The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro

“The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro uses A.I. to monitor your property and proactively protect it. "

  • Integration with basically everything

  • Smart sentry mode

  • Low profile, inconspicuous

  • Two-way speakers

  • No floodlights

  • No smart screen integration

  • iPad app locked on portrait

Given that there are more and more home security solutions in the game these days, it's important to know that there are still home security professionals you can rely on. When these professionals work hand in hand with smart home technology and artificial intelligence, it gets really cool and that's exactly what we're working with here with the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro. But first let's talk briefly about the entire "Vivint experience".

As we described in our test last year, Vivint is a smart home / security solution for the whole house that is professionally installed and monitored. All of Vivint's technology is deeply rooted in the entire security system, making it difficult to assess a single component of it. You cannot just buy a Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro and connect it to the house. It's part of the whole. In this case, the Outdoor Camera Pro works most directly with your Vivint Home Security Panel to display videos. It also works with other components in your home, such as: B. your smart locks, lights, etc.

Keep out of the way

One thing I really like about the Camera Pro is how small and humble it is. After checking the Netatmo outdoor camera with siren, the hardware design is day and night. This camera is designed to sit firmly on a corner and go unnoticed unless it sees someone playing around with your things. Then it becomes visible what I will talk about in a moment.

The Vivint outdoor camera is small and inconspicuous.

The camera must be firmly connected to your home, but this is done via the power supply via Ethernet. Basically, a Cat 5 cable leads from the camera to a connected hybrid WLAN adapter, which supplies the camera with power and at the same time transmits the video signal via WLAN. If this sounds intimidating, it may be so, but that's why the camera is installed professionally.

Overall, the picture quality is quite good and sharp. The 140-degree field of view isn't the best, but it does meet the arbitrary minimum standard. A camera like the Arlo Pro 3 gives you a generous 160 degree field of view, which is great. In my garden 140 degrees do the job. You can also use the app to adjust the image quality and bandwidth. I set mine to medium, which was more than sufficient for my needs. The camera also has a full night mode.

Loud and proud

Screenshot of the Vivint app.

As for the rest of the hardware, the camera is equipped with a speaker and a ring light. Through the speaker, you can use the app to speak to anyone who is outside, whether it is an intruder, or your trampoline kids who refuse to come in for dinner. The speaker is loud and clear, so both the intruder and your children know they are bad. Whether one of them cares or not is another conversation. The speaker can also be used as an extension of your alarm so that your neighbors can be notified if something is wrong. The camera can also be a doorbell extender, which is very convenient if you work in the garden or have a socially distant party in the garden. The speaker offers a lot of functions.

At 85 decibels, the speaker is not the loudest, especially when compared to the 108 dB output of the Netatmo outdoor camera. In our tests, however, 85 dB is great for talking to people about the camera, and the Vivint camera also offers protection from professional surveillance. Given the extra layers of protection Vivint offers, it's a little easier to forgive a quiet siren.

Software strengths

Ironically, this camera's software is both its greatest strength and weakness. One really cool, unique thing that this camera does is the wake mode. Sentry mode keeps an eye on your lawn and searches for people. If someone stays in the eye of the camera for a certain time (between 1 and 90 seconds), the camera can play a sound and make the ring glow red to indicate that it is a recording. My favorite sound it can play sounds like a human whistle. In theory, the whistling causes an intruder to look into the camera so that a perfect picture of his face is achieved. The wake mode can be activated automatically when your alarm system is activated, on a schedule or manually.

When you switch to the app, use the Vivint app (available for Android and iOS) to display the cameras, view recorded events and unlock the doors directly from the camera view via the app interface. You can also take a photo from the app or view all recorded events. The settings for multiple cameras can also be adjusted in the app so that you can activate the wake mode in the front yard and deactivate it in the background. However, the camera and app have some limitations.

Software challenges

To get footage captured around the clock, you first need a Smart Drive, a physical hard drive module in your home. The Smart Drive is attractive, but costs an additional $ 250. With the hard drive, you can “rewind” for up to 30 days and search through the footage. Without the smart drive, you are limited to events that are recorded when people enter the frame, which leads to our second weakness.

The smart camera only records events when it sees people. It will ignore animals and other movements. It is not ideal. Most cameras can identify people, but they can also record events for cars, animals, or other movements. You can see these things as you scrub through the footage (if you have the smart drive), but it can be easy to miss some of these other movements, which is a real disappointment. As an example, my wife found that an animal ate our vegetable garden, which the camera says is the case. Without recorded events, it is difficult to browse and see what actually arrives there and how.

I have two other minor camera problems. The Vivint app on the iPad is locked in portrait mode. This is an obvious sign that the iPad app is just an enlarged version of the iPhone app. In addition, neither Vivint controls nor cameras are compatible with Alexa or Google Assistant smart screens. The former is a disappointing find for a veteran company like Vivint that does so much right. The latter just feels like a total swing and miss. With the increasing spread of smart screens, it should be a matter of course to be able to monitor your garden camera in your Nest Hub in the kitchen. When I asked Vivint about it, I was told the company would consider the possibility of adding both.

Our opinion

Overall, the Vivint Outdoor Pro camera is a solid upgrade to an already solid security system. The safety factor is one thing, but the wake mode surpasses it. Surveillance cameras are usually passive protective devices. But taking care of people and warning them is another level of defense.

I would like to see a floodlight here as another layer of protection – whistle, red light, and then hit them with the flood when they are not running. But at that point, I had already been notified, as had Vivint, so things were done one way or another.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes and No – $ 399 is expensive, and other options offer as much (or more) functionality for a lot less. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor can be integrated into your assistant-enabled smart displays. The Arlo Pro 3 floodlight camera gives you a floodlight together with the camera. If you want to drive super cheap, check out the Wyze Cam Outdoor.

Will it take?

The camera has a solid plastic construction and feels durable. The warranty is 120 days after installation, which is less than any other competitor. Call us cautiously optimistic nonetheless.

Should you buy it

Yes. This camera can be seamlessly integrated into the Vivint security system and has frills that surpass the few shortcomings. However, this is only a qualified yes if you invest in the entire Vivint system. If you just want a surveillance camera and nothing more, look elsewhere.

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