AT&T Digital Life Review
Initially, when AT&T launched this company there was a lot of speculation whether the utility giants can handle the customer service issues and demands that will arise by jumping into the home safety arena. Years down the launch, they have managed to quite literally surprise and impress all of their skeptics.
They provide you with the flexibility to reuse your existing wired door and window sensors if you already have them installed. The policy of providing lifetime warranty and service for all its equipment’s has been a major driving force behind Digital Life’s booming sales and popularity among its customers. One of the other exciting features that they have to offer with this service is that the customer can try it out at any store before having to buy it. However, one of the drawbacks is that their system can get a tad bit expensive if the customer is not mindful while choosing the add-on packages. Currently, AT&T only offers two year contracts on their home alarm systems.
AT&T Digital Life App
Their innovative mobile app is featured across all the major mobile platforms including Windows, iOS and Android. The app controls alerts and all of AT&T Digital Life’s home automation features. It is vital to the performance.
The new app will make it easier than ever for you to stay connected and in control of your home from virtually anywhere. Watch live camera feeds, arm and disarm your system, open the garage door, turn off the lights and even check the weather, all from the same customizable home screen.
- Currently rated 4.0 out of 5 stars on the Google Play store
- Currently rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on the iTunes Apple store
AT&T offers three primary packages and then the customer can have many other features added on to them. All the three packages include 24/7 monitored sensors as well as an option to remotely control your setup via any smart device or smartphone. Some of the packages include smart home devices and services and you can also add services a-la-carte. Each add-on requires an additional monthly fee and an additional equipment purchase.
DirectTV and LifeShield
Due to a merger between these two companies years ago, Direct TV’s LifeShield is now Digital Life. Most people would definitely consider this an upgrade.
When LifeShield was it’s own company they provided the option of a landline, broadband internet or cellular monitoring. For customers that used and preferred the landline this is probably going to be one of the toughest new changes. AT&T uses broadband with the option of cellular just as a backup. For people without decent high-speed broadband this may turn into a problem. For people who still prefer and like the landline connections, honestly it’s probably best to upgrade anyway. A wireless system now-a-days will be much more secure than an outdated landline.
Digital Life Packages and Plans
The baseline package is called the “Smart” plan and they offer the package for $39.99 monthly. With this package, you will gain access to 24/7 monitoring (UL Listed), a 24-hour battery backup, access with your smartphone, and a professional install.
The next package is the Smart package with Automation and is offered at $54.99 monthly. This service plan obviously offers everything that Smart offers with the additional feature of viewing live or recorded videos and also the option to remotely lock or unlock certain doors.
The last plan is the Premium Automation Plan. This plan, in addition to everything above, gives you the power to control your house temperature, small appliances, and even detect moisture or water. The monthly fee is $64.99.
All of these packages will provide you access to their very own proprietary mobile app. Depending on your current equipment, this app features a wide array of features and setup options.
The app will control all of your event notifications and your cool home automation features. Downloading and using the app is crucial to the functionality of your system and currently has some great online reviews.
What Do They Come With?
- 3 Door and 3 Window Sensors
- A Motion Sensor
- Interactive Keypad
- A Loud Indoor Siren
- Smoke Detector
- CO Detector
- Unique Glass Break Sensor
- $49.99 per month
Smart Package with Home Automation
- All the same equipment above plus:
- An Outdoor Surveillance Camera
- Portable Door Lock Button
- $54.99 per month
Premium Home Automation
- All the features of the basic entry-level package plus:
- Wireless Security Camera
- Remote Thermostat
- An Indoor Smart Plug for appliances
- A Temperature and Water Sensor
- Smoke Detector
- CO Sensor
- 1 Glass Break Sensor
- $64.99 per month
Optional Packages and Plans
Although some of their packages already include smart home devices and services, you are given the ability to add services a-la-carte. Each add-on will require an extra monthly fee and equipment purchase.
Their first optional package is the Video Camera Package and this adds $9.99/month as well as a $99.99 initial equipment fee. This package allows you to view live or recorded video from your smart device. Like we mentioned above, you may buy additional cameras à la carte.
The second package is their Door Package. With this package you can remotely lock/unlock the front or garage door. They make it easy for you to give temporary access to your home by giving you the ability to have multiple pass codes for the key-less entry. This package also adds the cool feature of alerting you on your phone when your doors are opened, who opened them, and what time the door was actually closed. This package costs $4.99/month. The garage door controller is $49.99, the button door lock is $99.99, and the touch-screen door lock is a hefty $149.99.
