While that all sounds well and good, I wanted to see for myself how Frontpoint’s home security system works. In this review I’ll dive into exactly what Frontpoint provides for you in terms of both hardware and service, and then I’ll tell you if I think it’s worthwhile. My box has arrived and I’m excited to get started.
What’s Included in a Frontpoint Security System?
I purchased the Pro Plus Package which provides basic security, remote app access, and a monthly monitoring plan which we’ll get to later. I must say that ordering my system took 22 minutes over the phone, which seems a little unnecessary as I knew exactly what I wanted. But we’ll get to customer support later.
As for hardware, I received a Frontpoint Hub, a door/ window sensor, a motion sensor, a glass break sensor, a keypad, a keychain remote, a video doorbell, and a smart lock. I’m also going to talk about some other products that Frontpoint has for environmental monitoring and additional intrusion protection.
First, let’s dive into each product.
The Frontpoint Hub is the base station for your entire security system. It switches between Wi-Fi and cellular connection, so your system will remain on even if you power goes down. Plus, it’s smash-proof, so even if the bad guys try to break your Hub, your signal will still go through. The Hub communicates with all of your sensors, the professional monitoring team, and your mobile app.
The keypad allows you to arm and disarm the security system. It has a built-in display touchpad as well as a backlit keypad, which I like because it makes it easier to see at night. You can either enter your code manually, or through your voice. The keypad also comes with a backup battery in case the power goes out.
Using infrared technology to sense movement, the motion sensor can be placed on a flat surface or on a wall mount. It can detect motion through a wireless signal transmission for a space of 30 x 35 feet and 80 degrees of coverage. Plus, it can tell the difference between humans and pets under 40 pounds. Frontpoint recommends that you put the motion sensors in large common spaces and/or in rooms with multiple windows.
The motion sensor is battery-powered with a battery life of about two to four years. Don’t worry about forgetting to change the battery- the sensor automatically detects when the battery is low, and any other malfunctions that may occur.
Door/ Window Sensor
The door and window sensors do exactly what you think- they can sense when a door or window is open or closed. Frontpoint claims that you can mount the sensors in the exact same way you would a sticker- just peel and stick. You can also put them on cabinets, drawers, or anything else that can open and close. Frontpoint reports that the battery life is about six years, pretty impressive.
Glass Break Sensor
Intruder bust through your window? The glass break sensor will go off, as long as it happens within a radius of 20 feet. Like the motion sensor, the glass break sensor transmits through a wireless signal. I’m loving the lack of wires, as I don’t want to constantly trip over them every time I sit down to watch the news.
You can either mount the glass break sensor to a wall or place it on a shelf. These sensors are perfect for your home’s largest windows or any sliding glass doors. The battery life of the glass break sensor is about five years, and the sensor will alert you of a low battery or of a malfunction.
SkyBell SlimLine Doorbell Camera
The doorbell camera has become a staple of modern security systems, so it’s no surprise that Frontpoint has their version. Frontpoint’s Wi-Fi Doorbell Camera uses motion sensors to tell when there’s activity on your doorstep. Even if someone doesn’t press the doorbell, you will know that they have arrived at your door, day or night.
You can also talk to your visitors through two-way audio. Want to tell campaigners to beat it? Just tell them through your camera! You’ll be able to see exactly what is happening on your doorstep in real time through your phone.
The camera is only a little over an inch wide, so it’s not an eyesore for the whole neighborhood to see. I also love that it doesn’t require wires. As I’ve mentioned before, wires are just not in my vision for my home. But maybe that’s just me!
What’s a security system without an indoor camera? Right off the bat, I’m liking the sleek look of Frontpoint’s indoor camera, but I’d like to see how it compares to competitors in terms of video, audio, night vision, and more. Let’s talk details.
The camera has 1080p HD, the industry standard, and a below-average field of view of 113 degrees. I’m also not thrilled with the lack of zoom- this feature comes in handy if you need to identify intruders.
The Frontpoint Indoor Camera has two-way audio, which is super useful for telling your kids to stop watching TV and do their homework, or for scaring an intruder.
Although Frontpoint’s camera only has two infrared LED lights, as you can the result is pretty clear. I much prefer infrared LED light to color night vision from a bright white light because it’s more inconspicuous. A person being recorded in infrared vision will have no idea they’re being recorded, while a bright white light is glaringly obvious.
I was pretty pleased with the storage options for this camera. Storage is important for a few reasons. One, if an intrusion does happen, you’re going to want evidence to share with law enforcement. Two, you can use storage to see what really happened when the housekeeper was alone in the house and three, you might want storage to save some special memories, like your daughter’s first birthday party or the moment that the Eagles won the Superbowl.
