You are reading the article Linksys Atlas 6 Review: Great updated in December 2023 on the website Minhminhbmm.com. We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested January 2024 Linksys Atlas 6 Review: GreatPros
Good speeds and coverage
Ethernet backhaul supportedCons
No dedicated wireless backhaul
Basic parental controls onlyOur Verdict
The Linksys Atlas 6 provides fast and reliable whole-home coverage for a sensible price. The user-friendly app makes it easy to manage your network, and to add more nodes in larger homes, increasing coverage if it’s needed.
What’s more, each ‘node’ (each router) in the three-pack device has four Ethernet LAN ports, which means you can hook up PCs, TV set-top boxes and any other devices that don’t have Wi-Fi but do need to be connected to the internet. Most mesh Wi-Fi systems at this price have one Ethernet port, or two if you’re lucky.
The Atlas 6 is a dual-band mesh Wi-Fi system, which means that it has 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi.
In more expensive tri-band mesh Wi-Fi systems (in Linksys’s range, those are the Velop kits) there’s an extra 5GHz channel reserved specifically for the mesh Wi-Fi units to communicate with one another, leaving the other for beaming Netflix to your phone, or whatever it is you’re doing.
With a dual-band system, all the extra data that a mesh Wi-Fi system has to send around simply in order to function must use that sole 5GHz motorway lane, reducing the bandwidth available for user data. This isn’t unusual on cheaper mesh Wi-Fi kits, and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy one.
And on the plus side, the Atlas 6 supports wired backhaul, so if your home already has network ports in some rooms, or if you have Ethernet cables long enough, you can mitigate the lack of dedicated wireless backhaul by sending that data over Ethernet cables.
If you think this sort of set up renders mesh Wi-Fi somewhat pointless, don’t be too quick to write it off. In larger homes, or those with thick concrete floors or walls, where Wi-Fi struggles to reach even the next room, wired backhaul can be a life-saver. And the Atlas 6 is arguably a more tempting option if you do plan to do this as it has those extra Ethernet ports, saving you from the extra expense and hassle of hooking up Ethernet hubs, which you’ll have to with, say the Eero 6 if you need to connect several wired devices to a particular node.
However the nodes are connected, the Atlas 6 is an AX3000 system, which means it’s capable of a theoretical top Wi-Fi speed of 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2402Mbps on the 5GHz band using 2×2 spatial streams. The speeds you’ll actually get depend on a variety of factors including the Wi-Fi capabilities of your phones, tablets, and laptops, as well as how far away those devices are positioned from the nodes, plus physical obstacles in your home – such as the walls and floors already mentioned.
The three-pack Linksys sent over for this review promises coverage up to 6,000 square feet (557 square metres), and costs around $350/£250.
If you don’t need that much coverage, then a two-pack is around $280/£190, and single units are $150/£110, which promise 4,000 square feet (371 square metres), 2,000 square feet (185 square metres) respectively.
So, those are the key specs, but what’s the Atlas 6 like to use in the real world? Let’s dive in.
Thomas Newton / FoundryDesign & build
243 x 102 x 207mm white towers
Three Ethernet LAN ports, one WAN
The Linksys Atlas units have the same basic design as Linksys’s Velop kits. Standing just under 25cm tall, the Atlas 6 units don’t take up a lot of space on a shelf or desk. They weigh 1.2kg each and feature heavy bases with rubberised feet, so they’re not easily knocked over, although having said that, I can confirm that they are also not entirely cat-proof.
The top of each unit features circular vents for heat to escape, and a status LED that tells you if the node has internet connectivity and decent signal strength (blue), if the internet connection is down (red), or if there’s a weak connection (yellow and orange).
On the back is a column of Ethernet ports, all clearly labelled, so you know which port to use to connect the main node to your modem (internet), and which ones to use to connect your smart TVs, consoles, soundbars, smart thermostats, or whatever else can benefit from a wired connection (Ethernet).
Thomas Newton / FoundrySetup
Quick and easy to install
Linksys app provides step-by-step instructions
The Linksys Atlas 6 is very easy to set up, thanks largely to the Linksys Smart WiFi app (iOS, Android) that guides you through every step of the process.
First you plug in the first node’s power supply and turn it on. It doesn’t matter which one you pick, if you’ve got a 2 or 3-pack bundle, as each unit is the same.
The is node becomes the ‘primary’ and is the one you’ll put in the room where your modem (or existing Wi-Fi router) is already set up. The Atlas 6 doesn’t replace your current router (or modem) but simply connects to it to get an internet connection.
An Ethernet cable is included in the box.
Once done, you install and launch the Linksys app, connect to the primary node via Wi-Fi, and you’ll be prompted to switch on your modem (if it isn’t already). When an internet connection has been established, you’ll then be asked to create a new network name (SSID) and Wi-Fi password.
You can use the same one as your current router if you want, and this will mean phones and other devices will automatically connect to the new Wi-Fi network without you having to change the Wi-Fi details on all of them.
Thomas Newton / Foundry
Then you’ll be ready to start placing additional nodes around your home. Hit ‘Add Node’, plug the device into the mains, and turn it on. Once it’s powered on and your phone detects the node’s Wi-Fi signal, the app will prompt you to pair the two devices, and then take a few minutes doing so.
If the app thinks that a node could be placed somewhere else in your home, it’ll tell you, and give you a congratulatory message once you’ve found a more optimal place.
Channel Finder looks for the least congested wireless channels
Dashboard gives you a detailed overview of your network
Usual features like Guest WiFi, port forwarding, and parental controls
Like many modern routers, the Altas 6 hardware supports band steering, which sees devices nudged towards the 5GHz frequency where possible. There’s also a Channel Finder tool, which scans both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and automatically selects the least-congested channels within those radio bands.
For example, when I ran the Channel Finder tool, one of the nodes switched from Channel 13 to Channel 11 on the 2.4GHz band.
This is a useful feature, especially if you’re surrounded by other homes – perhaps in an apartment or terraced house – and there’s lots of Wi-Fi interference from your neighbours. You’ll want to regularly run this to make sure you’re getting the best wireless connections possible.
Thomas Newton / Foundry
You’re not given much information about channel availability and local WiFi interference — for that you’d need something like Apple’s AirPort Utility or the WiFi Speed Test app for Android — and nor does the Linksys app let you manually change channels. This is slightly frustrating, especially if you happen to know that a specific channel or block of channels is less congested than the one(s) you’re currently using. However, most people don’t set this manually, or even want to know: they want a tool like this to work it out for them.
There’s also the option to toggle DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection), which lets you access portions of the 5GHz band which are also used for things like radar and weather stations, although in testing, having this turned on or off didn’t seem to make much difference – my phones and other devices were always stuck on Channel 40 and Channel 44 in the 5GHz band. But you may benefit in your particular location.
