Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro review: Sophisticated front-door security—for a price

The Vivint Doorbell Digicam Professional isn’t low-cost at $249, but it surely’s prettier and extra subtle than the equally priced Ring Video Doorbell Professional ($249) and the Nest Good day ($229). It’s not for everybody, although, since you will need to have a Vivint Good Residence system and repair plan to go together with it. Whereas Vivint provides probably the greatest professionally put in and monitored good dwelling/dwelling safety options in the marketplace, that service isn’t cheap, both. Extra on that later.

Like these opponents, Vivint’s greatest doorbell is outfitted with infrared evening imaginative and prescient and a picture sensor that helps HDR—and the digital camera’s picture high quality is great. It has a wider subject of view than both the Ring or Nest video doorbells—180 levels vertical in addition to horizontal—enabling you to see your whole porch (the digital camera has 1:1 side ratio and backbone of 1,664 x 1,664 pixels, however video is streamed in 1080p).  

This overview is a part of TechHive’s protection of the very best video doorbells, the place you’ll discover critiques of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you need to take into account when buying.

Though the doorbell is put in at a proper angle to my entrance door, it nonetheless affords a view greater than 50 ft down my flagstone entry stroll. There’s a small quantity of fisheye distortion when objects are very near the digital camera, however the wide-angle view lets me see guests head to toe, in addition to packages left wherever on the porch.

vivint doorbell camera pro package detection Michael Brown / IDG

Discover the message on the high of the display indicating {that a} bundle has been delivered, and word that the decision is crisp sufficient which you could learn the emblem on the truck within the driveway that’s practically 100 ft away.

Package deal and particular person detection

And bundle detection is among the Doorbell Digicam Professional’s greatest options. Along with sending “particular person detected” alerts when somebody comes inside vary of its movement detector, the digital camera can even provide you with a warning when a bundle has been delivered. For those who can’t get to your porch instantly, and the doorbell is in “deter” mode, it is going to sound an alert tone on its speaker (I chosen a “you-who!” whistle) each time somebody approaches your door, inflicting them to look to the supply of the sound and subsequently current their face to the digital camera. Along with the alert tone, a vibrant crimson LED encircling the doorbell button lights up. You’ll be able to flip this “deter” characteristic on or off, or you’ll be able to schedule it to function on a schedule.

Vivint package detection alert Michael Brown / IDG

Push notifications provide you with a warning when the Vivint Doorbell Digicam Professional detects an individual or a bundle.

One other exceptionally good characteristic—though it’s non-compulsory—is the Doorbell Digicam Professional’s skill to constantly document to a neighborhood network-attached exhausting drive (a four-channel NAS field, basically, though it could possibly accommodate only a single 1TB drive and it could possibly’t be used for some other function). Vivint calls this product the Vivint Good Drive and it operates with as much as 4 of Vivint’s safety cameras (each indoor and outside fashions). There’s no arguing that it’s costly, however there’s additionally no arguing that it’s a improbable choice to have—and it’s unmatched by some other vendor.

[ Further reading: The best home security cameras ]

Quite than document a brief clip solely when movement is detected or somebody rings the doorbell, as much as 4 of Vivint’s cameras document constantly to the drive for as much as 30 days (you get 14 days of clip storage within the cloud with out the drive). If you take a look at the digital camera’s reside view by way of the Vivint cellular app, you’ll be able to press a Rewind button to deliver up a timeline of recordings. Dragging your fingertip alongside this timeline scrubs band and forth by way of time of recorded video. At any level alongside the timeline, you can begin watching in actual time or at an accelerated velocity: 2X, 4X, or 8X.

vivint smart driveVivint

The Vivint Good Drive is an expensive choice at $249, but it surely delivers steady video recording for as much as 4 Vivint safety cameras with out fear that you simply’ll stumble upon your ISP’s information cap.

Markers on the timeline provide you with a warning to detection occasions, and a label seems on the high of the display to let you understand if it’s an individual or a bundle alert. Rewind, fast-forward, and play/pause controls assist you shortly find these motions occasions, and there’s a useful time stamp above the timeline and a date stamp above the first video display.

Whether or not the digital camera has flagged an occasion or not, you’ll be able to create a video clip lasting both 30 seconds, 90 seconds, or 5 minutes from any place to begin on the timeline. You’ll be able to then both obtain the file or share a hyperlink to the clip. In case your digital camera captured against the law in course of, you’ll be able to share this forensic proof with the police. Sadly, these clips are not timestamped, an element that might diminish their worth to investigators.

