Vivint Doorbell Camera review

Vivint is a high-tech peephole you'll pay a premium for

Vivint is an alternative to the many DIY home security solutions on the market, offering a technical elegance and intuitiveness along with that professional support.
Vivint is an alternative to the many DIY home security solutions on the market, offering a technical elegance and intuitiveness along with that professional support.
Vivint is an alternative to the many DIY home security solutions on the market, offering a technical elegance and intuitiveness along with that professional support.

Highs

  • Well-designed, intuitive interface
  • Versatility through various optional components
  • Professional installation
  • Courteous service

Lows

  • Expensive monthly rates

For most homeowners, a home security system is a begrudgingly accepted expense. Most would rather avoid the extra financial commitment or the complication of having to learn each different system’s idiosyncrasies but are willing to do so for the added peace of mind. There are more and more DIY options crowding the market, but some people would rather leave it to the professionals.

Enter Vivint, offering an array of automated security packages, with a white glove approach. We were given the opportunity to test Vivint’s doorbell camera with their security system touch pad — just a taste of their full security package. Here’s what we found.

Looks, build, and usability

The Vivint security system can consist of dozens of different components depending on an individual household’s needs, including doorbells, cameras, and door sensors. They all connect through a similar central panel, which is attractive, unobtrusive, and sturdy. Its interface is slick and intuitive but offers surprising functionality and depth.

It’s a high-tech alternative to the classic peephole.

There are two soft-keys beneath the bottom edge of the touch screen: one to quickly access a set of emergency contact options and one to navigate back to the home screen from the various submenus. The screen itself is bright and sharp, featuring an airy, well-organized user interface. There are a handful of useful pieces of information on the main screen, including a pleasant greeting, a clear readout of the power and network status, the date, the time, and the outside temperature and weather conditions. From the main screen, you can access the system’s camera and sensors, as well as a log that details security events, sensor information, or network status updates. Finally, there’s an option to reach out to Vivint tech support straight from the pad itself.

The doorbell camera is similar in form to some of the smart doorbells on the market, but it does require a hard-wired connection in lieu of any battery support. It sports excellent, sharp 1080p video with a fairly decent frame rate. When someone rings it, the doorbell chimes from the main control pad and offers a display of the camera’s POV. It also sends a push notification to the free Vivint smartphone app, and you can then communicate with your visitors through the built-in microphone. It’s a high-tech alternative to the classic peephole, with the futuristic utility you’ve come to expect from similar products. The app is as easy to use as the panel’s interface. When tested on an iPhone 6s, it was speedy and reliable, with intuitive access to all of the system’s features.

Our weeks of testing overlapped with Halloween, during which time the doorbell received lots of attention. It’s an approachable design that folks seem to admire. Our house faces a busy street, so we also enjoyed the benefit of being able to monitor when packages were delivered to our doorstep.

Setup and installation

A large part of the Vivint appeal is that the company enlists a professional technician to take care of the entire installation process for you. Our installer was well practiced and well equipped and possessed an intimate knowledge of the equipment and its setup. He was even able to connect the doorbell without any visible impact to our older house’s unique architecture.

The rest of the components (motion detectors and door sensors) are wireless and do not require mounting via screws. The system is expandable, giving you the option of adding additional equipment at any point after the initial installation.

Rates, support, and warranty

The monthly rates are a bit steep compared to competing options, but Vivint does offer some unique and versatile packages. The standard security package starts at $54* per month, but higher tiers of service also offer energy management and automation solutions by way of Z-Wave. The doorbell becomes available along with the electronic door lock or thermostat at the second tier of service for $64 per month. The top-tier package offers a local cloud storage backup solution for $70 per month. Comparatively, Frontpoint has similar plans ranging from $35 to $50, and ADT has offerings from $37 to $50. All of Vivint’s equipment comes with a generous lifetime warranty — unmatched by most competitors.

doorbell-camera-app-iphone

Our Vivint service contact was responsive and helpful. For the price you’re paying, it should be, but it does feel like a very different experience than DIY home security systems we’ve tried where we needed to be constantly worried about every alert that pops up on our phones.

Conclusion

Vivint’s security solutions are expensive, but the equipment is handsome and pleasant to use. Our customer service experience was well aligned with the company’s white-glove mission statement, and the installation was un-invasive and completed by a courteous and knowledgeable technician. Will DIY-ers ditch their systems for Vivint’s costly monthly fees? Maybe not, but they are providing an experience that makes us feel safe as we enjoy its elegance. That in itself is an achievement worthy of mention.

*Rates courtesy of ASecureLife.com

Highs

  • Well-designed, intuitive interface
  • Versatility through various optional components
  • Professional installation
  • Courteous service

Lows

  • Expensive monthly rates
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