Then there’s the Energy Package which is also $4.99. With this you can adjust your temperature from your smart enabled device. You can also control your lights and small appliances in an effort to save money on electricity. The light switch, an indoor smart plug, and the thermostat will set you back $199
Lastly there is Water Detection. This is also known as flood control or a flood sensor with other companies and systems. This is an extra $4.99 per month with the typical fee of $49.99 for the equipment. It comes with 3 temperature and water sensors.
All said and done, the pricing isn’t too atrocious and actually quite competitive in some areas. This could be a major attraction for some first time buyers. One final thing to note is that they aren’t nearly as flexible for people who wish to upgrade their plans. With almost all other companies you can easily upgrade or downgrade with no questions asked. With AT&T, any service change will instantly restart the clock on your 24 month contract. Downgrading your plan can actually be even worse than restarting your contract, customers have complained and said they won’t even let you do that unless you pay an early termination fee.
They also offer an equipment protection program called Complete Protection. This program features a lifetime warranty on all your safety equipment assuming you are actively paying your monthly service fees. There is no additional fee for the Complete Protection program, but if they end up sending a tech to fix or install new devices they will charge you $50 per visit.
ATT Considered a Trusted Company
Comparing to other home alarm providers, the main advantage behind opting for AT&T is the brand name and the trust that they carry with them. And staying true to their brand name, they have delivered quite well overall with their home automation system.
Digital Life is a breed of its own in that it’s that is backed by a telecom company. The way they approach their packaging is different from any other company involved in home automation. AT&T’s experience in the cell phone industry enabled them to create transparent policies. They clearly lay out all twists and turns of their service agreement online ensuring the highest possible transparencies.
Digital Life Customer Service
Customer service reviews used to be a huge problem for this company, as is the case for most telecommunications services. Now they actually hold an A+ BBB rating indicating that they are actually making strides and working on improving their help and support for their customers.
However, there is massive amounts of online feedback showing huge concerns with installation and monitoring problems. Almost all of these recent testimonials are bashing them and talking about how horrible the customer service is and how it will eventually be the downfall of their entire system. This is the exact same problem Xfinity is having, the other giant cable provider that jumped into home safety.
Based on these user generated online reviews, we see that common customer complaints include everything from minor installation issues to annoying billing issues that can result in unwarranted extra fees and high installation costs.
If you’re looking for home automation features, AT&T’s Digital Life may meet your needs. However, you will need to sign a 2-year agreement.
This 2-year agreement starts at $39.99 per month which tends to be a little bit higher than the industry average. Upon sign up you will always be required to put money down, ranging from $29.99 up to $99.99 depending on the package and additional add-on’s you select. Many of the top nationwide providers charge nothing upfront, which is why their upfront activation fees deter many customers from ever trying them out. If you would like to include some form of home automation in your setup, this will peg you at a minimum of $54.99 per month.
AT&T Security Summary
- Their experience in the cell-phone market has given them the ability to create transparent and tricky policies. They are full of twists and turns so be careful.
- After 14 days you are locked into the standard 2 year contract. Early termination will require paying the full 2 year balance in full.
- However, if you move to an area out of their service range, they will let you out of the contract without the need to pay the early termination fees.
- ATT Security is only available in certain cities.
- They only will offer service to residential customers in places that are five stories or less. Also, smoke detectors are not available in apartments and duplexes.
- Their service always requires a professional install. You must provide them with a 4 hour window while you plan to be home.
- Keep in mind that AT&T alarm system customers do have phone support for when you need it. If you wish to receive support via social media, you would be sharing the help with literally every customer.
- They do a mediocre job of responding to the multiple complaints they receive online per day.
Overall, ATT Digital Life is becoming a decent home safety choice. The app interface is easy to navigate and the safety features are very competitive. The multitude of home automation devices certainly benefit from the beautiful integration. The biggest weakness is honestly the pricing. They may be competitive with some of the equipment but most is just flat out more expensive than their competitors. Customers are forced to put money down, whereas most of the best national companies don’t require these high upfront activation fees. The monthly fees are higher than average and the home automation is only available in their expensive fully upgraded package featuring a much higher monthly price-tag. Existing and past customers have also revealed issues related to the installation process and very poor customer service. We recommend you read customer comments below before making your final decision.