Nest cameras are among the many few different safety cameras that may document constantly, however these gadgets document constantly to the cloud, which may trigger issues for customers with information caps and/or restricted add bandwidth. Vivint’s cameras document solely event-triggered clips to the cloud. My ISP doesn’t at present impose an information cap, however I reside in a rural space and do must put up with very sluggish add speeds. Vivint’s official advice is to have at the very least 1.5Mbps of add velocity for every digital camera. Not like Nest, Vivint doesn’t can help you tailor the standard of the uploaded video stream to scale back its bandwidth consumption.

vivint ring my bell Michael Brown / IDG

A message on the high of the display labels this occasion as somebody ringing the bell. Skip again and skip ahead buttons allow you to leap to earlier and subsequent occasions (the bar to the left of the inexperienced line signifies earlier occasions, and the dot signifies the present occasion).

Movement detection

You’ll be able to draw a single however irregularly formed detection zone together with your fingertip throughout the digital camera’s subject of view, to dam issues like branches from shrubs and timber from creating false alerts, and you may as well fine-tune the movement detector’s sensitivity. However the digital camera proved so correct at discerning the motion of individuals from different issues—together with animals, for essentially the most half—that I didn’t discover the customized detection zones to be all that essential.

There was only one event within the a number of weeks that I examined the doorbell when it misidentified my giant (12-pound) cat as an individual. However that occurred round 2:15 a.m., and solely after he jumped from the porch to a bench after which a 20-inch-high planter. I’ve two different smaller cats, they usually’ve by no means set off an individual alert.

The Vivint Doorbell Digicam Professional appears extra like a traditional doorbell than most, measuring simply 1.5 inches extensive and 4.5 inches tall. A lot of the explanation for its svelte dimensions, nonetheless, is that it doesn’t depend upon a battery for energy. I believed that may be an issue for me, as a result of it by no means occurred to me to make sure my common contractor included a doorbell once we had our home constructed 12 years in the past. Fortuitously, Vivint’s installer got here up with a intelligent resolution: My eating room is on the opposite aspect of the wall from my entrance porch, so he drilled gap into the outside wall, snaked the doorbell wiring by way of to the junction field internet hosting an AC outlet, and linked it to a plug-in adapter there. (The doorbell can function on 12-24 DC or 16-24 AC adapters that ship a minimal of amps.)

imperfect person detection Michael Brown / IDG

The Vivint Doorbell Digicam Professional solely as soon as misidentified my (chubby) cat as an individual, and that was at 2:00 a.m. (I added arrows to level out the cat and the alert).

The doorbell has dual-band 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) wi-fi adapter onboard. Nonetheless, as an alternative of connecting to your Wi-Fi router, the doorbell connects as an alternative to Vivint’s good dwelling management panel and the management panel connects to your router. The doorbell helps two-way audio, and you may discuss with guests utilizing both your cellular gadget or the management panel. By the identical token, you’ll be able to view thumbnails of each occasion and choose any of these thumbnails to play a recording in a bigger window on both your cellular app or on Vivint’s management panel.

Deep good dwelling integration

As with all Vivint’s merchandise, the Doorbell Digicam Professional integrates tightly with the remainder of its good dwelling system, together with its new Automotive Guard onboard diagnostic product. If you’re viewing a reside stream from the doorbell, you’ll be able to push a button on the backside of the display to deliver up the consumer interface for the safety system, the place you’ll be able to arm or disarm the system, lock or unlock any of your good locks, and open or shut your linked overhead storage doorways.

doorbell on vivint sky control panel Michael Brown / IDG

When an individual is detected, reside video is streamed from the doorbell to Vivint’s management panel.

You may also create customized guidelines corresponding to “document a clip with all cameras when an alarm is triggered;” “activate my porch gentle when my doorbell detects an individual at evening, and switch it off 30 minutes later,” and even “document a clip with my doorbell when my automobile is disturbed.”

However as I mentioned early on: This degree of sophistication, safety, and automation isn’t low-cost. The Doorbell Digicam Professional prices $249, the non-compulsory Good Drive prices one other $249, and a Vivint good dwelling system begins at $599 plus a $99 set up charge (which is commonly waived if the corporate is operating a promotion). The equipment consists of the aforementioned good dwelling hub, two door/window sensors, a movement sensor, a water leak detector, and a $100 credit score for extra sensors. Month-to-month service charges begin at $39 and embody skilled monitoring. For those who select to finance the system buy by way of Vivint, you’ll have to signal a service contract; no contract is required if you happen to pay for the {hardware} up entrance.

If these prices aren’t a barrier, the Vivint Doorbell Digicam Professional is the very best gadget in its class.

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