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Cox Homelife Review 2019

: What To Know Before Buying Services

Cox Homelife, a division under Cox Communications, provides professionally monitored home security systems as well as self-monitored smart home systems. The wireless equipment requires professional installation and professional monitoring fees start at $54.99.

Monitoring Type: Professional
Install Type: Professional

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Get Discounts by Bundling Cox Homelife with Internet & Cable Plans
  • Free Base Equipment Package Included
  • 2-Year Contract

Cons

  • Limited Area Availability
  • Some System Components Are Only For Lease
  • Limited Security Equipment Support For Smart Home Plan

The Good

Cox Homelife allows users to choose between self-managed home automation systems and professionally monitored security systems. All components are wireless and a free equipment package is included for every purchase.

The Bad

Cox Homelife is a division under a huge corporate company, and as a secondary service offered by that company, we don't expect to see a lot of innovation in their offers.

Bottom Line

Cox Homelife is a fairly decent option. Users don't have many choices when it comes to monitoring, but the pricing is competitive considering that the only professional monitoring plan available includes a lot of smart home and video surveillance features.

Who's It For?

Cox Homelife is a solid option for homeowners who need a security system and also want a smart home system and cameras. Cox Homelife's monthly rate is well below the average rate of most alarm companies that offer home security, home automation, and video surveillance features.

Cox Homelife also offers a self-managed home automation system, which is a strong option for smart home enthusiasts. However, it still requires a monthly subscription fee with a 2-year contract, so it's not recommended for everyone.

Cox Homelife Sales Process

If you've ever had any Cox Communications products in your home before, the sales process is likely the same. You can either shop everything online or sign up for an in-home visit with a Cox sales rep who will assist you in buying.

If you shop online, the first step is to choose a plan that suits your lifestyle. Cox Homelife has two plan packages: Smart Home (self-managed home automation) and Monitored Security (professionally monitored with home automation features). Once you've chosen a plan, you can customize it to include all the features and equipment you want. Finally, you will be asked to provide an installation address and your personal information so they can run a credit check before sending over your system.

One thing we've noticed when we tested the online sales process is that the interface is not at all  intuitive. It refreshed for no apparent reason a couple of times, rendering previous customizations we've made null. That said, we recommend requesting an in-home visit rather than shopping online.

Another advantage of having a sales representative contact you is that you can ask all your questions before buying. This is important, because the online sales process uses a lot of terms that are difficult to understand for average shoppers. It also has a lot of optional offers that are not clearly defined. With a sales rep guiding you through the sales process, it's much easier to get from point A to point B.

Cox Homelife Equipment Review

Cox Homelife offers a total of 14 types of devices, but which products you can use will depend on your service plan of choice. Below are all the products in Cox Homelife's portfolio.

  • HD Video Camera
  • Door/Window Sensor
  • Motion Sensor
  • Wireless Keypad
  • Smoke & Heat Detector
  • Carbon Monoxide Sensor
  • Glass Break Sensor
  • Leak/Flood Sensor
  • Smart Door Locks
  • Smart Outlets
  • Smart Thermostats
  • Smart LED Bulbs
  • Cox Homelife Touchscreen Control Panel
  • Cox Homelife Wi-Fi Hub

Cox Homelife Smart Home

If you choose the Smart Home service plan, your system's main component will be the Wi-Fi Hub. The Wi-Fi Hub is a wireless device that plugs directly to a wall outlet and connects to your Wi-Fi network. It wirelessly connects to and control your entire smart home system. That said, it must be placed in a central location that is open and not covered by furniture.

The Wi-Fi Hub lacks a screen, so the only way to control your smart home system is through the Cox Homelife smartphone app. When using the app, your smartphone must be connected to the internet either via Wi-Fi or cellular data. The hub also communicates alerts to you via the smartphone app.

