Logitech updates the Circle camera

by Volker Weber

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Of all the net connected cameras I tried I only ever liked two systems: Netgear Arlo and Logitech Circle. Arlo has broadened its original architecture of wireless, waterproof cameras to the wired Arlo Q, the mobile network Arlo Go and the Arlo Baby monitor. Logitech started with the indoor wired Circle and is now expanding into weather resistant and potentially wireless cameras with the Circle 2. Time to take a closer look.

Both companies started from different ends of the spectrum. Arlo wanted to be a security camera first. IR motion detection switches the camera on, it records a clip, uploads it to the base which uploads to the cloud, and alerts its owner. Circle wanted to be a home camera that records the whole day and compresses it into a 30 seconds day brief video. It has excellent "noise" detection and is able to compile the most significant events into this video. It also stores all events for 24 hours for free. These videos are AES-256 encrypted and uploaded into your private cloud where you can watch them via web browser or mobile app.

Then Circle evolved into a security camera. It added two service layers for Circle Safe. The basic service provided 14 days of storage, the premium service allowed for 31 days and added smart features like people detection and motion zones. Now Logitech has significantly changed the hardware to make it fit the security camera profile.

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Circle 2 has a much wider angle of view (180 degrees). It comes in two versions: wired and wire-free. They both share the basic camera, but the wire-free camera has a large battery that attaches to the back and is supposed to provide up to three months of service between charges. I have the wired model, which attaches a 3 meter cable with a USB-A port and a USB power supply. The cone with the cable also serves as a table or wall mount.

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The are more accessories available for this camera. One attaches the camera directly to a window so you can see what is happening outside without moving the camera outside. You can also buy a weatherproof extension for the wired camera if you do want to mount it outside. For the wire-free camera Logitech sells you spare battery packs.

Circle 2 is a better security camera thanCircle since you have more ways to set it up. The only thing missing is the rechargeable battery in the Circle base that let you move the camera around with you. But that is only necessary in a lifestyle camera, not a security camera. Circle 2 can be mounted outside or inside, it's more versatile and has a wider field of view.

Is it better than Arlo/Arlo Q? Only if you want to record more video like in-store surveillance. Arlo stores seven days for free, for a system with up to five cameras. Then you have to go to a paid subscription. Circle 2 stores only 24 hours before you need to go to the basic subscription with 14 days and no added features. Only the premium subscription gives you the advanced features and 31 days of storage. And that is going to cost $10 a month, per camera. The Arlo subscription plan is also $10 a month, but for up to ten cameras.

I continue to use Arlo for outdoor security and Circle for indoor video to check on the dog while I am away. Spoiler alert: she is just sleeping and chases away people who get too close to the house.

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Comments

Hallo Volker,

ich habe die letzten Tage die kabellose Circle 2 getestet und die Kamera hat mich nicht überzeugt. Das liegt aber sehr wahrscheinlich an der kabellosen Variante, da ich negative Berichte nur über dieses Modell gefunden habe. Das Setup war zäh und brauchte diverse Anläufe mit sehr guter WiFi Verbindung. Das Bild zeigte relativ oft und lang "dicke" pixelige Blöcke und wurde erst nach einiger Zeit brauchbar. Die Verzögerung zwischen Aufnahme und Realität war gruselig.
Das Teil ging retour und jetzt spiele ich mit der Arlo Q. Ein Unterschied wie Tag und Nacht. Sehr gutes Bild, flottes Setup, einfache Freigabe. Für mich die deutlich bessere Wahl, da ich die große Arlo Lösung nicht brauche.

Ggf. hilft das ja dem einen oder anderen bei der Entscheidung.

VG

Michael

Michael Schnatmann, 2017-08-03

Vielen Dank für den Erfahrungsbericht. Ich habe nicht die geringste Ahnung, wie die kabellose funktioniert. Es kann einfach nicht sein, dass sie dauerhaft Daten überträgt und trotzdem bis zu vier Monate halten soll. Die kabellosen Arlos haben nicht umsonst eine Basisstation, welche die ganze Kommunikation abfeiert, während die Arlo (Pro) schlafen bis der Bewegungsmelder sie weckt. Die alte Circle hält nur ein paar Stunden mit dem eingebauten Akku durch, wenn man sie von der Basis nimmt.

Volker Weber, 2017-08-03

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