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Logitech Circle review: The portable home security camera

The Logitech Circle camera (or Logi Circle if you’re on board with the new branding) is a powerful little home security cam with plenty of strings to its bow. This smart home camera is meant for more than simple security: it’s a cloud-based Wi-Fi camera with a rechargeable battery that features two-way communication, a capable night vision mode, motion detection alerts and more . Add to that the ability to connect to the camera remotely using the app and you’ll discover a world of possibilities. Smart connected cameras are not new – there’s the Nest Cam1, Withings Home2, Canary all-in-one3 and more – so what can the Logitech Circle offer that the others don’t?

Battery powered and wireless home security from a web-connected camera

  • 1600mAh rechargeable lithium battery
  • 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz / 5.0GHz Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Charging ring with 10ft USB cable

The Logitech Circle stands out as offering superb home security video recording and monitoring in a compact, sleekly designed package.

Pocket-lint Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera

The bonus of the Circle over and above its competition is that it comes with a 1600mAh rechargeable battery – meaning it’s portable and multi-functional . During the day it could act as a security camera to monitor your home, while at night it could just as easily operate as a baby monitor in your child’s bedroom. In standard mode (with continuous streaming) we found we would get between two to three hours of life out of the camera before it needed to be docked on the charging ring again . You’ll get less at night because night vision is slightly more taxing. You can however, activate “battery saving mode” which does what it says on the tin . Then you’re looking at getting more like half a day’s worth of juice out of the camera .

Battery saving mode does mean the camera is switched to “idle” during that time, which means that it’s not recording unless it detects movement or you have the app open and are actively streaming. The charging ring is another highlight of the design: thin and discrete, it’s easy enough to tuck out of sight . The charging cable too is flat and easily concealed so there’s no need to worry about unsightly wires making a mess of the place.

Pocket-lint Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera

Or, for a more permanent fitting, you can opt to use the included screws and wall plugs or 3M stickers for a more permanent solution . It’s also possible to mount the camera upside down on the ceiling to get a clear view of a room if you so choose . There’s a supplied magnetic wall mount which makes placing and removing the camera a breeze. The Logitech Circle camera connects to your home Wi-Fi with ease and sends recorded footage to Logi’s secure cloud servers . You then use the Circle appon your phone to access recordings remotely you don’t need to be in the house to see what’s going on or to review snippets, it’s all accessible via the app or the web interface with the right username and password. Quality-wise live-streaming is at Full HD (1920 x 1080) and 24-hour playback of the footage is available once it’s recorded . There’s no requirement for local storage space as all the footage is stored securely in the cloud, meaning you don’t have to worry about backing up or deleting old recordings .

Depending on what you’re planning to do, this could be a good or bad thing, but in our view it makes it easy to manage and that’s exactly what you need from any smart device.

Two-way communication; home when you’re away from home

  • Built-in speaker and mic
  • AES 256-bit dual layer encryption

One of the stand-out features of the Circle is how easy it makes communication with home when out and about . Whether at work in the office or down the local shops the system allows seamless and straightforward communication with the home environment – whether you need to tell off the dog or keep an eye on the kids.

Pocket-lint Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera

Two-way communication in this format isn’t going to replace Facetime or other video conferencing – as the video is only one-way using the Circle – but it has its place and audio can be recorded. The recording quality is surprisingly good too . In a busy home environment, we could easily hear the chatter of family members throughout the day . Turning the mic sensitivity up means you can even hear sounds and voices from other rooms in the house . From a home security point of view, it would be easy to monitor for unwanted activity and record what was being said or done.

Live 1080p HD video streaming with a wide-angle view

  • 360, 720 and 1080p video capture
  • 135 wide-angle lens
  • Night-vision mode up to 15 feet

We were pleasantly surprised by the footage the Logitech Circle captured . Boasting a 135-degree wide-angle lens, this security camera is capable of seeing far more of the room than you’d expect. The Circle also packs an 8x digital zoom – but you’ll soon find the quality degrading if you zoom in too far . Realistically, in a reasonably sized room you’ll be able to see most of the features from wall-to-wall, but you won’t be zooming in to see a pin dropped on the floor or study the pores on a burglar’s nose.

Pocket-lint Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera

Footage can be streamed at 1080p . There’s no mention of how much bandwidth this uses, but we imagine it will be a fair amount with constant video being captured all day long . You’ll need to consider this before purchasing if you have any fair usage policy on your home broadband or if you live in a rural area that hasn’t yet got access to superfast broadband speeds. In the evening, the camera automatically engages night-vision mode when the light levels drop . It’s capable of seeing up to 15-feet away in the pitch black of night . We were surprised and impressed by the quality of footage it recorded, even in the darkest of settings. In standard mode, the Circle camera captures constant footage with regular alerts to the app .

