Vivint Home Security System Review: Price Worth It for Ease of Use
It's not the cheapest option available, but Vivint's vast collection of add-ons provide a seamless user experience. best.
Should you consider Vivint in 2023?
Things can change quickly these days. This applies as much to your home security options as it does to the latest and greatest gadgets. There are many DIY systems and professionally installed options available when exploring your available options.Vivint Smart Home falls into the second category and has won the Best Professional Home Security award for Smart Home Automation on CNET's list of Best Home Security Systems. is this still the case?
CNET's David Priest wrote our original Vivint review in March 2021 after testing the home security system for a month. CNET's Jared DiPane, who has been using the Vivint system at home for more than three years, provided his details and additions in November 2022 after Vivint released the new product. Following Priest's intro, we've labeled the sections so you know who's writing.
In this Article:
- Vivint System
- Starter Kit
- Vivint Smart Hub
- Vivint Customer Support and Service
- Does Vivint Vivint Mobile App have an activation fee?
One day, two trucks carrying three men came to my house to install the Vivint security system all day. I drove my loud-mouthed 3- and 4-year-old boys out the door, and my wife drove them to poke eggs at Starbucks while I went through the initial procedures. Then we left for the day, went into town, shopped, bought some ice cream, and headed back to find our new guaranteed home.
Security cameras, smart thermostats, video doorbells, connected deadbolts, dozens of sensors of all kinds and more are scattered throughout our home - although you won't realize most of them. equipment if not looked closely. .Another quick introduction and explanation (hopefully short since I've been writing about smart home devices for years), and it was time for dinner.
Over the next few weeks, I've been testing Vivint's home security system - testing security camera feeds, sensor latency over time, and more. - Ask the company to provide equipment and install it for a trial period of one month. And overall, Vivint performed very well. A much more unified experience than you get with standalone devices, and everything is seamlessly accessible through the Vivint app and central console: a touchscreen tablet attach to your wall.
But for all its sparkle and brilliance - or maybe because of it - Vivint costs a fortune.My setup cost around $3,680, although a Vivint spokesperson told me the average customer buys about $2,400 worth of equipment. This can be paid upfront or with a monthly payment plan. Either way, per-device pricing (as opposed to other brands' bundle pricing) is a double-edged sword: you get devices customized to your needs, but you only received an unexpected discount. when purchasing a set of equipment.
Considering the high price tag, Vivint seems to be mainly aimed at customers who are willing to spend more money for convenience. And for many, this is a perfectly acceptable compromise.
Vivint's overall system
Priest: Before we go into detail about the Vivint system by device, I want to talk a little bit about one of Vivint's main strengths: its integration. I've been experimenting with Wi-Fi connectivity technology long before voice assistants took over the house, and integration has always been the hardest and most satisfying part of the job. In short, when a built-in home works, that's great.When it doesn't, it's a huge pain in the ass.
Two main problems have plagued the integrated home for years: power issues (Wi-Fi runs out of battery fast, but routers often don't communicate with low-power radio protocols like Z -Wave or Zigbee) and continuity issues (some brands work with Alexa and Google Assistant, but not Siri; others are Apple exclusives, etc.).
Whole-home systems like Vivint solve both of these problems: The Vivint Smart Hub integrates a Z-Wave receiver, so devices that consume less energy like flood sensors and transmitters. now motion (for which you don't want to change batteries constantly) works seamlessly with larger systems; and since all devices are owned or managed by Vivint, everything communicates seamlessly.
During the few weeks of testing Vivint, I had no problems to resolve.This may be partly because I am familiar with the types of equipment, but in large part because the system is designed to be solid. I showed my parents these devices, and both (though only a little tech-savvy) figured out how to program the thermostats easily.
Not only is it easy to learn, but Vivint's tools are really useful. I closed the park garage after forgetting to take the kids' bikes out. The valet informed me when my wife got home from the market at noon so I could start lunch.The day after installing the Vivint home security system, my 3-year-old dropped a piece of glass in the downstairs kitchen and my phone immediately alerted me that the glass breakage sensor was detected. trigger - which I can't tell. , because I was on the other side of the house.
