Tech

Vivint Home Security 2021 review: Big brain, big price tag

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David Priest/CNET

Earlier this yr, two vehicles carrying three males confirmed up at my house for an all-day set up of a Vivint security system. I shepherded my chatty 3- and 4-year-old boys out the door and my spouse drove them to get egg bites at Starbucks whereas I did the preliminary walkthrough. Then we left for the day, went into town, did some buying, obtained ice cream and returned to seek out our home newly secured.

Safety cameras, a smart thermostat, a video doorbell, a linked deadbolt, over a dozen sensors of assorted types and extra dotted our house — although you would not discover a lot of the accoutrements with out peering intently. One other fast walkthrough and clarification (fortunately temporary; I’ve written about good house units for years, in any case) and it was dinnertime.

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  • Seamless integration
  • Accessibility

Within the weeks that adopted, I examined Vivint’s house safety system — checked the safety digital camera feeds, timed sensor latency and so forth — due to the corporate offering the {hardware} and set up for a one-month trial interval. And on the whole, Vivint has labored nice. The expertise is way extra unified than you get with standalone units and it is all made consummately accessible via each the Vivint app and the central console — a touchscreen pill affixed to your wall.

However for all its glister and gleam — or maybe due to it — Vivint prices some critical cash. My setup clocked in at about $3,680, although a spokesperson at Vivint instructed me the typical buyer buys about $2,400 price of kit. That may be paid up-front or with a month-to-month cost plan. Both method, the device-by-device strategy to pricing (versus other brands’ package pricing) is a double-edged sword: You get units customized to your wants, however you do not actually get the low cost you’d anticipate when shopping for a package deal of kit.

Given the excessive costs, Vivint appears aimed largely at clients keen to spend considerably extra for the added comfort — and for a lot of, that is a wonderfully acceptable trade-off.

The Vivint system

Earlier than breaking down the Vivint system gadget by gadget, I need to speak a bit of about one in every of Vivint’s key strengths: its integration. I’ve examined Wi-Fi-connected tech since earlier than voice assistants invaded the house, and integration has all the time been each the best level of ache and the best level of satisfaction in that work. In brief, when an built-in house works, it is superior. When it would not, it is a large ache within the ass.

Two main issues have plagued the integrated home for years: the issue of energy (Wi-Fi drains batteries shortly, however routers do not usually talk with low-energy radio protocols like Z-Wave or Zigbee), and the issue of continuity (some manufacturers work with Alexa and Google Assistant, however not Siri; others are Apple-exclusive, and so forth.).

Entire-home methods like Vivint remedy each of those issues: the Vivint Good Hub has a Z-Wave receiver constructed into it, so low-energy units like flood sensors and movement detectors (which you do not need to consistently be altering the batteries in) work seamlessly with the bigger system; and since all of the units are proprietary or curated by Vivint, every part communicates with out situation.

In my few weeks testing Vivint, I did not must do any trouble-shooting. A part of this can be my familiarity with the kinds of units, however largely it has to do with the solidly designed system. I confirmed the units to my dad and mom, they usually each (regardless of being solely considerably tech-savvy) picked up scheduling for the thermostat with ease.

Not solely is it straightforward to be taught, however Vivint’s instruments are genuinely helpful. I closed the storage from the park after forgetting after I pulled out the youngsters’ bikes. The automotive guard alerted me when my spouse was on the best way house from a noon grocery run, so I might get our lunch began. The day after we put in the Vivint house safety system, my 3-year-old dropped a glass plate within the kitchen downstairs and my telephone instantly pinged me that the glass break sensor had gone off — which I would not have recognized in any other case, as I used to be on the other aspect of the home.

In solely every week or two of average use, I instantly noticed the advantages of a few of these units — and I can solely think about what it could’ve been wish to have flood sensors the place they’re now when our HVAC spouted a leak final yr.

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Flood sensors can shield the simply forgotten nooks and crannies of your own home secure from unintended water injury.


David Priest/CNET

I discovered the good plugs to be rather less helpful, however that is possible simply as a result of my private preferences and utilization patterns: I am extra prone to flip switches than to provide voice instructions to Alexa or set schedules for my lights, partially as a result of it nonetheless appears like much less work most often.

Lastly, whereas Vivint works nice as a wise house integration system, it is also at the beginning (a minimum of for many clients) a safety system. Once more, as with its integration, Vivint is robust right here: it gives 24/7 skilled monitoring for $30 per 30 days (a comparable value to most opponents). There’s the usual choices right here, together with empty-house monitoring and nighttime monitoring.