Fortunately, Frontpoint lets you save up to 1000 clips a month of free storage, regardless of the length of the clip. Here’s how it works: when an alarm sounds, be it motion, a door, or a window opening, the camera will record a clip. From there, you can view the clips in your mobile app or desktop and choose what to pick and save. You can either download the storage to a local source like a hard drive or leave it in the cloud. I recommend doing both just to be on the safe side.
Smart Platform Integration/ Artificial Intelligence
On a disappointing note, the Frontpoint Indoor Camera does not offer any smart platform integration or artificial intelligence features. Let me explain.
Smart platform integration means that the camera could integrate with something like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. If the camera integrated with a smart home platform, you’d be able to control it with your voice. If you want a camera that integrates with your Amazon or Google ecosystem, the Frontpoint Indoor is definitely not the best option for you.
When speaking of security systems, artificial intelligence generally refers to person detection, i.e the camera can tell the difference between animals and humans. Some cameras even have facial recognition technology, and can tell your loved ones apart from intruders. Unfortunately, Frontpoint offers no artificial intelligence with its indoor camera.
Of course, the motion sensor can detect animals under 40 pounds, which is nice, but I think the camera itself should be a little smarter. I’m assuming that there is no artificial intelligence available for the camera because Frontpoint wants you to purchase 24/7 monitoring, which uses actual humans instead of person detection software. Understandable on their end, but still not great for the consumer.
Schlage Smart Lock
We’ve all suffered that panic that hits you the moment you realized you left your keys inside your house. You want to scream, but you have no one to blame but yourself. Frontpoint’s Smart Lock completely eliminates that problem. Instead of a physical key, it requires a passcode. You can even give different people different entry combinations and be notified as they come and go, with a paid subscription plan.
Not sure if you remembered to lock the front door or not? Smart Lock can be locked or unlocked remotely. I would recommend this feature particularly to someone with kids. As much as you love going to the hardware store for key copies, the Smart Lock takes physical keys out of the equation.
Just like your car has a key, so does your security system. Frontpoint’s keychain remote will allow you to arm or disarm your system or trigger your panic alarm. Put this keychain with the rest of your keys for easy access. You can even have multiple copies for family members or hired help. With a typical battery life of around five to eight years, I know that I don’t have to worry about replacing my keychain remote anytime soon.
Carbon Monoxide Sensor
If you don’t already have one, the carbon monoxide sensor is a great product. If it detects toxic CO levels, it will sound an alarm, flash a warning light, and alert the monitoring station. The sensor has a life of seven years, and its battery has a life of five years.
I like that the sensor doesn’t only alert you when CO levels have become dangerous- it also alerts you when low CO levels are detected so you can get ahead of the game. Frontpoint recommends that you put these sensors in each sleeping area, or in a common area between the bedrooms.
Smoke and Heat Sensor
Frontpoint offers a smoke/ heat sensor that can sense not only smoke, but also a rapid rise in temperature. It comes equipped with an LED status indicator plus an audible siren. I love that the smoke and heat sensor comes with monitoring- if the alarm goes off, the Monitoring Center will check in with your house and alert the fire department if need be.
Recessed Door Sensor
If you’re like me and you love anything with clean lines, the recessed door sensor is a great option for you. It can be placed inside the door frame, hidden from view. Of course, it’s a little more challenging to setup than the regular door sensor and requires a drill. Still, I love that Frontpoint gives you options, as people have varying personal preferences.
Garage Door Sensor
Front doors and windows are not the only ways that intruders can enter your home. If you have a garage, you want to make sure that it’s fully protected as well. The garage door sensor is specifically designed to fit roll-up garage doors and fits in the door’s top inside panel. Of course, the devices communicates with the control panel to keep you afloat of what’s going on in the garage.
So far, I’m pretty impressed by the scope of Frontpoint’s security. They’re not only protecting you from intruders, but also environmental issues that may be harmful to your home or family. Take the flood sensor, for instance. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do than sit home and worry if my pipes are leaking. The flood sensor can warn you about water leaks or even floods before they happen. Just put it in your basement or utility room and it’ll alert you if it comes into contact with water. It’ll still work even if it’s completely floating in water (which shouldn’t happen if you respond to the initial alerts in time).
On top of that, the flood sensor has a battery life of around eight to 10 years- one of the longest battery lives I’ve ever seen. Color me impressed.
Obviously, if an intruder manages to enter your house, you’ll want easy access to your panic button. Frontpoint’s response is the Panic Pendant, which they recommend wearing around your neck or wrist.