You’ll be notified of detected movement and if you dive into the app you can scroll back through the events to filter between detected activity, high activity and days. With a Logitech Circle Safe subscription you’ll also be able to take advantage of person detection alerts . These offer more significant notifications than just the presence of change of light or the movement of a cat crossing the room . Since its launch, Logi has pushed out regular firmware updates, alongside frequent app improvements to include new features and improve user-experience.

Intelligent alerts, smart video editing and clip sharing

  • Timelapse day brief
  • Smart events and alerts
  • New person detection

There are potentially several different reasons for owning a Circle camera . You might want one to keep track of what the family are up to when you’re not there or to have a feeling of security for your worldly possessions while you’re away.

Pocket-lint Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera

Whatever your needs, the Circle camera is there to help . Constant live streaming means you can always access footage of your home – as long as you have a working internet connection and power to the camera (if there’s a power cut, there’s still the rechargeable battery to keep it going) . But from a security stand-point you’re hardly going to want to keep one eye on the camera footage all day long . That’s where the intelligent alerts come in. With alerts turned on, you’ll be notified of movement and activity that’s in view of the camera .

We did find this could be overbearing at times . Car lights shining through a window or a change in sunlight would be enough to trigger a notification, meaning we often found ourselves bombarded with alerts that didn’t really warrant any attention. The addition of person detection alerts therefore is a welcome update to the camera, though whether it alone is enough to warrant the 7.99 per month (or 79.99 a year) subscription cost is up to you to decide . That’s competitive to the likes of Nest. To alleviate this somewhat, Logi has included a smart location system which means the camera recognises when you’re home based on your phone’s proximity the area based on GPS . You then won’t get notified of movement detected during that period and notifications will only continue when you leave again. When it comes to reviewing the timeline, the day is split into easily accessible events – with high and low activity bubbles being clickable to view in an instant . You can choose to download and share those snippets too whether you need to share footage of an unwanted guest with the Police or hilarious footage of children getting up to mischief with your other half.

Pocket-lint Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera

This is also coupled with scene intuition, which is capable of learning the patterns of home life so it can determine what should be of interest and what is not . We found this way of reviewing the activity of the day to be useful and logical. Another great feature of the Circle is the day brief time-lapse functionality . Clicking this button at any point makes the app grab footage for that day and condense it into a 30 second time-lapse video . Good fun, especially on particularly busy days.

Subscription costs and camera extra features

  • 0 for 24-hours’ of viewable footage
  • 2.99 per month for 14 days’ footage
  • 7.99 per month for 31 days’ footage

Out of the box, the Logitech Circle offers 24-hours’ worth of unlimited streaming and downloads, smart events, smart alerts and the superb time-lapse day briefs . This is more than enough for most people and with the ability to get alerts when you’re away from home you can easily keep an eye on the security of your domicile and download recordings where necessary . Nest, conversely, only offers three hours.

Pocket-lint Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera

If you wish, you can pay extra for Circle Safe . The basic subscription starts at 2.99 per month and includes the same features as the free version but with 14 days’ worth of footage . Circle Safe Premium is slightly pricier at 7.99 per month but includes 31 days of footage, as well as the person detection alerts, motion zones and other advanced filters and alerts. The subscription costs might be off-putting for some, but they’re not entirely necessary for most people who will be at home at some point each day.

Verdict

The Logitech Circle certainly has a lot to offer and some stand-out features that make it a worthwhile addition to your home . If you’re looking for a smart home camera that doesn’t require a subscription cost then this is it . If you want footage available for longer then the 2.99 or 7.99 per month fees are reasonable, depending on your needs. The Circle’s built-in battery and, therefore, ability to go wireless and be easily moved around the home for different uses – as a baby monitor, for example – make this an extremely flexible camera for your home, family and possessions. Cloud video storage, day brief time lapses and two-way communication make Logi’s smart camera one of the more interesting and useful out there .

It’s cheaper than Nest too.

Logitech Circle Camera: Alternatives to consider

Netatmo Welcome4

Pocket-lint Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera5

The Netatmo Welcome is one of the best smart home cameras we’ve reviewed with facial recognition being a highlight that impressed us . It is however, let down by lack of cloud backup that the Logitech Circle and other competitors offer, but then it doesn’t come with the subscription costs those cameras do.

Canary All-In-One Home Security6

Pocket-lint Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera7

Canary is a strong contender for the smart home camera crown . It lacks facial recognition but we found it offered a strong experience, despite the subscription requirements . On the free plan you can get 12 hours of footage, half that of the Logitech Circle but it boasts some pretty clever features like the ability to track where household members are (i.e . away from home or not) and arm itself accordingly.

