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Customer Ratings & Reviews

Circle - Circle Home Plus - White-Front_Standard

Circle - Circle Home Plus - White

Model: CIR2001SKU: 6332928

Customer rating

Rating 3.8 out of 5 stars with 48 reviews

73%
would recommend to a friend

Pros

Cons

Customer ratings & reviews

Page 1, showing1-20 of 24 Reviews mentioning:
app
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Circle Home Plus

    Posted
    BrandonKfromHouston
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    This is a feature I've wanted on my home network for quite a while, and I'm happy to have it now. The standard setup is fairly quick and painless, but if you want to have stronger control of your devices you're going to spend a lot more time setting all that up. The standard setup connects the Circle Home Plus to your network and you can set up profiles for each device, as far as what to filter... these are in groups, so it's not terribly difficult to create a group and then add each device to its respective group from the app. Tighter reigns on devices require you to install the app on each and while the setup of each is quite simple, it will take some time to collect and go through the process with a multiple device household. Content blocking appears to work well. Great product!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Great Parental Control Option

    Posted
    abl001
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

    The Circle Home Plus is basically an added hardware feature to the companies already operational software (app) which is available for iOS and android phones. This wasn't immediately clear, but do a little web search and you'll see. The Circle Home Plus comes in a remarkably small package and connects to your home network via Ethernet or wifi. The setup can be a little tricky, but once connected it's pretty straight forward from there. Once connected, you'll use the Circle app to see all of the connections to your home network and can establish rules (bedtime, usage limits, rewards, locations, content filters, etc). With the exception of content filters browsing/usage history/stats, these are all premium features which are included for the first 12 months without the need to provide a payment method (nice for a change)! Now, most modern routers/modems have many of the controls that the Circle Home Plus provides. You can set available times, restrict content access, and limit total usage. However, having tried many of these features on various routers/modems, they aren't nearly as user friendly as the Circle Home Plus. Additionally, in today's modern age, there are constantly new devices coming and going in your home network. The Circle Home app notifies you when a new device connects so that you can apply the appropriate restrictions. It also allows you to pause access or suspend access across all devices without having to dig into the admin settings of your router which most users won't know how to do from their phone. The real key to extending the reach of the Circle Home system (if that is your goal) is to install the Circle app onto the phones of anyone you plan on monitoring. It sets up a VPN that runs in the background and allows you to monitor and control access to the internet even when not connected to the home wifi. To me, this is where the Circle Home shines even though it'sn't really part of the Circle Home Plus kit, it's available right now by simply downloading the app and subscribing. The benefit of having the Circle Home Plus kit's that you are essentially buying a year up front AND getting the added functionality of the Home Plus kit for free. In conclusion, I'd highly recommend this for anyone who is looking for an easy and responsive way to monitor internet usage, limit/monitor content, and provide just a little more oversight and control to anyone in the household Pros: *Ease of control *Internet usage/history (very big brotherish so use responsibly) *Ability to provide rewards, pause, and do network wide timeouts Cons: *Setup could've been easier *Would've been nice to know about the standalone app service before acquiring this even though I think it's a bargain and worth buying

