With an array of sensors, monitors and cameras all connected to a central hub, a Vivint security system leverages the connectivity inherent in the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor and protect your home. Read on to find out if it̵
The smart hub
The heart of any Vivint smart home security system is a Smart Hub: a touchscreen that needs to be plugged into a power source. The Smart Hub acts as the central “brain” of the system and is the device to which all other sensors and monitors are connected.
The Smart Hub also allows you to monitor any cameras you’ve installed right from the screen, and it’s the device that will contact your monitoring service (more on that later) if it detects a problem. It has battery backup and can operate over a cellular LTE signal, so even if there’s a power outage or your Wi-Fi service is out of order, the Hub will still work and protect your home.
The entire Vivint system can also be followed and controlled from an app on your smartphone. Both the app and Smart Hub can also turn on the system when you are away and control various other components.
A push-to-talk feature on the Hub lets you communicate with someone at your front door if you have Vivint’s video doorbell installed, and a panic button quickly connects to your security or local police department and lets you communicate directly from the panel. The company also sells Emergency Pendants, small keychain-like devices that you can keep with you, which can activate your alarm with the push of a button.
Both the app and the Smart Hub can be used to program different actions based on your location. For example, if you’re at home, you might want your system to let you know if windows or doors are being opened, but ignore any movement it detects.
Sensors and cameras
In addition to the Smart Hub, a Vivint system requires the use of various additional equipment, depending on your needs. Two-piece sensors are used to monitor your doors and windows. When the connection between the two sensors is broken, the system knows that something has been opened. If your system is turned off or set to ‘home’ status, you can simply make it sound to alert you. When you are away, disconnecting these sensors will trigger an alarm. The sensors are equipped with long-lasting batteries and do not need to be wired.
However, the Vivint outdoor security cameras need to be connected to your home’s electrical system. Vivint offers both outdoor and indoor cameras that not only stream and record what they see, but also allow you to communicate through built-in speakers and microphones. Both types of cameras can be set to record motion when it is detected. The outdoor cameras have 4K sensors and a 140-degree field of view, and they activate a piercing sound and a light ring when they detect an intruder, letting potential thieves know they’re being watched. The indoor cameras can be easily connected to a standard power outlet.
Rounding out Vivint’s security offerings are motion sensors and glass break sensors, which pretty much go without saying. The battery-operated motion sensors are installed inside and can be set up to not only trigger an alarm, but also work in tandem with Vivint’s smart thermostats to adjust the temperature when you’re away. Glass break sensors listen to the high tones of broken glass to trigger an alarm.
In the world of smart home security, there are both monitored and self-monitoring solutions. Vivint is a controlled system. While monitoring is not strictly required, you cannot use the app to remotely monitor and adjust the system, and alarms are not forwarded to company representatives or local emergency services when triggered.
Right now, basic monitoring starts at $20 per month. A smart home package that lets you build routines between your devices costs $40 per month, and video surveillance costs $44.99 plus $4.99 per camera in addition to your first, also per month.
Another important differentiator in smart home security systems is whether they can be installed by the homeowner or whether they require a professional to get the job done. Vivint is a professionally installed system that currently costs a flat rate of $49.
While the installation costs for a Vivint smart home security system are reasonable, the equipment tends to be on the pricey side. For example, as of May 2021, each door and window sensor costs $50, glass break sensors and motion detectors cost $100, indoor cameras are $199 each, and the Pro outdoor camera costs $399.
Not only can a Vivint system provide security options, but the company also offers a range of additional equipment that can keep your house noise out beyond just detecting intruders. Frost and flood sensors ($70 each) can let you know if a particular area of your home has gotten too cold or wet, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors ($100 each) alert you to those dangers. For full smart home control, you can also add Vivint’s programmable Element thermostat ($169), a garage door controller ($99), a doorbell camera ($249), a variety of smart bulbs and outlets, and smart door locks. Control for all of these elements is provided via the Hub and the App, as well as with voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Is a Vivint Smart Home Security System Right for You?
So, should you add some or all of Vivint’s smart home features to your life? Well, that question usually comes down to monitoring and installation.
If you want your home security system connected to a central monitoring station manned with representatives who can check in with you when an alarm is triggered and alert local authorities if necessary, Vivint certainly delivers. However, if you’re comfortable without these kinds of surveillance solutions, there’s a range of Wi-Fi cameras and sensors that you can install yourself much more economically. These sensors only send alerts to an app on your smartphone, so if you tend to have your phone with you at all times and feel comfortable calling emergency services yourself, you can save some money while still giving you some peace of mind. gets.
And if you’re not necessarily handy and tech-savvy, Vivint’s installation service is a steal at just $50. For that flat fee, a professional will come to your home, fix and wire up all the sensors and cameras, connect everything to your Smart Hub and show you how to use the system.
However, if you are comfortable with the basic installation procedures and have a good understanding of home networking, you can build your own security system much cheaper. For example, instead of Vivint’s doorbell camera for $249, you can install a Ring video doorbell for just $60. Instead of the company’s Pro outdoor camera for $399, you can get a three-pack of Blink outdoor cameras for less than $ 200. And instead of paying $100 for each of Vivint’s door and window sensors, you can find a range of more affordable sensors in the $20 range by poking around the Internet, including those from SimpliSafe, a well-known self-install security system.