Vivint Smart Home Security: The Vivint system has rock-solid connectivity and is efficient. The control panel and mobile app are easy to use and user-friendly. It’s not surprising that Vivint is committed to customer experience. Vivint has the right selection of devices for you.
There is a slight drawback to Vivint’s higher quality. It comes at a higher price. Vivint is slightly more expensive than other professionally installed systems, but not much more so when compared with DIY solutions of lower quality. You can spread your payments over 42-60 months without interest. Vivint allows you to pay equipment expenses in one lump sum. This will reduce your monthly bills and prevent you from being locked into a long-term agreement.
Take a look below at our complete review, including everything from ordering to installation to functionality, and how it all works.
A phone call to discuss your security goals is the first step in buying a Vivint system. The sales representative will ask about your home’s layout and what automation features you want such as smart locks, thermostats, and controllable lighting. This is when you will make a preliminary selection and plan for monthly monitoring.
Vivint can also send a “Smart Home Pro”, a person who will visit your home for a consultation. This allows you to plan carefully and select the equipment. The Smart Home Pro and Vivint phone agents earn commissions. Customers have three days to return the whole system, and 30 days to return individual products.
Vivint also has authorized dealers who are part of its sales force. Vivint dealers can sell equipment and other services at the same prices as the products offered by Vivint directly. Vivint, unlike other security companies, is solely responsible for maintaining a customer relationship throughout the life of the product. This includes professional monitoring, installation, support and service.
The technician arrived 15 minutes earlier than scheduled on the day of the installation. It took him an hour to guide us through the installation process. He said, “My job is security.” “Let’s make sure security is first, and then the toys,” he said. This refers to voice assistants and smart locks.
To confirm the doors, windows, or hallways that should be protected, we walked through each room. We were told by the installer about a “smart second line of defense.” This would include placing a glass-break sensor in the windows to prevent someone from smashing them.
Technicians at Vivint, who are employees of the company and not contractors, go through rigorous training.
Vivint’s components are made of solid materials. They are attractive in design. The only problem we had was the limited availability of white door sensors. We would prefer a color that blends in with the natural wood. You can choose from bronze, satin nickel, or polished brass smart door locks
Vivint deliberately doesn’t offer a large selection of sensors, cameras and locks. It is what Jeremy Warren, Vivint’s Chief Technology Officer, said to us was a “curated environment” for tight integration, quality control, and quality control.
I was guided by the installer through the process of naming each device (e.g. bedroom sliding door, dining area light, etc.). He also provided a detailed explanation of how everything works. His time was spent on diagnostics to make sure that the control hub and sensors, cameras, and devices have reliable communications.
Vivint assigns a score for each system’s radio frequencies, Wi Fi, and cell signals using a formal, mature process. You can also access diagnostics and self testing tools from the hub to ensure everything is functioning properly. We received many notifications over two months when devices needed to be replaced with batteries or were offline due to other issues. These messages are reassuring as we have read horror stories of consumers discovering that their alarm systems don’t work after an intrusion.
Lighting is essential to home security, according to us. Vivint sells a plug in device that can control outlets and Hue smart bulbs. However, these devices will stop working if the appliance’s switch or wall control is accidentally turned off. You can replace your existing light control with a Lutron, Wink or Wemo smart switch. Vivint technicians, however, are not licensed electricians. They can mount cameras and doorbells and drill holes, but they cannot change in-wall switches. This leaves it up to an electrician or DIY consumer who will do the job.
How It Works
Vivint users can interact with the system in two ways: via the Smart Hub or through a mobile app on their smartphone. Some prefer to have the control panel located near the front door while others prefer the app. You have the option to choose.
The home screen in both the app and control panel is called “Security.” It allows you to see whether the system has been set to Armed Staying, Disarmed, or Armed Away. You can also see the status of all windows and doors that are open on your home screen. You have the option of walking around your house and closing all doors until you see a message saying, “Everything looks great.” You can choose to have the alarm bypass any windows or doors for the duration of the armed session. You can also see the status and lock or unlock smart locks from your home screen.
You can sound the alarm instantly from the Security screen of the app. A similar “+” button can be found on the hub to instantly trigger panic, emergency or fire.
The monitoring center dispatches the fire department by holding down the Fire button for 2 seconds. The Panic button sounds the Smart Hub siren, and the monitoring centre contacts it. While the Emergency button contacts monitoring center without sounding any sirens, the Panic button activates the Smart Hub siren.
Vivint advised us to use the emergency button to assess the response time of the monitoring center. This test was repeated twice. Each time, the test result was in the same case. We were able to speak with the monitoring center via their hub in approximately 10 to 15 seconds. (Don’t worry; we explained to the representative that it was a false alarm.
Next is Cameras. This navigation icon allows you to view recorded and live video events and to toggle privacy mode on or off. The Activity clock icon links to a running log that includes every activity, such as doors opening and closing, motion sensors picking-up movement and people walking in front.
You can personalize the sound effect of each action with the hub, such as a door chime or piano riff. You can see which door has been opened by simply looking up. The system will also emit a subtle green light from the bottom when all doors and windows have been closed.
Vivint’s “Custom Actions”, which connect devices, are what make it so powerful and fun. These are some functions that you can create:
- When you enter the house, turn on certain lights.
- After entering the code, the smart lock will automatically disarm the system.
- Alarm the system or disable it at a particular time, sunset/sunrise.
