It seems like everybody's making home security cameras these days. Features that once seemed futuristic — like watching a live feed from your house on your phone — now seem standard. The Logi Circle aims to set itself apart. It's not a home security camera, it's a "home connection camera."
This novel approach to home cams has less to do with hardware and more to do with the user experience. Competing products like the Nest Cam and its sidekick software Nest Aware boast a robust feature-set, half of which you'll probably never use. But the Logi Circle offers a dead simple interface and a promise to show you only the moments you care about. Seems like a smart approach.
Wait, what the hell does "home connection" mean anyways?
Logi Circle is a home security camera with an emphasis on the home part of that designation more than the security part. The orb of a device can be attached to any surface and will broadcast the most interesting moments directly to your smartphone. It will send you push notifications with updates. You can even talk to it thanks to a simple intercom feature.
Most cameras in this class do those three things. The Logi Circle's mission is to make it easier to find meaningful moments throughout the day. (Meaningful essentially means large objects like people are moving.) If you don't think that staring at your living room seems like live entertainment, you can also generate a 60-second recap of the entire day. It's called your Daily Brief. In other words, if something happens in Logi Circle's field of view, you can watch a replay from your phone. That's it.
Who else thinks it looks a little bit like HAL?
The extent to which the Logi Circle feels like an all-seeing eye can't be ignored. It seems especially eye-like because it's shaped like one. From the right angle, it also looks a bit like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The resemblance is strongest when the lights are off and red LEDs light up around the lens. Thanks to the intercom, you can even make it talk.
However, given that it evokes comparisons to scifi movies, the Logi Circle is also a pretty futuristic concept. The so-called "Scene Intuition" features knows the difference between a shifting shadow and a walking human, and the Daily Brief software cuts out the dull moment so you can watch a day go by in one minute. It's actually super slick.
Why would I want to keep an eye on my home?
You name it. The Logi Circle will work just fine for security purposes. If you're going out of town and want to make sure nobody broke in, you can just fetch a daily summary and put your mind at ease. The camera will also work as a nanny cam, so you can keep and eye on the kids. Do you want to watch your kittens from your desk at work? The Logi Circle is for you.
Again, most home security cameras let you keep an eye on your home. Some will even keep track of air quality and work as a home hub. The Logi Circle does neither of these things, but that's the point. It's designed to be streamlined and easy to use, to do one thing and to do it well.
How does it really stack up against the competition?
The Logi Circle will contend with products like the Nest Cam, the Withings Home, and the Piper — just to name a few. The basic specs (think: camera) are comparable in almost every regard. It's actually price at $US200, the exact same price as all three of those other cameras.
But again, there's big difference in how you'd use the Logi Circle. The smart filtering that shows you only the meaningful moments works very well, and the Daily Brief feature is something that I'd use every day, if I wanted to keep up with a houseful of kids or pets or potential burglars. The Logi Circle is also just a little bit more compact than its competitors, and the ability to stick it on any magnetic surface is very appealing. It also packs a battery so you can take it on the go, though it only lasts three hours on a full charge.
The question you should really be asking yourself is whether you'd actually use a home camera. Frankly, $US200 is a lot to pay for a peace-of-mind device and way too much to pay to make people think you're watching them. But since it's so simple to set up and easy to use, the Logi Circle is a great way to test the waters.
If you give it a try, you won't be able to argue this one thing. It's pretty futuristic to watch a live feed of your living room on your phone anywhere in the world. And just imagine how much fun this would be at a dance party.
Photos by Michael Hession