When it comes to high-quality security systems, Vivint is one of the best on the market. Their security systems are among the most innovative in the industry, and their cameras are top of the line.
I recently spent about two weeks putting these cameras through their paces, learning all about their features and their functionality. And I have to say, I’m extremely impressed. But all those features and functionality do come at a price.
If you read my full hands-on review of Vivint, you know that these cameras are top of the line as standalone pieces of equipment, but when they’re part of a Vivint smart home security system, they really shine. That said — you wouldn’t want them as standalone pieces of equipment. We’re going to get into all of that and more, but first let’s talk pros and cons.
One thing I loved about Vivint was the ease-of-access to our cameras, using both the Vivint mobile app and the Smart Hub. The Vivint app and Smart Hub act as your main controls. You’ll be able to view your livestream footage, set custom actions, watch recorded video, and lots more using these controls. In my experience, both are top-notch in almost every way.
It’s worth mentioning that app-based controls are usually ideal with any security camera, as they’re more convenient than wall-mounted control panels. In fact, I’ve been known to stash away the control panel and watch it collect dust. That’s a bit dramatic, but the truth is, most control panels offer limited features, and some are downright clunky. But Vivint’s Smart Hub touch-screen control panel is the real deal. You’ll learn much more about this Hub throughout the review, as it really brings the Vivint cams to life.
Of course, these cameras aren’t perfect; there are a few gripes to note, so stick around for that. But overall, a Vivint smart home system handles very well as a seamless, integrated unit. With the Outdoor Camera Pro installed in your driveway, for example, and the Indoor cam in your living room, these two cameras can both monitor your property and blend into the background, which are huge draws in modern tech.
Also worth mentioning, all of Vivint home security systems feature their Smart Deter technology which uses AI to identify and deter threats, using lights and sound to scare away potential burglars or vandals. Keep that in mind as we go.
That said, without further ado, let’s have a look at the Indoor Camera first.
When installation day rolled around, a friendly Vivint technician named Don — see the masked man below — came to set up my Indoor Camera. It didn’t take long to have it up and running, at which point I said goodbye to Don and got to work.
The first thing I noticed was that the Indoor Camera comes with a swivel base, so it’s really easy to position it exactly where you want. And while the install did appear to be pretty easy, the professional install will certainly help a lot of homeowners — especially if you’re new to this.
FYI: Vivint requires professional installation. While their alarm system is wireless, their Outdoor Camera Pro and Video Doorbell Pro1 are both hardwired. So you’ll be happy to have a professional do it right … the first time. Check out our full rundown of what to expect with Vivint’s professional installation.
At first, the Indoor Camera’s video quality left much to be desired. Notice how the picture below is really grainy and pixelated.
What’s the deal? Isn’t the Indoor Camera 1080p HD resolution? It sure is … but that’s not the default setting in a Vivint camera. For this one, simply hop on the Smart Hub and change the default setting from “low quality” to “medium-high.” This is one of the first things you’ll want to do.
You might also notice that it says “Moving the slider higher may make your live video become choppy and slow.” This is true — you might experience lags and delays if you set it to “High” due to bandwidth constrictions. But if your internet speed can handle it, the highest setting provides the best video quality. There’s definitely a balance you want to strike. This is something you might run into with several cameras in the industry. See below for the improved resolution you might expect from the “Medium-High” setting. Also, check out that field of view; the Indoor Camera offers a solid 155-degree FOV.
Ahhh … that’s better.
With the Indoor Cam’s resolution now optimized, it was time to start digging into the features and tech.
But first — here’s a sneak peek of the Indoor Camera video in real life.
Like pretty much every indoor camera on the market today, the Indoor Cam will notify your phone instantly if it detects anything. And like most indoor cameras on the market today, these notifications get annoying really fast. Luckily, they can be customized, but it can be a little tricky to get right.
In the Smart Hub, you’ll select “Detection Settings,” and a view of your camera will pop up with orange squares. You’ll grab these orange squares and drag them around to optimize your detection zone. The thing is, you can add several different overlapping zones, which can get a little confusing.
So if you’re out of the house and a notification comes in, the first thing you should do is open the app and click on “Cameras” to view your livestream footage. Here’s what I saw the first time:
Luckily, it turned out to be the family dog innocently moving through the living room. But here is where you can zoom in for a closer look, just to make sure everything was in its place.
Note that both of Vivint’s cameras have a pinch-and-zoom feature, which is always nice to see. The Indoor Camera has a 10x zoom, while the Outdoor Pro has a 3x zoom.
