 4000K LED light strip
HomeKit, Apple’s smart home platform, is pretty comprehensive when it comes to what it can do. Unlike Alexa and Google Home, HomeKit users don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to compatible devices, especially video doorbells.
The Logitech Circle View Doorbell is one of the few that work with Apple’s smart home platform and, at $199, it’s actually one of the more affordable models. (There’s an Apple Tax even on things that Apple doesn’t make.) For the price, the Circle View Doorbell is a very good video doorbell, but it could use some improvements to make it up higher on our list of the best video doorbells.
Logitech Circle View Doorbell review: Design
If you’re going to create a product that lives entirely in the Apple ecosystem, it better look good. The Circle View Doorbell has that minimalist aesthetic; it’s more or less a black rectangle with a glossy front.
The upper third has a square window to protect the camera, with a small light strip just beneath. Towards the bottom is a circular LED, which, when pressed, rings the doorbell.
Because the Circle View Doorbell does not have a battery, Logitech was able to make it pretty slim. At 1.1 inches wide, it should fit pretty easily on any door frame, but there are no other color options — black is it. It also protrudes a bit more than other video doorbells, though not by a huge amount.
Logitech Circle View Doorbell: Price and availability
The Circle View Doorbell first went on sale in late December 2020. It costs $199 if you want to install it yourself, or $299 if you’d like it to be installed by a professional.
Logitech Circle View Doorbell review: Setup
Because there’s no Logitech smart home app to control the doorbell — everything is done through HomeKit — the instructions are a bit confusing. The kit comes with a card directing you to a Logitech website, which presents you with a long list of things you’ll need to install the doorbell. While most of these are included with the kit, and there’s not much difference between it and other video doorbells, the list was long enough to give me pause. And I’ve installed dozens of video doorbells. I know it’s saving paper, but printed instructions would also help.
The first step requires you to first plug the video doorbell into a microUSB power source — an accessory that’s not included and a step I never had to do with any other video doorbell.
From there, it gets a little easier. If you have an iPhone Xs or newer iPhone, you can simply touch the phone to the video doorbell to start the setup process. I had an iPhone XR, but it didn’t seem to work for me. Fortunately, there are other setup methods: within the Home app, select Add Accessory, then use your phone’s camera to snap a photo of the QR code for the video doorbell.
Like some other video doorbells, the Logitech Circle View comes with a small adapter that you must attach to your home’s doorbell chime. These directions weren’t as clear. I spent a good 10 minutes looking at them to figure out if I wired everything correctly.
Once you’ve set up the Circle View, you then install it on your door. It comes with a base plate to which you connect the wires from your doorbell. You then snap the Circle View into the base plate. Unlike Ring’s video doorbells, there’s no security screw keeping it in place. Rather, there’s a small pinhole; insert a paperclip, and you can pop out the doorbell.
If you want to view video outside your home, you’ll also need a HomeKit hub on the same Wi-Fi network as the video doorbell. This can be an Apple TV, HomePod, HomePod mini, or iPad. Chances are if you’re a HomeKit user, you’ll have one of these devices already But if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll have to factor in another $100 or more to the total price.
Logitech Circle View Doorbell review: Video quality
Unlike most video doorbells, the Circle View has a portrait orientation, so video is more vertical than it is horizontal. (The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 has a similar orientation, as does the Nest Hello). It’s a trend I like to see, as that orientation makes it more likely that you’ll see packages left at the foot of your door.
The Circle View’s portrait view did indeed show more of my porch — better than most of Ring’s video doorbells — but the bottom of the video still ended about two feet from the front door itself, not ideal if you want to know if there’s a package there. If you want to see everything in front of your door, your best option is the Maximus Answer Dualcam, which actually has a second camera pointing straight down.
The Circle View’s high-resolution camera took excellent video both day and night. In the late afternoon, the camera was able to capture the details of my face and shirt, even though the Sun was shining from behind.
Logitech Circle View Doorbell review: App
Similar to the Nest Hello, which can recognize tagged faces in your Google Photos library, the Circle View Doorbell can be linked to your iCloud Photos library and call out the names of guests if they’ve been tagged in your photo albums. The doorbell regularly and accurately identified me whether it was day or night.
Provided you have a compatible iCloud plan, you can save video from the camera, and set up filters so that it only records when it detects people, animals, vehicles, or some combination of the three.
Recorded videos show up below the camera’s Live View in the Home app; here, you can scrub back and forth to show recorded videos. I wish there was also a grid view of recordings, or at least a way to sort what was recorded — person, animal, or vehicle. At night, I found the camera would often misidentify passing cars as people. Because I live on a fairly busy road, it seemed like I had a steady stream of visitors each night.
Interestingly, the Logitech’s individual sensors show up in the HomeKit app, so you can see the current light level, in lux. Unfortunately, you can’t use this sensor for any automations. It would be great if you could tell HomeKit to turn on your front porch lights when the overall light level dips below a certain number.
Additionally, you can also create customizable activity zones, so you’ll only be alerted — and the video doorbell will only record — when it detects motion in those zones. You can create multiple, nonconnected zones in pretty much any shape you like.
That’s a decent feature set, but the Circle View is missing a few things found on our favorite video doorbells. For instance, you can’t adjust the sensitivity of its motion or sound detection, and there’s no package detection, as there is with the Nest and Arlo cameras.
Logitech’s video doorbell also lacks a pre-roll feature found on Arlo, Ring, and Nest video doorbells. While it varies a little between manufacturers, this feature causes the video doorbell to continually record a six-second clip, which is then added to the front of any video when there’s an actual motion event. That way, you’re more likely to get a better view of whoever approaches your door. However, the camera was very quick to start recording, so I rarely missed seeing anything.
And, of course, since this is a HomeKit-only device, you’ll need an iPhone or iPad, not just to set it up, but even to receive notifications.
If you have an Apple TV, an Apple HomePod, or an Apple HomePod mini, you can also program them to announce when someone’s at the door. In the case of the Apple TV, you can even view a feed from the Circle View on your TV screen.
Logitech Circle View Doorbell : Cloud storage plans
In order to save videos, you’ll need to subscribe to either the 200GB or 2TB iCloud storage plan. The 200GB plan costs $2.99 per month and covers one camera, while the 2TB plan is $9.99 per month and covers up to five cameras. Both plans will save up to 10 days of video in the cloud. (Here’s how much iCloud costs in other countries.)
One thing to note is that your camera recordings do not count against your iCloud storage limit. So, while they’re not the best when stacked up against the best security camera cloud storage plans, you do have to consider that you can use that storage for more than just video doorbell feeds.
What’s more, Apple makes a point of mentioning how secure its cloud storage is; while Ring is also implementing end-to-end encryption, it’s something that Apple has had since the beginning.
Logitech Circle View Doorbell: Verdict
Because of Apple’s stringent requirements, there aren’t a lot of devices that work with HomeKit, which is a shame because there’s a lot you can do with Apple’s smart home platform — more so than you can with Google Home, in fact.
At the moment, there are only three real options: The $199 Logitech Circle View Doorbell, the $129 Arlo Video doorbell, and the $299 Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell. We’re still testing the Netatmo, but in our Arlo Video Doorbell review, we gave it high marks for its robust features, and Arlo has a pretty extensive portfolio of some of the best home security cameras. However, it does not show as much of your front porch as the Logitech Circle View, and you’ll also need an Arlo base station, which costs $99.
In all, the Logitech Circle View Doorbell is a very good video doorbell for those who use HomeKit, but it could be better.