Vivint brings a stellar product to the market in their Outdoor Camera Pro. They also sell the Ping Indoor Camera, which we found to be pretty solid as well. We recently spent two weeks in the trenches testing these cameras, learning all about their features and functionality. What did we find? Two well-built cameras that offer lots of customizations and all-around home protection… but they do come at a price.
If you read our full hands-on review of Vivint, you know that these cameras performed (exceedingly well) for us as part of Vivint’s smart home security system. But you really wouldn’t want to buy them as standalone cameras. We’ll tell you why in this review, and we’ll share all of our findings so that you can decide whether or not Vivint cams are right for you. So let’s jump right in.
One thing we 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 live-stream footage, set custom actions, watch recorded video, and lots more using these controls. In our experience, both are top-notch in almost every way.
It’s worth mentioning that we typically prefer app-based controls over wall-mounted control panels. In fact, we’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 touchscreen control panel is the real deal. We’ll talk more about this Hub throughout the review, as it really brings the Vivint cams to life.
Of course, these cameras aren’t perfect. We do have some gripes that we’ll bring to your attention. But overall, we enjoyed the Vivint camera experience. We say “experience” because our Vivint smart home system functioned as a seamless, integrated unit. What’s that mean? Well, with the Outdoor Camera Pro installed in our driveway, and the Ping Indoor cam in our living room, they monitored our property and blended into the background, which is exactly what we look for in modern tech.
So without further ado, let’s have a look at the Ping Indoor Camera first.
On installation day, our Vivint technician Don (see the masked man below) brought in the Ping Camera and placed it on our bookshelf. This sturdy little indoor camera comes with a swivel base, so all we had to do was plug it in and angle it how we wanted. Actually, Don did this for us, and he configured the camera so that it was firing on all cylinders before he left our home.
FYI: Vivint requires professional installation. While their alarm system is wireless, their Outdoor Camera Pro and Video Doorbell Pro are both hardwired. So you’ll be happy to have a professional do it right… the first time.
We honestly weren’t thrilled with the Ping’s video quality at first. In fact, it was a pretty poor first impression. I caught the wife doing some spring cleaning… in the fall. But notice how the picture below is really grainy and pixelated.
What’s the deal? Isn’t the Ping Camera 1080p HD resolution. It sure is… but note that we first had to 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.
But note 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.” There’s definitely a balance you want to strike. Trust us, this is something we run into with every camera we test. See below for the improved resolution we saw around “Medium-High.” Also, check out that field of view; the Ping offers a solid 155-degrees FOV.
Ahhh… that’s better.
Now that we’ve optimized our Ping Cam’s resolution, it was time to start digging into the features and tech.
But first — here’s a sneak peek of the Ping Camera video in real life.
Like any decent indoor camera, we enjoyed instant notifications with the Ping Cam. These notifications can be customized in the Vivint app, and they’ll be sent straight to your smartphone. For our purposes, we wanted to be notified whenever our camera sensed motion. With this in mind, we thought the motion-detection was pretty solid, but also a little tricky to set up.
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.
Boom! We got our first notification while we were out at a restaurant… which means our camera detected someone or something in our living room. Uh oh.
So we opened the app, clicked on “Cameras” to view our live-stream footage, and what did we see?
Phew! It was just our pup coming in for an afternoon siesta.
From here we were able to zoom in for a closer look. See the look on her face below, as if to say “Really Dad?”
Note that both of Vivint’s cameras have a pinch-and-zoom feature, which we love to see. The Ping 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 handy-man of theft — then the zoom feature will definitely be useful. Honestly, we 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.1 So it’s wise to check with your jurisdiction before you record nannies, contractors, and other service providers in your home.
As the days passed and company came and went, we got a lot of mileage out of the Ping’s Two-Way Talk feature. No matter where we were, we could open our 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 we experienced about a 1-second lag, which isn’t as bad as some cameras, but it still made communicating a little tricky at times.
Another nice feature is Ping’s “Callout” button. We only needed to use it once, but we can see one-touch call being especially useful for families with kids or elderly in the home. All you have to do is press the button and an instant mobile alert is sent for a “Video Call.”