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Control wifi use in home

    Posted
    MrAnubisKitty
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    I couldn't give this 5 stars, but it might be more of 4.5 than 4 stars. I need more time with it. It's a great idea, good product, but I had a little difficulty with it. It's still very new, and I feel like it will continue to have updates to the software that will improve functionality, particularly with the app. I followed the steps to get started, going from the website to Google Play to install the app on my phone, then adding the app to two devices to start with, planning to add additional devices over time. It allows the main user to set up profiles and add devices to that profile. It could be one individual, or maybe apply to all of the kids, and a different profile for teens or adults. Devices connecting to the home network will be recognized by the Circle Home Plus, and it will identify them, but will leave them as unmanaged until they are designated in some other way, such as adding to a profile. There isn't much as far as instructions, but most devices these days just give you basic instructions, and expect you to visit the website or install an app to assist with the rest of setup and use. The Circle is the same way, and it requires the app on at least one device to get started. I had no problems adding the app to Android devices or the iPad, and they worked fine the first day. Part of setup includes plugging the Circle into the router via ethernet cable, but then the app has you set it up to connect using WiFi, so it's capable of using either source to connect. The second day, I was working on setting some limits, and paused two devices to see how that part works. Then the app crashed on my phone, and wouldn't work even after clearing cache, or clearing data after that. I just wouldn't work; I had to uninstall, and reinstall using mobile date, because the wifi wouldn't work either, not for the two devices that were paused, or other devices that I had not paused, like my phone. I had to go back in and set the app back up, unpause the devices, and then the internet worked for all devices again. This was a problem! I didn't realize it would prevent devices connected to the device from accessing the internet, even when not actually paused. I think that as they apply updates to the app, and work out some bugs, this is a great way to set limits for device usage, and even certain websites or apps, such as social media. Profiles can be set up for children, teens, adults or no restrictions at all. For adults, it can be a reminder of a preferred 'bedtime', and it can be used to reward kids by giving extra time. It allows the 'parent' to set a time for internet to end for a device, or for daily limits. These can easily be changed through the app, which worked fine again once reinstalled. In spite of the issue I had with the app, I would recommend this device. It was a nuisance for a short while, as I reinstalled the app. There were no issues with setup or with any of the hardware. It's still new, and I've only been using it a few days, so it will be an adjustment for our household. I really like the options it provides. If I continue to have other problems, I'll update the review, but for now I recommend the Circle Home Plus device.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Excellent for controlling screen time

    Posted
    Olive
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    Very easy set up, app is very user friendly. It is great that you can control all the features from your phone. The downside is after a free year of premium membership it will require a monthly membership to keep all of the features you tried out for an entire year. If you are tech savvy you can purchase a router and set up parental controls, but Circle home plus makes the job easier, and this is why for most people the Circle Home plus is a great option. I tried out all of the premium features and love them because they cover all of the popular social apps. You can also set up rewards and the main thing is to limit internet time. Location services are great it allows peace of mind. If you are looking for an easy to use system to regulate internet use and at the same time reward them I would purchase this unit. I think the $129.99 price tag is a little step especially since you can purchase a router with a built in hard drive with these functions included. Also, after a year you have to pay a monthly fee to keep using the premium features. This is the main reason why I only gave it 4 stars.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Software not ready for prime time

    Posted
    TechBuyer
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    So the idea behind the Circle Home Plus is to act as a web filter or proxy for either your home network or while you are on the go. You can connect your children's device and really lock down or white/blacklist content without having to micromanage it on your main home network, or go the total opposite direction and allow your children to connect without any restrictions Unfortunately, the software/firmware hasn't quite caught up to the capabilities of the hardware and the app isn't as seamless as you would expect to set up and connect to networks and then connect to the wireless devices you are trying to manage. I experienced numerous issues connecting that will probably be fixed with either app or firmware updates but right now it would be hard to recommend this device over just configuring directly at the router gateway level. Even most Mesh Network systems offer similar capabilities to filter content based on device, MAC address or even set up a separate SSID/wireless network with restrictions. I do think Circle will fix these issues as their previous devices were better reviewed. I was disappointed that the Circle Home Plus wasn't quite ready for prime time.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Does What it Says but Needs Some Updates

    Posted
    BillK
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

    The concept for this device is good and needed in this day and age. Parents need an easy way to track and control usage for their children as well as manage the system from anywhere. I found this device to be easy to set up on my network. the setup of the rules was fairly straightforward with a little work. It worked as it should and I was able to manage the system remotely. Im sure Circle will continue to work on the product and improve the device and app further. I think for the price, its worth the investment.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    A Great Solution for Families

