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Logi Circle review: Logi's people-detecting camera isn't sure I'm human

You can also head over to the Logi Circle web app for access to advanced features, such as setting motion activity zones.

Configuring the Logi Circle. Screenshots by CNET

Performance

Using the mobile and web app to opt-in to push alerts, set motion zones and adjust the resolution was extremely simple. The Circle's audio feature also worked quite well. Its 1080p HD live stream delivers crisp-enough day optics on par with Netgear's lower-res 720p Arlo Pro ($200 at Amazon), but its night vision performance wasn't nearly as clear as Arlo's. You can only use the app in horizontal view, too.

Logi's people detection feature was inconsistent, too. People detection is supposed to alert you when a person, as opposed to a pet, or a passing car, enters the Circle's field of view. But there were at least a dozen times when the camera detected activity, but didn't accurately identify it as a person. Similar functionality worked better with the Nest Cam and Netatmo Presence cameras.

The Circle cam streaming live in 1080p.

Screenshot by CNET


Arlo Pro and Canary Flex ($130 at Amazon) cams are rechargeable and rated for both indoor and outdoor use. After several days of testing both alongside the Circle, they still had plenty of charge left according to their battery level indicators. The Circle, on the other hand, only lasts for hours -- not days.

Additionally, Arlo Pro cameras currently work with IFTTT and Samsung's SmartThings. Canary is working on upcoming integrations with IFTTT, Wink and Apple HomeKit. You can use IFTTT to create rules like, "If Arlo Pro detects motion, then flash my Philips Hue LEDs," or "When I get home, tell Arlo Pro to stop recording."

The Logi Circle offers no integrations right now, either with third party devices or Logitech's own Harmony platform, although the team did say it was open to both. The Logi Circle's "Day Briefs" worked well -- Day Briefs are 30-second recaps of the most important recorded events of the day -- but models like the Flir FX and Nest Cam offer similar features.

Conclusion

The $200/£159 Logi Circle is priced to compete with many of today's top connected cameras, but it doesn't currently work with any other Logitech products or with devices from other manufacturers.

And while its 1080p video resolution is good, its battery life was disappointing and its people detection feature was inconsistent. I'm glad Logi has addressed the importance of customizable settings with this recent update, but there's still a significant disconnect between its design and its function as a live-streaming HD camera. It's truly odd that Logi decided on a battery-powered camera only to give it such a short life.

Why not reduce the HD resolution to 720p to preserve the battery, give it a weatherproofed coating and make it a more versatile indoor-outdoor camera? Right now, I'm having trouble seeing the value this camera offers over the Canary Flex or the Netgear Arlo Pro. Ultimately, that makes it difficult to recommend.

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