Vivint Review: Is High-Tech Home Security Worth It?
Vivint offers high-tech features that set it apart, but is this home security system worth the high monthly fee? Read this in-depth review to learn if Vivint is any good before you commit.
Pros and Cons
- High-tech system
- Professional installation
- Comprehensive features
- 42 month contract
Best high-tech home security
Vivint is a cool option to own and show off to your friends... as long as you're willing to pay extra for your cool system (rates start at $39.99 per month).
You'll also have to be willing to commit to 42 months, half a year longer than the standard 3-year term for many other security companies.
And you could incur big penalties if you try to cancel early.
So why would anyone consider Vivint?
Continue reading to determine whether Vivint has the features that make up for any downsides and whether it deserves to be your next home security system.
8 REASONS TO GET VIVINT
- The latest gadgets: Vivint offers a touch screen panel to control your system, which is more advanced than the keypads you'd get with many other security providers. What really sets apart Vivint is the fact you can use Amazon Echo and just the sound of your voice to turn your lights on and off, lock and unlock your doors, and arm your security system.
- Also the latest technology: Beyond the touch screen panel, you can also control your system through a smartphone app. And the whole system is wireless, which means no holes drilled in your walls and equipment that can move with you. Another nice plus (for an additional cost) is Space Monkey, Vivint's option for securing and storing your video and photos in the cloud.
Even though Vivint is priced higher than other home security systems, its advanced equipment and rich array of features may justify the cost for you.
- Nifty doorbell camera: By going beyond the standard package, you could sign up for a doorbell camera that lets you interact with visitors without going to your door - even if you're miles away from home. It's a convenient way to see who wants your attention and trick burglars into thinking you're home. You can even permit people you know to enter your home and drop things off when you're not physically around.
This is available for those who choose the Smart Protect & Control or Smart Complete plans.
- More than just home security: If you're most interested in home automation features and you're willing to pay for it, Vivint is a smart choice. You'll have the option of monitoring smoke detectors, smart thermostats, and other smart devices.
A smoke detector is included with all plans, but please note that special features such as carbon monoxide detector, flood/freeze sensors, and glass break sensors come at an additional cost.
- Professional installation: After choosing the Vivint system and signing the contract, a professional installer will visit your home to perform the full setup process for you, which you'll pay for through an activation fee. There's no DIY installation option with Vivint.
- Take it with you when you move: Vivint is a U.S. nationwide service, meaning you don't need a particular cellular provider or landline telephone provider to use the service. It's also available in Canada. However, you may have to pay a relocation fee.
- 24-hour monitoring service: Unlike some DIY home security companies, which just provide an alert and siren to try to scare off burglars, Vivint's monitoring service will alert the police if your system detects a break-in.
- Security of a big home security company: Vivint isn't as large as ADT in terms of home security companies, but it's still a large company. It has the financial backing of private equity firm Blackstone Group, which purchased Vivint in 2012, so you don't have to worry about Vivint suddenly folding and leaving you without service.
REASONS TO CONSIDER OTHER HOME SECURITY SERVICES
- Tied into a long contract: Vivint's service contract is one of the longest in the home security industry, starting at 42 months. Other 24-hour monitoring companies offer shorter contracts, and some DIY systems don't even require a contract.
- Customer service reputation: While Vivint's Internet reviews aren't quite as consistently negative as some other home security companies, it doesn't take a very long Internet search to read dozens of negative customer service reviews for Vivint. And Vivint has undergone investigations from several state government attorneys general for inappropriate business practices. It has only a B- rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- Higher fees: Even Vivint's most basic tier starts at $39.99 a month, and climbs from there. This is quite a bit more than some other 24-hour monitoring companies' basic tiers. There's also a pricey activation fee ranging from $99 to $399.
- Poor cancellation policy: Vivint's contract cancellation policy is not very flexible, as you may only have a few days to cancel the contract. It depends on where you live. Compared to some other services that give you as long as a six-month money back guarantee, Vivint's cancellation policy is poor.
Vivint offers three tiers starting at $39.99 a month. All come with a minimum contract of 42 months. Since every house is unique, it's recommend that you speak with a representative for detailed equipment and package custom pricing.
