Logitech Circle View Doorbell review: The doorbell to beat for the HomeKit set

Logitech Circle View Doorbell review: The doorbell to beat for the HomeKit set

The $200 Logitech Circle View Doorbell is aimed at a very specific audience: Homeowners with wired doorbells who’ve embraced Apple’s rapidly growing HomeKit smart home ecosystem. This is not a cross-platform product: Android users need not apply; nor is there any support for Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

The upside of this approach is that it allowed Logitech to take full advantage of what HomeKit has to offer, including HomeKit Secure Video, which uses the Apple hardware in your home to process captured video locally, versus uploading it to a server in the cloud that you have no real control over (you can upload encrypted video to your iCloud account, but you will be the only person with access—Apple won’t be able to decrypt the files).

logitech circle doorbell installed 01 Jason D’Aprile

I fashioned my own mounting block to compensate for the clapboard siding on my home.

The downside, of course, is that you’ll need to have that hardware in the first place: A HomePod, HomePod mini, Apple TV, or an iPad (provided it never leaves your house). Without any of that, all you’ll get is a live feed from your doorbell and the ability to have a two-way conversation with your visitors. We’ll dig into what all that infrastructure does for you later.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best video doorbells, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

Specs and installation experience

The Circle View is somewhat tall and thick, measuring 4.68 x 1.65 x 1.10 inches (HxWxD), but it’s 1/4-inch narrower than the 4.49 x 1.9 x .87-inch Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2. Like that Ring model, Logitech’s Circle View has an aspect ratio that’s taller than it is wide, with resolution of 1200 x 1600 pixels (WxH) and a 160-degree field of view. This gives you a crisp head-to-toe view of the visitor in front of the camera, along with any packages or other objects that might be on the ground.

The lens is connected to a 5-megapixel image sensor, and support for high dynamic range video delivers a sharp picture. Night vision is excellent, and a 4000K LED light strip beneath its lens enables color night vision up to six feet from the camera.

Logitech is one of few doorbell manufacturers to offer a professional installation option with its product, via HelloTech, but this costs adds $100 to the price. Ring likewise contracts with a third-party installer—OnTech—to provide a variety of installation services, with doorbell installations costing about the same. Vivint includes professional installation with the price of its $250 Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro, but adding more cameras—and other home security features—will add a considerable amount to your bill.

logitech circle chime connector Jason D’Aprile / IDG

Wiring Logitech’s chime kit is just a bit more complicated than we’ve encountered with competing products.

I took the DIY approach and encountered a very different initial process that has you connect the doorbell to you Wi-Fi network before you install it on the wall. Since the doorbell needs to be powered to perform this step, you’ll need a Micro-USB cable (not the Lightning cable Apple users will be more familiar with) and a 5V 2A (3,000mA minimum) AC adapter (neither of which come in the box). With the doorbell plugged into power within 15 feet of your Wi-Fi router, you’ll pair your iPhone or iPad to the doorbell using NFC.

logitec circle doorbell app 03 Jason D’Aprile / IDG

Set up is done entirely through the Apple Home app, which eliminates the need to install yet another app on your iPhone.

If your device is too old to have that feature, you can instead open the Apple Home app, click the “+” button to add a device, and scan the HomeKit code from the label on the back of the doorbell or the one in the printed quick-start guide that came with the unit. Expect to wait a few minutes for the doorbell to get a firmware update during this process.

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