Circle View Doorbell
The Logitech Circle View Doorbell has a good design and the setup process works well, but the device falters with its practical use. The device has a lower temperature rating for its operating conditions than some of its competitors and some of its internal components add to overheating issues with the device. If the device worked as described and was more reliable, the price would only be slightly higher than some of its competitors, but since it doesn't work well, I've dropped its rating for price.
- EASE OF USE
This Logitech doorbell is one of the worst HomeKit experiences I’ve ever had.
I have been dialing in my home to be “smart” before Smart Homes were cool. Because of that, I have experience with pretty much every type of smart home gadget you can think of. One of the first smart products we reviewed on Mac Sources was a video doorbell.
My most recent video doorbell was the Arlo Video Doorbell. I have been using Arlo Wireless Cameras for quite some time, and because Arlo’s Smart Hub is HomeKit compatible, I thought the Arlo Video Doorbell would be a good move. Even though Arlo’s system works with HomeKit, it is not 100% compatible with all the features. One of those features – HomeKit Secure Video – was something I desparately wanted to take advantage of. That is not available with Arlo’s system.
So, you can imagine my excitement when Logitech announced their Circle View Doorbell was not only HomeKit-enabled (and exclusive to HomeKit), but would also work with the HomeKit Secure Video option. Logitech makes some absolutely wonderful products and have been a reliable company to trust in.
When the Circle View Doorbell was launched (December 2020), I kept a close eye on it to see if I should switch from my Arlo. I finally made the jump to the Logitech doorbell in March this year. As you will read about in the User Expereince section, the changeover did not got as well as I hoped and the last three months have been a nightmare.
The Circle View Doorbell is an Apple HomeKit-enabled video doorbell with face recognition. The device features Logitech TrueView and is designed to provide crisp head-to-toe portrait video from short distances. The doorbell can handle high-constrast scenes and color night vision up to six feet away. It’s compatible with most wired doorbell systems and its sleek design complements nearly every type of home decor.
The Circle View Doorbell suports HomeKit Secure Video which also provides intelligent detection that is done securely and privately on your HomePod, the new HomePod mini, or Apple TV to determine when a person, animal, or vehicle is in the video. Face Recognition is accomplished through tagged images in your Photos library or by recent visitors that are captured by your camera or doorbell in your Home app.
- Functioning wired doorbell system (8-24V AC 10 VA or higher) and compatible chime
- High-speed 2.4/5 GHz a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi-based Internet near doorbell and home internet with at least 2.5 Mbps upload speed
- Apple HomeKit Secure Video compatible components
- Wireless Connectivity: 2.4/5 GHz a/b/g/n/ac 2 x 2 MIMO Wi-Fi
- Camera FOV: 160-degree DFOV with 3:4 format Portrait View
- Sensor + Video Quality: 5 MP Sensor with 1200 x 1600 HDR-enabled video
- Night Support: Color night vision, automatically triggered based on ambient light sensor in front of camera
- Night Illumination: 4000K LED light strip that provides illumination in an unobstructed area up to 6 Feet (1.8 m) away
- Mic: Digital MEMS
- Speaker: Mono
- Two Way Talk: Full Duplex with Acoustic Echo Cancellation
- Mounting: Screw based installation
- Orientation Options: 0° straight view with straight mount; 20° left view or 20° right view with angle mount
- Doorbell Wiring Support: 16-24 gauge cable, either solid or tinned stranded
- Weatherproof Rating: Doorbell – IP65; Chime Kit – Indoor use only
- Supported Ambient Temperature (In the shade)
- 8V to 16V Transformers: -20ºC to +40ºC (-4ºF to 104ºF)
- 17V to 24V Transformers: -20ºC to +45ºC (-4ºF to 113ºF)
- Direct sunlight can heat the product, even in low ambient temperatures. The product may initiate protective measures, including shutting down temporarily (while still being able to ring the indoor chime) and automatically turning back on once cool enough.
UNBOXING – USER EXPERIENCE
The Logitech Circle View Doorbell comes in a nice package and has all the information anyone could ever ask for on it. It also includes a photo of the product so you know what you are getting. Once I took the Circle View out of its box I immediately started the installation process, I was enamored by its clean-looking design also by the fact that I would be able to use the Home app to view and control my camera. The installation process went pretty smoothly. There are two parts to the installation – the exterior doorbell and the interior chime. Depending on how old your doorbell is (ours is pretty ancient), it might take a bit longer to add the chime kit in.
The first part of the install is to set the doorbell up with the Apple Home app. This is pretty unique to smart home devices as most of the time, you have to install a device’s app as well as connect thorugh the Home app. Surprisingly, the Circle View Doorbell connected pretty easily to the Home app. After I had the doorbell connected and installed, I came back inside to install chime kit. This part took me about 30 minutes but that was only because I had to figure out how to route the wiring so that it looked nice and not just a clump of wires around our chime.
