Vivint Outdoor Camera Review HeroSource: Jared DiPane / Android Central

When it comes to home security systems, there are a LOT of choices available these days. Companies like Ring and Nest are offering solutions that you can install yourself, and others like Vivint and CPI have professionally installed systems that come with security monitoring and more. For years I have had a Ring system installed in at my house, and while I enjoyed it, for the most part, there were always some things that I wanted to change.

I love the idea of simplicity, and understand that sometimes you will pay more to get that ease of use. When I started looking for alternatives to my Ring system, I quickly became overwhelmed trying to figure out what the benefits and differences were between the "more traditional" home security systems.

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When the folks at Vivint reached out about their security system and features that the company offers, I was a bit hesitant at first. Honestly, the idea of a whole-home security system overwhelmed me, but from the first conversation with the Vivint support team, I instantly knew things would be different.

I've been using a professionally installed Vivint Security System for about seven weeks or so now. I've tried to learn the ins and outs and see how it worked out for me in daily use compared to the Ring gear we had before. While it may not be perfect, and there are some things that I'd like to see the company change a bit, I can say with confidence that this system has addressed every issue that I had with Ring's set up, and has had a positive impact on the security of our home.

Customize it

Vivint Home Security System

Bottom line: If you're in the market for a professionally installed security system for your home, the Vivint option is definitely worth considering. You can customize it to meet the needs of your home. The app is fast, the cameras record in high quality, and you can integrate with non-Vivint equipment.

The Good

  • Professionally installed system
  • Lots of smart home integration
  • Video quality of cameras is good
  • App loads fast to see what's happening
  • Tons of features and automations that can be set up

The Bad

  • Equipment can get expensive
  • Six camera max for system

Jump to:

Vivint Home Security: The setup process

Vivint Home Security InstallSource: Jared DiPane / Android Central

Getting things going with Vivint is definitely different than it is with Ring or Nest. The company offers a few different packages but can customize your system based upon the needs of your home. I spoke with the Vivint team and went through the various options to pick out how many of each piece was needed. Actually talking to someone about the system instead of just placing an order online made me feel like I was picking out the right pieces and that things would work correctly for my house.

Once the system was spec'd out, it was time to schedule the installation of everything. Vivint scheduled a local installer to come out to the house to get everything installed, and the installer brought out all of the pieces of equipment. He started by reviewing the order, looking over the house, giving a base overview of the install process, and then got to work.

Vivint Ethernet Connection WallSource: Jared DiPane / Android Central

My system was quite large, so it took about 5 hours for two people to install, though he said on average it takes about two hours to get most homes all set up. All of the wires are hidden during the install process, the devices are all named according to location, and everything looks like it has always been there.

After the installers had finished getting everything up and running and cleaned up (which they did an amazing job at), the two people walked me through all the basics of the system, understanding the panel, how the locks worked, and what to do if I ran into any issues. They were very knowledgeable and made sure that I was completely comfortable with everything before they left. So, now that you know what to expect from the process, you are probably wondering more about the system, right?

Let's break down the things I love, some of the stuff that I like, and what I wish was different in an effort to help you decide if it's right for you as well.

Vivint Home Security: What equipment options are available?

Unlike systems offered by Ring and Nest, Vivint offers a bunch of add-on options that really help customize the system. When you are selecting what you want to include in your whole-home security bundle, you can pick from the following:

  • Smart Hub
  • Video doorbell camera
  • Outdoor Camera Pro
  • Indoor "Ping" Camera
  • Nest Thermostat
  • Element Thermostat
  • Smart Locks
  • Garage Door Control
  • Smoke Alarm
  • CO Detector
  • Water Sensor
  • Glass Break Sensor
  • Window Sensors
  • Door Sensors
  • Smart Drive
  • Philips Hue
  • Car Guard
  • Remote Key Fob

You can mix and match from all of the above, adding however many of each you think you need for your home. You can also add most of them at any point after the initial install. Some of them are mailed to you, and you can install yourself, while others may require a professional to come out and run the wiring.

Vivint Home Security: What I like

Vivint Control PanelSource: Jared DiPane / Android Central

Security systems are meant to be easy to use. Sometimes, companies sacrifice feature additions and some enhancements in order to keep it that way, but Vivint does not do this. The whole system is based around a central control panel that's installed in your home. This, along with the mobile application, allows you to view alerts, change settings, and set your alarm. At first, I thought it wouldn't be something that I used, and I would use just the app as I did with Ring, but that quickly proved not to be the case for us.

While the heart of Vivint is in its security features and offerings, one of the top things that I have enjoyed about the experience so far is just how integrated it can be with the rest of my smart home stuff. I've longed for an all-in-one app that would show me my cameras, let me control my lights, thermostats, locks, and smart plugs, and I would never have guessed that Vivint would be the one that did it for me.

