Lowest Price: $49.99
Manufacturer Recommended Price: $549
Summary: The Vivint Smart Home Security System offers you round-the-clock monitoring system with remote control of cameras, door locks and heating system. The video doorbell is arguably the best available.
• Responsive touch screen
• Fast response to events
• Remote control of cameras, sensors, door locks and thermostats
• No lengthy contract needed
• Alarm sounds are not customizable
• Monthly subscription is required for remote access
DIY smart home security systems will save you a lot of money. But the major disadvantage of these systems is that you must take action yourself anytime an alarm is triggered. They do not call the authorities and they don’t check to see what is wrong when the alarm of your front door is triggered or when your smoke alarm is tripped. Subscription based systems like the Vivint Smart Home security system will do all that for you and more. Vivint offers 24/7 home monitoring with an amazingly speedy response should an alarm trip off. It also comes with various home automation services which can be controlled from a 7-inch touch screen panel, a PC and a smartphone app.
The Vivint Smart Home security system is expensive but you don’t have much to do once you select a plan. Their technicians will come to your home and install the system. They will also give you a thorough tour of the system and explain it all to you.
Plans Offered By Vivint
Just like Simplisafe, you can select the hardware you need and select a monthly plan when you purchase a Vivint system. The minimum requirement is the $549 base system which comes with a motion detector, two window/door sensors and a SkyControl touch-screen panel. You can add more sensors if you choose to.
Vivint has a FlexPay financing system that allows you to pay for the hardware over time but you must subscribe to one of their service plans during the course of the loan agreement. If you purchase the hardware up-front, you can select from one of two monthly service plans. You can also decide to monitor the system yourself but you will lose out on round-the-clock tech support and the use of the mobile app.
There are two plans available. There is the Smart Protect Plan and there is the Smart Home Plan. The Smart Protect Plan costs $39.99 monthly and it allows you to use the mobile app and get alert notifications. It also gives you access to round-the-clock professional monitoring. The Smart Home Plan costs $49.99 monthly and it allows you to control home automation devices using the smartphone app and Amazon’s Alexa voice commands.
The prices of the components are similar with that of the competition. Glass break detectors cost $70 each while Protect America charges $79.99, FrontPoint charges $74.99 while LiveWatch charges $79. Window and door sensors cost $39.99 apiece which is the same as what is charged by Protect America; FrontPoint charges $32.99 while LiveWatch charges $29. Panic buttons cost $39.99 which is similar to what FrontPoint and ProtectAmerica charge and quite cheaper than Livewatch which costs $47.24.
The Ping Camera can use a call button to begin two-way communication. The call button sends a notification to users that are connected to the system. The Ping Camera costs $199.99. The Vivint Smart Drive is the new replacement for the Space Monkey option and it provides a month of continuous video storage for not more than four cameras. Another new addition is the Element Thermostat which integrates with the system to keep temperatures okay. It costs $149.99.
The control center of the Vivint Smart Home System is the SkyControl panel. This panel has a 7-inch full color touch-screen display. It can be used to view recorded and live videos, adjust cooling and heating temperatures, unlock and lock doors and activate emergency services such as Burglary and Panic alarms that go straight to the local police. The panel can also be used to arm and disarm the system, run diagnostics, edit and assign user codes and tweak camera settings. But you can’t change alarm sound which could be quite problematic.
The components all communicate with the SkyControl panel using various types of wireless technologies such as RF (for smoke and sensors alarm), Wi-Fi (for cameras) and Z-Wave (for door locks). The Vivint Doorbell Camera looks great and performs wonderfully.
Other cameras look big and are so obvious, the Vivint Doorbell Camera looks just like a regular doorbell and makes use of your current wiring. It has a glossy black face in a silver housing and it measures 4.5 by 1.5 by 1.0 inches. The DoorBell Camera has a 1280 by 800 720p high definition camera. The camera has a 10-foot night vision range and a 180⁰ field of view. The Vivint Doorbell has a tiny microphone port below the camera. It also has a powerful, small speaker at the base to allow for two-way communication with a mobile device or the SkyControl panel.
The camera records video when the camera button is pressed and it also has a motion sensor that records video automatically anytime someone enters the detection zone. It captures clips of 30 seconds in length and utilizes continuous buffering with a 5-8 second pre-event trigger so you can see what happened just before an event. You can see who walked up to the door just before they press the doorbell. The video clips are stored in the cloud and you can share them by email, text message or by downloading them to your mobile phone. The videos remain on the cloud for 45 days and are removed on a first-in first-out basis. You can also choose to delete them manually.
The interior camera has a 1280 by 800 resolution. It has a 94⁰ field of view and it measures 3.1 by 3.1 by 1.7 inches. It delivers black and white night video by using six IR (infrared) LEDs. It has a range of 20 feet. It has a round stand with a WPS button on the left and an Ethernet port on the back.
The outdoor camera is a bullet-style model that has a measurement of 4 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. It also has a camera resolution of 1280 by 800 and it has a slightly narrower 73⁰ field of view. It has a longer range of 40 foot for night vision due to its ten infrared LEDs.
Mobile App and Performance
The Vivint Smart Home Security system can be controlled remotely via an Android and iOS app or from a PC using a web console. With the mobile app, the home screen will display how many windows and doors that are open and the doors that are unlocked. It also has buttons for locking and unlocking doors and a big button for disarming and arming the system. At the bottom of the screen, there is a taskbar which you can use to access the thermostat to view the current temperature, set vacation modes, create heating or cooling schedules for weekdays and weekends and turn the heating and cooling system on and off.
If you select the camera icon, it will take you to a screen where you can watch live videos from every camera and watch clips from events that were recorded. Recorded events could include motion detection or someone ringing the doorbell. If you tap the On/Off icon, you are taken to a page where you can turn light switches and wall outlets on and off. Tapping the settings icon, you will be able to see all notifications and an activity history that is searchable by date. Activities such as camera recordings, motion detection, door openings and ruled enabled events are visible from here. In the settings menu, you can customize some rules to suit you. You can have the doors unlock or lock automatically at specific periods of time or when any event occurs. You can also have the lights go on or off at selected times. You could also have the camera record a video when any alarm is set off. You can decide to use your own rules or go along with the predefined rules.
The web app doesn’t have as many options as the mobile app. You can watch live and recorded videos, create your own rules, disarm and arm the system and view all notifications and activities. But you can’t set the thermostat, unlock and lock doors or use the push to talk feature of the doorbell.
When the home automation functions of the system were tested, it excelled and kept to all custom rules perfectly. Doors were locked and unlocked at selected times and thermostats were kept at the right temperature daily.
The security features of the system are also great. Motion detectors, windows and door sensors all worked perfectly. The exterior and interior cameras worked fine. Day and night videos were good and the night vision images were also good. The video feed from the doorbell camera was sharp with great colors. Recorded videos were also good.
In emergency cases, the system also performed fine. The smoke alarm was triggered and a fire truck arrived less than 10 minutes later. The only problem was that the smoke alarm didn’t sound like a smoke alarm usually sounds. Alarm sounds can’t be customized for now. But that might be possible in future updates.
The Vivint Smart Home Security System is a comprehensive security system that is regularly monitored and it comes with great home automation features. It is quite costly but remember that for DIY systems, you are responsible for maintenance, monitoring and installation. And also, you must contact the fire department or the police in the case of an emergency. You also don’t need to pay for a lengthy contract as required by FrontPoint and Protect America.
The Vivint Smart Home Security System doesn’t come cheap. But this is expected with most home security services that are fully monitored. But it gives you a great sense of security and you can be assured that your home is well secured and protected round-the-clock.
Lowest Price: $49.99