After just a week or two of moderate use, I immediately saw the benefits of some of these devices - and I can only imagine what things would be like if they were found now when our HVAC system leaked in 2020.
I find smart plugs a little less useful, but that may depend on my personal preference and usage habits: Me I'm more likely to flip a switch than give Alexa voice commands or set a schedule for my lights, in part because I still feel like that's less work in most cases.
Finally, while Vivint works great as a smart home integration system, it's also primarily (at least for most customers) a security system. Again, as with its integration, Vivint is strong here: it offers 24/7 professional monitoring for $30 a month (a price comparable to most of its competitors). ). There are standard options here, including empty house monitoring and night monitoring.
Now let's move on to the individual devices I tested using Vivint.
Here are my Vivint bill details:
Starter kit: $500 (includes Hub, two window sensors, motion sensor, flood sensor)
Vivint Smart Drive: $250
Two cameras outdoor: $800 ($400)
Eight additional door-window sensors: $400 ($50 each)
Two glass break sensors: $100 ($50 each)
Socket: $150 ($50 each)
One doorbell Professional camera: $130, One additional motion detector: $100,
Two additional flood detectors: $100, Smoke detector: $100,
CO detector: $100,
MyQ garage door opener: $100, each, one A few notes about my bill: Vivint charges a $100 setup fee, but that fee is often waived for various promotions - and if you decide to buy their system, you should avoid paying the extra.But even with fees removed, some of these devices appear to be more expensive than others. I'll explore pricing in more detail below, but for now, keep an eye out for the $400(!) outdoor camera. Those two cameras alone brought me close to the four-figure mark for this bundle, the
and comparable standalone cameras often selling for significantly less. I mean, you can get a pretty nice, Wi-Fi connected, outdoor camera these days for under $30.
On the other hand, $130 for a video doorbell is not a bad price, as many standalone units range from $100 to $250. All that said, some Vivint hardware is cheaper and some are cheaper, and the type of security system you want can determine whether Vivint meets your needs at a reasonable price.
Vivint Starter Kit
Priest : The heart of Vivint's smart home is a $500 device bundle that includes a Vivint Smart Hub touchscreen display, two door/window sensors, a flood sensor, and a kit. motion detection. It's a bit pricey for the hardware alone, but if you consider it the core intelligence that ties the larger system together, $500 seems a little more acceptable.
Both the on-screen operating system and the Vivint app on your phone are simple and easy to use.They give you a lot of flexibility, with scheduling and exploring the potential of your newly integrated smart home, and they're accessible enough for less tech-savvy users to have access to. can navigate the interface without too much difficulty.
Vivint DiPane Smart Hub: Vivint's security system is centered around the Vivint Smart Hub. This is the main control panel for operating the system at home, and an update taking place in September 2022 has improved the panel's overall usability. From the Vivint Smart Hub, you can control your smart home devices, view the camera, and make other system changes (like activating or deactivating). I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a fan of having a dashboard in my house as I often use the app, but
Vivint has now made it possible for the dashboard to show things like the time. , your home's security status, and even the inactive weather, instead of a blank screen.
From the Smart Hub, you can enable and disable the control panel with just a few simple button presses.Additionally, in the event of an emergency at home, you can notify the authorities using the Fire, Emergency, and Panic buttons. One of the cool features is the Duress Code, which allows you to enter a code that appears to change your alarm status from unarmed to unarmed, but notifies Vivint of an emergency and dispatches agency function to your location. This can be used if you are being watched in your
house or someone broke in and you are trying to keep quiet. Hope isn't something you'll use often if at all, but a great thing to have for emergencies. Video Doorbell
Vivint's Smart Hub
DiPane: Vivint's picture doorbell has been a bargain thanks to its relatively low price and smart features.The video enhancements made between generations make me love it even more. The viewing area remains 180 degrees vertical and 180 degrees horizontal in the latest version, but it looks like there's actually more video displayed. Shane Roberts, product marketing manager at Vivint, said, "The new Outdoor Camera Pro and Doorbell Camera Pro offer improved image quality and lens alignment.
With these updates, camera images in the app Your Vivint application may have a wider field of view."