The Linksys app also gives you a good overview of the devices currently connected, which radio band they’re using, and which node they’re currently connected to. From here, you can prioritise traffic and/or apply parental controls to specific devices, although these tools are both quite basic — you can only prioritise up to three devices on the network, and the parental controls are limited to setting homework hours, and a simple content filter. While a useful free tool, requires you to manually add specific URLs. You may prefer to use parental control software on your kids’ devices instead.
The Network Administration page lets you check on the signal strength of the specific nodes, and while the status LEDs are a good visual indicator that tells you something’s awry without the app. But with the app you can see just how bad the signals is in terms of RSSI values — read our how to check Wi-Fi signal strength guide for more on this.
There’s the option to have a separate Guest Wi-Fi network with a different name and password, and this takes less than a minute to set up and turn on or off.
Generally speaking, if you ever do need to restart the Atlas 6 system for whatever reason, it doesn’t take long to for the whole system to restart and get back on its feet. Single port forwarding, port range forwarding and port range triggering can also be set up from the mobile app.
The Linksys app is really very good, a lot better than many others, largely due to the fact that it puts the great majority of things you’d want to check and configure at your fingertips. Anything that saves you from having to enter 192.168.0.1 into a desktop web browser and open up the regular control panel is a plus, although you’ll need to resort to that if you want to tinker with DNS settings.
Thomas Newton / FoundryPerformance
Around 1,000Mbps at close ranges on newer devices
Expect to get around 500-700Mbps at the same range on older tech
At greater distances, speeds are comparable with cheaper systems
The Linksys Atlas 6 is a WiFi 6 AX3000 device, and so is theoretically capable of delivering top speeds of 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2402Mbps.
I didn’t expect to see those speeds during testing, but was please to find that – for a dual-band system – performance was still pretty fast.
To get the best performance, it helps if you have a Wi-Fi 6 phone and laptop as well which at least match the Atlas 6. In other words, they’ll need to have the same 2×2 antenna configuration, and thankfully, most do. You can see the benefit of this in the final table where my Pixel 6 had a connection speed of over 340Mbps even in the garden.
Below are averages (rounded up) of speed tests I took using the WiFi Speed Test Pro app on a number of devices at locations one metre away from the main node, then five metres away with one non-load bearing wall between the primary node and the clients, then one floor and 12 metres away, and then outside in the garden, roughly 15 metres away. Speed tests were also taken with the Virgin Media Super Hub 3, for comparison.
Speeds recorded on Huawei Mate 10Virgin Media Super Hub 3Linksys Atlas 61m794Mbps722Mbps5m with a wall403Mbps324MbpsUpstairs, near the rear of the house14Mbps608MbpsGardenNo connection96Mbps
Speeds recorded on Realme X50Virgin Media Super Hub 3Linksys Atlas 61m527Mbps622Mbps5m with a wall317Mbps105MbpsUpstairs, near the rear of the house23Mbps328MbpsGardenNo connection27Mbps
Speeds recorded on Google Pixel 6Virgin Media Super Hub 3Linksys Atlas 61m535Mbps1058Mbps5m with a wall346Mbps599MbpsUpstairs, near the rear of the house5Mbps574MbpsGardenNo connection344Mbps
That should give you an idea of what speeds you can expect, but what about signal strength? You can see from the NetSpot heat map below how well the Altas 6 distributed coverage throughout my home. Signal strength was pretty uniform throughout, and I was even able to pick up serviceable speeds out in the garden – ideal for when I want to stream The Gates of Delirium to a Bluetooth speaker, to the detriment of my neighbours.
If the numbers are meaningless to you, which they probably are, then red means a strong signal, green is good and dark blue is weak. Light blue – as seen at the top (the garden) – is ok when you don’t need fast speeds.
Thomas Newton / Foundry
I wasn’t able to determine quite why I couldn’t get speeds close to the 1000Mbps+ when stood close to the kitchen and office nodes, despite being able to get such speeds when in close proximity to the primary node.
I turned DFS on, to boost capacity in the 5GHz band, and it made no noticeable difference to the speeds, suggesting that it either wasn’t using the extra frequencies, or that they offered no extra speed. Likewise, I toggled node steering – where the primary node suggests to the other nodes which client devices should connect to which node – and noticed no real difference in speeds or signal strength.
I’ve encountered similar issues with home networking gear before, recording slow speeds on a client device one day, only to record much faster ones the next. This is, unfortunately, Wi-Fi in the real world, with interference coming and going. Also, the band steering and node steering algorithms might get better at ‘figuring out’ where my client devices are in my home.
Thomas Newton / FoundryPrice & availability
The Linksys Atlas 6 is available to buy now in the US and UK.
In the United States you can buy Atlas 6 packs directly from Linksys, with a single node priced at US$149.99, a two-pack setting you back US$279.99, and a three-pack costing US$349.99.
Amazon was selling Linksys Atlas 6 units in single pack, two-pack, and three-pack bundles for US$150.19, US$299.00, and US$349.99 respectively, at the time of review.
It’s also available to buy from Tech America, with the single pack and two-pack bundles going for slightly less – US$145.00 and US$279.99 – while the 3-pack is on for $399.99.
In the UK, you’ll find the Atlas 6 on Linksys’s site, but you can’t currently buy any of them direct.
We found single Linksys Atlas 6 nodes for £99.99 from Ebuyer and two-packs for £179.99 – the best non-offer prices currently going – and the three-pack bundle for £249.99.
Amazon UK had single Linksys Atlas 6 devices for £108.99, the two-pack for £190.99 and the three-pack deal for £249.99. Box also sells the Linksys Atlas 6 three-pack for £249.99.
CCL Online sells single, two-pack, and three-pack for £101.72, £183.10, and £254.31, respectively.
Prices and release date information for Australia was not available at the time of writing.
For alternatives, see our roundup of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems.Verdict
The Linksys Atlas 6 offers an impressive array of features, most of which are easy to use thanks to the great Linksys app. Prices are reasonable too.
It isn’t the cheapest Wi-Fi 6 mesh system, but you wouldn’t expect it to be considering the features and performance it offers. The best speeds are available only if you have up-to-date devices, but don’t forget that you won’t often get any benefit from speeds that are faster than your broadband connection.
It’s useful if you want to future-proof your Wi-Fi, but you can save money if your broadband is slow (say, 70Mbps) and you won’t be upgrading to a faster package any time soon.
Ultimately, the Atlas 6 is great value for money, and a great all-round mesh Wi-Fi system.
You're reading Linksys Atlas 6 Review: Great
Decent Wi-Fi 6 speeds
Four Ethernet ports
Supports mesh networkCons
Blocky and bulky design
Similar performance to last year’s Linksys MR7350Our Verdict
Small, but packed with potential, the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 is a competent Wi-Fi 6 router that’s well priced (in the UK at least), and can be expanded into a mesh Wi-Fi system later. But that approach isn’t necessarily the cheapest way to get mesh Wi-Fi.