Now let’s dive into the person units I examined out whereas utilizing Vivint.

This is a breakdown of my Vivint invoice:

  • Starter equipment: $500 (consists of Hub, 2 door window sensors, movement detector, flood sensor)
  • Vivint Good Drive: $250
  • 2 out of doors cameras: $800 ($400)
  • 8 additional door/window sensors: $400 ($50 every)
  • 2 glass break sensors: $100 ($50 every)
  • 1 indoor digital camera: $200
  • 1 Vivint Automotive Guard: $200
  • 1 Kwikset Good Lock: $180
  • 1 Vivint Good Thermostat: $170
  • 3 Good plugs: $150 ($50 every)
  • 1 Doorbell Digital camera Professional: $130
  • 1 additional movement detector: $100
  • 2 additional flood sensors: $100
  • Smoke detector: $100
  • CO detector: $100
  • myQ storage door opener: $100

Earlier than diving in level by level, just a few observations concerning my invoice: Vivint costs a $100 set up price, however that price is commonly waved for varied promotions — and should you determine to get their system, it is best to keep away from paying that more money. However even with the price waved, a few of these units really feel extra overpriced than others. I will discover the pricing in additional element under, however for now notice the $400(!) out of doors cameras. These two units alone put me close to the four-figure mark for this package deal, and comparable, standalone cameras usually promote for a lot cheaper. I imply, you will get a reasonably good, Wi-Fi linked and outdoor-graded digital camera as of late for underneath $30.

However, $130 for a video doorbell is not a nasty value in any respect, contemplating that many standalone units value between $100 and $250. All that is to say, a few of Vivint’s {hardware} is best priced and a few worse, and how much safety system you need could decide whether or not Vivint will meet your wants for an inexpensive price or will wring your pockets dry.

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Vivint’s Hub is often affixed the wall, and options an easy-to-navigate interface.


David Priest/CNET

The starter equipment

The center of Vivint’s good house is a $500 package deal of units together with the touchscreen Vivint Good Hub, two door/window sensors, a flood sensor and a movement detector. It’s kind of expensive for the {hardware} alone, but when you concentrate on it because the core smarts holding the bigger system collectively, $500 would possibly really feel a bit of extra palatable.

The working system on the show and the Vivint app in your telephone are each easy and simple to make use of. They offer you plenty of flexibility, with setting schedules and studying in regards to the potential of your newly built-in good house, they usually’re additionally accessible sufficient that much less tech-savvy customers will have the ability to navigate the interface with out a lot bother.

The sensors

Sensors aren’t the units that often get individuals excited a few linked house, however they are a core part to make the entire system run seamlessly. You possibly can program your good plugs to flip on lights once you open the entrance door, or you can also make your thermostat flip down the temperature when your movement detectors have not picked up any motion in over 4 hours. As well as, the assorted sensors add a ton of safety to the home: defending in opposition to break-ins, clearly, but in addition in opposition to leaks, fires and different hazards — like youngsters chopping themselves on a damaged plate.

I want these units had been a bit of cheaper, or got here with bulk reductions, as a result of these are the straightforward units that many individuals would need to load up on. I solely outfitted the primary ground of my home with door/window sensors, and that resulted in about $400 on prime of the sensors that include the Vivint starter equipment. These costs are particularly painful once you evaluate them to, say, SimpliSafe door/window sensors, which you’ll be able to decide up for a quarter the price at Best Buy.

The movement detectors really feel equally overpriced, as do the flood sensors and glass break sensors to a lesser diploma. However even barely overpriced units shortly add up should you’re actually wanting to provide your self thorough safety protection.

The cameras and the drive

As talked about above, Vivint’s proprietary cameras — particularly the out of doors ones — are costly. They’re good devices, offering options like computerized deterrent messages in the event that they sense movement and hardwiring to a Wi-Fi bridge inside to provide them higher connection. Plus, having them professionally put in saves an enormous headache. However I actually cannot think about spending $400 on an out of doors digital camera after I might get top-of-the-line ones from Arlo for simply over half that — and even solidly designed ones from Wyze for $24.

Once I requested Vivint in regards to the excessive value on the digital camera, a spokesperson stated, “The Vivint Doorbell Digital camera Professional has higher construct high quality [than more affordable competitors], a 4K HDR sensor and edge analytics that provide you with quicker AI and notifications, distinctive deter expertise, skilled set up and the reassurance that if something goes unsuitable, we’ll repair it.”