Vivint ThermostatSource: Jared DiPane / Android Central

With Vivint, you can connect Nest thermostats, Philips Hue lights, Z-Wave smart locks, and so much more with ease. You can purchase these all through Vivint or connect existing ones that you may have, and all of them can be controlled and integrated into the system. You can even set up automations from within the app to have lights turn on when you arrive home and disarm your system, or receive additional notifications when something specific takes place. I've only just scratched the surface of what this can do, but it's already been able to help me along in the process of building out the smart home of my dreams.

The cameras that Vivint uses are newer models that were released in the last few years and offer some great features. The video quality is very high, and the microphones pick up noises even off in the distance. You can enable a feature that detects when someone is "lingering" in front of one of your cameras for too long, and then it will light up a red right and make an audible alert at them. I've set it to whistle, so when someone is in front of the camera for more than 90 seconds, it whistles at them (then they look at it), and it lets them know they are being recorded. It's a great little additional feature and a pretty tricky way to ensure you get a good look at someone's face on the recording.

Each of them does require power as Vivint doesn't have any battery-powered offerings. The cameras use a Powered-Over-Ethernet hybrid type of solution that was pretty interesting. The technicians have to run an ethernet cable outside of your house to connect the camera to a power source inside the home, and then that power source connects to the Wi-Fi in the home to connect the camera once it's powered up. It seemed confusing, but in practice, it works great.

For the entire time that you are a paying customer and maintain service with Vivint, all of your items are protected by warranty. That means that if in two or three years your doorbell camera dies, you just reach out, and Vivint sends a tech to your house. There is a relatively small truck fee that you are charged, but the equipment and install of it are absolutely free.

Vivint Home Security: What I don't like

Vivint Indoor Camera HeroSource: Jared DiPane / Android Central

While the systems are incredibly robust, and the features are well-thought-out and easy to understand, there are a few things I wish worked a little differently. For most people, these things may not be an issue, but if you have a larger home, or just like to have cameras in multiple places, you may run into the same concerns.

Vivint suggests having no more than six cameras connected to the system at any given time, including the doorbell. Given that Vivint offers indoor and outdoor cameras, I hit that limit easily in my current home and had to even sacrifice a camera in comparison to what I had with Ring to keep things working smoothly. Vivint offers a hard drive to store 24/7 footage, but you are only guided to enable three cameras with that feature; beyond that, it dramatically reduces how well it works. I tried it on all six, and it slowed down the performance of my system big time. Once down to three, things sped back up.

A minor annoyance I found was that the outdoor cameras are only designed for people detection, which means that if an animal walks onto your property, you won't be notified, nor will you receive an alert for a car parked out front when it shouldn't be. When I asked, the company said that people on your property pose the biggest threat, and that's why detection and alerts are limited to only people instead of multiple objects.

One of the biggest factors here is going to be the cost. There's no denying that Vivint is a more premium level security system, and that means that it's more expensive than some of the competition. What's nice, though, is that you can finance the equipment to help build the system of your dreams, and then you pay for it monthly alongside your service fee. As previously mentioned, you can pick a base package or customize one to meet your needs.

Vivint Home Security: Competition

When it comes to the competition, Vivint is going up against players like CPI Security and ADT Home Security because of the nature of the professional installation and monitoring. You can't buy these kits and have them mailed to you to install.

It's a bit harder to compare to things like Nest and the offerings from Ring, mainly because you can buy it readily online or in-store and install it yourself. The equipment it much different, as are the costs associated from the start to the finish.

There are lots of great home security systems out there, and Vivint is amongst the best I've used.

Vivint Home Security: Should you buy it?

Vivint Window SensorsSource: Jared DiPane / Android Central

Who it's for

  • Those who want a whole-home security system
  • Someone who wants a smart home that all integrates together

Who it's not for

  • Someone who has a tight budget
  • Someone looking for a basic security camera

There is no single security system that checks every box for every single person. In my opinion, the Vivint system comes pretty close to offering everything I could have dreamed of wanting out of a security system but does have some minor annoyances that you'll have to accept.

If money is a key factor in your decision process, or you want to be able to install the security system yourself, Vivint may not be the best choice for you. If you want something that works consistently, looks great when it's installed, and offers excellent protection for your home, Vivint is an option that's definitely worth your consideration.

4 out of 5

You need to weigh in the fact that Vivint is much more than just a home security system, though. With the extra smart home integrations that are available, it turns into one place that you can control so many devices, and allow everything you have to co-exist. For me, this was the most powerful part of the system that I didn't even realize.

It's not perfect, though. There are times where you may see false alarms and other motions that may get missed, but overall it's a very solid offering that doesn't require an insane long-term contract and is relatively affordable at the same time. Take a look at Vivint's site, speak to the company's customer support, and see how a system can be tailored for your home today!

Mix and match

Vivint Home Security System

Bottom line: If you're in the market for a professionally installed security system for your home, the Vivint option is definitely worth considering. You can customize it to meet the needs of your home. The app is fast, the cameras record in high quality, and you can integrate with non-Vivint equipment.

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