It’s an AX5400 device, meaning it ought to give you faster 5GHz Wi-Fi speeds than other Wi-Fi 6 routers for a similar price. Indeed, the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 is essentially an upgrade of last year’s Linksys MR7350 router, which is an AX1800 device.
Like the MR7350, the Hydra Pro 6 is a router that can form part of a mesh Wi-Fi system. It can work as a standalone router, or you can pair it with mesh Wi-Fi satellites from Linksys’s Velop range.
This means if you want whole-home coverage in the future, but your budget can’t currently extend to cover a multi-device mesh Wi-Fi system such as the Linksys Atlas Pro 6 (which ranges from £320-£430 / $349-$449 for 2-pack and 3-pack bundle respectively), then the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 might be the ideal stand-in for the time being.
Alternatively, if your coverage needs are a bit more modest, you’re living in a flat (apartment), or somewhere with thin walls, and you merely want a decent Wi-Fi 6 router for around £200 / $300, then the Hydra Pro 6 should cater for your needs.Design and build
The Linksys Hydra Pro 6 looks a lot like the router from last year it’s effectively replacing, the Linksys MR7350.
It features the same basic blocky design, the same staggered rectangular mesh covering on the top, and vents on the bottom and sides in the same places. The only immediately noticeable difference is that the Linksys ‘L’ logo is stamped onto the external antenna. The antennas can be rotated and tilted 180 and 90 degrees respectively.
Turning the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 around, you’ll see five gigabit Ethernet ports, one WAN (helpfully labeled ‘Internet’) and four LAN (helpfully labeled ‘Ethernet’) .
It’s likely that you’ll be setting this device up in your living room, or somewhere close to your modem (this router doesn’t contain one) and master socket, and it’s therefore also likely that you’ll have games consoles, TV set-top boxes, smart TVs and maybe a soundbar, all of which could benefit from wired Ethernet connections, so four ports should come in handy.
The only other physical connection on here is a Type-A USB 3.0 port, which you can use to connect a hard drive which can then be accessed through the Hydra Pro 6’s admin portal.
Despite being made of fantastic plastic, the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 doesn’t feel cheap: it feels reasonably sturdy.Setup & features
Linksys has done a good job of making the Hydra Pro 6 easy for newcomers to set up from scratch. The Linksys mobile apps (iOS, Android) do a good job of guiding you through the process, covering the basics of router placement – ‘Place out in the open’, ‘Avoid hiding inside of behind furniture’ – to making sure your modem’s turned off before you power the router on and connect it to the modem. Once the connection’s established and you have internet access, the app will ask you whereabouts in the home it’s placed (e.g. living room, kitchen), which basically paves the way for you to add Linksys Velop mesh satellites in the future.
Setting up the Hydra Pro 6 took less than ten minutes, although the longest part was waiting for internet access to be available – so your mileage may vary here, depending on your provider and service.
Once everything’s set up, the Linksys mobile apps also let you dive into the Hydra Pro 6’s settings and check on the devices currently connected.
You can choose to prioritise up to three devices on your network, which is helpful if you’ve got lots of devices all straining for bandwidth at the same time. You can also rename devices as they appear on the dashboard, and apply parental controls, which can restrict certain devices from accessing specific domains, and apply homework hours. You can quickly and easily create Guest Wi-Fi networks for times when you have people over and you don’t want to hand out your regular password.
The Linksys Hydra Pro 6 broadcasts one SSID by default, but if you want to separate the bands and have the router broadcast two names, one for 2.4GHz and one for 5GHz, you can, but you need to open up the desktop control panel for this, as you can’t do it in the mobile app. You can also enabled WPA3 encryption instead of WPA2 (or a mixture of the two) if you have any devices which support the newer encryption standard.Performance
Overall performance of the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 is good. If you’re working in the same room as the router, you’ll be able to enjoy some fast wireless speeds, especially if you’re using a recent phone or laptop that supports Wi-Fi 6. If you’re living and working in a large home, and want coverage in every room, you will want to invest in some Velop satellites, however.
The Hydra Pro 6 is a slightly upgraded version of last year’s Linksys MR7350. While the routers look very similar, the main difference is that Wi-Fi speeds in the higher 5GHz band should be faster (thanks to the Hydra Pro 6 being an AX5400 device), although the top speeds on the 2.4GHz band should be the same.
Interestingly, in my speed tests the results I got were either on par with what I observed with the MR3750, or in some cases, slower. As you’d expect, they were considerably faster than Virgin Media‘s Super Hub 3.
One interesting observation was that the Hydra Pro 6 was better was at connecting to my (old) Huawei Mate 10 Pro, a Wi-Fi 5 device, in more areas around the home, suggesting better coverage than the MR3750.
For example, in the upstairs office (located roughly 15 metres away and one floor up from the router) and in the garden (stood 20 metres away, with two walls and two shut doors between the client and the router), the Mate 10 Pro struggled to connect to the Linksys MR3750. But there were no such problems connecting to the Hydra Pro 6 on the same device in those locations.
I also found that the Hydra Pro 6 automatically shunted the Mate 10 Pro to Channel 11 (a 2.4GHz channel) when performing speed tests upstairs or out in the garden, whereas the other two phones – Realme X50 and Pixel 6 – were kept on Channel 44 (a 5GHz channel). This is an example of the Hydra Pro 6’s band steering in action, choosing the best radio frequencies on a per-device basis.
Rather than use separate SSIDs and force the Hydra Pro 6 to use 2.4GHz or 5GHz, we used the default settings, as most buyers will, and ran speed tests in four locations and allowed the router and phones to decide which frequency to use. Here are the results:
Wi-Fi 5 test (Huawei Mate 10 Pro)Virgin Media Super Hub 3Linksys Hydra Pro 61m693Mbps836Mbps5m with a wall312Mbps437MbpsUpstairs, near the rear of the house21Mbps40MbpsGardenn/a26Mbps
Wi-Fi 6 test (Realme X50)Virgin Media Super Hub 3Linksys Hydra Pro 61m634Mbps870Mbps5m with a wall276Mbps399MbpsUpstairs, near the rear of the house18Mbps38MbpsGarden1Mbps12Mbps
Oddly, the speeds recorded on the Realme X50 (a Wi-Fi 6 phone) were not as good (except at 1m), and while the Google Pixel 6 (see below) recorded faster speeds, they were barely any different to what I recorded on the MR3750 last year.
The only exception was when stood 1m from the router. On occasion, it would move from channel 44 to 100 and use 160MHz to boost speed to 1161Mbps. The 920Mbps figure is the average from all tests. Note that you cannot enable or force the Hydra Pro 6 to use 160MHz all the time.
