Should I buy a Vivint security system? A deep dive into Vivint's smart home tech

(Image credit: Vivint)

It's a shame that smart home automation and security caused such confusion back in the '90s and early Aughts. There were so many different types of systems out there that it was difficult to know which one actually was worth the money. 

These days, we have the opposite problem: there are so many out there now that are all easy to use and super cheap that it can be tough to decide which one's right.

Should you buy one that is voice controlled – using Amazon Alexa or Google Home – or do you want one that can be controlled by a touch screen panel in the home or via your mobile phone? Also do you want a system that comprises just cameras to monitor your property, or other hi-tech features such as smart locks, interactive doorbell cameras and smart heating solutions?

That’s where US company Vivint comes in. It provides complete home automation and security solutions for customers in the US and Canada. Founded in 1999, it began selling and installing burglar alarm systems before moving into the home monitoring business in 2006. Since 2014, the company has specialized in cloud-based solutions for a range of security and home automation applications. 

How does it work?

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In order to turn any ‘dumb’ home into a smart home a control system is required. At the heart of Vivint solution is its Vivint Smart Hub (the SkyControl panel was replaced by the upgraded Vivint Smart Hub in 2018) touch screen panel. Described by as the ‘command center’ of the system, it is used to control every connected device in the home. 

You can use it to watch streamed video footage from any connected cameras, speak into it to communicate with someone at the front door, or use it to arm or disarm the alarm system. 

In addition to the Vivint Smart Hub panel, it’s also possible to control the home using the Vivint Smart Home app. This gives you real-time surveillance access to all your Vivint home security cameras so you can monitor an empty house, see and speak to visitors at your doorstep or interact with family at home, wherever in the world you happen to be. 

(Image credit: Vivint)

Designed to work with the Vivint Smart Hub panel, Vivint offers a number of bespoke security cameras both for outdoor and indoor use. There’s the Vivint Ping indoor Camera, complete with two-way audio for communicating with your family when you are out. Then there’s the Outdoor Camera Pro for outdoor use, which combines high resolution (1080p) with night vision for 24/7 security and up to 10x digital zoom. The versatile outdoor camera even boasts smart motion detection so it can tell if a person is outside your house and will sound a warning tone if they are there for too long!

But that’s not all. Also available from Vivint is the Doorbell Camera Pro. Offering two-way audio and HD video in a sleek doorbell form, this can be used to protect packages and keep your porch safe if, say, a courier leaves a delivery on your doorstep when you are out. Alternatively, it can be used to talk to cold callers without actually having to open the door to them!

Door and window sensors which alert the Vivint SmartHub when triggered can be deployed while complementing the home security cameras are Kwikset smart locks that enable you to unlock doors to your home or homes whether you are in the next room or the next state. Indeed, in 2017 Vivint announced a partnership with Airbnb to allow hosts to manage their homes remotely with automatic keyless access and home security. 


(Image credit: Vivint)

Nor is security the only aspect of a Vivint smart home solution. Plenty of other components can be connected too. This includes a WiFi connected smoke alarm with 85dB siren and five year battery life, a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector and a water sensor that can help prevent leaks. Vivint has even launched its own stand-alone company, Vivint Solar, a solar electricity provider which designs, installs and maintains photovoltaic systems for people’s homes.  

Is it worth buying a Vivint security system? 


(Image credit: Vivint)

Unlike buying off the shelf products that may be difficult to install or incompatible with one another, the beauty of Vivint is professional installation is included. What’s more, all of the components are designed to work with one another. This means you can set up commands to automate your home in a way that’s either not possible, or at least not straightforward, with other manufacturers. For example, upon setting your alarm, the system could tell Google Nest to turn your heating down or the Philips Hue lighting system to switch some lights on so it looks like you are in. 

As well as being able to pick and choose which elements you want in your home, you can also decide how you want to control them. For example, you may prefer to press buttons on the Vivint Smart Hub or using the app on your Android or Apple smartphone. Alternatively, it’s possible to use voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant instead. 

Importantly, rather than paying outright for the system, Vivint provides monthly payment plans that give you ultimate flexibility when it comes to building your smart home system. Prices start at just $29.99 a month and that includes professional monitoring. 

For those who want a complete security and home automation system that combines great quality with ease of use, then Vivint is definitely a name they should consider. 

Chris Price

Over 25 years experience as a staff and freelance journalist. Currently working freelance for The Daily Telegraph, writing technology content for the newspaper as well as working with their clients (Vodafone Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, DXC, BAE Systems) on branded content.