For almost a year, I had a Logitech Circle View room placed above the front door of the house, which allowed me to keep an eye on visitors and deliveries. The wide-angle lens was able to capture both my front curve and my yard, providing an excellent perspective on what was happening outside.
This setup worked extremely well. In fact, my two Circle View cameras are so reliable that I started thinking about replacing a second Canary outdoor camera I was using in the backyard. That’s why when Logitech contacted me to see if I wanted to try its new Circle View sound, I jumped at the chance. I thought if it worked, I could migrate Circle View to the backyard. I was also intrigued by some unique features of the Logitech bell and eager to see how well they worked in practice. I was not disappointed.
The Circle View ringtone uses the existing ringtone wiring to power the device. This has the advantage of providing power, so the device does not need a battery, but initially I was also concerned. My house was built in 1940, and although it was rewired, I knew the bell hardware was probably at least 50 or 60 years old.
However, two things put me above my initial worries. First, Logitech has a step-by-step questionnaire to determine compatibility. I took the test and I was pretty sure the Logitech sound would work.
Second, Logitech offers a professional installation option. Logitech has partnered with HelloTech to offer a package that includes the Circle View ringtone and installation for $ 299.99, which is $ 100 more than the ringtone itself. For the extra $ 100, someone will visit your home and take care of the installation. Between my old ringing equipment and the winter coming down the Chicago area, I was happy to take the easy way out and let someone else ring the bell. The installation took about 45 minutes, which involved replacing my existing ringtone with the Logitech and installing a small ringer box that is visible from the top of the existing ringtone in my house.
The bell itself is a narrow black rectangle that protrudes from the door lock just over an inch (28 mm). The camera hardware is at the top, with an LED light bar just below it, which you can activate to illuminate the area less than six meters from the device. At the bottom is a ringed button with a light to indicate where someone should press. The ring around the button is not very bright, but it is still very visible and seems to have led to more people pressing than with our old sound, which I appreciate, especially when food is delivered and sitting outside.
When someone rings the bell, the new Logitech sound rings in the house. The sound is different from our old and unmistakable “electronic” sound, but it is a pleasant and clear sound that I like.
Logitech’s Circle View ringtone is compatible with HomeKit. One of the advantages of this integration is that you are no longer limited to being notified by the sound when someone rings the bell. The device also works with HomePod, playing sound on any original HomePod or HomePod mini you own. A video alert that someone is at the door is also displayed on your TV if you are using an Apple TV. Of course, notifications are also available on your iOS, Apple Watch and Mac devices. All of this makes it difficult to miss a visitor or delivery when I sit in my studio listening to music that would have drowned out the sound of the old bell.
As happy as I was with the existing Circle View cameras, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Circle View Ringtone raises things with another note. Since the bell was installed at the end of December, it has been incredibly reliable. Like my past experience with Logitech cameras, the ringtone stayed on the network much longer than other cameras I’ve tried. I’ve seen a few short offline periods, but there have been a few between them, even though the bell is in a place I know has some WiFi access. The live video feed appears faster than other cameras I’ve tried.
The quality of the video stream is excellent. The new ringtone camera transmits and records videos in HD using HDR, which provides a superior image, even at night when using a technology that Logitech calls color night vision. The ringtone video is recorded in portrait orientation at 1600 x 1200 pixels. As I mentioned, there is an LED light bar that can be activated to help illuminate the scene, but the night vision of the Circle View ringer is excellent, and the light above the front door was more than enough, even when dimmed, to ensure adequate lighting for the scene. The ringtone also supports two-way sound, so you can talk to anyone at your door.
You don’t have a security camera, because you’re looking for an amazing, high-resolution video with delivery trucks, but the quality of the Circle View ringtone compared to other cameras still makes a difference. The night rooms, including Logitech’s Circle View, usually include a night viewing mode, but the scene is actually black and white. The ability of Circle View Doorbell to deliver color and contrast and higher resolution than other cameras makes a difference in recognizing what goes on beyond the camera. In other words, the change is more than cosmetic: the video from the Circle View Doorbell camera is simply easier to mentally process at a glance when you open your phone day or night.
As mentioned above, Circle View Doorbell is compatible with HomeKit, which includes support for HomeKit Secure Video. With a 200 GB iCloud storage plan, you can set up your Circle View ringtone to record activity for a continuous ten-day period, which is encrypted from end to end and stored in iCloud, regardless of total storage. Users who sign up for a 2 TB iCloud plan can connect up to five cameras. Face recognition, animal and vehicle recognition, as well as configuration of activity areas are accepted.
The angle of the Circle View Doorbell camera is slightly narrower than the Circle View camera, but in practice I didn’t notice the difference. The bell room is still wide enough to cover my entire front yard. The biggest difference was that my old setup looked straight down at our front tilt, while the bell room can’t see right in front of the door, which isn’t a problem if people come to the door. However, I can’t always see the packages if they are left right in front of the house. However, it’s not as big of a problem as it could be, as the camera picks up the delivery person as they approach the door, so I know how to look for a package even if it’s not visible in the camera’s field of view.
The real test of the Logitech camera came just last week. It snowed almost non-stop in Chicago for days, and night temperatures dropped to -15˚F (-26˚C). Despite the incredibly cold temperatures and humid weather, the bell remained online and worked just as well as when it was warmer.
I really couldn’t be happier with the Logitech Circle View Ringtone. I was already a fan of HomeKit Secure Video, which saw significant improvements with iOS 14 and worked well with my existing Circle View setup. However, where you can locate these rooms is limited by the availability of an electrical outlet. Hard wiring of the Circle View ringer when wiring the existing ringer eliminates the need for a socket or battery, although Logitech was also wise to offer a low-friction installation option. Installation is an additional cost, but also a significant convenience.
In addition to the previous operation of my camera, the addition of a bell that plays throughout the house over our HomePods, the integration of Apple TV and the added quality of the video captured by the camera captivated me. What I had before worked, but Circle View Doorbell adds new dimensions to the functionality of my camera setup, making it superior to a standard security camera.
Logitech Circle View support is available directly from Logitech for $ 199.99, the Apple Store, and other retailers. The professional installation package adds $ 100 to the price.