Wi-Fi 6 test (Pixel 6)Virgin Media Super Hub 3Linksys Hydra Pro 61m674Mbps920Mbps (1161Mbps max)5m with a wall392Mbps695MbpsUpstairs, near the rear of the house28Mbps25MbpsGarden6Mbps44Mbps
Regardless of speeds actually achieved, the Hydra Pro 6’s range is surprisingly good considering it’s a solo device. It was able to deliver 5GHz coverage in areas of my home where I often struggle to get a useable connection on either radio band.
While it’s not really capable of delivering useable whole-home coverage in my two-up, two-down terraces home in South London, it’s not intended to, so it’s not really fair to mark it down for that. And, naturally, in larger homes, you’ll want to consider mesh Wi-Fi to get a fast connection throughout.
If you wanted to use the Hydra’s mesh capabilities, you will need to invest in a separate Linksys Velop node, perhaps something like the Velop MX5300 or Velop MX4200.
It then becomes about whether you value the ability to manage your home network through Linksys’ app which is probably better than your older ISP-supplied router.
The Velop, though, isn’t the only mesh Wi-Fi system. Something like the Amazon Eero 6, or the Netgear Nighthawk Mesh Wi-Fi 6 system might be better suited to your needs, although these devices don’t give you much in the way of Ethernet ports.
There are cheaper options if you don’t need such fast speeds. And, arguably, if you have relatively slow broadband (under 100Mbps, say) then a pricey Wi-Fi 6 mesh system is probably overkill. For recommendations, see our separate roundup of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems.Price & availability
The Linksys Hydra Pro 6 is available to buy now, for around £180 in the UK. Oddly, it’s much more expensive – $300 – in the United States.
Linksys has a web page for the Hydra Pro 6 on its UK site, but you can’t but it from the company directly.
Instead, you can purchase Hydra Pro 6 from Broadband Buyer for £197, eBuyer (out of stock), Ballicom for £194, or Amazon UK for £125. Obviously, Amazon is the obvious place to buy one, then.
You can buy a Hydra Pro 6 directly from Linksys in the US, where it’s normally priced at US$299.99, but was – when we reviewed the router in May 2023 – on sale for $249.99.
Best Buy also sells the Hydra Pro 6 for $299.99, but Amazon is again the place to look, with the router costing under $180 when we checked..
As far as we know, it is not available in Australia.Verdict
The Linksys Hydra Pro 6 offers good performance, has a lot of useful features and represents good value for money.
The option to expand your home network’s coverage using Linksys Velop mesh Wi-Fi units might appeal to some, especially those that can’t afford the upfront cost of such a system right now.
However, there are plenty of affordable mesh systems that can replace your existing router’s Wi-Fi for not much more money than the Hydra Pro 6, and they are a better choice if your priority is huge Wi-Fi coverage but not outright speed.Specs
802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) 2×4 dual-band
MU-MIMO & OFDMA
4 x gigabit Ethernet LAN ports
Remote control and management with the Linksys app (iOS, Android)
WPA 2/3 hybrid
You don’t have to be a fat cat to benefit from Personal Capital’s free tools. In fact, getting a handle on your personal finances is the first step in the journey to financial independence.
Table of Contents
You already know we’re big fans of You Need a Budget because it’s a great tool for budgeting the money you already have. However, when it comes to planning for the long-term future, we use Personal Capital.Tools You Get With Personal Capital
After you’ve created a free Personal Capital account and added all your financial accounts, you’ll see a dashboard displaying a quick overview of your finances.
Additionally, you’ll have access to the Banking, Investment, Planning, and Wealth Management areas of the website.The Personal Capital Dashboard
Each section of the Personal Capital dashboard contains a quick overview and a link to get more detail.Net Worth
Personal Capital tracks your net worth across all your accounts, assets, and liabilities. Select the Net Worth link on the dashboard to view a more detailed graph. You can specify a time period and include or exclude particular accounts.
Below the chart, you’ll see a list of transactions included in the net worth calculation. Drill down by selecting a category like Cash, Investment, Credit, Loan, or Mortgage.Budgeting
Personal Capital’s budgeting tool pales in comparison to YNAB. You can see where your money is going, but you cannot create goals. We recommend ignoring this area and sticking with YNAB for budgeting.Cash Flow
The dashboard’s Cash Flow widget shows you how much has gone in and come out of your accounts over the past 30 days.
Selecting the Cash Flow link will take you to a more detailed graph. It defaults to including data from all your accounts except:
Loan or Mortgage accounts
Transactions categorized as transfers
Credit card payments
You can also select Income or Expense to view graphs organized by category and time period.
Once again, YNAB offers similar reports, especially if you have the Toolkit for YNAB browser extension. If you do want to use Personal Capital to track this information, you’ll need to classify your transactions so they show up in the right categories.Portfolio Balance
The Portfolio Balance dashboard widget shows you the balance in your investment accounts over the last 90 days. More on this below.Market Movers
This dashboard widget displays a daily snapshot of your investments (called the “You Index”) vs. the S&P 500, US stock, foreign stock, and US bond markets.Retirement Savings
The Retirement Savings widget tells you how much you’ll need to save each month for the rest of the calendar year to meet your retirement saving goals.
More on retirement savings below.Emergency Fund
According to Personal Capital, your emergency fund is the total amount you have in your listed bank accounts, which is not as useful as having a budget category dedicated to your emergency fund. Again, we recommend using YNAB for tracking your emergency fund.Debt Paydown
The Debt Paydown widget shows progress on paying your loans during the current year.
Select the Debt Paydown link to view a list of transactions included in the graph.Banking Tools
The Banking menu has links to Cash Flow, Budgeting, Bills, and Open an Account. We’ve described Cash Flow and Budgeting above. The Bills page displays any upcoming bills from your linked accounts.
Open an Account opens a page where you can sign up for Personal Capital Cash, a program that purports to give you higher interest rates than traditional banking products.Investing Tools
Personal Capital’s investing tools are where it shines.Holdings
Similar to the Market Movers section, Holdings displays your investments compared to other indices like the S&P 500.
Below the Holding chart, you’ll find a list of your holdings labeled by ticker symbol and info on the number of shares you own, the share price, one-day change, and total value.Balances
As you would expect, Balances displays the balances of each of your investment accounts over the time period you select.Performance
Performance shows you how each of your accounts is performing in each asset class.
Below the chart is a list of your accounts and information on each account’s cash flow, income, expense, change over time, and balance.Allocation
Allocation displays how your investments are allocated across asset classes.
You can drill down into each asset class for more info on what kinds of investments you have in that class.
This is particularly useful if you’re invested in index funds and want to see how the fund is invested.US Sectors
This section displays a bar graph identifying the US sectors you’re invested in, like technology, industrials, and healthcare.