A custom action can be used to trigger an outdoor camera’s siren when it is activated. The siren from the outdoor camera will sound a warning to your neighbors, in addition to sounding the hub’s 100-decibel siren. This is just one example of the many ways multiple devices can be combined. Vivint has recently introduced a Car Guard, which plugs directly into the car’s dashboard port. Car Guard can detect if a car is being moved in your driveway and alert your outdoor camera to begin recording.
These “custom actions” are also built-in. These “custom actions” don’t require complicated if-this/then-that calculations. These are powerful, but they can be easily set up.
The best thing about Vivint’s system? Its ability to operate quickly.
Reliable Communication: When you are shopping for a home alarm system, it is easy to be distracted by voice assistants, Bluetooth speakers and automated rainbow-colored lights. It doesn’t matter what you do for security if your devices aren’t connected to the monitoring center in a reliable and lightning-fast manner.
This is why Vivint’s underlying redundant communications strategy is our favorite feature. Your Wi-Fi network is the backbone of many competing systems. Vivint takes it a step further. But how? Vivint has added additional ports to our router including one for Power Line Communications (PLC), which connects the Internet to the Vivint Smart Hub. PLC sends data using the electrical wiring in a home. PLC also includes an outdoor camera that can be connected to it. This creates a wired network for devices further away from the hub.
Vivint may use Ethernet connections in some cases to reduce interference from cameras located at the home’s edge. Additional ports provided hard links to the 24/7 hard drive for video recordings, and a bridge to Philips Hue lightbulbs. Importantly, Vivint Smart Hub has its own Wi-Fi network and is not piggybacking on the one you have.
These steps are important. We discovered that locking and unlocking the Kwikset smart locks took only 20 seconds. This was a few weeks after installation. The Vivint technician then returned to install signal repeaters for the hub’s main 345MHz radio signals as well as the 900MHz Z-Wave protocol, which connects many third-party devices. The response time of the smart lock was reduced by these strategies to around one second. He also updated the firmware on the Vivint Outdoor camera. This facilitated easier conversations with the people at the door.
Vivint Outdoor Cam Pro and AI-Based Intelligent Sentry:
Vivint’s new outdoor camera was introduced in April 2019. It is amazing. The camera has 4K Ultra HD capabilities, high dynamic range, and a 140 degree field of view. We were able zoom in on the scene without losing any detail with a pinch. Clear audio was provided by two far-field microphones that were equipped with echo cancellation. It also had a siren and two-way talk.
Smart Sentry is a function that alerts the smartphone when there’s someone in the driveway. We used the app to create boundaries that allowed us to specify where the camera should look and ignore. This helped to avoid false alarms. Camera’s built-in intelligence is able to distinguish between human beings and passing cars or trees. A sound is made when the camera detects a human being. This causes intruders to look up just in the right time to take a photo and send it to their phone.
We were taken to the camera section of the app when we clicked on the notification. We had the Smart Drive so we could rewind the footage and see the whole scene of an individual approaching or leaving. For easy identification, each detected action is marked on a timeline with a small white dot. You can store 14 days of clips per camera in Vivint’s cloud without the Smart Drive. Vivint Outdoor Camera clips can be up to 90 seconds long. The clips from the Vivint Outdoor Camera and Ping Indoors last 30 seconds and 20 seconds, respectively.
Fees and Prices
Vivint’s starter kit is $599. The Vivint Smart Hub, two door/window sensors and one motion sensor are included. You also get $100 credit to purchase additional sensors. This is the list of security gear that we have added to our system:
- 7 additional door/window sensors available for $350 (50 each).
- 1 additional motion detector: $100
- 2 glass break detectors $200 (each)
- Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro: $399
It would have been about $1,650 if we had placed our order there. This is similar to an average Vivint order. We went crazy and ordered these items to increase our order to $3173.
- 2 Vivint Ping indoor cameras: $398 ($199 each)
- Vivint Doorbell Camera: $249
- Vivint Smart Drive $249
- 1 CO detector: $100
- Additional water sensor $50
- 1 smoke detector: $100
- Kwikset smart door lock: $179
- 4 lamp modules $200 (50c each)
Monthly Vivint Smart Home service plans start at $39.99 and $5 per camera. This includes 14 days clip storage per camera. The same pricing applies to a Vivint Smart Drive. It allows you to record up four cameras 24/7. The Smart Drive is a great choice, even though it’s a bit expensive at $249. It provides quick viewing and rewinding.
Vivint also offers a $19.99 monthly Smart Security Monitoring Service. This service requires purchase of all equipment. This is a basic system without cameras or home automation. Vivint claims that this option is only chosen by 5% of customers.
The Competition: Vivint and ADT
Vivint is a professional-installed security system. It should not be compared with other full-service security systems such as ADT, Brinks and Xfinity Home, but rather DIY products. Vivint, unlike ADT, is able to design and manufacture almost every product it sells. This results in consistently better quality products and services. ADT bundles equipment and charges a monthly fee. Vivint, on the other hand, separates equipment costs to lower the monthly cost after gear has been purchased.
Final Verdict from TheSpruce.com
Protect your home with
Vivint is the best choice for the most reliable and trustworthy home security system and monitoring services. Vivint provides worry-free protection for you home with smart features and custom security actions, such as the ability to sound alarms from outside cameras. There is also near-fail-proof power line communication between your Hub and the Internet.
Content idea and images from TheSpruce