Baby monitors, eventually we all need one right? We were forced to buy one when Amelia was 6 weeks old as we wanted to move her to her own room to help her sleep better and there was no way I was going to leave her in there if I couldn’t see her.
If you’ve bought one already you will know that the choices seem to be endless, back when I was a baby a monitor would give you the sounds in the room and nothing more, today they can sense if your baby has stopped breathing, tell you the temperature, play lullabies, cook your evening meal (okay that last one isn’t true but for the price these things cost it should do this) and there are so many brands to choose from it can be almost impossible to know where to start.
We couldn’t choose between three different brands, so what did we do? We bought all three and pitched them against each other. I would like to say at this point that this post is not sponsored in any way, we purchased all three of these monitors based on research and recommendations. So, without further ado…
In the purple corner we have the BT Video Baby Monitor 7500 Lightshow RRP £180
In the silver corner we have the Motorola MBP49 Video Baby Monitor (Mothercare exclusive) RRP £199.99
In the white corner we have the Angelcare Video and Sound Baby Monitor AC1320 RRP £129.99
To keep it fair I tested all of the monitors at the same time in the same place. You will notice that I am not using Amelia as my sleeping baby, mainly because on this day she didn’t want to be a model and wouldn’t keep still so instead I enlisted the help of Mr Bunny and Piglet. Piglet was actually very helpful because his bright colour was a great test on the different display screens. I also added a pink blanket to help show off the display as well. I took pictures of the display in daylight and with the curtains closed to mimic nighttime as much as possible.
As you can see all of the camera’s were lined up on my dresser, with their cameras angled at the bears in the cot. This is the spot they needed to be in to avoid filling the display with the counter-top of my dresser rather than the sleeping babies.
Angelcare – Oh dear me! Whilst I might argue that the picture quality of the Anglecare was the best out of all the displays I actually can’t see my baby’s head or face in the display. If I moved the camera further back the display showed the countertop of my dresser, take it forward and it shows only the foot board of the cot. Not a great start, the idea is to be able to see my baby, not just her feet.
You also can’t adjust the position of the camera from the monitor, if you want to move the camera to a different position or angle you have to go into the room and move it using the scroll button on the back of the camera. This just seems illogical to me, the whole point of having a monitor is so that I can keep an eye on my baby without having to be in the room with her. What do I do when she gets bigger and starts to move around in her cot to play? If she wiggles out of view I have to go into her room to move the camera so that I can see her, or I could just see her since I am now in her room anyway…
We spent quite a while trying to work out the settings menu on this thing but to be honest the symbols are so vague we never really figured out what any of them do or how to access them. A lot of the settings we found simply by pressing buttons and hoping for the best.
Motorola – Fairing even worse than the Angelcare in the display stakes, here I can’t even see my baby let alone her feet, I got nothing at all. We also tested this one out with us moving around and the lag in our actions was unbelievable. If you raised and lowered your arm, it would already be back down before the display had shown it going up, and you would have several arms all blurred into one. This camera did have built in music and sounds but the terrible display quality pretty much sent it packing from the get-go so we didn’t really test out these other features too much.
The monitor display for this one is massive, bigger than our phones and looking more than an Ipad mini. All supported by a flimsy little flip out stand that feels like it will snap any moment and doesn’t allow you to adjust the angle of the monitor if there is glare from lights or the sun.
BT – Now this is the real deal, with its monitor controlled camera zoom and pan function, nightlight, lightshow, lullabies and white noise sounds, timer to control how long all of these features are on for, talk back and feeding timer it put the others to shame.
We love having the option to play sounds to Amelia, we have Ewan the Dream Sheep and 99% of the time he puts her straight to sleep but if for any reason she is still stirring when he has finished rather than go into her room to turn it on and risk fully disturbing her we can activate the womb sound, or the vacuum, or running water, or classical music and set this to play for a further 10 minutes, or 60 minutes if we really want to. We can control how loud it plays, how long it plays for, how bright the nightlight is etc…being able to do all of this without getting out of bed is a God-send at 4am when you just want to go back to sleep.
The monitor will also give you alerts if your baby is crying (I haven’t counted how long it takes for the alert to come through as I don’t like to leave her to cry but it’s less than the time it takes me to wake up, get up, put my dressing gown on and BEEP!! Cry Alert!) There’s also a temperature alert, if the room reaches 21C it will give another alert to tell you the room is too hot, likewise too cold if it is 15C or below.
If needed you can add a Feed Timer, this is a count down system that I haven’t used as Amelia wakes every 4 hours on the dot depending on her last feed but if you needed to feed at set times for medical reasons you could set the timer to count down 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours what ever you wanted.
We’re also impressed with the battery life too, the BT specs recommend 6 hours of life without being on the dock and we have found we can put her down about 6pm and the battery turns red around 10-11pm when we go up to bed anyway and pop it on the dock.
General comparisons – Notice how all of the monitors are reading a different temperature despite all being tested at the same time. I was also unable to line all three monitors up together for a photo as they interfered with each other and the signals would cut out. I have also found that this can happen if you put the monitor too close to a laptop too so watch out for this.
Angelcare – returned for full refund.
Motorola – returned for full refund.
BT – Kept and now we love it. We have been using it for about a month and it’s great. We weren’t overly impressed with its display quality at first, the image is dull, grainy and for the cost we just expected more. Maybe we are spoilt by the video and image quality we have on our phones these days that we just expected it to be better than it was, although in comparison to the others it’s great.
During the day you can clearly see colours, you can see if baby’s eyes are open or closed, and the night vision view is clear enough for the same. It’s true that you adjust, you get used to the monitor you have and you learn how to read the display, how to tell what you are looking at.
We can’t live without it now, we use it every night when she goes to bed and I also use it during the day too. I can set it up in the living room while she is playing on her mat or snoozing in her swing chair and I can pop to the bathroom, make myself some lunch or if I’m really lucky, take a shower. All whilst watching my little pickle chill, play and nap. With the sound bar at the side of the display I don’t even need to be able to hear her (when in the shower for example) I can see if she is stirring or crying because the lights will increase on the display dependant on the volume of the sounds in the room. Do bear in mind though, the sound of the white noise or lullabies does sound much louder on the monitor than it actually is in the room, most likely because the speaker and microphone are next to each other so don’t be tempted to turn it down too much, baby won’t even be able to hear it.
There we are folks, a lot of money spent to come to the conclusion that the first we bought was the best one…isn’t it always the way.
Let me know your baby monitor experiences, any you love or hate?