If you have a 401K or another investment account that doesn’t have a stock ticker, you can manually specify which sectors that account is invested in.Planning Tools
Personal Capital’s planning tools are among its best features—particularly the retirement planner.Retirement Planner
First, you tell the Retirement Planner when you want to retire. Then add any income events you anticipate (like a pension, Social Security, or sale of a property) and your spending goals during retirement. It will use a Monte Carlo simulation to predict your chances of success.
You can create multiple scenarios with different assumptions. What if you want to retire early? What effect will having a part-time job for a few years have on your retirement? This tool will help you imagine a variety of futures.Savings Planner
The Savings Planner tells you if you’re on track to meet your savings goals. It breaks down your savings into taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free categories.
You’ll also see a list of all your investment accounts and each account’s type, amount saved last year, amount saved this year, and the account’s balance.Retirement Fee Analyzer
The Retirement Fee Analyzer displays information about the fees associated with your investments to the extent that Personal Capital has access to that information. At the very least, it’s an easy way to view the expense ratio for each of your funds.Investment Checkup & Wealth Management
About this Google Pixel 6 review: I tested the Google Pixel 6 for eight days. It was running Android 12 on the November 5, 2023 security patch. The Google Pixel 6 review unit was provided to Android Authority by Google.
Update, November 2023: We’ve updated this review with new alternatives and updated software information.
Google Pixel 6 (128GB): $599 / £599 / €649
Google Pixel 6 (256GB): $699
Gorilla Glass Victus (front), Gorilla Glass 6 (rear), metal alloy
158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm
In-display fingerprint sensor
Stormy Black, Kinda Coral, Sorta Seafoam
A big part of Google’s reimagination of the Pixel line has to do with its design. The Pixel 6 no longer looks or feels like an afterthought of a smartphone. Every aspect of the phone was designed intentionally, for better or worse.
The Google Pixel 6 is made primarily of glass — Victus on the front, Gorilla Glass 6 on the back. It has matted aluminum edges that remind me of the Pixel 4 series. The combination of glass (some of Corning’s best at the time, no less) and metal makes for an all-around premium-feeling phone, though, one I would not want to use without a case. Ever.
If you like it then you better put a case on it.
At 207g, the Pixel 6 is a heavy phone. With a display that measures 6.4 inches, you’ll need two hands to do anything with it. The glass isn’t textured, so it’s incredibly slippery. Combine those three elements, and you have yourself a one-way ticket to Dropville unless you wrap it in some combination of TPU and silicone. In other words, you’ll need a case.
The Pixel 6 looks like no other Pixel phone. There’s a big black camera bar that stretches across the entire top of the phone’s back. It’s a bit reminiscent of the Nexus 6P. This new camera bar starkly protrudes out, giving you a nice index finger rest if you’re trying to use the phone with one hand. There’s also seemingly no wobble when using the phone on a desk.
Now is a good time to talk about colorways. The Pixel 6 gets all the fun colors. Sorta Seafoam (our Google Pixel 6 review unit) features a blue-white back and a pastel yellow-green accent on the top, which actually does remind me of seafoam. The Kinda Coral colorway is my personal favorite, with a bright orange accent on the top. Stormy Black is the most subdued of the three, with a sleek black and gray color combo. In contrast, the Pixel 6 Pro’s colors are more lame professional.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
You’ll notice there’s no rear-facing fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 6 series like there was on the Pixel 5. Google ditched it in lieu of a front-facing, in-display fingerprint sensor. I do not condone this decision. The fingerprint sensor is slower to unlock than traditional capacitive sensors. Often on the Pixel 6, I would need to reposition my finger or wait an extra second for the phone to register my fingerprint. It’s just a slower way to unlock the phone than we’ve had in the past. And no, there’s no fancy face unlock feature as we saw in the Pixel 4 series.
Display: Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
2,400 x 1,080 resolution
20:9 aspect ratio, 90Hz refresh rate
Displays are a key area where the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro differ. The Google Pixel 6 has a flat 6.4-inch OLED display with a Full HD+ resolution. It’s not as pixel-dense as the Pixel 6 Pro’s, but most people would be hard-pressed to notice a difference. Plus, Google’s decision to opt for a 1080p display allows the phone to save precious battery life. More on that later.
The Pixel 6’s display is flat, and there are noticeable bezels around all edges of the screen. I wouldn’t call them “big” bezels by any means, but they’re there. However, I much prefer a little bezel and a flat display to the unwieldiness of a waterfall display, as found on the Pixel 6 Pro. Some people will prefer as little bezel as possible, however.
Titan M2 security
Arm Mali-G78 GPU
8GB LPDDR5 RAM
128/256GB of non-expandable storage
Benchmarks are not the Google Tensor’s strong suit.
If you’d like to see a comparison between two similarly priced and positioned phones, we pit the Pixel 6 against the OnePlus 9, with its Snapdragon 888 processor and 8GB of RAM. You can see the results below.
So, speed tests aren’t the Pixel 6’s strong suit. It’s been a solid everyday performer in my testing, though, and we do have to remember that this is a $599 phone — it trounces any budget phone below $500 that isn’t made by Apple. However, there is one caveat. We were only been able to test the Pixel 6 for a short period during our initial review. Since then, it’s become clear that the first-generation Tensor chip is a reliable performer for everyday use, but runs very hot when put under heavy load, resulting in poor sustained performance. This will mostly only impact power users or avid gamers, but even things like GPS navigation or charging can cause the phone to heat up and throttle performance.
Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that speed tests, benchmarks, and heavy stress were hardly Google’s first priorities when it comes to processing. Instead, it focused on four main aspects when creating the first Tensor chip: machine learning, image processing, ambient task computing, and security.
21W wired charging
21W wireless charging (w/ Pixel Stand)
12W Qi wireless charging
50MP main, LDAF, OIS, EIS, 1/1.31-inch sensor (ƒ/1.85, 1.2μm, 82-degree FoV)
12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2, 1.25μm, 114-degree FoV)
8MP front sensor (ƒ/2.0, 1.12 μm, 84-degree FoV)
Rear video: 4K at up to 60fps, 1080p at up to 60fps
Front video: 1080p at 30fps
Color accuracy between the ultrawide and standard lenses is pretty good to Google’s credit. The ultrawide lens leans on the red side, but not overly so to where it’d ruin the photo. See the bridge photos above to see what I mean.
If you were hoping the Pixel 6 has a strong zoom game, you should temper your expectations. The Pixel 6 supports software zoom to 7x. Without a dedicated telephoto lens, the device needs to rely on Google’s Super Res Zoom software and post-processing to hobble these images together. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to take an acceptable 7x zoom shot with the Pixel 6, though Google’s software does a solid enough job with anything up to ~5x zoom. Alternatively, the Pixel 6 Pro excels in this area.
As mentioned, the Pixel 6 delivers more saturated colors, especially in daylight. The images of the stone men (below) show how much more punchy the colors in the Pixel 6 cameras are compared to the Pixel 5.