    Posted
    JBCTECH
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    The pervasiveness of the web and the multitude of applications found in many homes bring a number of benefits. However, many parents find themselves struggling to find ways to effectively monitor and moderate the internet activities of their children at home. The Circle Home Plus, with it's full range of features and simple setup, is a welcome and effective tool. Download the companion app, plug the unit into your router, and you're immediately ready to begin. After identifying devices, you assign them to family members, or to the home in general, or whatever designation you like. Then you can set individual filtering levels, hours of use, total time on, and other parameters for each label you've established. There's even a'reward' feature for rewarding someone with extra connection time. For clarity, you should know that the Circle Home Plus is not a router. It plugs into your router and controls it. Many of these features are found, in a basic form, on modern smart routers. However, few (if any) give the full range of controls found on the Circle Home Plus. That, coupled with it's plug-and-play simplicity, makes it an excellent value. Depending on the number and variety of devices you've, it may take some work to correctly identify them at first. I had more than one show up as 'Apple Device'. So I had to turn the internet off and on for them until I could identify them - and label them accordingly. Once that was accomplished, I could control them with confidence. The Circle Home Plus fills a clear need for modern families.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Good for policing kids net usage past bedtime!

    Posted
    GameOverSuckas
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    Initially we had the idea that we could limit the children's usage of devices and phones after their bed times. The only problem is that if one gets turned off, they all need to be turned off. If you leave one of the older children with access on a device they can simply hand it off to another and they'll be able to use it. It's a little time consuming to set up each person and each device but once everything's done the app is really easy to use. . Our cable company provides a similar service.so between the two we've eliminated the late night fiasco's. It's a nice product with a years coverage free but I don't think I'd pay for it after that.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Good Option - but not for me

    Posted
    cjviscito
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

    We have 2 young girls in our house and I'm always monitoring their digital time. I had been looking at the Circle with Disney at the store for a while, so when I saw Circle Plus I thought I'd give it a shot. Setting up was straightforward enough, hook it up to my router and set up the app. We used it for about a week or so before I made the choice to unplug it. I wasn't really seeing any value outside of the Screentime settings on my girls' iPad minis. We already control their content and screen time settings on those devices and having to have something manage settings on top of already managed settings seemed a bit redundant. If you're less technically inclined, or don't want to have to go through the trial and error of setting up Screentime on Apple devices, or have kids that will try and sneak gadget time after you've told them no - then this product might be what you're looking for. The premium features require a subscription, but I didn't see the point for us... so YMMV.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Easy, simple setup

    Posted
    ScubaSteve
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

    Setup is is as easy as downloading the app, answering the questions and plugging the device into your router. Setting up profiles is easy and the controls work. You can set controls by time limits, time of the day and age categories. Changing access as a reward to your kid as a plus. For example, you can extend bedtime or time to their limits as a reward. The first year of premium service is free. After that it will cost $10 per month. I believe this will be worth the cost for the powerful access control it provides to shield your family from inappropriate content on the internet.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Simple Family Online controls

    Posted
    SgtRock
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

    With three kids in my house having control over internet usage (both time and content) is a struggle, so the Circle sounded like the perfect device to help me keep an eye on our myriad of devices from one central location. The cube itself is fairly unobtrusive, though you'll need a free LAN port on your modem (which are at a premium anymore from all the devices needing one...). That is probably the biggest drawback to it. I actually have a few home networks, so I decided the circle into my 'family' network that the kids use--a modem I have coming in from a wired outlet connected to my main modem. Our family PC, as well as a wireless modem the kids connect to for gaming are all coming through that modem, so it made the most sense to connect it there. Set up was very easy, once I got the Circle app downloaded (make sure you have the correct app--there is a Disney app that's very close in name to the circle app). It walked me through step-by-step. While connecting and set up took a few minutes, it found the Circle device, and EVERY piece of equipment on the network no problem. From there you can get as simple or complex as you want--you can shut the internet down from the modem it's attached to, or shut access off to any specific device. You can set time limits, block certain apps, and even block specific websites from any internet browser in use on any device connected to the modem. You can set up profiles for each person in your family, as well as profiles for each device that's connected. It's as complicated as you want it to be, but still easy enough for a beginner to understand. Your need for a device like this will basically come down to a couple of things: how much control do you want over your devices, and how tech savvy are you? If you want even a little control (like time limits) but aren't tech-savvy, then you definitely want this. If you want a lot of control but don't want the headache of doing all this yourself---which is possible without the device, but not real easy to do--then you want this. For someone with a large family like mine, that has a lot of devices, this app is great--it tells you when a new device joins the network, and you can see what is going on with any device on the network at any time. It's perfect for my wife, who likes to set time limits, while making sure my kids are actually reading on their kindle rather than playing a game. It also lets her block ratings, websites, etc, which she loves. After a year you pay for the use of the app, so basically with the cost of the device you're getting a year's use thrown in. Once the year is up you should have a great idea if this is for you or not--which is one of the better trial prices you'll find for something as advanced as this. For me the biggest caveat was needing to tie up a LAN port, but if you have plenty free on your modem (or use a secondary 'family' modem) hopefully you'll have the room.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Best monitoring device for internet & young gamers

