Update as of April 27, 2021:We revisited Comcast's Xfinity home security servicenew reviewupdated offer. Below is our original review.
Comcast's Xfinity Home combines home security and automation into one smart, easy-to-use system. Companion mobile apps can display Xfinity devices and third-party devices in a single interface. Comcast offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Like some competitors, Comcast requires a two-year service contract, and camera recording is charged extra. Additional hardware fees can add up quickly, and you need a fast internet connection. Automation for supported third-party devices is still under development.
With growing support for third-party smart home devices you may already own, Comcast's Xfinity Home makes it easy to create custom security and home automation settings. (Terms and conditions may apply.)
Comcastov Xfinity siguran domthe service changed my approach to smart home devices.
It might seem strange that something primarily marketed as a home security service would change my mind about home automation technology, but honestly, until I signed up for this review, I wasn't too concerned about adding connected equipment to my home.
After all, my usual stupid lights and thermostats worked fine, and the thought of opening different apps to control different systems seemed like an unnecessary hassle. In terms of home security, my needs are mostly metSimpliSafesystem I installed. However, Xfinity Home showed me that smart home devices make a lot more sense when fully integrated with the sensors and cameras in your home security system.
Xfinity's offering is not much different from that of other service providersandADTor even DIY options such asFront pointandProtect America. One big difference is what you can combineComcast Security and Home Automation Deviceswith any of the growing list of supporteddevices of other companies– at no additional cost to use them – and control them from the Xfinity Home mobile app, the web portal, or even from your TV if you have an Xfinity TV and X1 recorder.
Starting from scratch, in a sense
To be clear, I was already an Xfinity Internet and TV subscriber, but you don't have to be to use Xfinity Home. You need fast internet access, but it doesn't have to be Xfinity. Also, while I usually use my own Arris/Motorola modem and Netgear wireless router, I used a Comcast gateway for this review.
Unlike its competitors, Comcast does not offer Home Secure service levels. You sign a contract for 24 months, which costs $39.99 per month. At the time of writing this review, Comcast was offering the service to new subscribers for $24.99 per month for 24 months with free setup, after which the price increased to $39.99.
The price includes professional 24/7 security monitoring with direct access to call the police, fire or emergency services and a little equipment to get started: three door/window sensors, a motion sensor, a touch screen controller and a wireless keyboard.
The sensors are completely wireless, but if your internet connection goes down or you lose power, they have 3G wireless connectivity and battery power. If you have a pre-installed alarm system (for example, I had motion sensors plugged in from an old ADT system), Xfinity could potentially take those sensors and use them in the new setup to save some money.
A starter kit may be enough for an apartment or terraced house, but for larger properties expect to buy more sensors, which can add up quickly. And if you need live video surveillance cameras, they also cost more.
At the time of writing this reviewComcast indoor/outdoor camerasthey were priced at $99 each, but to get that price you have to pay an additional service fee of $9.99 per month per camera for 24/7 video recording and 10 days of storage. This will also allow you to cut clips for downloading and sharing. Otherwise, you can pay $200 for each camera, which will give you 24/7 live monitoring and the ability to record clips and photos.
BYO smart home
In addition to security sensors and cameras, Comcast has its ownthermostat noandoutput regulatorfor lighting or small devices that you want to control remotely. I haven't tested the latter, but the thermostat was easy to install, worked well, and cranked up well (although it sometimes told me it was -558 degrees Fahrenheit in my house and needed a quick reboot to fix it). It will even recommend a heating/cooling schedule based on local weather conditions.
already didThermostat socketLubLutron dimmers? Then there is no need to buy Comcast equipment. This is again an advantage of Xfinity Home: it works witha large and growing list of third-party deviceswhich you can control and automate from a single interface.
Connecting devices to Xfinity Home service requires little more than adding account logins for individual smart devices in the Xfinity Home mobile app. After syncing, you can use the app to set home automation rules.
In the app, you can configure actions such as turning on your porch light at sunset and turning it off at sunrise. You can also ask the camera to record a video clip when a door is opened or motion is detected. However, currently most of the activity is related to lighting, motion and door/window sensors, cameras and Nest thermostats.
For example, while you can easily program a temperature schedule via the app, you can also create a rule that automatically adjusts the temperature for Away mode, as well as turning off all the lights to save energy - all with a single tap. You can also easily turn on and off connected lights throughout the home to give the impression of activity when you're away.
However, if you have a connected Chamberlain MyQ garage door remote, you can use the app to open and close your garage and set it to send you push notifications when it happens. But that's it. Well, for now anyway. Comcast promises more rules to come, and even in the three months of testing the service, there are new rules and support for new products. However, I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't create automation similar to the one available in the program.
Comcast Xfinity Home Page
The Xfinity Home app is well designed and easy to use. This is probably the main way of controlling the system, but certainly not the only one. The included wireless keypad allows you to arm and disarm the system and send alarms to local authorities, while the touchscreen control center (not wireless) allows you to do this as well as adjust the thermostat, check the activity and status of all the sensors in your home, watch live video from the cameras and even check the weather forecast.
There is also a web portal that largely replicates the capabilities of the application - from camera monitoring, through configuring rules, to activating/deactivating the system. Finally, Xfinity TV subscribers with the X1 DVR can view and control settings through the TV using voice commands. Saying "Xfinity Home Cameras," for example, will show you a live view of your cameras.
There is no support for digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Well, if I may say sodisarm the system by talking to Amazon Echoa must-have feature, you'll have to go elsewhere.
Great now, better later
As I said at the beginning, Xfinity Home made me rethink the value of smart home devices. Combining them and professional protection into one service makes both more valuable. While what it can do now may not be comparable to what others offer, and startup costs may be high, Comcast's monthly costs are competitive. Plus, with growing support for third-party devices you can integrate now or later, Xfinity Home makes it easy to build the system you need.
Distribution of points
Characteristics 9Utility 9Project 8Efficiency 8