Thanks to the Pixel 6’s larger image sensors, it can supposedly let in 150% more light than the Pixel 5. This makes a huge difference in nighttime shots using Night Sight. See for yourself:
Google’s Night Sight mode continues to impress in the Pixel 6. The photos below show images taken at night with not much light to work with. Yet, the phone was still able to capture plenty of it.
Conditions have to be right for the Magic Eraser tool to be truly magic.
Magic Eraser can be magic at times, but only in the right conditions. Look at the photo below of the bridge and water. The emergency life raft was a relatively simple case, as it had a mostly solid background of water and grass to paint over. There are a couple of blemishes, but overall, not bad.
It works less reliably in busy environments. In the photo below, I wanted to paint out the two people on the left. However, it appears they took up too much space for the Magic Eraser tool to handle, so it left a few odd digitized elements in their place. The photo looks fine, but not as good as I’d have hoped.
Google also added two new modes centered around motion to the Pixel 6 camera app: Long Exposure and Action Pan. Long exposure mode leaves the camera shutter open for an extended period of time, allowing the sensor to bring in more light while still capturing the still elements of the photo. This can result in some pretty cool-looking photos without the need for a tripod.
However, I’d like more control over the Pixel 6’s long-exposure mode. There are no settings to tweak, so it’s either you take a long-exposure photo or not. You can’t adjust how long the shutter will stay open, so you can’t tailor the mode to the situation you’re trying to capture.
This is no wide-angle camera, though. The sensor has an 84-degree field of view, which is wide, but it could be wider. You might need to resort to taking a landscape-mode selfie if you’re trying to fit friends in the shot.
Face Unblur is another new camera feature that’s perfect for parents. If you snap a photo of your moving child and their face is just a little too blurry, Face Unblur will kick in automatically. When you go looking through your photos, you’ll see a little Face Unblur badge at the top of the photo, letting you know at least one face in the photo has been enhanced.
The Pixel 6 photography suite competes with the very best camera phones out there, including some that cost several hundred dollars more. You can check out the full-resolution camera samples in this Google Drive folder.
Android 12, updated to Android 13
Three years of OS updates, five years of security patches
Android 12 is a refreshing, sometimes addicting overhaul to the operating system.
There are many more features in Android 12 that I won’t attempt to fit into this review. For more information on the OS, see our Android 12 features hub. Google has also rolled out the Android 13 update to its Pixel 6, as well as all of the other recent Pixel devices. It refines most of the new Android 12 features and brings a little more flair to certain elements, like music controls on the lock screen.
Google rolls out semi-regular software updates to Pixel phones, which it calls Feature Drops, that bring new software features, wallpapers, and more. This is nothing new — almost every other manufacturer rolls out new features to their devices every few months. Google just calls it by a nice name.
There are, of course, a handful of Pixel 6-exclusive software features that aren’t available on any other devices. These include Wait Times and Direct My Call, which use Google’s ingenious Duplex model.
Wait Times allows you to see how busy businesses are at any particular time throughout the week, even before you place the call. In my experience, the feature has worked reliably and accurately.
Direct My Call basically gives your Pixel 6 the reins to the phone conversation. Google Assistant will transcribe what the operator says and displays each menu item on-screen. You can simply tap a menu item to make a selection, so you don’t even need to listen to all the options. It’s great. This is made even better by Hold For Me, an older feature that allows the Assistant to wait on hold in your place.
I alluded to this in the performance section, but Live Translate is now much more powerful on the Pixel 6. In popular messaging apps, including Android Messages, Live Translate will automatically translate received messages for you right inside the app. You can then respond in your native language, and your message will translate back into the sender’s language. This also works in media apps. Live Caption can translate languages in real-time and display text on your screen in apps such as YouTube. I haven’t had much success getting it to work in music apps, but apparently, it’s supposed to work there, too.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
On the Pixel 6, you can also ask the Google Assistant to perform certain actions without first verbalizing a hotword. For instance, you can tell an alarm to “stop” (without saying “Hey Google, stop!”) or say “answer” or “decline” when a phone call comes in.
The Google Pixel 6 is priced competitively. Pricing starts at $599 and goes up to $699 for the 256GB model.
The Pixel 6’s $599 price undercuts the Samsung Galaxy S22 and iPhone 14’s $799 starting price. It’s also $200 cheaper than Apple’s new iPhone 14 Plus, and don’t even try comparing it to the iPhone 14 Pro’s $999 starting price. In other words, Google has priced the Pixel 6 well under the competition.
Another perspective: Google Pixel 6 review second opinion
Between the long battery life, versatile cameras, and solid performance, the Google Pixel 6 is one of the most well-rounded smartphones out there.
Whenever I recommend a Pixel phone to friends, family members, or Android Authority readers, there’s always a good reason for it — be it the easy-to-use camera system, cheap price tag, or day-one software updates and security patches. I genuinely believe that Pixel phones are just easier to use than other smartphones from other manufacturers. That’s still very much the case for the Pixel 6, and the omissions and oversights that do need addressing are mostly papered over by how much it undercuts the completion on value.
Battery life is great. The screen, performance, audio experience, and cameras are all solid. The overall package Google delivered with the Pixel 6 is astoundingly good and is absolutely worth buying in 2023. Throw in that cheap price tag, and you have yourself one of the easiest-to-recommend smartphones ever made.
Yes, we think Pixel 6 is worth buying because it offers a great design, excellent cameras, and an incredibly affordable price tag.
No, the Pixel 6 does not have a microSD card slot, which means you have to think carefully about which storage variant to get — you can choose between 128GB and 256GB.
Yes, the Pixel 6 is IP68 rated, meaning it will survive in up to 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes.
Yes, the Pixel 6 supports 21W wireless charging when using the second-generation Pixel Stand. The maximum power drops to 12W when using any other charger, though.
The Pixel 6 Pro has a larger screen than the Pixel 6 with a higher resolution, an extra camera on the back, and a larger battery. It also has more RAM and is available with 512GB of storage — see a detailed specification comparison here.
You can choose between three Pixel 6 colors: Stormy Black, Kinda Coral, and Sorta Seafoam.
Unfortunately, you don’t get a charger included with your Pixel 6 purchase.
Yes and no. Only the Verizon and AT&T versions of the Pixel 6 support mmWave technology (as well as sub-6GHz), while all other variants support just sub-6GHz.
In early October, Google launched the newest generation of its flagship phones: the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. The 7 includes a lot of improvements, but it’s not necessarily a giant leap forward. Check out our comparison of the Pixel 7 series with older Pixels to learn more.