    Posted
    Netta
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    Being that my internet provider has no way of me monitoring my kids usage I was dealing with my son staying up gaming while everyone else would be in bed. This device gave me 100% control of everything connected to wifi. I absolutely love it & he hates it. When I say get off the game he knows that with this device I can remove him by the app on my phone. I will receive a notification if it goes offline so there's no sneaking and unplugging anything. It's separate profiles so that I'm able to filter out the restrictions for each child separately or timing online and bedtime. When I pause the internet at home my smart TV keeps trying to reconnect every 10 mins so it will let me know circle has paused the internet(my choice) so that was the most annoying thing but not a problem at all. I receive emails that tells me more that I can do with this box but everything was simple just playing with the app a little. If I could give it 10 stars I would because this works perfectly for what I need for my family!!!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Keep your family's media under control!

    Posted
    tmcgo510
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    The circle is a really cool device for families who have children old enough to use the web for streaming videos, video games, and social media. In a time where kids have more access than ever to the internet, as a parent you must remain vigilant to your child's online behavior. The circle allows you to monitor usage, control what applications can be used, or completely shut down the internet to your child's device. You can schedule "bed times" and also give your children points towards more screen time as a reward system. The only downfall about this system is, after your first year, you must pay a monthly subscription fee. That is why I only gave the Circle 4 stars. Setup was easy enough, just plug it into the wall with the included USB C charger and plug in a network cable into your home router. Download the Circle app on your device, make an account, and then add all your family devices to it. From there, you can manage all your family's internet presences and keep track of what they are doing. The internet can be a great tool or a bad place, it depends on how you use it. With Circle, you will have the tools to help your family stay safe online!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    Pause the internet and the ability to unpause it.

    Posted
    DavidJr
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 50 ContributorTop 50 Contributor

