Logitech has unveiled a second incarnation of its Circle camera, and the Swiss electronics and accessories maker has placed a firmer focus on security this time around.
Logitech is no stranger to cameras, with a range of webcams and security cameras to its name, and back in 2015 the company introduced the Circle, which we called a slick, portable home-monitoring camera designed to capture everything that goes on in your house. While it could technically be used as a form of security camera, it wasn’t marketed as such and it lacked key features you’d expect from a security camera. Indeed, the original Circle was more geared toward capturing all those priceless domestic moments, such as your cat falling off the sofa or your kid eating all the cookies and then denying knowledge of the incident. The camera is rolling constantly and backs up everything it detects in the cloud, with users able to peruse footage through a dedicated mobile app.
The $200 Circle was also only the second product to sport the new Logi brand, part of the company’s efforts to reinvent itself with sexier designs after hiring former Nokia chief designer Alastair Curtis back in 2013.
Fast-forward nearly two years to the unveiling of Circle 2, and this time the company is touting the camera’s security smarts.
The Circle 2 comes in two variants: The wired version will set you back $180, while the wire-free alternative will cost $200. Both capture 1080p HD video and sport night vision capabilities with up to 180° field-of-view, and both devices are designed to be weatherproof — this ties in with the camera’s security credentials, as it means you can mount it outside your home.
As with the first version of the device, the Circle 2 syncs with a mobile app (Android and iOS) and records video constantly, delivering footage over a Wi-Fi connection to the cloud. Every device offers 24 hours of free storage, though you can upgrade to 14 days or 31 days of storage, which also unlocks a handful of additional features. The cloud storage subscription costs $4 (14 days) or $10 (31 days) per month for each camera. It’s also worth noting here that you can download any footage to your device to keep for posterity, meaning that the free 24-hour storage will likely suffice for many people.
As with the original, Circle 2 offers two-way “talk and listen,” meaning you can talk remotely through the mobile app to whoever happens to be next to the camera and they can talk right back at you. With the first version of the camera, the only apparent use-case for this was to frighten your loved ones while they were washing the dishes — it really was a great feature for pranksters. This time around, given that the camera works outdoors, you can chat with anyone who arrives at your house.
If the camera detects that someone is at your door, it sends an alert to your phone, and you can chat with the person in real time. This could serve to either deter would-be burglars, who are known to often check whether anyone is at home before doing their dirty deed, or it could enable you to converse with a courier and ask them to leave a parcel in a safe spot. This feature positions The Circle 2 alongside other home-security systems, such as smart doorbell contraption Ring.
But where the Circle 2 trumps a device such as Ring is that it’s far more versatile — you can also untether the Circle 2 from its mount and bring it indoors to capture your kid’s party.
With that in mind, the Circle 2 has an array of accessories, priced between $30 and $50, to help position the device in various locations. There is a plug mount that lets you attach the camera to any electrical outlet, a weatherproof extension for extending the wired version of the Circle 2 camera outdoors, and a window mount that lets you track what’s going on outside from the inside of your house without capturing the glare from the glass.
With one eye very much on the burgeoning smart home industry, Logitech notes that the Circle 2 will soon integrate with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and its own programmable Pop buttons.
One small point worth noting here is that the Circle 2 seemingly doesn’t offer an alarm. That is one facet of the Homeboy security camera I actually liked — being able to enable a loud shrill so that if anyone does break into your house, not only do you receive an alert to your phone, but the intruder will be made instantly aware that there is a security system in place.
Logitech hasn’t announced what the battery life is for the the Circle 2, though for reference the original Circle promised around three hours of battery during recording and “up to 12 hours” in power-save mode. We would hope that the latest version would offer a little longer life, given that this is being pitched as a full-fledged outdoor security camera. But anyone buying this for its outdoor capabilities would probably be better off buying the wired version of the camera.
The Circle 2 is open for preorders now and will be shipping sometime in July.