Honestly, I can’t imagine wearing the panic button as they suggest. It reminds me of how everyone wears a lanyard and name tag during freshman orientation of college- if you did it past orientation, it was a definite faux-pas. However, given that it’s your safety at risk, you can wear it however you want, or even put it in your pocket! Of course, you don’t need to have the panic button on your person at all times- you can always store it in a secluded spot in your home.
You can customize the button to contact the police or the hospital, to sound an alarm or to be silent. Plus, you can decide what sort of notifications you would like.
I’m a bit concerned that the button might accidentally get pressed, creating false alarms. While the panic button is slight recessed, it still seems like I’m running the risk of contacting the authorities for no reason. How embarrassing would it be to butt-dial the police?
I should also mention that the button is water and shock resistant, and has a battery life of about five to eight years. Although it’s certainly not going to be on the cover of Vogue, this button does seem incredibly useful in protecting yourself and your home.
How Easy Was it to Set Up the Frontpoint Security System?
As the majority of the Frontpoint security system is wireless, it was very easy to set up. All of the sensors and the keypad are installed just like a sticker, and everything comes pre-programmed so it can communicate with the Hub. Installing the camera is a bit more complicated, as you need to plug in the ethernet and power cables, add the camera on Frontpoint’s website, and connect to your Wi-Fi. However, the process was still really straightforward and took me under an hour.
Professional Monitoring with Frontpoint
Unlike many newer security systems, Frontpoint has professional monitoring and cellular backup in-house. I much prefer this because it makes it easier for the customer if they have any problems (which we’ll discuss in detail below).
How It Works
24/7 professional monitoring means that certified, trained professionals will oversee your home’s security from remote monitoring and dispatch centers. Lets face it: you’re not always going to have time to look into every possible security issue that your home faces. The monitoring team, on the other hand, is always there to investigate why alarms went off in the first place and to figure out next steps.
Cellular backup allows your security system to keep functioning normally even if the intruders cut your wires or interrupt your Wi-Fi signal. I love that the backup is both wireless and cellular- it’ll ensure that your security system continues to function normally.
In order to receive 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup, you must invest in a service plan. There are three different options- Protection, Interactive, and Ultimate.
The Protection Plan is the most basic plan you can purchase. It includes 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup, of course. It also gives you an automated system check- every 68 minutes, your home’s security system will be monitored to make sure that everything is online and active. They’ll also make it easier for you to add to your security system or pack it up for a move, and you’ll have the ability to give people unique user codes and time restrictions.
The Interactive Plan encompasses the Protection Plan and adds a few more benefits. The most important feature, in my opinion, is the Crash and Smash Protection. Often times, intruders will break your control panel, effectively nullifying your entire security system. Under the Interactive Plan, your team of professional monitors will be immediately notified if the control panel is smashed and will send help. I’m honestly surprised that this feature isn’t free, as it seems essential for your safety.
Want to keep track of your family? The next feature of the Interactive Plan is Geo-Location Services. Basically, you can link your smartphone up with the Frontpoint system and stay up-to-date on your family members’ locations. I find this feature unnecessary, as most smartphones allow you to see contacts’ locations, if they have their location turned on.
The next feature shocked me- mobile alert and notifications via email and text. The fact that you have to pay extra just to be alerted of your system seems a bit ridiculous to me. What is the point of having all these sensors if you’re not being notified? I am disappointed that notifications aren’t included with the security system, as this is usually a given.
Similarly, the Interactive Plan provides remote access and control of your system, something that’s usually included for free on most smart security systems. I understand that Frontpoint wants you to invest in at least an Interactive Plan or higher, but the fact that you cannot arm or disarm your system from your mobile phone without the mid-level plan seems a bit ludicrous.
The last feature of the Interactive Plan is sensor history- basically, it’ll keep track of any sensor activity.
Overall, I’m not impressed with the Interactive Plan, as it mostly consists of features that other security systems usually give you for free.
The most comprehensive plan is the Ultimate. Of course, it has all the features of the Interactive Plan, with a few extras. Unfortunately, to quote country goddess Shania Twain, the Ultimate Plan did not impress me much.
The first feature of the Ultimate Plan is Live Video Streaming. Again, livestreaming is usually included for free on your system’s mobile app. The plan also allows you to see video and image history and receive notifications with clips or image of motion-triggered events.
The final nail in the coffin is that night vision is only included with the Ultimate Plan. Not to belabor the point, but most security cameras in this day and age do include night vision as a prerequisite. I am shocked that night vision is only available for the top-tier subscription option.