Using the Callout feature, the wife and I were able to chat 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 we could train our pup to press the button!)
The Ping does have infrared night vision,2 but we weren’t impressed with the picture. As you’ll see below, it’s quite grainy and black and white. But we guess 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.
The Ping 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 what we’ve found in SimpliSafe’s SimpliCam and certain Arlo cameras, we did notice about a 5 second delay between the beginning of the action and when the Ping starts to record. This 5 second delay isn’t a huge deal — and we realize it’s probably an Internet issue, as our Internet did slow some while using the Ping’s recording feature — but it’s something to think about.
While testing Vivint, we had lots of family come into town and stay at our house. And not everyone is thrilled to be on video 24/7 (who knew?). So we showed them how to toggle Ping’s privacy mode to “off,” which means the shutter is basically shut and the live-stream is unavailable.3 We’ve used many indoor security cameras that don’t offer this functionality, so we were happy to see it in Vivint’s Ping.
You can actually set a custom action for this, too. You’ll see below that we turned off privacy mode (which means the camera is active) whenever we armed our home. And we eventually enabled privacy mode anytime the system was disarmed. This helped our guests feel more at ease.
Keep in mind that these “custom actions” are a big reason why Vivint’s cameras are so pricey. We found loads of customizations that really helped us to automate our lives. Could we live without them? Sure. But we’re not ones to turn down intuitive and streamlined features and tech. It’s what makes Vivint Vivint.
A Few Gripes We Have with the Ping Cam:
Bottom Line on Ping Indoor Camera: We like it, and if you have Vivint already in your home (or you’re planning on getting Vivint) 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 we’ve heard some good things about this device, so we jumped at the chance to have one installed at our home. Let’s have a quick look at the setup process, and then we’ll dig right into the features and tech and whether or not the Outdoor Pro makes sense for you.
Love it or hate it, Vivint requires professional installation. So we had a Vivint technician named Don visit our home to get us up-and running. We were actually thankful to have a pro do the install, as this hardwired camera would’ve taken us at least an hour to install on our own. For Don, it took a sum total of 20 minutes. Not bad. We snapped a shot of him finding the perfect angle in our driveway…
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 PoE Wi-Fi Bridge. Without getting too technical, we’re big fans of Power over Ethernet (PoE) for it’s all-around speed and reliability. And we weren’t the least bit worried of connection issues or experiencing the camera go offline. Have a look behind-the-scenes at the camera plugged into our garage.
Don did a solid job on the install, and the moment he left we began running the Outdoor Pro through our tests and trials. And bear in mind that we lived with this camera for a full two weeks before writing this review, so we really got to experience this product inside and out. We think you’ll be surprised by the features we found.
The image quality on the Outdoor Pro is much better than what we experienced with the Ping camera. It’s not every day that we use a camera with a 4K HDR Sensor — which is a step up from the usual 1080p HD that most outdoor cams offer. Check out this short clip to really see how the Outdoor Camera Pro performs when the packages (or porch pirates!) start arriving.
The Outdoor Pro also has 3x HD zoom, which we typically don’t see from the competition. So if you’re looking to pick up crisp and clear detail around your property, this camera has you covered.
Like similar cameras in this category, the Vivint Outdoor Pro has motion-activated alerts. Although instant alerts are standard, we were able to fine-tune and customize our alerts and notifications in the mobile app.
Once we were all configured, we really didn’t get any false alerts, and trust us, we live on a pretty active street. We 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 we also think it’s because we really dialed in our tripline.
Wait, what’s a tripline?
Good question. Notice below how we 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 our 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 siren in our home. 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 us of Deep Sentinel’s proactive protection.
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 our Vivint security system was armed, the Outdoor Camera Pro was also armed. We even noticed a red LED ring that really commands attention, especially at night. This Smart Sentry integration did offer a little extra peace of mind at night. We also tested it during the daylight hours, and it was loud enough to make our neighbors scratch their heads and wonder what we were up to (they should really know by now).
Another feature we grew fond of was the tone deterrence. You’ll find this in Settings, and you can set the “Linger duration” between 1 second and 90 seconds. We set ours to 1 second because we want to know the moment someone steps onto our property. When the tripline is crossed, it whistles at whoever so dares to breach our home security system.