Beyond capturing your K9 in the act, if you ever need to zoom in for proof — whether you need to find out which kid spilled the milk, or you suspect your house cleaner or handyman of theft — then the zoom feature will definitely be useful. Honestly, I don’t see this feature very often in indoor cameras, so kudos to Vivint here.
Did You Know: Each state has different laws when it comes to recording other people in your house.2 So it’s wise to check with your jurisdiction before you record nannies, contractors, and other service providers in your home.
As the days pass with your new Vivint Camera, you might find the Indoor Camera’s Two-Way Talk feature particularly useful. No matter where you are, you can open your camera in the app and press the microphone to talk. The camera itself has a built-in mic and speaker, so whoever’s within earshot can answer. Just note that I experienced about a one-second lag, which isn’t as bad as some cameras, but it still made communicating a little tricky at times.
Another nice feature is the “Callout” button. I only needed to use it once, but one-touch call is especially useful for families with kids or an elderly relative in the home. All you have to do is press the button and an instant mobile alert is sent for a “Video Call” to anyone who has app access to your system.
Using the Callout feature, you can chat with your spouse about adding broccoli to the ol’ shopping list. You know, serious matters. But honestly, most adults also have their smartphone handy, which is faster and more reliable for calling. (Now if only I could train the pup to press the button!)
The Indoor Camera does have infrared night vision,3 but I wasn’t impressed with the picture. As you’ll see below, it’s quite grainy and black and white. But in a way, poor night vision is better than no night vision. Unfortunately, this is pretty standard for indoor security cameras, so a quick tip is to leave a light on, as even a soft light can help to illuminate a room. However, keep the light away from the camera’s direct sight. Lights can cause glare, especially if the night vision is on.
The Indoor Camera can also record 20-second video clips whenever it detects motion. You can set a custom action to only have this mode enabled when your system is armed in “Away.” Similar to the delays in SimpliSafe’s SimpliCam and certain Arlo cameras, you might notice a 5-second delay between the beginning of the action and when the camera starts to record. This isn’t a huge deal — and it’s likely an internet issue, as my Wi-Fi experienced a noticeable slowdown while using the recording feature — but it’s something to think about.
Pro Tip: Looking for a highly-functional home security camera system? Check out our full Arlo review to see how their HD camera systems can protect your home and family.
If you’re expecting company, Privacy Mode is a nice way to make sure your guests feel comfortable – and with a Vivint camera, you can make it happen in a snap. Simply toggle the privacy mode to “off,” which means the shutter is basically shut, and the live stream is unavailable. I’ve used many indoor security cameras that don’t offer this functionality, so it’s nice to see it in Vivint’s Indoor Camera.
You can actually set a custom action for this, too, which would automatically turn off privacy mode (which means the camera is active) whenever you arm your home. And just as easily, you can enable privacy mode anytime the system is disarmed. It’s a nice touch, for sure.
Keep in mind that these “custom actions” are a big reason why Vivint’s cameras are so pricey. This camera comes with loads of customizations that can really help you automate your lives. Could you live without them? Sure. But why turn down intuitive and streamlined features and tech? It’s what makes Vivint, Vivint.
A few drawbacks with the Indoor Cam include:
Bottom Line on the Indoor Camera: It’s a quality device, and if you have Vivint already in your home (or you’re planning on getting it) then this indoor camera absolutely gets the job done with extra features and a dash of style.
The Outdoor Camera Pro is Vivint’s answer to the high-tech and highly functional outdoor security camera. It’s not cheap, but I’ve heard some good things about this device. So let’s have a quick look at the setup process, and then you’ll learn all about the features and tech and whether or not the Outdoor Pro makes sense for you.
Love it or hate it, Vivint requires professional installation. Turns out, though, you’ll probably be thankful to have a pro do the install, as this hardwired camera would’ve taken at least an hour to install on my own. For the installer, it took a total of 20 minutes. Not bad, as you can see in the below photo.
Now, remember the Outdoor Pro is a wired camera, which means a technician will need to drill through your wall to complete the install. But, that also means you won’t be running out of batteries with this device. This camera runs off a Wi-Fi connection with a Power over Ethernet (PoE) Wi-Fi Bridge. Without getting too technical, you’ll like this if you’re a big fan of PoE for its all-around speed and reliability. This way, you won’t stress over connection issues or outages.
