Editors’ Word: This evaluation has been up to date to mirror pricing and plan adjustments within the Vivint Sky System, now Vivint Sensible Residence, since we reviewed it in July 2015. We have raised its rating from four to four.5 stars and it now receives our Editors’ Alternative endorsement.
Do-it-yourself smart home security systems just like the SkylinkNet SK-200 and the iSmartAlarm Premium are nice for frugal owners who need to get monetary savings by monitoring their properties themselves, however these techniques depart it as much as you to take motion when an alarm is triggered. They do not examine in to see if every part is OK when your smoke alarm goes off or when your entrance door alarm is tripped, and so they do not name the native authorities. For that form of response, you want a subscription-based service just like the one which comes with the Vivint Sensible Residence safety system. With Vivint you get around-the-clock dwelling monitoring with an extremely swift response when an alarm goes off, in addition to a wide range of non-obligatory dwelling automation providers, all of which could be managed from a smartphone, a PC, and a 7-inch touch-screen management panel.
Vivint Sensible Residence techniques aren’t low cost, however when you resolve on a plan you do not have to carry a finger; Vivint technicians come to your own home, set up every part, and offer you a complete tour of the way it all works. That each one provides as much as our Editors’ Alternative for dwelling safety techniques.
As with SimpliSafe, once you order a Vivint system you buy no matter you want and choose a month-to-month plan. The minmum requirement is a $549 base system consisting of a SkyControl touch-screen panel, two door/window sensors, and a movement detector, however you may add extra sensors as wanted.
If you buy the up-front you may select one among two month-to-month service plans, or you may monitor the system your self however will forgo use of the cell app and 24/7 tech assist. You possibly can benefit from Vivint’s FlexPay financing to pay for the over time, however should subscribe to one of many service plans over the course of the mortgage settlement.
There are two service plans. The Sensible Shield plan is $39.99 monthly and offers you 24/7 skilled monitoring and full use of the cell app, together with alert notifications. If you happen to add issues like door locks, doorbell cams, and thermostats, you may want the $49.99 monthly Sensible Residence plan, which helps you to management dwelling automation gadgets utilizing the app and Amazon’s Alexa voice instructions. Once more, a service plan isn’t obligatory, however with out one it’s important to monitor your property your self and you do not get distant entry to the system.
Further element costs are just about consistent with the competitors. Door/window sensors go for $39.99 every, which is what Shield America fees; LiveWatch fees $29 and Frontpoint fees $32.99. A Vivint glass-break detector prices $70 whereas FrontPoint fees $74.99, Shield America fees $79.99, and LiveWatch fees $79. Panic buttons go for $39.99 every, which is similar to Shield America and FrontPoint pricing, and a bit cheaper than Livewatch ($47.24).
New to the Vivint line is the Ping Camera ($199.99), which is exclusive in that it could actually provoke two-way communication utilizing a name button that sends a notification to customers which can be linked to the system. That function labored properly in testing, and the digital camera additionally delivers wonderful day and night time video, helps event-triggered recording, and interacts with different sensible dwelling gadgets.
The Aspect Thermostat ($149.99) can be new, and seamlessly integrates with the system to maintain temperatures comfy. Vivint Sensible Drive replaces the House Monkey possibility and offers 30 days of steady video storage for as much as 4 cameras.
The SkyControl panel is the Vivint Sensible Residence’s nerve heart. It has a 7-inch full colour touch-screen show that makes it straightforward to lock and unlock doorways, view stay and recorded video, modify heating and cooling temperatures, and activate emergency providers together with Panic and Housebreaking alarms that go straight to the native police division. The panel additionally helps you to assign and edit person codes, modify alarm volumes, tweak digital camera settings, arm or disarm the system, and run diagnostics. Nevertheless, you may’t change the sound of the alarms, which could be problematic. Extra on that later.
The varied elements talk with the panel utilizing a number of varieties of wi-fi applied sciences together with Wi-Fi (cameras), RF (sensors and smoke alarm), and Z-Wave (door locks). My favourite is the Vivint’s Doorbell Digicam, which presents the very best efficiency and aesthetics I’ve seen from a doorbell cam so far.
Whereas the Ring and SkyBell gadgets are considerably cumbersome and are clearly housing a digital camera, Vivint’s Doorbell Digicam truly appears to be like like an everyday doorbell, and makes use of your current wiring. It measures four.5 by 1.5 by 1.zero inches (HWD) and has a silver housing and a shiny black face. On the high of the doorbell is a 1,280-by-800-pixel 720p HD digital camera, with a 180-degree discipline of view and a 10-foot night time imaginative and prescient vary. Under that may be a tiny microphone port, and there is a small however highly effective down-firing speaker on the base for two-way communication with the SkyControl panel or a cell system.
The digital camera data video when the button is pressed, and incorporates a movement sensor that mechanically data video when somebody enters its detection zone. It captures 30 second clips and makes use of steady buffering with a 5-Eight second pre-event set off so you may see what occurred simply previous to the occasion. For instance, you may see somebody strolling as much as your door earlier than they really press the doorbell. You possibly can share video clips, that are saved within the cloud, by way of textual content message, electronic mail, or by downloading them to your cell system, and you may manually delete them from the cloud. In any other case they continue to be there for 45 days and are eliminated on a first-in first-out foundation.