The Smart Home service plan only supports eight of the fourteen device types sold by Cox Homelife. They are:

  • Smart Door Locks (up to 4)
  • Motion Sensors (10+ supported)
  • Smart Outlets (10+ supported)
  • Smart Thermostats (up to 4)
  • Door/Window Sensors (10+ supported)
  • Smart LED Bulbs (10+ supported)
  • HD Video Cameras (up to 6)
  • Wi-Fi Hub (1 per system)

Cox Homelife Monitored Security

If you go with the Monitored Security plan, which includes professional monitoring, Cox Homelife will switch out the Wi-Fi Hub with the Homelife Touchscreen Control Panel.

The Touchscreen Control Panel is a tablet-like device. It's function is similar to the Wi-Fi Hub, but the presence of a screen allows you to control your system using the control panel's interface itself. It also has one additional function: sending alerts to the monitoring center. Because Monitored Security includes professional monitoring, the ability to send alerts to the central station is vital. Like the Wi-Fi Hub, the Touchscreen Control Panel uses Wi-Fi as a primary means of communication, but it also has a cellular backup. In case your internet is down when an emergency occurs, it will use cellular signal to communicate alerts. It also has a backup power supply.

The Wi-Fi Hub supports the following devices:

  • HD Video Cameras (up to 6)
  • Door/Window Sensors (10+ supported)
  • Motion Sensors (10+ supported)
  • Wireless Keypads (10+ supported)
  • Smoke & Heat Detector (10+ supported)
  • Carbon Monoxide Sensor (10+ supported)
  • Glass Break Sensor (10+ supported)
  • Leak/Flood Sensor (10+ supported)
  • Smart Door Locks (up to 4)
  • Smart Outlets (10+ supported)
  • Smart Thermostats (up to 4)
  • Smart LED Bulbs (10+ supported)

Equipment Packages

Getting a service plan from Cox Homelife entitles you to a free equipment package and the option to buy additional devices as needed. However, because the equipment package is free, a 2-year contract is required.

For Smart Home users, the free starter kit includes a Wi-Fi Hub, an HD security camera, a door/window sensor, and a smart LED light bulb. The total worth of the package if bought a la carte is $265.

For Monitored Security users, the free starter kit includes a security camera, two door/window sensors, and a motion sensor, with a total worth of $400. A Touchscreen Control Panel is also included, but it's only for lease. Once your contract expires, or if you decide to cancel the service, you'll need to ship the control panel back to Cox.

Monitored Security users have the added option to swap out the free equipment package with a discounted equipment package with more inclusions. Instead of paying nothing for the equipment upfront, you can opt to pay a one-time $200 equipment fee and receive two security cameras, two door/window sensors, a motion sensor, and three LED smart light bulbs. The total worth of the equipment package if bought without discounts is $655. That's a $455 savings.

If you want to expand your system, there's also an optional add-on bundle that includes a security camera and a door/window sensor. The bundle sells for $160, but it's value if purchased separately totals to $240.

Of course, you always have the option to add devices to your system a la carte.

  • Door/Window Sensor — $60.00
  • Indoor Motion Sensor — $100.00
  • Glass Break Sensor — $150.00
  • Smoke/Heat Detector — $125.00
  • Carbon Monoxide Sensor — $125.00
  • Water/Flood Sensor — $85.00
  • Wireless Keypad — $100.00
  • Smart Thermostat — $200.00
  • Smart Plug — $60.00
  • Smart LED Light Bulb — $25.00
  • Smart Door Lock — $230.00
  • HD Camera — $180.00

Cox Homelife Monitoring Service Review

Cox Homelife offers two service plans: Smart Home and Monitored Security. However, only Monitored Security includes monitoring features. Cox refuses to call Smart Home a self-monitored service and instead insists on calling it a self-managed smart home service with limited home security capabilities. Still, Smart Home's "limited home security capabilities" is pretty extensive. So what's included in each service plan?

Cox Homelife Smart Home Service

For $29.99 per month, Smart Home includes home automation features, video surveillance features, and security alerts. However, you'll need to buy additional products to enjoy its full potential. For example, you can use the system to automate and manage your home's temperature, buy you'll need to buy a smart thermostat from Cox to do that.