In addition they talked about the hardwiring to the Wi-Fi bridge for dependable connectivity.

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Vivint’s $400 out of doors digital camera feels overpriced when in comparison with comparable standalone units.


David Priest/CNET

Most of the specs do not sound fairly as spectacular when lined up in opposition to a competitor’s. For the sake of comparability, Vivint’s out of doors cameras have 1080p decision, infrared night time imaginative and prescient and a 140-degree subject of view, in comparison with Arlo’s $200 Professional 3 cameras with 2560p decision, full-color night time imaginative and prescient and a 160-degree subject of view.

At $200, the indoor digital camera is rather less offensively priced, and features a name button for, say, youngsters wanting to speak with dad and mom at work. It options 1080p decision, night time imaginative and prescient and a 155-degree subject of view.

The most effective digital camera gadget Vivint gives is well its doorbell cam, which gives 180-degree subject of view and a 1:1 side ratio — which means you’ll see individuals’s entire our bodies, even once they’re standing a few toes from the lens. As well as, it could actually present particular person and package deal notifications, all for $130. That might be a stable deal, even when it weren’t a part of Vivint’s bigger system.

Vivint gives 14-day cloud storage of 10-90-second variable size video clips for its cameras, however you may also hold 30 days of 24/7 footage domestically utilizing the $250 1-terabyte Good Drive. Whereas the Good Drive is out there on the time of this writing, nonetheless, a Vivint spokesperson stated soon-to-release Vivint cameras will not require the gadget for native storage, and a brand new service plan will embrace the Good Drive within the starter equipment till these cameras launch.

The lock and the storage door opener

It might appear odd to lump a deadbolt with a storage door opener, however these are the 2 main units that are not Vivint-branded. As a substitute, the lock comes from Kwikset and the storage door opener comes from Chamberlain — two long-established corporations of their respective fields.

Each the Kwikset good lock and the Chamberlain myQ storage door opener work nicely, letting you safe your property remotely or whilst you’re stepping into mattress. They’re solidly designed devices, and we have reviewed them (or closely related devices) positively up to now.

The one drawback right here is that each units are considerably upcharged. The myQ sells for $30 at most retailers, however Vivint supplies it for $100. The Kwikset lock sells for round $100, however Vivint supplies it for $170. Once more, you may take into consideration this as a kind of built-in set up and integration price, however sooner or later, the upcharges could really feel a bit of exorbitant, particularly should you pay the precise $100 set up price.

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Lots of Vivint’s supporting units are run of the mill — however key into the bigger built-in system in service of a extra unified consumer expertise.


David Priest/CNET

The remainder of the devices and integrations

The remainder of Vivint’s devices are pretty normal: the good plugs and thermostat do what you’d anticipate them to (although, vulnerable to sounding like a damaged report, $50 for a Z-Wave good plug is… about $30 too much, particularly since you should purchase your individual and combine them in a few minutes).

As well as, Vivint works with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant — although the integrations really feel a bit of primary. I could not name up any of my digital camera feeds on my Echo Present, as an illustration (should you ask, it simply pulls up the stream in your Hub display). Asking for particulars on the safety system nonetheless, within the Yr of our Lord 2021, requires stilted phrasing like, “Alexa, ask Vivint if my safety system is armed.”

I might like to see integrations with voice assistants strengthened, significantly if Vivint desires to proceed branding itself as a wise house system as a lot as a safety system.

The decision

I actually loved my time with Vivint. I have never personally used a professionally put in safety system in years, and seeing all of the methods I used to be genuinely grateful to have the monitoring made me second-guess that call. Paying for every of the units would possibly land me proper again the place I began, because the up-front expertise prices really feel overpriced virtually throughout the board.

For many individuals, the worth might be price avoiding the trouble of set up and integration. If that headache is price extra to you than the tons of of {dollars} you’d save by outfitting your own home with a DIY safety system and some standalone units — and it very nicely could also be — then Vivint might be a terrific house safety system for you.

Correction, March 15: A earlier model of this assessment stated the typical Vivint buyer buys $1,500 price of kit; the right determine is $2,429.

https://www.cnet.com/house/safety/vivint-home-security-review/ | Vivint House Safety 2021 assessment: Huge mind, huge price ticket

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