If you’re looking for a wireless mechanical keyboard for your Mac, then look no further than the Keychron K2, the follow up to the original K1 that we reviewed earlier this year. While not as low profile as its predecessor, the K2’s sleek, minimalist design is a far cry from the bulky mechanical keyboards you may be used to. Watch our hands-on video review for the details.Specifications
84-key keyboard with function keys
Mac layout with Control, Option, and Command keys
Available in white backlight and RGB backlight
Customizable with 18 RGB backlight profiles
Available aluminum frame
Gateron red, brown, or blue key switches
Replaceable curved profile key caps
NKRO support (wired mode only)
6-degree angle stand
Wired and wireless (Bluetooth) capability
Switch between up to three Bluetooth devices
Includes USB-C cable
Mac/iOS and PC modes
$79 white LED backlight version and $99 aluminum RGB versionKeychron K2 video review
Subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more videosDesign and build
Let me start by saying that I’ve never actually used the original Keychron K1. 9to5Mac’s Michael Potuck had good things to say about the original in his hands-on review, and Keychron seems to have built on the momentum from the first iteration of its keyboard when creating the K2.
As you’ll see, the K2 features a design that’s more in line with your typical mechanical keyboard, although it too features a smaller footprint than some of the popular wired mechanical keyboards that I’ve used over the years. More importantly, the K2 features curved keycaps and Gateron key switches, that offer a better tactile feel.
The Keychron K2 config I’ve been testing features a black aluminum frame with slim bezels wrapping around the perimeter of the keyboard. The keys feature a mixture of dark and light gray keys, along with a single orange ESC key. I ended up replacing the ESC and arrow keys, with keys pilfered from my WASD custom mechanical keyboard, in an attempt to make them stand out more.
Before swapping out key caps
The aluminum chassis provides a solid, weighty feeling to it, and the keys look great. It’s a fairly minimalist keyboard, which is largely what I prefer. Underneath the keyboard you’ll find rubber feet that can be adjusted to provide you with a 6-degree angle for comfortable typing.
After swapping out caps
The biggest complaint I have with the Keychron K2’s build quality is the small Bluetooth toggle and device switches on the left side of the unit. It’s not that the switches themselves are terrible, but the labels for the switches are impossibly small and you’ll almost need a magnifying glass to identify them. Once you learn what each button does by memory, this will be less of an issue.Switches and tactility
The most important characteristic of any keyboard is the tactile response, and mechanical keyboards traditionally have that in spades. Tactility is heavily influenced by the type of switches found underneath the keycaps. Different types of switches result in a different feel when pressing a key.
The original K1 features low profile switches with 3±0.5mm of total key travel, while the K2 features a significant increase, measuring 4±0.4mm of total travel. If you’re coming from the original, you’ll notice a big jump in the overall travel distance between the two.
I opted for the brown switches, because they require less actuation force than a blue switch, with a gentler tactile bump. Key switch preference is highly subjective, so if you’ve never experienced a mechanical keyboard before, I think you should start with the brown switches as they provide a good middle ground experience.
I also suggest watching this video to hear a comparison between the three key switches.
Besides the switches, the key caps feature a curved profile, which makes them easy to identify and rest your fingers on. Overall I’m quite satisfied by the sound, look, and feel of the keyboard in relation to key cap and key switch design.Connectivity and battery life
Up until a few years ago, it was nearly impossible to find a mechanical keyboard with built-in wireless Bluetooth connectivity, that’s one of the things that made the original K1 so nice. Recently I’ve seen more keyboards adopt wireless Bluetooth, but it’s still a rarity.
The Keychron K2 features the ability to connect to a Mac or iPad Pro via a wired USB-C connection or via wireless Bluetooth without any help from external Bluetooth dongles. The unit will also work with Android devices and Windows machines by toggling the device switch on the side.
The keyboard will automatically go to sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity to help save on battery life. Auto sleep mode can be disabled via a simple key combination on the keyboard, but doing so will cause the battery to exhaust faster.
I found auto sleep mode to be annoying, because I often leave my desk for minutes at a time, and it takes a few seconds for the keyboard to wake up from sleep and reconnect to Bluetooth. If your workflow is similar to mine, I recommend disabling auto sleep mode and just charging the keyboard when needed. Of course, you can always manually turn it off to save battery when not in use for extended periods of time.
With auto sleep mode enabled I was able to get somewhere in the ballpark of three weeks of usage out of the keyboard before needing to charge it again. Keychron notes that you should expect to get 10-15 hours of total usage depending on the type of RGB lighting employed. Expect to obtain longer life with the backlight disabled.
Overall, I was able to garner about a full week of typing with auto sleep and the backlight disabled, but I’m admittedly not the most prolific typer during the week.
When the battery gets low, simply use the included right-angle USB-C cable to connect your computer directly to your Keychron K2. Not only will this serve as a means to recharge the internal battery, but it will also allow you to switch over to cable mode via the switch on the left side of the keyboard.
The Keychron K2 includes a low battery indicator light next to the charging port. The light will flash rapidly when the battery level is below 15%, and stay solid while charging. This is fine, but I wish there was a more elaborate battery indicator that provided you with a better idea of current battery life, even at higher levels.RGB backlight
Like many popular keyboards today, the Keychron K2 features an RGB backlight option with multiple switchable light effects. Be sure to watch our video for a demonstration of all of the lightning effects on hand.
Users can quickly cycle through the effects by pressing the dedicated light effect key in the upper right-hand corner. Additionally, users can use the Function + arrow keys to cycle through solid background colors of their choosing.
I don’t have a strong opinion about RGB lighting either way, but I know that it can be a polarizing feature. Some users will love it, others will be indifferent, while some will absolutely hate it. Count me in the indifferent category. I find some of the effects to be distracting, but a few of them I don’t mind, particularly the solid colors that are devoid of animation.
If RGB lighting isn’t your cup of tear you can dim the backlight up to four levels, or disable it altogether, if desired. Keep in mind that the RGB backlighting plays a role in battery life performance, so that may factor into your decision on how you use it as well.
Keychron also makes a version of the K2 devoid of RGB, featuring just a white LED backlight. It’s cheaper, and I recommend this option if you know you’ll never use RGB.Pairing and switching between devices
The K2 is able to switch between up to three different devices simply by pressing the function + 1-3 keys.
Because the Keychron K2 is relatively portable, I find that it makes for a pretty good iPad Pro companion, although it comes with limitations. Even though it’s tiny for a mechanical keyboard, it’s still large enough and heavy enough to make it awkward to travel with.
I also found the keyboard limiting in the sense that not all of the default keyboard shortcuts seem to work with iOS. For example, I could use all of the shortcuts available within apps, but I wasn’t able to use system shortcuts to go back to the Home screen (Command+H) or switch between apps (Command+Tab) while in an app. Update: This issue appears to be a bug in iPadOS. When connected to the Smart Keyboard Folio, the shortcuts to go to the Home screen or switch between apps will not work when in an app. When disconnected from the Smart Keyboard Folio, the shortcut work as normal. In other words, this doesn’t appear to be an issue with the Keychron K2. Thanks to @Thetransferblog for informing me about this.