It has an encrypted SD card for secure local video storage, which boosts performance a bit and lets you view recordings a bit faster.Overall, the new doorbell is a step in the right direction for Vivint and remains one of the company's most cost-effective video cameras. The doorbell itself is slightly larger than the previous model and has a slightly refined design. It still has only one color option and the front is all black except for the ring around the , the button can change color when pressed or motion is detected.
I wish Vivint's $50 sensors were a little cheaper or mass-discounted because they are simple devices that many people want to charge. I only fitted the door/window sensors on the first floor of my house, which cost me about $400 more than the sensors that come with the Vivint starter. These prices are especially annoying when you compare them to SimpliSafe, which sells a four-pack of door/window sensors for $49 at Best Buy.
Motion sensors also seem to be overpriced, as are flood sensors and glass breakage sensors to a lesser extent. But even slightly expensive devices add up quickly if you really want to give yourself full coverage of security.
DiPane Camera and Reader: As mentioned above, Vivint's proprietary cameras, especially outdoor cameras, are very expensive. They are good gadgets, offering features like automatic stop notifications if they detect motion and connecting to a Wi-Fi bridge in the house to give them a better connection. Plus, having them professionally installed will save you a lot of headaches. But honestly, I can't imagine spending $400 on an outdoor camera when I can buy high-end cameras from Arlo for less than half that — or even are ruggedly designed
cameras from Wyze for $24.
When I asked Vivint about the high price tag of the camera, the spokesperson explained its specifications."Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro has better build quality [than its more affordable competitors], 4K HDR sensor and advanced analytics that give you AI and faster notifications, unique containment technology, professional installation and ensuring that if something goes wrong, we fix it," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also mentioned cabling to a Wi-Fi bridge for a reliable connection.
Many specs don't look quite as impressive as the competition. For comparison, Vivint's outdoor camera has 1080p resolution, infrared night vision, and a 140-degree field of view, compared to Arlo's $200 Pro 3 camera, which has 2560p, color night vision. and 160 degree field of view.
Vivint updated the outdoor camera in August 2022, and also introduced the new Spotlight Pro, a new and underlying outdoor camera-mounted light.You can customize the lights' trigger and behavior from the app. It can pulse, can track a person as they move, etc. This is possibly one of my favorite new Vivint releases in recent years. At $250, it's a bit pricey for what some might consider "just light," but it's worth noting that the
's customization options are definitely worth it.
I noticed a big improvement in the new Vivint outdoor camera over the old one. While they still retain a 140-degree field of view, it looks like the new model offers a slightly wider viewing angle than the previous model. Video seems to be slightly improved, although the specs don't claim it either. Visually, the two cameras look almost identical, with the main difference being that the base of the new cameras is slightly wider than the base of the previous generation model.
Vivint will launch a new indoor camera by the end of 2022, which also brings promising improvements, such as the addition of CO2 sensor and glass breakage sensor, new design and privacy mode improved.
For $200, the indoor camera costs a little less and includes a call button for kids who want to communicate with parents at work. It offers 1080p resolution, night vision, and a 155-degree field of view.
The best camera Vivint has to offer is easily the doorbell camera, which has a 180-degree field of view and a 1:1 aspect ratio, meaning you can see people's entire bodies, even when they're walking. stand a few meters away from the target. Additionally, it can provide person and package notifications, all for $130. That would be a good deal, even if it's not part of Vivint's larger system.
Vivint offers 14 days of cloud storage of 10 to 90 seconds variable length video clips for your camera, but you can also save 30 days of footage 24/7 locally with Smart Drive from 1 terabyte to $250. While Smart Drives are available at the time of this writing, a Vivint spokesperson says that the upcoming Vivint cameras will not require a device for local storage and a new bundle service will include Drive. smart disk in the starter . until those cameras showed up.
Garage Door Opener and Locker
Priest: It may seem strange to combine a deadbolt with a garage door opener, but those are two primary devices that aren't Vivint. Instead, the locks come from Kwikset and the garage door openers come from Chamberlain – two established companies in their respective fields.
The Kwikset Smart Lock and Chamberlain MyQ garage door opener work well, allowing you to secure your home from afar or while you're sleeping.They are solidly designed gadgets, and we've reviewed them (or closely related devices) in the past positively.