After experiencing the camera inside and out, here are some key takeaways:
The image quality on the Outdoor Pro is much better than what I experienced with the Indoor camera. It’s not every day that you can use a camera with a 4K HDR Sensor — which is a step up from the usual 1080p HD that most outdoor cams offer. The Outdoor Pro also has 3x HD zoom, which isn’t super typical in security cameras. So if you’re looking to pick up crisp and clear detail around your property, this camera has you covered.
Similar to other high-end indoor cameras, the cam will ping your phone if it detects any movement in its field of view. And like most indoor cameras on the market these days, these pings get really annoying really fast. The good news is they can be customized — it just takes a little doing.
Once it was all configured, false alerts were minimal. I think a big reason for the accuracy (not receiving false alerts!) is due to Vivint’s advanced analytics that distinguishes between people, pets, and passing cars. But it’s also because the tripline on this camera is really dialed in.
Wait, what’s a tripline?
Good question. Notice below how I set our motion-detection tripline right to the very edge of our driveway and front lawn. Anyone who came into the green shaded area would “trip” the camera to record, and it would even sound a siren if the system was armed. Have a look…
The camera’s siren is 85 dB, which is plenty loud even if it doesn’t compare to the ear-piercing 110 dB Vivint alarm. This is part of Vivint’s Smart Sentry suite of features, which is all about deterrence to proactively send would-be burglars packing. If you’re wondering how it works, it has two main features: It can make a sound to deter “lingerers,” or it can all-out blare like a banshee. In some ways, this camera reminded me of Deep Sentinel’s proactive protection. You can read more about that in our analysis of Deep Sentinel.
Did You Know: 85 dB is also about the same decibel level as heavy traffic, a noisy restaurant, or a lawn mower.4
So … whenever your Vivint security system is armed, the Outdoor Camera Pro will also be armed. I even noticed a red LED ring that really commanded attention, especially at night. This Smart Sentry integration did offer a little extra peace of mind at night. And during the daylight hours, it was loud enough to make the neighbors scratch their heads (just for a second).
Another helpful feature here is tone deterrence. You’ll find this in Settings, and you can set the “Linger duration” between 1 second and 90 seconds. When the tripline is crossed, it whistles at whomever it encounters.
Here are the options for tone deterrence in the app. Choose wisely!
As mentioned, the Outdoor Pro delivered crystal-clear resolution during the day. But again, the night vision on this camera was pretty lackluster. Compared to some brands I’ve used — like the Lorex Outdoor camera, which has long-range color night vision — the Outdoor Pro recorded a dark and grainy picture. Not a deal-breaker, but there’s definitely room for improvement here, especially considering the price point.
Other than the subpar night vision, using the Outdoor Camera Pro is a pretty enjoyable experience. And don’t forget you’ll be able to set custom actions to have the camera record on command depending on the scenarios you set up. In my opinion, Vivint’s ‘Custom Actions’ really delivered a lot of value and helped to turn an otherwise normal security camera experience into something customizable and fun to use.
Bottom Line on the Outdoor Camera Pro: This unassuming cam offers 4K resolution, active deterrence, and customizations till the cows come home. If you have the budget, you really can’t go wrong here.
Did You Know: Vivint Smart Home won the 2020 IoT Breakthrough Award for Innovative Outdoor Camera. The Outdoor Camera Pro was also named the “Connected Home Security Product of the Year.”
One of the primary drawbacks of the Vivint Outdoor Pro is that it doesn’t have any illumination capacity. Well, that is until now.
Meet the Outdoor Spotlight Pro, Vivint’s lighting accessory that pairs with the Outdoor Camera Pro. It bolsters the upgraded computer vision chip and better image sensor of the second generation outdoor camera to identify, track, and deter folks who might be sneaking around on your property and shining a light on the situation.
So how is the Outdoor Spotlight Pro different from any other motion-detection floodlight? For one, it’s a lot smarter. Out of the box, it will detect folks the camera is seeing, and based on your settings, it will play an intense lighting and sound program if they loiter for too long. This type of deterrent is far more useful than a traditional motion- activated floodlight, which you’ll probably stop noticing a week or two after installing it with all the false alerts it’ll be generating.
And the Spotlight Pro is even useful when it’s not actively keeping intruders off your property. Using the app, you can customize a lighting schedule that will help you up your stairs after the sun goes down or illuminate the driveway when you’re coming home from work. You can also adjust the brightness of the light itself with ease.
One drawback of the Spotlight Pro, though, is that it’s not cheap. You’re going to first need to have a second gen Outdoor Cam Pro, which will run you $399, and then you’re going to have to purchase the accessory for an additional $249.99. So in total, you’re looking at almost $650 for one camera.
