Vivint Made My Home Smarter and More Secure: Part 2

I recently began a two-part review of the Vivint home automation/security solutions. Read the review here before you move on to part 2. The system has definitely become an important part of our home. Part 2 will cover the Playback DVR, door locks, thermostat, smoke detector and other detectors installed. 

Playback DVR

In part 1, we covered the three cameras and how great they are. To expand their usefulness, Vivint offers the Playback DVR. The 1TB hard drive solution records up to four cameras 24 hours a day. By sliding your finger along the timeline, you can scrub back to 30 days prior. There is a time and date stamp on the video so you know what you are looking at. Probably my favorite feature is that fact that event markers guide users to any point that motion is detected. That makes it super easy to run back and scan the day or find a specific event; you will never miss an event with the Playback DVR.

Door Locks

I was super happy about smart door locks since I have kids that need to get in and out of the house after school and practices, but they may not always have a pocket to carry a key. Vivint uses Kwikset smart locks to connect to the system, and they have worked amazingly well. We have assigned a code for each of us to unlock the door, and we’ve made sure it was a number the kids will know easily. The locks are connected to the Vivint smart system and will be displayed on the security page of the app and Smart Hub. You simply tap the lock to unlock or lock that door. It is easy to check when you are away which we have had to do several times. The door locks also work with other actions that are programmable with the system. Our doors automatically lock at a certain time every day, and the security system is disarmed if any of our codes are used automatically. No more keys for my kids to lose!

Element Thermostat and Smart Assistant

The Vivint system works with smart thermostats such as Nest and Honeywell. If you do not already have a smart thermostat, I highly recommend the Vivint Element Thermostat. The thermostat design is simple yet elegant, and it works seamlessly with the Vivint system. The touch display illuminates on approach, and it is easy to use by pressing the edge of the face to navigate. While on the wall, it works like any other thermostat, but when you connect it to the Vivint system, it will control your temps according to your habits.

Once connected to the Vivint system, the Element Thermostat becomes very smart. Not only can you see current temps and make changes on the app or through Alexa, turning on the Smart Assist lets the thermostat work for you. You simply set your desired temperature parameters in the settings for Home, Sleep, Away, etc. and let it ride. Using the motion detectors, the system will know when you are away and control the temps for you; a push notification will alert any changes from the app, and you can also press the home icon next to settings and set the status you want, such as Vacation. Honestly, after getting the Smart Assistant set how we like, I almost never look at the thermostat. It even knows when we go to bed! Once again, the idea of home automation means, it runs itself. The Element Thermostat and Smart Assistant make this happen.

Other detectors

Vivint offers a variety of other detectors that will mostly run in the background, but they provide more piece of mind and tie into the entire system perfectly. All three of my entry doors have detectors, and we know when any of them are open. When I am at the weight room or summer workouts in the morning, I always know when the house gets moving because the back door is opened when the dog is let out. These detectors also are essential to the security system. Vivint also offers motion detectors and window detectors. These also work with the security aspects and the motion detectors are utilized with the thermostat to know when the house is empty.

The Vivint smoke detector is wireless and battery-powered. It will sound an alarm and contact local fire if it detects smoke or excessive heat. You will get an alert on your phone, and the doors will automatically unlock. Once again, this adds another layer of peace of mind to your home. There is also a freeze/moisture detector installed in the closet that holds my water heater. Oddly enough, the week of my installation, a friend was out of town only to come home to a flooded house due to their water heater failing. Again … peace of mind.

I have broken this down into a quick review of each of the products that are installed with my Vivint system. What the two-part series is trying to convey is that this system truly brings my family peace of mind and control in our home with superior customer service. My wife (who is not a tech geek like myself) has totally taken to the system, and she uses it daily both while home and away. Once your settings and actions all get set the best way that works for your family, the entire system becomes a natural part of your home. Vivint’s approach of keeping all of the products in-house and requiring professional installation is one of the reasons this is a phenomenal product. No matter what your needs are or your configuration is, I can guarantee you it will just work. I never knew how beneficial this type of product could be for my entire family. I encourage you to contact Vivint on their website or stop by a representative at Best Buy, and see what they can offer for your home. You will not regret it!

Source: Vivint supplied review sample and services

What I like: Amazing products that work perfectly together; Customer service and installation that is second to none; Peace of mind in my home!

What could be improved: I wish the Vivint app on iPad had a landscape mode

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About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of kool-aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.