Yet, despite these limitations, I enjoy using the K2 around the house with my iPad when typing long-form content, as it provides a way better tactile typing experience than Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio, or even the Magic Keyboard.9to5Mac’s Take
There aren’t many wireless mechanical keyboards on the market, but the Keychron K2 is the best that I’ve tried. Forgetting its wireless capabilities, the K2 is a solid offering from a pure tactility standpoint. This keyboard is able to stand alone on the merits of its mechanical key switches and excellent tactile key caps.
Having a built in backlight is a nice feature to have on a wireless mechanical keyboard, but Keychron went all out by giving it RGB backlighting with complex responsive lighting effects. Not every user will appreciate this, but it undeniably helps the K2 to stand out among other third-party keyboards.
I love the minimal design of the Keychron K2, and I value the fact that it can easily switch between three Bluetooth devices with just a few key presses.
If you’re looking for a great wireless mechanical keyboard, this could be the one for you. It’s not perfect, but the Keychron K2 generally excels as a mechanical keyboard, and it’s pound for pound my favorite keyboard given its feature set. It’s made all the better thanks to its build quality, built-in wireless capability, Mac-centric key caps, and its ability to quickly switch between up to three devices.
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When I started looking at smart video doorbells for my new home, one specific feature I was looking for was HomeKit support, but as it turned out at the time (merely 3 months ago), there was none. So like everybody else, I settled for a Ring doorbell, which has worked reliably for me. Installation was simple. Set up was a breeze, and daily use was just as frictionless as you would expect from a doorbell.
But then Logitech introduced the Circle View Doorbell in December of 2023, the first device of its kind to support HomeKit, thus playing nice with all the Apple devices in my house and pocket.
So I reached out to the folks at Logitech who sent me a Circle View Doorbell after giving me a short briefing on the product. In this review, I’ll share my impressions of this smart video doorbell. But a bit of warning: this review will be heavily tinted by my experience with Ring, which I see as the standard in the category, or the device to beat, if you will.Installation and initial setup
Installation was a bit more tedious than the Ring. Where I just had to connect a couple wires to the Ring doorbell, The Circle View required a bit more work. Specifically, the installation of a chime kit on your physical chime added work to an otherwise simple installation.
And because the Circle View needed more power than the Ring, I also had to change the doorbell transformer in my house. This is not necessarily hard to do, but it adds friction to the experience. It also adds cost!
Logitech has a great website walking you through the installation process, but the fact that it needs a website to begin with tells you a lot about it. In contrast, installing and setting up my Ring was done in minutes by following 3-step instructions from a pamphlet that was in the box.
Once installed, the set up was painless. It is done entirely in the Home app and takes just a few seconds.Beautiful hardware
The look and feel of the Logitech Circle View Doorbell is absolutely top notch. It is simple, elegant and has a great feel to it, something I cannot say about the Ring which always looked and felt cheap to me.
I’d argue that the hardware itself is actually the best thing about the Circle View Doorbell.
A lit up circle indicates your visitors where to press but the entire bottom half of the device can actually be pressed to ring the bell. At night, you have the option of enabling a night light which shines a surprisingly large amount of light to your doorstep. This can be turned off and on in the Home app.
All in all, this is a beautiful piece of hardware. Unlike the Ring which I find quite repulsive to look at, this one has a simple and modern design in a small footprint.But HomeKit ruins it all
If the Logitech Circle View Doorbell shines with its hardware, it quickly falls behind Ring in the software department, and this is no way Logitech’s fault. By choosing to make a HomeKit-enabled doorbell, they had to rely entirely on what Apple’s Home app can offer to handle all the smarts.
There aren’t many things that you ask from a video doorbell. You want it to stream/record videos of activity happening at your doorstep, and you want to be notified about those activities. While the streaming/recording of activity has been flawless, my main gripe is with how HomeKit doesn’t allow for much customizations of notifications.
This quickly became apparent when I started being inundated by motion notifications. That was because my kids were playing by the font door. My phone was literally notifying me every few seconds that there was activity at the door. No big deal, I thought. Ring allows you to snooze/silence these notifications for a set amount of time right from the notification itself, so surely HomeKit has a similar feature. Wrong! Your only option is to set a schedule or to disable motion notifications entirely. While I didn’t want to, I chose to disable notifications altogether for motion activity detection. A huge bummer if you ask me, because this is one of the best features of smart video doorbells.
Worse than not being able to tweak my notification settings, I would often get notifications several seconds after activity was detected or after someone ran the doorbell. In one instance, the delivery guy rang the doorbell while I wasn’t home. By the time I received the notification and opened it to talk to him, the guy was already gone. This happened a few times, enough to infuriate me. I was told by the fine folks at Logitech that I should try to restart my hub (the Apple TV or HomePod used as the central brain for it all) or the doorbell itself. It didn’t change anything.
The straw that broke the camel back was when I stopped received notifications altogether!
This actually happened yesterday as I was starting to type this article and realized I hadn’t received a notification in days, which is impossible since I knew my son had rang the doorbell so he could talk to me while I was at my office (I know, weird, but it’s a quick way for him to plead to me when his mom says he cannot watch TV).
So I ran a few tests, disabled and re-enabled notifications, but still nothing. Eventually I got the motion activity notifications to come back but no notification for when someone would ring the doorbell. After rebooting to the doorbell, these doorbell notifications came back temporarily, but 10 minutes later, they were gone once again.
That was enough for me. I grabbed a screwdriver, removed the beautiful Logitech Circle View Doorbell, and reinstalled the ugly Ring. And believe me, I cursed through it all!I put all the blame on HomeKit
In case I wasn’t clear before, all these downsides have absolutely nothing to do with the Circle View Doorbell. The device itself is absolutely flawless but it’s held back by HomeKit itself, and there is apparently nothing Logitech can do about it.
Notifications are the one feature that a video doorbell must get right. Not only HomeKit didn’t get it right to begin with, but it also made it unreliable, begging me to wonder: what’s the point of using this if I can’t rely on it?
I don’t expect any progress to be made until iOS 15, because like most of Apple products and services, it all happens on an annual cycle, with little to no improvements in between.
Until then, I will be using Ring.Pros and cons of using a HomeKit doorbell
Plays nice with all your Apple products
Uses people from your Photos app for facial recognition
Stores videos on iCloud but doesn’t count against your iCloud storage plan
Announces who’s at the door on your HomePod and Apple TV when facial recognition is enabled
Can create automations using the Home or Shortcuts app
If you live in an Apple household like I do, these are really appealing features.
Cannot customize notification sound
Cannot differentiate motion activity notifications from doorbell notifications
Cannot snooze (ie temporarily silence) notifications
The Logitech Circle View Doorbell is available from Logitech’s website, and starts at $199. You can get it professionally installed for an additional $100.
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