Withings Home8

Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera

We found the Withings Home to be a lot more than just a smart camera, it’s nearly an all-in-one smart home solution with a camera, video recorder, night light, speaker and more besides . A beautiful design, a wide range of features and functionality and all-round performance should put the Withings Home on your radar.

Nest Cam9

Pocket-lint Logitech Circle Review: The Portable Home Security Camera10

Nest Cam is a solid smart camera and has all the features and functionality you’d expect from a high-quality smart home product including great quality HD video capture, night vision mode and cloud back-up . With recent updates it also works with the rest of the Nest ecosystem including the Nest Thermostat .

A worthy contender for the smart camera crown.

References

  1. ^ Nest Cam (www.pocket-lint.com)
  2. ^ Withings Home (www.pocket-lint.com)
  3. ^ Canary all-in-one (www.pocket-lint.com)
  4. ^ Netatmo Welcome (www.pocket-lint.com)
  5. ^ Pocket-lint (www.pocket-lint.com)
  6. ^ Canary All-In-One Home Security (www.pocket-lint.com)
  7. ^ Pocket-lint (www.pocket-lint.com)
  8. ^ Withings Home (www.pocket-lint.com)
  9. ^ Nest Cam (www.pocket-lint.com)
  10. ^ Pocket-lint (www.pocket-lint.com)

Nest Cam Outdoor review: Secure enough as a security camera?

Nest1 has made the move from indoor security, to offering all-seeing protection for the outside of your home . Say hello to the Nest Cam Outdoor. Boasting some of the same features as its indoor Nest Cam sibling2, the outdoor version is touted as offering 24/7 security come rain or shine.

But does the Outdoor really stand up as a proper security camera?

Nest Cam Outdoor installation: Is it secure?

  • Magnet mounted
  • Continuous power required
  • IP65 rated (water- and dust-proof)

When it comes to installing Nest Outdoor the first thing you’ll need to consider is power . In the installation manual Nest recommends using an outdoor power outlet, which not everyone will have. Or you can install the camera and use indoor power instead – as we did for this review – but it will require a drill and a bit more work . It’ll be cheaper than getting an electrician to install outside outlets and more secure as the cable won’t be exposed.

Pocket-lint Nest Cam Outdoor Review: Secure Enough As A Security Camera?

To feed the cable you’ll need to drill a hole through the outside wall that’s about the width of a broom handle . As you can imagine, that requires a sizeable drill bit, a heavy-duty drill and a lot of cleaning up afterwards . Fortunately the rest of the installation is pain free, as attaching the camera to the wall is a breeze using the provided screws. Despite the power cable being relatively long you’ll still have to consider where on the outside of the house you’re going to place the camera and where the plug is relative to that on the inside of your home. As a proper security camera the Nest Outdoor does show some obvious shortcomings . If installed with outdoor power then what’s to stop a shady character coming along and unplugging the camera from the wall ?

There’s also no form of security between where the power cable meets the waterproof housing – it’s a simple twist-and-pull exercise to disconnect it . The cable itself is also thin and undoubtedly easy to cut through. In short, if you’re looking for a serious home security camera then this is probably not it – unless you’re also willing to invest in some protective housing for the wiring and power supply.

Connecting Nest Outdoor Cam to home Wi-Fi

  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 2.4 GHz (WEP, WPA, WPA2 encryption supported)
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • 128-bit AES with TLS/SSL secured

Before the installation begins, Nest recommends connecting the camera to your home Wi-Fi indoors before venturing outside to setup . The process is straightforward enough: download the app, create an account, scan a QR code on the camera, select your Wi-Fi network, input your password and you’re away. Where this process falls down is when you get outside to setup the camera and realise the Wi-Fi signal in your home isn’t strong enough to penetrate the outside walls and compete with interference from your neighbour’s signals . There’s no Ethernet, so you can’t opt to plug into, say, a powerline adapter or your router for a wired connection.

Pocket-lint Nest Cam Outdoor Review: Secure Enough As A Security Camera?

Our Wi-Fi router is only situated around 15 feet away from the Nest Outdoor, but the connection regularly dropped out and we found ourselves bombarded with warning messages from the camera alerting us to the lack of connection . A similar thing happens with the standard Nest Cam too. We initially tried fixing the problem by using a Wi-Fi analyser to find a quieter channel with less interference and this worked briefly, but the problem soon returned . The next solution was the addition of a Wi-Fi extender, which boosted the signal and meant the connection became solid and more permanent .