That’s pretty steep, especially when you read our review of the Ring Floodlight camera and realize it costs less than half that. We will say Vivint’s is the most advanced floodlight camera we’ve encountered, though. If you’re already considering purchasing a Vivint system and are willing to fold this additional cost in, that’s one thing, but as a stand-alone camera, you might consider other options.
Yes, Vivint also sells a video doorbell to round out their smart home security offerings. I had Don install one for me, and although it isn’t one of my top-rated doorbell cameras (it’s $249!), it secured our entryway with lots of extra bells and whistles.
You can read all about our experience with the Video Doorbell Pro in our hands-on review. But for now, just know that it comes with great features like instant notifications, two-way talk, night vision, and the like.
And since Vivint is smarter than the average security system, you’ll be able to do things like track packages that are delivered to your door and run a doorbell chime through your actual smartphone. Pretty slick! Finally, here’s the resolution that you can expect from Vivint’s doorbell camera…
The Vivint Indoor Camera costs $199.99, the Outdoor Camera Pro jumps to $399.99 (worth it!), and Vivint’s Doorbell Camera Pro runs $249.99.
If you’re serious about getting Vivint cameras, you’ll want to discuss the different options and available packages with a Vivint sales specialist (they don’t bite). In the meantime, here’s my latest roundup of Vivint’s plans and prices.
|Doorbell Camera Pro
Keep in mind these aren’t your run-of-the-mill budget security cameras like Zmodo’s entry-level cams (but those have their merit, too!). Instead, they are meant for folks who value premium products and have the budget to back it up. With that said, Vivint does offer a pretty attractive zero-percent financing option, which spreads the cost over five years.
FYI: Vivint offers a 60-month, interest-free financing option. This means you’ll only pay between $3 and $6 per month per camera, depending on the model you choose. But if you go this route, you’ll have to sign a long-term contract with Vivint.
We will say they get a lot right, but we do have to do Vivint’s professional monitoring — specifically for the cost. Not only will you have to pay $44.99 per month for video monitoring, you’re also going to have to pay a $99 installation fee as well as any cloud storage you’d like to add. Similar to Arlo’s plans and prices as well as other high-end security providers we’ve seen, but it’s worth noting that there are cheaper options out there.
Another route you can go is with Vivint’s Playback DVR. This requires that you purchase a Vivint Smart Drive for $250, and gives you 1 terabyte (TB) of local storage and 30 days of continuous recording (DVR) up to four cameras. From what I’ve seen, this is on-par with DVR systems that cost $1,000 or more. So $250 isn’t so bad! Vivint Playback DVR allows you to play back any activity that occurred within the past 30 days in and around your home. It would be great to see more options like this in the industry.
There’s a lot to love about Vivint. Their indoor and outdoor cameras are ultra-high-tech, while still being easy to use on a day-to-day basis. I enjoyed 4K video quality while using the outdoor camera, and the indoor camera’s press-to-talk feature was really impressive.
If you already have a Vivint home automation system in place, or you’re seriously considering buying a Vivint security package soon, then the cameras are definitely worth the price. The customization options are really mind-blowing.
With that said, I wouldn’t recommend Vivint cameras if you’re not already in contract with the company (or plan on being so!). But if you’re a homeowner who values a premium experience — even if it costs more money — then you won’t be disappointed with a Vivint smart home security system or any of their cameras.
Only the Indoor Camera is wireless, the Outdoor Camera Pro and Video Doorbell Pro are both hardwired.
You will have to sign a contract unless you pay for your equipment upfront. Vivint’s contracts range from 3 to 5 years in length.
Both the indoor and outdoor camera max out at 1080p HD; however, the Outdoor Camera Pro has a built-in 4K HDR Sensor which makes the resolution higher-quality than what we’ve seen from your typical 1080p HD cams.
Vivint requires professional installation, especially for their Outdoor Pro model. We had a great experience on installation day, so this shouldn’t be a big concern.
Unfortunately, Vivint sells some of the most expensive cameras on the market. But the company is really going after a demographic that doesn’t mind paying a higher price for a premium product.
Vivint Newsroom. (2020, Mar 4). Vivint Smart Home Helps Protect Packages with New Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro.
Patrick, W. L. JD, Ph.D. (2019, August 25). Living on Video: When Can You Record Guests in Your Home? Psychology.com.
Lloyd, C. (2017, February 9). How Do Night Vision Cameras Work? How-to Geek.
University of Michigan Health. (2021). Harmful Noise Levels.