    The Circle Home Plus, a cube shape, is simple to install and for the most part simple to manage through the mobile app, which is the only way to manage it. It allows some control over most network connected devices, such as application filters and time limits. With the tap of the pause button you can prevent most items from connecting to the internet, but it seems hit or miss at times on when and what is paused. It can also provide history of some internet activity of connected devices, but not all. The only way it will get full control and all history is if you install the Circle app on an Android or iOS device as a kid device and let it use the background VPN. If you want the most control over your child's cell phone or tablet, the circle app will do it without even needing the Circle Home Plus. At first, when following the simple directions, I didn't even know what the home device was for, as everything seemed focused on the app and mobile devices. However, once you add the Home to the Circle app is when you get access to your other network connected devices. Unlike some other parental control and network protection devices, like on many routers, this attaches to the network and is not in line with the network, but an extension of. Like some, the parental control devices are the router or between the router and modem, this is just another device, which I found odd and I think is the source of some of the issues I have with it. Some issues included a long delay in deactivating and activating devices whether it was for bedtimes, granting extended rewards, or just pausing. When pausing the internet, it wasn't like router controls and stop actual network activity, so some activities, like watching Youtube would continue until the page was refreshed or a new video selected. This wasn't just buffered video either. There was also no warning page, like other parental control devices have, showing that they were blocked or to ask for permission, it just wouldn't load. The biggest issue I had was that my mobile device, which was added to a profile and controlled the Circle Home, couldn't unpause the network because it lost connection to the Circle Home. I would have to disconnect from my WiFi and use mobile data to unpause my internal paused network. As with router parental controls you are still connected to the internal network, just not to the internet. The Circle Home just attempts to interrupt everything. The premium features of the Circle app are included for one year and for a fee per month after that. These features include bedtime, time limits, off time, location, rewards and pause. It is reduced to filter, history and usage if you don't subscribe after 12 months. Which seems odd to pause your own internal network for that much per month. With the app and the background VPN I found that network speeds were reduced drastically. We were getting about 25Mbps on the 100Mbps connection and latency was a major issue. This is a constant background application as well and has some impact on battery life as it requires to bypass power management. Some additional features of the Circle Home Plus include battery backup and the ability to connect to the network using 2.4Ghz WiFi. This is good if your kids think simply unplugging the Circle Home Plus will bypass their interrupted connection. If not connected using the ethernet cable, the Circle Home Plus will continue to work, but at a connectivity cost for all managed devices as it uses the 2.4Ghz connection, adding latency and reducing connectivity speed. For complete parental control of mobile devices I can see the Circle App on Android and iOS devices providing that total watch and control. For home devices that aren't covered under those, the Circle Home Plus does add some feature control, but with added frustration and not as smooth as using any software supplied by newer routers. For example, the safe search feature for Google and Bing worked perfect on the mobile device that had the Circle App installed. But, on any other device, like a managed PC, it worked on Google but not Bing. With this you essentially pay for 12 months of the premium features ahead of time and get a little more network monitoring. I can say that the mobile device features may be worth it as most home parental controls don't extend to mobile connections, as kids can easily turn off their WiFi to get back on the internet if they have data services. But, there are other smart home security systems that have applications that can provide the same features and work much better on the network.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    peace of mind with a subscription

    Posted
    bd43274
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    Good: - Intuitive control from one central location, with a number of ways to monitor and control device usage. Provides some peace of mind as to not only how much devices are being used, but exactly what they have access to. - Controls seem to work as intended - time limits, pausing on individual devices - Notifications for new devices entering the home network - Device browsing habits easily monitored - Internal battery, in case AC gets connected Bad: - Most, if not all, of the features of this device can be replicated manually without the expense. What you're really paying for here is the ease of use and the convenience of having everything in one place. Misc: - Basic features are, well, rather basic - web filtering, usage stats, and history. If you want the more substantial features like setting time limits, pausing, bedtime, GSP, etc., you'll have to subscribe for $9.99/month. - Each device must have the client side app installed (free) Overall: This device is sort of a "one stop shop" for relatively straight forward household network controls. In my experience so far it seems to work fairly well. My only real issue with it is the subscription service. $10/month seems a bit pricey (after of course purchasing the unit itself), so I took off one star.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great parental control

    Posted
    SimpleLiving
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

    I am a parent of three kids who go to virtual (online) schools. With online school, they are mostly on the internet all morning on their computer/device and also during their free time, when they entertain themselves via the internet. As a responsible parent, I have to make sure the internet I provide them is always safe. Doing it manually with rules and removing the device is easy at first, but it gets harder to follow through. This Circle Home Plus is a great device to monitor online content and time. Now I feel better that my kids can navigate the internet safely in my home and when they are using their device at another location. The Circle is a small box-shaped device that pairs with your home router/Wi-Fi, and that allows the parent/guardian to control the network/internet wirelessly. Connecting the box to the network is simple, you download the Circle app (by "Circle Media, Inc) from the mobile device app store, create an account, set up parent/adult profiles, and create a profile for each child (or other adults) you would like to monitor. The app will guide you through the entire process. For monitoring each child's device when outside the house/network, it is highly recommended to install the Circle app on that child's device. During the setup and after, the Circle app on the parent's device can monitor and adjust the controls for each device or the entire home/network. There are basic configured filters such as "kids, teens, adults and none" - all of them are customizable. The app will give you control to each connected device, block specific device, set up to block internet usage during bedtime, pausing device usage (useful during family time), and monitor internet traffic. The app on the children's' device alerts them when it is bedtime, and their internet usage time allocation has ended. The filtering control allows usage and time allocation for a specific platform, e.g., Youtube, Facebook, etc. the parent app shows what sites each device has visited. The parent app will receive a notification when a family member reached their allotted time limit, and it gives the option to leave as is or issue a reward, such as extended time for that day, no bedtime blockage, or no off time. The box only manages one network, but the premium version allows on the go monitor for ten devices for a monthly/yearly fee. The service is cool and worth it because it gives the parent internet usage control when the kids are using their device with their cell phone data (cellular network) or on another network. One issue that I encountered was that my weather app on my phone got blocked since I have all the news content blocked. It is a simple fix; I found out the website of the weather app and added this to the allowed sites on the custom filter. The device setup does take some time and learning to use all the features, but, when complete it makes internet usage safe and manageable for the entire family. It restricts contents and manages screen time by device or the whole network. I hope the kids do not outsmart me and find a way to bypass the parental controls, but I am confident in this tool.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Tech Control for the Non-Techie