That’s an added cost right there though.

Nest Cam Outdoor review: Sleek but unsubtle design

With the camera installed on the outside of your home it’s quite an apparent object – even more so when the green light illuminates to show it’s recording (you can turn this off in the app). Installed on a brick backdrop, the camera’s black and white finish and power cable stand out like a sore thumb . Maybe this visual presence is a good thing though: people will know you’re watching; whereas other people might think you have something to hide . Either way that functions as a visual deterrent. An advantage of Nest is that footage is stored and accessible via the cloud, so even if a thief or unwelcome visitor manages to upset the camera, they cannot remove the footage as a result.

Nest Cam Outdoor recordings, alerts and video quality

  • 3-megapixel sensor
  • 1080p HD 30fps capture
  • 130 wide-angle lens
  • Night vision mode
  • 8x digital zoom

Nest Outdoor camera boasts a 130-degree view of the surroundings with up to 1080p video capture from its 3MP sensor . There’s also an eight times digital zoom which offers a surprisingly clear picture through digital enhancement within the app – but only if you wish to fix the view on a certain point (it cannot be used on recorded footage).

Pocket-lint Nest Cam Outdoor Review: Secure Enough As A Security Camera?

Because Nest is cloud based that means recordings will use your home broadband bandwidth, so you’ll need to consider this if you have a fair usage policy on your internet. Nest notes that “at 1080p, each camera could use 140GB to 380GB of upload bandwidth per month” . Which is a lot . Even at 720p the camera could still use between 60GB and 160GB a month.

You’ll also need to consider bandwidth if you’re not on superfast broadband as the camera requires 200-1,200kbps bandwidth while streaming video (depending on what quality you’ve set it to) . The app does allow you to record in 360p, 720p and 1080p, so there’s plenty of flexibility there but it’s still a big consideration for remote viewing. Nest Cam Outdoor also has an impressive night-vision mode which gives a clear view of the same surroundings at night without the need for extra lighting. Capable of detecting movement and people, the camera will alert you to the presence of both and is reasonably intelligent in terms of being able differentiate between the two . For example, you’ll get push emails telling you that the camera “saw someone” or that it “noticed some activity” and the inclusion of a photograph of the relevant event with the ability to click straight through and see the footage within the app.

Pocket-lint Nest Cam Outdoor Review: Secure Enough As A Security Camera?

However, we also found that when the camera wasn’t placed in a quiet spot that we were bombarded with notifications that might not warrant any attention . We learned the hard way. During the review process, we had the camera installed on the front of the house, which meant that people walking up and down the road, vehicles passing by and cars driving in and out of the driveway all set off alerts on an hourly basis . Installed in front of a doorway or in a secluded spot might yield more useful results . And this probably highlights one of the strengths of the camera and its uses.

Nest Cam Outdoor: Convenient two-way communication?

If you were to install the Nest Outdoor Cam in a position near or above the front door then it would act as a good tool for both monitoring and communicate with visitors thanks to its two-way communication via built-in speaker and mic . This could be especially useful for elderly homeowners who struggle to get to their front door quickly. You can scare off unwanted persons by shouting at them through the camer, or simply communicate with visitors and the postie if you’re just got out the shower and need 60-seconds.

Pocket-lint Nest Cam Outdoor Review: Secure Enough As A Security Camera?

The camera uses a push-to-talk logic whereby you need to press a mic button on the app to talk to the visitor . This will greet them with an audio cue (“bing-bong”) first, then you can talk . When you let go of the button so they can talk but they’ll have to wait for the “bing-bong” cue before they can speak . If they start talking back to you before that happens then you won’t hear half of what they said. Most visitors won’t be aware of how this system works so you’ll either have to explain it to them or hope they’re so surprised there’s a camera talking to them that they will need a moment to gather their reply .

This problem is inherent due to both your voice and their reply having to go through Nest’s cloud servers first – hence some lag . Only what the visitor says is recorded. This is not a system you’d want to have a long conversation over, but as a quick interaction “hi, I’ll be there in a minute” or “could you just leave the parcel by the door please?” will work just fine . This doesn’t have to be done while you’re at home either, because Nest is cloud-based and you can use the app remotely (e.g . in your office or workplace) and still access footage and communicate with visitors with relative ease.

Nest Aware: Subscription-based recordings and features

  • 24/7 live video
  • 30 day history
  • Activity/people alerts

The Nest Outdoor Cam comes with a 30 day free trial of Nest Aware . This means you get a taster of what’s on offer at the full subscription level . After that date you’ll have to consider upgrade – depending on what you want to do with the camera. The free plan only offers a three hour snapshot history, activity alerts (no person alerts), live video feed and the two-way communication features . If you want more recording history then you’ll have to pay.