The only problem here is that both devices are significantly overloaded. MyQ sells for $30 at most retailers, but Vivint offers it for $100. The Kwikset lock sells for about $100, but Vivint offers it for $170. Again, you can think of this as some sort of integration and installation fee, but at some point the extra fee can seem a bit overwhelming, especially if you're paying the actual installation fee. 100 USD.
Rest of the Vivint Priest Gadgets and Integrations: The rest of the Vivint gadgets are pretty standard: smart plugs and thermostats do what you'd expect (though, at the risk of sounding similar. like a broken record, $50 for a Z-Wave Smart Plug… too much about $30, especially since you can buy your own plug and have it integrated in minutes).
Additionally, Vivint works with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, although the integrations seem a bit basic. For instance, I can't invoke any camera feeds on my Echo Show. (If you ask, it just shows the feed on your Hub screen.) Asking for security system details still requires hard wording like "Alexa, ask Vivint to see your security system." Am I equipped?"
I would like to see stronger integration with voice assistants, especially if Vivint wants to continue to market itself as a smart home system as well as a security system.
Support and Translation Vivint
DiPane Customer Service: Yes There are a number of ways to get in touch with Vivint's customer service and support team.The first and one of the easiest ways is through the mobile app. You can start a conversation for support. Technology and products with a representative in just a few clicks show you how many people are ahead of you in the virtual queue and let you know you how long it may take.Another chat option is available on the company's online website, where you can also get product support and help with account issues .
Finally, if you don't want to sit down, chat, you can always call Vivint and get customer support from one of their representatives. Vivint's customer and technical support team is available from 4:00 a.m. PT until 10:00 p.m. PT.Mr PT Monday-Friday and 4:30am PT-9pmPT at the weekend.
Vivint Mobile App
DiPane: Vivint's mobile app is one of the best smart home apps on the market today. It offers a lot of features, which might make you think it would be complicated, but Vivint did a great job of simplifying things. There are different tabs at the bottom of the app for different features, such as security, thermostat, camera, lights, and activity. The app lets you control all of your compatible smart home devices from one place, and you can even create -related processes across multiple devices at once.
There is a bit of a learning curve for some of the more advanced casual features, but overall, the Vivint app is easy to use and reliable.
Does Vivint have any activation fees?
Priest: Vivint charges an installation fee instead of an activation fee, but it's not hard to figure out how to get around that. The company often organizes promotions including $0 activation/installation fee to entice new customers to sign up. Vivint typically charges $50 to $200 for the installation of all equipment, including professional installation in your home, where their experts hide the wires, install your equipment, configure picture everything and guide you through the operation of the system .
Verdict after a month
Priest: I really enjoyed my month with Vivint.Personally, I haven't used a professionally installed security system in years, and seeing all the ways I'm truly grateful to have oversight has me questioning that decision. Paying for each device can get me back to where I started, as the upfront cost of technology seems overwhelming in most areas.
For many, the price will be worth the hassle of installation and integration. If that headache is worth more than the hundreds of dollars you save by equipping your home with a DIY security system and a few stand-alone devices - and rightfully so - then Vivint will be a great system for you. for you.
Verdict after more than three years
DiPane: Vivint's security system is definitely worth it, as long as you're willing to pay the extra.It's not the cheapest option out there, but it works great and has a ton of cool features. In addition to all the devices Vivint has to offer for sale, you can add your own Z-Wave-enabled smart home devices to the system, allowing you to use other smart locks, thermostats, etc This is a huge benefit as it opens the door to other alternative devices, some of which are
cheaper than Vivint sells itself.
I was able to add the same MyQ smart garage controller that Vivint sells to my system for under $20 thanks to a deal I found on Amazon. I also added an additional siren for just under $50, and that's something you can't even get from Vivint.I also used thermostats from another home I own, rather than having to replace them with Vivint options since they are Z-Wave. The Vivint Smart Thermostat is priced separately at $169, but you can find other options on Amazon for around $79 or pick up the
Ecobee model for $159.
For those who want a smarter home but fear having too many apps to control it, the Vivint experience is also superior. It allows you to control smart lights, plugs, and more. in one place and create processes around them that can be activated according to the alarm state (whether it is equipped or not).