THE VIVINT APP
Vivint's mobile app allows you to control the entire system remotely, which is a nice feature. And if you select an advanced system tier, you'll also be able to control aspects of your home that are on the smart network, such as keyless locks and a smart thermostat. You can also control all of these same features through a web portal or through the touch screen panel.
VIVINT SECURITY CAMERAS
Vivint's security camera system is completely wireless, which is great because you won't have to worry about having holes placed in your walls to accommodate cabling. You can also access any of the live video feeds through your smartphone app or the Vivint web portal. Some of Vivint's security cameras include motion detectors, which allow the cameras to follow the source of the motion. The cameras also work well in low light.
HOW VIVINT COMPARES
ADT: ADT has been around longer than Vivint, and its services (minus the cutting-edge tech offerings) are comparable, with 24/7 monitoring and calls to the local police station if there are signs of a problem. The biggest differences: You could end up paying less per month with ADT and you can get a slightly shorter contract term. Like most well-known home security companies that impose contracts and rely on sales calls to make deals, you'll find complaints about ADT just as you will Vivint.
Vivint may win you over for its more transparent policies and high-tech features. Because of the contract terms and the fact that both need to be professionally installed, neither ADT nor Vivint makes perfect sense for renters (DIY services are a better bet and tend to have more flexible terms). But generally, it's easier to move your system from one home to the next with Vivint.
Benefits and Features
|Home Security||Plans start from $39.99/month. All plans include 24/7 monitoring, remote access, and touchscreen control panel. Smart Protect Plan starts at $49.99/month and Smart Control Plan starts at $60.99/month.||Plans start from $28.99/month to $55.99/month. All plans include 24/7 monitoring for burglary.|
$55.99 ADT Pulse Video Plan includes remote secure video and smartphone control.
|Mobile App||Vivint SkyControl Mobile App allows you to arm/disarm your system remotely, lock/unlock doors, adjust thermostat settings, view live and recorded video, and manage lights.||ADT Pulse app allows you to activate alarm, check sensors, watch live video feeds, control lights and appliances, adjust thermostats and view history of home activities. Available on App Store and Google Play.|
|Home Automation||ADT Pulse allows you to arm/disarm your house, control your lights and thermostats, and watch live video remotely.|
|Control Panel||ADT Pulse touchscreen control panel allows you to know alarm status, arm/disarm your alarm, control lights, check weather, and view live video from security cameras. Also allows you to quickly send an immediate alarm (medical, fire, or police).|
|Customer Service||24/7 customer support and monitoring.|
|Door Lock||ADT Pulse door locks allow you to remotely lock/unlock your door from any internet-connected device.|
|Door Sensor||Wired and wireless door sensors. Wireless door sensors can be installed yourself with no drilling or hardwiring necessary.|
|Glass Break Sensor||Detects if a pane of glass is shattered|
|Installation||Professional installation available.|
|Water Flood Monitoring|
Vivint: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length were obtained on January 8, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.
ADT: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length were obtained on January 8, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.
Xfinity: Vivint has a much higher cost than the basic Xfinity home security service from Comcast, although when you start adding features to the basic tier of the Xfinity service, its price will go up quickly. And you'll have to sign a much longer contract initially with Vivint than with Xfinity. Both companies tend to suffer from quite a few customer complaints in Internet reviews.
|© Dieter R (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr|
If you're someone who tends to dismiss a certain product or service if it has a much higher price than similar products or services, Vivint probably won't be on your radar long. It has a higher monthly price than most other 24-hour monitoring services' basic tier packages, such as ADT and Xfinity. But when you add commonly desirable services to those basic tier packages, they're going to quickly approach Vivint's costs.
One drawback to Vivint is the long contract that you have to sign initially, which is anywhere from 3.5 years to five years. And if you're unhappy with Vivint's service, the company's cancellation policy is restrictive, so you may end up with a big bill if you try to cancel.
But Vivint's latest technologies make it a desirable option for those seeking the most advanced home security system that will not only protect you from burglary, but will also impress family and friends. Despite some drawbacks, Vivint is well worth considering. Just be sure you've thoroughly read the contract before you sign it, so you understand the fees and the cancellation policy.
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