Pocket-lint Nest Cam Outdoor Review: Secure Enough As A Security Camera?

Currently Nest Aware is 8 per month or 80 per annum for 10 day video history and 24 per month or 240 per annum for 30 day history . It’s then extra for each additional camera – so the costs will soon mount up . In our minds that’s quite a subscription cost on top of the initial outlay. Without the subscription, if you’re intending to use the Nest Outdoor Cam as a security camera then it’s only useful for live feed and notifications . If you were burgled overnight and didn’t realise until the next morning then you wouldn’t have access to the footage of the culprits if it was outside the three hour snapshot zone.

Additional footage functionality time-lapses, clips and sharing

  • Shareable live stream
  • Time-lapse video creation
  • Saveable and sharable clips

Nest Outdoor’s nice-to-have features include the ability to create time-lapse videos . Here you can capture footage from the camera and turn it into a 30-, 60- or 120-second video . We created some pretty snazzy videos of people coming and going, day turning into night and clouds turning to starry night skylines . Beyond more than a few fun uses we can’t imagine this will be a heavily used feature for most people . Especially with the camera being in a fixed position most of the time. One of the features you would want to pay for though is the ability to capture, save and share clips of events or detected activity throughout the day . This could have several different uses, especially if you ever had to share footage of intruders with the Police (for example) . It’s easy to simply select the timeframe using the calendar (for the day) and the timeline (for the hour) and you can set the start and end of the clip before exporting . You can download that video or share a direct link for people to view.

Pocket-lint Nest Cam Outdoor Review: Secure Enough As A Security Camera?

The camera also offers the ability to share live streams publicly or to anyone with a designated password . You could theoretically share this with family or friends if you were going to be away from home and wanted someone to keep an eye out for you. When it comes to sharing, you can also register other members of the household to the account so everyone can have the app on their phone to monitor footage and receive alerts . These features come at no extra cost unlike the time-lapse and clip sharing, for which you’ll need a Nest Aware subscription.

Verdict

As a secure security camera the Nest Outdoor Cam is somewhat lacking . But as a smart camera for the home it certainly has a lot of great features. We like the quality of the footage for both day and night capture, the alert system for people detection, and the two-way engagement to speak with visitors or ward off unwanted guests (whether you’re home or not via the app). That said, the camera is not without its shortcomings .

You’ll need to install it properly, it could be easily taken out unlike a hardcore dedicated security camera, and there’s no ability to remote control its position. Plus the longevity of capture is limited to just three hours unless you’re happy to stump up the extra 8/ 24 per month for a Nest Aware subscription to provide access to capture from 10/30 days prior. Nest does make high-quality smart home products and, as such, if you’re considering a smart camera for the outside of your home then this should certainly be on your shortlist .

It’s not hardcore as security cameras go, but it’s still a handy bit of kit.

References

  1. ^ Nest (www.pocket-lint.com)
  2. ^ as its indoor Nest Cam sibling (www.pocket-lint.com)

Cricket Australia assure fans over security for Boxing Day Test

Last Updated: 23/12/16 8:56am

Melbourne Cricket Ground, which hosts the traditional Boxing Day Test

Cricket Australia has assured fans that security will be tight for the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Australia will begin Monday’s second Test against Pakistan with a one-nil lead in the three-match series, which follows a foiled terror plot targeting prominent sites in Melbourne. Counter-terrorism police and Australia’s domestic spy agency in Victoria recently conducted overnight raids on homes in the suburbs of Melbourne where they arrested six men and a woman. With obvious concerns over the historic fixture, which starts on December 26, Cricket Australia’s chief executive James Sutherland said: “Our security team is in contact with the relevant authorities to ensure we have the appropriate level of security at the Boxing Day Test and other cricket matches being held around the country.

“The safety and security of our fans, players and officials attending any cricket match is our number one priority. “We applaud Victoria Police for their efforts this morning in neutralising the threat and we will continue to work with the relevant authorities to ensure the highest security standards and protocols are maintained.” Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has praised counter-terrorism police for foiling the ‘Islamist terrorist plot’ planning to target iconic locations on Christmas Day1. He said: “This is one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted over the last several years. “They have been thwarted . They are in custody .

They are no longer a threat to Australians’ security.

“What these criminals seek to do is to kill, but they also seek to frighten us, to cower us into abandoning our Australian way of life, they want to frighten and divide Australians.”

References

  1. ^ Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has praised counter-terrorism police for foiling the ‘Islamist terrorist plot’ planning to target iconic locations on Christmas Day (news.sky.com)