Finally, the Ultimate Plan allows you to control your lights and smart lock from your mobile app.
As an old-school security company, it’s not surprising to me that Frontpoint requires contracts. The good thing about contracts is that they guarantee that your rate will never increase during the length of the contract. Choose from one or three year contracts for your monthly subscription. Although both contracts’ rates are locked in, and the three year plan has the best rates. If you want to cancel, however, you’ll need to pay 80% of the rest of your contract. After your initial contract is up, you can renew it or continue your plan on a month-to-month basis. If you go month-to-month, you’ll only need to give 30 days notice before canceling.
If you live in an apartment or somewhere that you’re not completely settled in, I would recommend finding a security system that has a non-term length contract. Frontpoint’s contracts would be a good for a family or anyone who isn’t leaving their home anytime soon.
Frontpoint’s Customer Support
Setting up and maintaining your security system can get stressful, especially if you’re not some tech-savvy millennial. I want to explore how Frontpoint’s customer support team works, and see if they are actually helpful or not.
How It Works
Like many other websites, Frontpoint has a large FAQ section divided into categories like equipment, pricing, and setting up an alarm system. Clicking around the FAQ’s, I found that a lot of them said “call our Customer Support line,” which seems to defeat the purpose of the FAQ’s.
You can contact the customer support team by phone from Monday to Friday, eight AM to 11 PM, or Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to seven PM EST. I’m disappointed by a couple of things here. One, you can only call the customer support team- there is no option to chat online, email, or communicate with them in any other way. I’m all about flexibility and making things convenient for the customer, and sometimes a phone call just doesn’t cut it. The second thing that disappoints me is that the customer support line is not available 24/7, given the nature of the home security business.
So far I’ve been pretty critical about Frontpoint’s customer support system, but let’s see what other people had to say.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Frontpoint has a 4.5 out of five star rating on Google, with 29 reviews. People had great things to say about the customer service, which was mentioned in about a third of the reviews. All in all, I couldn’t find one bad thing in the Google reviews about the customer support team, which is extremely rare. Of all the security companies I looked at, Frontpoint has the best Google rating by far.
Better Business Bureau
Frontpoint fared just as well when it comes to the Better Business Bureau, BBB for short. As a BBB-accredited business, they have an overall rating of A+, and an average customer review rating of over four stars! Again, this is the best customer review rating I’ve seen from the BBB- those people can be way harsh.
Frontpoint has received 133 customer complaints, a pretty typical number. The majority of the complaints were about products and services, also very typical, but what surprised me was that 34 reviews were about billing/ collections, about a quarter of the total number of complaints. When I clicked on the billing complaints, I was pleased to see that Frontpoint had responded to each one in a very thorough and polite manner, explaining the exact situation. Clearly, this is a company that keeps the receipts.
Overall, I’m really impressed with Frontpoint’s customer support. Despite my criticisms, Frontpoint’s customers are clearly very happy with the customer support they’ve received, which is all that matters in the end.
The Frontpoint App
I have to say- I’m a little suspicious of Frontpoint’s app. Given that it’s one of the older and more established home security companies, it wouldn’t surprise me if the app was glitchy and outdated. But I’m just one person, and a millennial at that. I set out to find out what the app does, and what people think of it.
What you can do on the app really depends on what plan you select (see above for plan options). Let’s make it simple and assume that you purchased the Ultimate Plan. On Frontpoint’s app, you’ll be able to remotely arm and disarm your system, receive all push notifications, livestream or view recorded video, and control your lights, locks, and thermostats.
As much as I hate to admit it, my opinion is not the only one that matters. Let’s see what people on the Apple Store and Google Play Store had to say about the Frontpoint app.
People absolutely loved the Frontpoint app on the Apple Store. It has a 4.5 overall rating with 226 reviews! The large majority of the reviews were five star, with four star being a far second.
Frontpoint received a 4.1 overall rating on the Google store, with 839 reviews. While it’s not as good as its rating on the Apple Store, this is still a very positive sign. Concurrently, most of the reviews were 5 stars.
Recap of the Frontpoint Security System
Overall, the Frontpoint security system is definitely worth buying, but your decision is probably going to come down to personal preferences.
Frontpoint might be a good choice for you if you want:
- A camera with 1080p HD and two-way audio
- A motion sensor that can tell the difference between people and pets under 40 pounds
- Free cloud and local storage
- Great customer support
- User-friendly app
However, Frontpoint might not be the one for you if you want:
- Smart platform integration with platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- Artificial intelligence like person detection and facial recognition
- Push notifications, remote access, and night vision included with equipment
- Non term-length contracts