In hindsight, choosing the whistle tone probably wasn’t the best idea. One day we had a female jogger who stepped into our driveway to make way for an oncoming car. Sure enough our Outdoor Pro cat-called her with a quick whistle. Oops. Maybe next time a friendly “Hello” tone will suffice. Here are the options we had in the app… and choose wisely!
As mentioned, the Outdoor Pro gave us crystal-clear resolution during the day. But we weren’t all that impressed with the night vision on this camera either. Compared to some brands we’ve used — like the Lorex Outdoor camera, which has long-range color night vision — the Outdoor Pro gave us a dark and grainy picture. We even have a lantern-light sitting right next to the camera, so this was a bit surprising to us. Not a deal-breaker, but there’s definitely room for improvement here, especially considering the price point.
Other than the lackluster night vision, we really enjoyed our experience using the Outdoor Camera Pro. 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 our opinion, Vivint’s ‘Custom Actions’ really deliver a lot of value and help to turn an otherwise normal security camera experience into something customizable and fun to use.
Bottom Line on the Outdoor Camera Pro: Hands down, this is our favorite Vivint product. 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.”5
Yes, Vivint also sells a video doorbell to round out their smart home security offerings. We had Don install one for us, and although it isn’t one of our favorite 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 full 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 Ping 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 our latest roundup of Vivint’s plans and prices.
|Vivint Cams||Camera Type||Key Features||Price|
|Ping Camera||Indoor||– 1080p HD resolution
– Two-way “press to talk,”
– Instant alerts
– Three high-powered LEDs for night vision
|Outdoor Pro||Outdoor||– 4K resolution
– Motion-triggered clips
– Facial recognition
– Excellent sound with two-way talk
– Proactive deterrents (lights and siren)
|Doorbell Camera Pro||Video Doorbell||– 180-degree field of vision
– Proactive deterrents
– Infrared night vision
– Sleek and modern design
Keep in mind these aren’t your run-of-the-mill budget security cameras like the $29 cams that Zmodo sells (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 5 years.
FYI: Vivint offers a 60-month, interest-free financing option. This means you’ll only pay between $3-$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.
One reason why Vivint doesn’t earn higher marks is because you’ll also have to pay for Vivint’s professional monitoring on top of the camera prices. Note that it costs $39.99 per month for home security monitoring, plus $5 per camera for 14 days of cloud storage. We think Vivint’s cloud storage subscription compares well to Arlo’s plans, but we’d like to see cheaper options.
Another route you can go is with Vivint’s Playback DVR. This requires that you purchase a Vivint Smart Drive for $249, and gives you 1 terabyte (TB) of local storage and 30 days of continuous recording (DVR) on up to four cameras. From what we’ve seen, this is on-par with DVR systems that cost $1,000-$3,000 or more. So $249 isn’t so bad! Vivint Playback DVR allows you to playback any activity that occurred within the past 30 days in and around your home. We hope to see more options like this in the industry.
There’s a lot we love about Vivint. We found that their indoor and outdoor cameras are ultra-high-tech, while still being easy to use on a day-to-day basis. We enjoyed 4K video quality while using the outdoor camera, and the indoor camera’s press-to-talk feature really impressed us.
If you already have a Vivint home automation system in place, or you’re seriously considering buying a Vivint security package soon, then we think the cameras are definitely worth the price. The customization options are like nothing we’ve seen before.
With that said, we wouldn’t recommend Vivint cameras if you’re not already in contract with the company (or plan on being!). But if you’re a homeowner who values a premium experience — even if it costs more money — then we’d definitely recommend getting a Vivint smart home security system and trying out their cameras. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
Only the Ping 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.
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.
Miller, J. (2018, December 5). Live Video Streaming: How it Works. Wowza Media Systems. https://www.wowza.com/blog/live-video-streaming-how-it-works
Accessed October 1, 2020. Harmful Noise Levels. Health Link BC.
PRWeb. (2018, January 4). IoT Breakthrough Awards Recognize Standout Internet-of-Things Companies and Products. Cision.