The home automation feature includes access and use of scenes, rules, and remote smartphone control. Scenes are basically commands that affect multiple devices. For example, instead of turning off each smart bulb at night, then locking your doors, and then setting the thermostat, you can create a scene that does all that at once. Simply activate the scene before going to bed and your system will set everything for you. Rules, on the other hand, are automation tools that tells your system how to react when a particular event occurs. For example, you can create a rule that triggers the camera to capture a short video clip every time your door is opened as detected by your door/window sensor.

The video surveillance feature is also pretty interesting. First, it lets you stream live video from your cameras to your smartphone, allowing you to check on your house anytime and anywhere you are. Second, it comes with free cloud storage. You can store a certain amount of videos in the cloud and play it back whenever you want. Once its full, the oldest clips are deleted and replaced by new ones.

Cox Homelife Monitored Security

The Monitored Security service plan actually offers the same features as Smart Home, but with some additions. First and foremost, it activates professional monitoring. If one of your security sensors, or even your smoke alarm or CO detector, detects an emergency, your touchscreen control panel will send an alert to Cox's monitoring center where a team of trained monitoring agents are standing by. Upon receiving the alert, they will call you to verify the alert. If it's a real emergency situation, they can call your local police department or fire department on your behalf.

Another addition is power and cellular backup, which is mostly thanks to the touchscreen control panel's built-in battery and cellular chip. In case of a power outage, your system will still be able to send alerts to you and the monitoring center.

Optional: Continuous Video Recording

Both service plans include video surveillance features with limited video recording, but you may also add continuous recording for an added cost. Continuous recording lets your cameras record rolling videos in the cloud for 10 days, allowing you to review every second of the past 10 days. The cost will depend on how many camaras you want to add the feature to. For two cameras, $14.99 will be added to your monthly rate. For four cameras, there will be a $24.99 increase.

Cox Homelife Customer Service Review

Accessible & Dedicated Customer Support

Cox isn't the only triple-play company that offers internet, cable, and home security services, but what sets Cox Homelife apart, in terms of customer service, is its dedicated customer support. Other triple-play companies have the same customer support team for their internet, cable, and home security service. This often results to unsatisfying customer service. Cox Homelife, on the other hand, has its own dedicated customer support team that only handles Cox Homelife-related issues. You can reach the dedicated support team through phone at 1-877-404-2568 from Mondays to Fridays between 8AM and 8PM as well as Saturdays between 9AM to 6PM.

Cox's website also has a live chat feature. While it's not exclusively for HomeLife customers, you may use this feature to ask general questions especially when the phone line is not available.

Policies

A company as big as Cox surely has policies in place, but are they customer friendly?

Limited Warranty

Any equipment sold and leased by Cox Homelife is covered by a 1-year limited warranty. However, not all maintenance and repair costs will be waived. If an equipment is damaged due to the user's fault, standard labor and material charges will apply.

Contract & Early Termination

Purchasing services from Cox Homelife requires a service contract, but the good news is that contracts with Cox Homelife are shorter than industry norms. Most alarm companies require a 3-year contract; Cox Homelife only requires a 2-year contract.

Moving Policy

If you're already a customer who's planning to relocate, Cox offers several options, but they recommend getting in touch with their Moving Specialist first.

If you're moving to the same area, you can take your system with you and continue your contract in your new address. Nothing will change except for your address. You can even transfer and install the system yourself if you're comfortable doing that. Otherwise, you can request for a technician to perform the installation. Standard charges will apply.

If you're moving to a different state that is also covered by Cox, you may take the system with you. However, a new service agreement will need to be signed. The new agreement doesn't necessarily have to be 24-month. You can actually request a month-to-month contract after the move. Also, as a reminder, if you disconnect your system in your old address, you must reactivate it in your new address within 15 days. If you fail to do so, your contract will terminate and an early termination penalty will be charged to you.

If you're moving outside Cox's service area, you will need to cancel your contract and pay any termination fee necessary. If you're a Monitored Security customer, you'll also need to return the leased touchscreen control panel. Failure to do so will subject you a non-return fee.

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