    Posted
    Trobadour
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

    This review will cover two things: The Circle Home Plus (white cube-looking device) and the Premium Membership. ---SETUP--- The Circle Home Plus (CHP) is a white cube-looking device that connects to your router initially for setup via an included ethernet cable. During my setup, I struggled to get the device recognized by the CIRCLE app even though my phone was connected to the same network that the CHP was connected to. I closed and reopened the app 5 times and on the 5th try, it recognized the CHP. After it recognizes the network, you will see in the APP all connected devices to that network, whether it is by WiFi or by ethernet to your router. Afterwords, I strongly recommend that you switch all devices to the HOME profile, as everyone in my household lost internet use during setup until I switched all devices to HOME profile and set the filter level of HOME to NONE. From there, you can proceed to identify the devices that need their individual filters. ---FEATURES--- The key feature of the CHP are that it will allow you to control all devices connected to your home network from one phone remotely, can work connected to the router with an ethernet cable or via WiFi, and has a backup battery that will last up to 2 hours if people in your home disconnect it, whether intentionally or not. ---PERFORMANCE--- The performance of the CHP was great, other than the initial setup hiccup. After the first stages of setup, you can then connect it to your WiFi network and can change the location of the CHP to a place out of reach of children. Should prying fingers make their way to the CHP and disconnect it, the backup battery will kick in and your admin phone device will get a notification that the CHP has been disconnected, giving you up to 2 hours to reconnect it. I plugged it in and made my personal Xbox One X as a HOME device with no filter and was able to game online with no issues. I then restricted it by giving myself a bedtime restriction and it worked as it should, not allowing me to game while the device was on bedtime. Pausing of the internet worked great as well, as it allowed me to pause the internet on any device in my WiFi network. As new devices were coming into the home (say, your children haven't arrived from school after you set up the CHP), your phone gets a notification that a new device has connected to the network, allowing you to open your app and apply the restrictions as needed. What really surprised me was that if your children decide to simply turn off the WiFi and use their own phone data, you can install the free CIRCLE app to their mobile device (Android or iPhone) and set their device as a child device. This will initiate a local VPN install to their device and that's what allows you to also control and filter what they do on the phone even if they are not on your home WiFi. The CIRCLE app gives you instructions on how to prevent your children from simply deleting the CIRCLE app. After you install their app, your admin profile will show you their device and you can activate additional features available only with the premium membership, such as showing you their location via GPS. ---PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP--- With the purchase of a Circle Home Plus, you will get a 1 year premium membership, which activates when you scan a QR code located on your device. It took me some digging up on their website to find out what the actual price of the membership is, but I found it. After the free year is over, you can continue the premium membership for 9.99 a month, as of the writing of this review. You won't automatically get charged at the end of the year, as you need to add a credit card on the profile that you create in setup in order for that to happen. Once a child device has been added, it was easier to manage bedtime on a child phone, disable specific apps either completely or for a specific time, and allow you to restrict search engines for clean websites such as Google Safe Search or YouTube Restricted. ---EXPECTATIONS--- The product exceeds my expectations in terms of what it can do but there are some caveats. For starters, with a little know-how or YouTube video searches, one can figure out that most of these settings that the CHP can do, your router can too without the cost. Of course, if you are not tech savvy, the CHP will save you plenty of trouble and headaches of figuring out exactly how your router can do all of these things, because routers don't exactly have the most user friendly menus. Additionally, I wish that Circle was more up-front of the pricing of the membership without having to dig too much. I'm sure that's part of the marketing as to not dissuade potential customers from buying the product, but it should be noted that you don't even need to buy the Circle Home Plus (white cube-like device) to use the mobile features. If all you want to do is monitor what your children are doing on their phones, you can simply pay the month to month fee of 9.99 without ever installing or buying the CHP. That service alone is definitely worth the price for peace of mind and security of your children's browsing habits. ---VALUE--- The price for the Circle Home Plus in terms of value is great considering that if you pay full price for the Circle Home Plus device, you are essentially paying upfront for a full year and getting the CHP for 9.99 before tax. ---APPROVAL--- I highly recommend this product for people who want to monitor their children's internet surfing habits, phone usage, and app access remotely from anywhere in the world. I would even recommend school superintendents and principals to look into getting something like this for their district, as I can see educators not having to worry about picking up cell-phones.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Not yet Ready for Prime Time