One of the issues I had with the Arlo Doorbell was how slowly it connected through HomeKit. In the Arlo app, the connection was a little quicker, but I felt that if I had to go to the Arlo app every time someone came to the door, that defeated the purpose of it being connected to HomeKit. With that said, I thought that the Logitech doorbell would connect faster given that it was natively designed for HomeKit and since it was a newer device. While I never officially timed the connection rate, the Logitech doorbell seemed to connect at the same speed as the Arlo.
It wasn’t any slower so I chalked it up to the limitations of this type of tech devices. At this time, I had not experienced a faster video doorbell so I figured it was a common occurance with all video doorbells. I still had the HomeKit video recording and the doorbell was staying connected to our network, so I was still happy with the switch.
Over the coming weeks, I noticed my notifications were coming in sporadically. One day I would get motion notifications for what seemed like the smallest thing – like leaves on our trees – but the next day someone could be standing on my porch swinging their arms and unless they actually rang the doorbell, I didn’t get any type of notification.
I spent time adjusting all of the settings in the Apple Home App but sadly, it did not have any affect on the doorbell’s functions. Older smart home doorbells had their quirks as well so I pushed on again. Right at the 2-month mark, the doorbell stopped connecting to HomeKit. I had noticed random dropouts before this point, but they were momentary and the connection always returned. This time, the disconnection was permanent. The doorbell was still on and if you pressed the button, it would still activate the inside mechanical chime, but there was no connection to HomeKit.
We attempted resetting the doorbell and we were able to get it reconnected. Less than 24 hours later, the connection would drop again. We went through this back-and-forth with the doorbell several times before doing additional research. As it turns out, many users online have reported issues with the doorbell overheating – especially when it is exposed to heat or direct sunlight.
According to the product page on Logitech’s website, the Circle View Doorbell is rated to operate in temperatures up to 113º F depending on the voltage of your transformer. This is meant to be an ‘ambient temperature’ with the doorbell being located in the shade. Logitech includes this disclaimer with the product description:
Direct sunlight can heat the product, even in low ambient temperatures. The product may initiate protective measures, including shutting down temporarily (while still being able to ring the indoor chime) and automatically turning back on once cool enough.
While our front patio area does get some sunlight exposure in the late afternoon, the doorbell area near our front door is shielded from it. That said, we did discover that the hottest day of the year so far (91º F) occured on May 11 and that lined up exactly with when the doorbell went offline. So, even though the doorbell wasn’t getting direct sunlight, we believe that its connection issues were likely due to overheating based on the ambient outdoor temperature.
When touching the doorbell we found it to be hot to the touch and this lined up with others’ complaints that the doorbell was overheating. Once we made this assumption about the issues we were having, we reset the doorbell to factory settings and attempted to use it without the LEDs as suggested to keep the heat down. That worked for about 30 minutes or so before the doorbell dropped off again and the LEDs turned back on automatically – causing more heat in the unit.
Many users have reported expereinces where the doorbell would overheat, power off, and then automatically come back online. This never happened with my unit. I never received any notifications from the unit saying it was offline. I discoved it by see it offline in the Home app.
After coming to the conclusion that the unit was experiencing heating problems and resetting it was not solving the problem, I reached out to Logitech support. The doorbell does have a 1-year warranty on it so I thought they might be able to assist in some way. I sent a nice long detailed explanation of what the issues we were having and how we have reset it and what steps we did to do so. I did this with the hopes that I could bypass all of the let’s try this troubleshooting step over emails and get to the point so we did not have to play email tag. After two solid weeks of waiting for some response, I decided it was time to throw in the towel.
I had continued to reset the doorbell and watch for updates hoping that maybe there would be a firmware or app update that might fix the problem. I mean this is Logitech we are talking about here. There is no way a company as big as them is not going to address an overheating issue with their newly pushed HomeKit doorbell right? Wrong. I have seen nothing from them. No updates. No recalls. No big statements. Zip.
After three months of fighting a product that, in my opinion, should have never shipped, I decided I had enough and returned it to my point of purchase for a full refund. The same day I initiated the return, I hit up HomeDepot for the Ring Video Pro 2.
I have experience with Ring doorbells and I knew what I would get from them – at least I thought I did. Remember above when I said I had not experienced a faster connecting doorbell at that point in time? Well, Ring’s Pro 2 is the doorbell that puts all others to shame. The installation was simple. The doorbell connected instantly and even though it doesn’t work with HomeKit, the device works really well. It did what the Logitech was promising and it did it better.
Would I suggest anyone buy the Circle View Doorbell from Logitech? Not at all. It’s got a nice design to it but that’s where the good will end. Take it from somone who has been setting up Smart Home products for years, this type of behavior from a Smart Home device is not normal. I’ve never had any other doorbell overheat. Maybe the second generation version of this doorbell will work better, but for now, I will stick to the Ring from here on out since they have a history of being reliable and just working.