Now that Little L is 3 months old, he's outgrown his Moses basket and over the weekend, made the transition to his cot in our bedroom. We are hoping this might be the start of having more of a bedtime routine for him- by routine I mean being put in his own cot slightly earlier in the evenings as opposed to sleeping on our chests on the sofa till 10pm, while also sleeping for longer periods of time slightly earlier bedtimes, and hopefully being able to go in his cot in our room or eventually his room, on his own. But for me, to be able to do this, I want the reassurance of knowing he's safe and comfortable but without me needing to go and check on him every few minutes. I think a baby monitor is essential for being able to do this. We used a baby monitor very regularly with LO when he was a baby. He as a fantastic little sleeper and as such, would be happy to sleep in his cot by himself and having the monitor there just gave us peace of mind while we were downstairs.
Unfortunately our old baby monitor broke so I was really pleased when I was asked if we would like to try out the Motorola MBP853 Connect Monitor. We were in real need of one so we were really excited when it arrived.
My first impressions of it were that it was more advanced that our previous monitor. I liked the design of the ball camera which rotates around about 300 degrees. I was also pleasantly surprised at the size of the screen (3.5") on the parent unit. We have really enjoyed using the monitor, not only for Little L, but it's also been good for putting in LO's room to monitor him when he was unwell recently too.
3.5 inch colour display unit
Motorised pan, tilt and digital zoom camera
Room temperature monitoring
Options to stream to the monitor or to smartphone app
Unit has a dedicated on/off switch
Infrared night vision
Volume controls and sound level indicator
Wireless range of 300 meters
Setting up the camera itself was quite easy. After charging the parent unit for 16 hours, I plugged in the cables and was set to go. I just needed to switch on both units and decide where to place the camera. You can hang it off a screw on the wall or place it on a unit where it will be able to see into the cot, or facing wherever you need to see. I like how the camera has a dedicated on/off switch too. It means it can be plugged in but not left on. The instructions aren't very comprehensive but there is a table which shows the basic operation of the keys.
Setting up Smartphone App
My next job was to link the camera to the compatible Smartphone App, called Hubble (available for Android and iOS). The instructions were easy to follow and after linking it to the wifi in my house, the image the camera was showing was also available on my iPhone. It's fantastic for if you're in a part of the house where you haven't got the parent unit, or if you're out and have left your little ones with a babysitter and want to check in on them, or even if you're away on business and want to read baby a story. The App can send you notifications of if motion has been detected too- so you can even set up the camera as a security device in a room of the house for when you're out, all the while being able to check in just by logging into the app on your phone. The App has similar controls to the parent unit- volume control, you can move and tilt the camera, take snapshots, tempterature monitoring, lullabies and zoom.
I like the ball design and the fact that it is wall mountable or can sit on a flat surface. The camera also features infrared night vision so you can see your little one clearly in the dark. One thing I think would make it better is if it had some kind of colourful nightlight built in. It's a feature we had on our previous monitor and LO found the changing coloured lights soothing for when he went to sleep.
Pan, Tilt and Zoom
One feature I find really useful and that we didn't have on our previous monitor is that you can pan, tilt and zoom using the controls on your phone or the parent unit. It means if the camera is facing slightly the wrong way or you have a little wriggler who moves about a lot in their sleep, you can adjust the angle or direction of the camera remotely without needing to go in and move it manually.
The screen is 3.5 inches and the buttons to operate the unit are down each side of the screen. It isn't touch screen though so if you are trying to use it in the dark it can be hard to see which button to press, although in time I'm sure you would start to know your way around the keys without needing to see them. As I said previously, it has infrared night vision and also a setting to increase or decrease the brightness on the screen. I found it gave a clear view of Little L in his cot, even in the dark.
We keep a thermometer in the LO's room and also by the cot in our room, but when we aren't in there we don't know if the room is the right temperature. The monitor has a temperature display which is really useful and the app can send you an alert if the room is too hot or cold. Again, it's one of those things we can take for granted but which gives you that peace of mind.
The monitor has a wireless range of up to 300 metres and also features an out of range alert too. We live in a three storey house and when Little L eventually goes into his own nursery on the top floor, it will give us peace of mind that we can hear and see him clearly on the monitor as we wouldn't be able to otherwise given the distance.
HD Sound and Talk Back
The camera features 2-way communication and HD sound quality and can pick up even the slightest little noise.
Pair Up to 4 Cameras
You can pair up to four different cameras to the monitor (purchased separately) so if you have a toddler and a baby like we do, it means you can have a camera in each room and monitor them both on the same screen.
The camera can also play 4 melodies which you operate from the parent unit. The tunes are all quite similar so I think a useful addition would be if it could play a wider range of tunes or if your baby is like Little L, he enjoys background noise so having a selection of white noise sounds available would be a great addition.
You can set an alarm to go off at 2, 4 or 6 hours on the monitor- useful for day or night time if you're feeding on a schedule. As Little L makes it quite clear through loud crying when he is hungry I haven't had to use this feature yet!
Overall we have been really pleased with this monitor, and it's certainly a step up from our previous one. The unit is easy to use and stays charged for quite a while. Unlike some other baby monitors I've seen, this one feels solid and robust, and has some great features. I think having more choice of sounds on the lullaby feature, and a nightlight would make it even better than it already is. Having the monitor when we have a baby and a toddler to keep an eye on has been really useful and I'd definitely consider getting an additional camera so we can keep one in each bedroom.
The baby monitor retails at £169.99 and is available from all good retailers.
NB: I was kindly sent the Motorola monitor for the purposes of my review. All opinions and photos are my own.