    Posted
    kb124
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    We tried this filter for about a week before giving up. We have two girls, and thought we needed a filter, and hoped this would do the trick. Granted there are a few positives and a few negatives that I discovered with this filter. It was reasonably easy to set up, and it has an app! However, it did slow down the wifi; I could not customize it the way I wanted, the time limits never worked correctly. It did block certain websites; "that we did not want to block," and allowed others in that should have been prevented! I decided to pull the plug and call it a learning experience. I possibly could have continued to work with it, and get the thing to work better, but I guess, it was not worth my time. I hope others will have better luck with it because it could be a useful product. It needs to be easier to work and setup. I hope this offered some helpful information. I do not want to appear all negative in this review.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Great for Some

    Posted
    jailoliv
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

    The internet is a wild beast and parents need to protect their children from inappropriate content, dangerous sites and excess time spent on the screen. The Circle Plus does all that. If you do not already have a built-in tool that does the same thing on your router, the Circle is great. The app is easy to use although it requires some manual work to set up profiles. The big limitation is that you actually control devices, not users. What that means is that if you allow some and prevent other members of the family to access a site or application, you will have to make sure that they do not share their devices. Worse, if all they have is one device, then you are out of luck, unless you grant the same access to all. Of course, most if not all similar tools for home use have this limitation. Limitations apart, the behave-and-you-get-more-time-or-access reward is a welcome idea and makes it sound less dictatorial. Also, the fact that you can add devices to a profile is good as it allows you to control more than one device at a time. It is especially useful when access is similar to more than one family member. Subscription is probably my biggest criticism. Many modern Wi-Fi routers come with similar tools built-in and the service is free in most cases. The Circle Plus seems to be easier for many parents and if you do not own one of those routers, it is definitely worth it.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Family safe internet made easy

    Posted
    Clshipp91
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network

    The Circle Home Plus is a great way to safely manage your families internet usage and rid the worries of browsing the web. Setup: Setup is super easy. Connect the Circle to the wall outlet and to your router via the included Ethernet cable. Once you have Circle connected, start the Circle app which will walk you through the setup process to get your family started using circle. You install Circle on each of your family devices to manage there device. Use: Once you have everything setup, the app is super easy to use. You can set filters for certain websites or mature content. You can also enable safe search for Google to filter out searches that may be for adults only. The app also lets you set screen time limits to turn WiFi off at certain times or when ever you feel a family member has had too much internet. The filtering is really easy and takes the complexity out of parental controls. The app also features neat perks like rewards. You can give your kids rewards which is a fun way to grant them extra game or internet time. The filtering works really w3ll and does a great job doing exactly what it says it'll do. The Circle also comes with one free year of service. So you won't have to pay for anything for a whole year which is nice. Overall this is a great product to manage your family internet usage easily and effectively. You'll definitely be happy with the functionality of this product.

    I would recommend this to a friend