Logitech Circle View doorbell
“This is a great video doorbell if you’re a die-hard Apple.”
Neat integration with other smart home devices
Good color night vision
Light sensor with readable interface
Not at all compatible with Android
Additional hardware and subscription requirements
When Apple announced HomeKit Secure Video, manufacturers took the opportunity to deliver hardware for the Apple home ecosystem. We have one of the first video doorbells, the Logitech Circle View Wired Doorbell. This video doorbell was specially developed for Apple. You will immediately notice that it will not connect to Android at all. That has to be the first thing you know about that doorbell.
The second thing you need to know is that you will need additional Apple hardware and a monthly iCloud subscription for the doorbell to work at its fullest. In addition to having an Apple Hub or AppleTV or iPad as a hub, you’ll also need to subscribe to Apple’s iCloud plan with 200GB or 2TB (for $ 3 / month and $ 10 / month, respectively) so that the doorbell does not collect records Counted towards your iCloud storage space.
In short, you need to be all-in with Apple for this doorbell to be of any use to you. If you’ve read this far, you are probably all there for us to continue. If you are an Android person, this video doorbell won’t work for you at all. You can go ahead and stop reading. I’m assuming anyone reading past this point is either a die-hard Apple fan or my editor (hi, boss!).
Appleness extends into the hardware
Once you’re beyond that, we can begin examining the doorbell ourselves. The hardware is a study in overengineering. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing to be completely honest. Maybe I won’t pick anything here, but even the way Logitech handles the wiring is a little strange. On the back of the doorbell housing, slide the doorbell wires into slots that “grab” the wires, rather than just using screws as you may be used to. When connecting the power converter, Logitech includes clips that you use to connect the power converter to the transformer. Neither of these are bad, in fact it makes for a very clean experience, but it just felt a little over the top. There is nothing wrong with wire nuts and screws. These other methods aren’t better or worse, they’re just very Apple.
Digital trends / Adam Doud
The video doorbell hardware looks a bit simple. It’s a black rectangle on which (from top to bottom) the camera is located, a light for night vision, motion and light sensors, an LED notification light, the doorbell button with a ring of light so people know where to press and finally a little branding. The doorbell is 4.68 cm high and 1.65 cm wide on the larger side. It also comes with an angled bracket if you want to turn the doorbell 15 degrees to the side.
I am particularly impressed with the color night vision capability.
The camera itself has a field of view with a diagonal of 160 degrees and has excellent night vision functions even without the 4,000K LED light strip. The camera does not use IR night vision, but rather a pithy night vision that is grainy but otherwise clear even on a particularly dark night. I set the doorbell on my back door so it didn’t even have the luxury of my front yard light to help, and the image was still pretty good, though it wasn’t good enough for facial recognition, which we’ll investigate further in a bit .
The camera also has a motion sensor and a light sensor that measures the ambient light in lux. This is really neat as I can tell at a glance at the doorbell if there is enough light outside to take photos or videos. The software doesn’t take full advantage of these sensors, however, which we’ll explore below.
Adam Doud / Digital Trends
With negatives, the camera suffers from a fish-eye effect on the periphery of the camera. The LED strip on the doorbell has an on and off setting, but no automatic setting. Given the doorbell has a motion sensor and a light sensor, it seems ridiculous that you can’t configure the light to turn on when the sensor detects motion and the light is below a certain threshold. But that’s a software bug and not the only one.
The software is very Apple
Once you’ve set up a Home Hub and have an iCloud subscription, open the doorbell features. In particular, you can have the activities for recording the doorbell carried out, e.g. B. Motion detection, doorbell ringing, etc. If you don’t have a hub, you’re only limited to one live stream. I honestly don’t see the need for a home hub to easily capture and store video. If I only had an iPhone, I could still watch motion event videos. This is a blatant platform lock-in and a little gross. Other doorbells require subscriptions to record video, so I’ll barely forgive Apple’s iCloud request.
It’s also noteworthy that if you want to stream video from the camera, every device that acts as a hub must be turned on. Most of the time this isn’t a problem, but if you ever need to turn off your iPad, your doorbell will ring. This again supports the argument that using an iPhone I can stream data to it without the need for a device in between. Not cool.
Other aspects of Apple software are standard on other doorbell interfaces. Scrubbing through events is a little shaky as you can only view events that detect motion or people. However, you have to drag your finger from event to event, and getting to the beginning of an event is a little difficult. However, sharing and saving videos is easy with Apple’s share menu.
With Apple, you can also use the sensors in the doorbell to trigger other events in your house. For example, if you want a specific light in your house to turn on when your doorbell senses movement, you can do that. This is a very smart integration that really makes a smart home.
This doorbell is one of the first ones I tested that offers facial recognition that really works. The implementation is not the best. Apple uses your photo library to identify people who ring the doorbell. So, if you’ve had an iPhone for a long time, you have a lot of people in your photo library. If you’re like me and only use Apple products occasionally, this won’t work as well. But just the fact that it works at all is very cool. Given the number of doorbells I’ve tested that I’d love to access Google Photos if they only asked for it, this was a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, my photo library can only accurately identify me and my children. Fortunately, you can add the names of new faces as they appear. This comes in handy the longer you use the doorbell.
Overall, this is a really nice video doorbell – if you’re a die-hard Apple fan. If you are not, this is not a good doorbell at all. We already established that by the time you’ve read this far, it is you. Yes, this is a very nice doorbell that is specially made for you and your existing ecosystem. The field of view is pretty good, although it’s not the 180 degrees you get from the Vivint Video Doorbell Pro. Plus, the video quality is good even at night, similar to the HomeHawk window I checked a few months ago. I really like the access Apple gives to the motion and light sensors. Other doorbells have these sensors, but Apple lets you use them, which is pretty neat.
Is there a better alternative?
From a holistic standpoint, this video doorbell is just as good in everything out there. I am particularly impressed with the color night vision capability. While infrared-based night vision can produce brighter and clearer results even on a cheap doorbell like the Wyze video doorbell, I prefer colored night vision because it allows you to better visualize what is actually outside your door. There are also three more doorbells that HomeKit support, including offerings from Netatmo, Robin, and Yobi.
Will it take?
This doorbell is very well built, albeit made of plastic. It’s not made from the most durable doorbell building materials I’ve tested. That honor likely goes to the Nest Hello doorbell. That being said, I have no concerns about long-term profitability. The doorbell is designed for operation at -20 to 40 degrees Celsius. There is a one year limited warranty.
Should I buy it?
Again, if you’ve read this far, you’re a die-hard Apple so this should be your buy. Integration with the Apple ecosystem is pretty powerful, and using these sensors on the doorbell to trigger other smart home events has really good potential. The $ 199 MSRP is right in the wheelhouse of other doorbells like the Eufy Security Doorbell. After all, the software, Apple’s Home Kit, is far more secure than Ring Video Doorbell 3.