The inside digital camera measures three.1 by three.1 by 1.7 inches (HWD) and likewise has a 1,280-by-800 decision. It makes use of six infrared (IR) LEDs to ship black-and-white night time video as much as round 20 ft and has a 94-degree discipline of view. It sits on a spherical stand and has an Ethernet port on the again and a WPS button on the left.
The outside digital camera is a bullet-style mannequin that measures four inches lengthy by 2.5 inches large. It too has a 1,280-by-800 decision, however its 73-degree discipline of view is a bit narrower than the inside digital camera. That mentioned, it has an extended (40 foot) night time imaginative and prescient vary because of its 10 IR LEDs.
App and Efficiency
You possibly can management the Vivint system remotely utilizing the free Android and iOS apps, and from a PC utilizing the net console. With the cell app, the house display shows what number of doorways and home windows are presently open and which doorways are unlocked. It additionally incorporates a giant button for arming and disarming the system and buttons for locking and unlocking your doorways. Utilizing the duty bar on the backside of the display you may entry the thermostat to view the present temperature, flip the heating cooling system on and off, set trip modes, and create a heating/cooling schedule for weekdays and weekends.
Tapping the digital camera icon takes you to a display the place you may view stay video from every digital camera and see clips from recorded occasions similar to movement detection or when somebody rings the doorbell. The On/Off icon takes you to a web page the place you may flip wall shops and lightweight switches on and off, and the Settings icon is the place you go to see notifications and a historical past of exercise (searchable by date), similar to movement detection and rule-enabled occasions, digital camera recordings, and door openings. Right here you too can set customized guidelines; for instance, you may have lights activate and off at particular occasions or when an occasion happens, have your doorways lock or unlock mechanically at a sure time or on account of an occasion, and have the cameras report video when an alarm is triggered. You should use any of the quite a few preset guidelines or you may create your individual.
You aren’t getting fairly as a lot management with the net app as you do with the cell app: You possibly can’t lock and unlock doorways or configure the thermostat, nor can you utilize the video doorbell’s push-to-talk function. Nevertheless, you may view stay and recorded video, arm and disarm the system, create customized guidelines, and examine actions and notifications.
The system carried out admirably for dwelling automation duties. It by no means didn’t manually lock or unlock doorways, and the thermostat adopted my weekday and weekend heating schedules with out concern. I created customized guidelines to have the system lock all of my doorways at 11:00 p.m. every day and switch off my front room lights at 11:30 p.m. and it adopted these guidelines with out fail.
Vivint’s dwelling safety efficiency is equally spectacular. The window and door sensors labored completely in testing, as did the movement detectors. It adopted my guidelines to have lights activate when a digital camera detected movement, and when a door was opened after a sure time of day and I acquired a notification. Reside video from the doorbell digital camera is crisp, with wealthy colours and sharp black-and-white night time video out to round 15 ft. Recorded video high quality can be top-notch. The inside and exterior cameras additionally ship wonderful day and night time video, with the outside digital camera offering extremely detailed night time imaginative and prescient imagery out to round 45 ft and the inside digital camera offering an evening imaginative and prescient vary of a bit over 20 ft.
I unwittingly put Vivint’s emergency response prowess to the check, which it handed with flying colours. Whereas heating up a slice of pizza, a bit of cheese landed on the heating component in my toaster oven, filling the kitchen with smoke and triggering the smoke alarm. I used to be out within the yard and will hear what appeared like birds chirping; it was loud, however it took a minute or two to determine it was the alarm (I had no concept what it was speculated to sound like). I ran inside, turned off the oven, and turned on the home fan. However earlier than I might enter my code on the management panel, a Vivint consultant known as and knowledgeable me that the fireplace division had been notified since I didn’t reply their first name and didn’t enter my code in time. Positive sufficient, a fireplace truck and the fireplace chief pulled up a couple of minutes later. The response time from the preliminary alarm to the fireplace division’s arrival was lower than 10 minutes.
This brings me to my solely actual efficiency gripe. The smoke alarm, whereas loud, would not actually sound like a smoke alarm. I would a lot want the annoying beep or the shrill siren that I usually affiliate with an pressing alarm. As of now there is no such thing as a approach to change the sound of the alarm, however Vivint could add customized sirens in a future replace.
With Vivint Sensible Residence you get a full-blown dwelling safety system that’s consistently being monitored, and a complete dwelling automation resolution you may management from nearly anyplace, together with a best-in-class doorbell digital camera. Granted, it can save you some huge cash in month-to-month subscription charges with a DIY dwelling safety system just like the iSmartAlarm Premium (our earlier Editors’ Alternative), however meaning you are chargeable for the set up, upkeep, and monitoring, and you could contact your native police or fireplace division when an occasion happens. Furthermore, in contrast to techniques from Shield America and FrontPoint, you do not have to decide to a prolonged service contract.
As with most totally monitored dwelling safety providers, the Vivint Sensible Residence system is not low cost. However if you’d like the peace of thoughts that comes with understanding that your property is safe and guarded 24-7, it is cash properly spent.