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Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor Review

   
Editors' Choice Award

Video Monitors

  • Currently 5.0/5
Overall avg rating 5.0 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: November 5, 2014
Price:  $250 list | Available for $197 from Amazon
Pros:  Best video monitor we tested, excellent range, great pan/tilt/zoom, top-notch clarity in both sound and video, easy to use
Cons:  No way to adjust sound activation sensitivity
Bottom line:  Editors' Choice winner for video baby monitor. Highly recommended.
User Rating:     
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 (5.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   Motorola
Review by: ⋅ Review Editor, BabyGearLab ⋅ April 9, 2012  
Bottom Line
The Motorola Digital Video baby monitor won our Editors' Choice award for best video monitor. We tested the 3.5 Inch Color LCD (MBP 36) version. It beat all the other video monitors in overall score as well as in most individual categories. Offering terrific range, superb clarity in both video image quality and sound quality, a full set of features, and fall-off-a-log easy-to-use operation. If you are looking for a video baby monitor, you won't be disappointed with the Motorola Digital Video monitor. Read on for the full comparison and review details.

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BabyGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
We loved the Motorola Digital Video 3.5 inch monitor best of all the video monitors we tested. It flat out trounced the competition. If you are contemplating this model, but put off by the price, you might be interested in the lower cost Motorola Digital Video 2.8 inch model.

Best-in-Class Range
Range is challenge that causes most video monitors to suck wind like a heavy smoker on a treadmill. But the Motorola Digital Video monitor shined, offering better range than all of the video monitors and most of the sound-only monitors too. This was most demonstrated in our open-field test where the Motorola shocked us by working at over 2,000 foot distance. While we feel the indoor-test range is actually more important, we were still impressed.

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Comparison of the Samsung, Summer Infant, and Motorola video monitors (left to right). The video image quality is best on the Motorola.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff
Awesome Image Quality
The dessert in our love-fest with the Motorola Digital Video monitor was crystal clear sound and best-in-class video image quality. The Motorola offered better sound quality than any other video monitor, and within shorter range was just as good as the very best sound monitor, the Philips Avent DECT.

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Night time video display uses infrared LED to light baby.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff
Video image quality in daytime and nighttime was better than all the traditional video monitors. Only the wireless webcam, the Y-cam, displayed on the large screen of an iPad, could compete toe-to-toe with the Motorola on image quality. And, while most monitors became more static-filled in sound and image as distance increased, the Motorola's 2.4 GHz digital technology delivered perfect sound and video to the limit of its range.

Terrific Ability to Pan/Tilt/Zoom
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Credit: BabyGearLab Staff
The Motorola Digital Video monitor, like the Summer Infant Baby Touch, both offer a uniquely motorized ability to pan, tilt and zoom the camera around the room via remote control from the parent unit. Unlike the other monitors which use a digital camera trick to provide very limited pan and tilt capability, the motorized pan and tilt mechanism that turns the camera head around like Wall-E's head. But, unlike Wall-E, the Motorola's pan/tilt mechanism is dead silent so as not to wake up baby. In the first six months, baby will not be moving out of camera view in the crib, so unless you have twins, the pan/zoom feature won't matter. But the older baby gets, the more the ability to pan and zoom will come in handy. When you re-purpose the monitor to watch toddlers in a playroom, or be your second pair of eyes when you need to watch two places at once, the Motorola will continue to shine.

Easy-to-Use and Set-up
Set-up was fast and easy. We found working the set-up menus a breeze too.

The monitor includes the ability to display the temperature in baby's room, play one of six lullaby tunes, and a Talk-to-Baby feature.

Dislikes
The one feature we were disappointed to find missing a sound activation feature. We feel this is very helpful feature and on a monitor of this price point, we'd expect it to be included. The monitor's sound is relatively free of static, that the absence of the feature is less of an issue than it could be, but the inability to filter out background sound noise may impact your sleep.

Installation
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The Motorola Digital Video camera unit has a hole on the bottom to allow mounting to the side of a wall, which can be convenient to get the best view looking down on the crib.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff
The hardest thing about getting the monitor set-up is probably going to be sitting it on a perch that can look down on baby's crib, yet keep the cord well out of reach. We like a high wall mounting position, that offers a commanding view of the crib from an angle that will allow you to see if baby's eyes are open or closed. To do so, you'll use the convenient mounting hole on the bottom of the monitor and a nail or wall-board screw to secure the camera. You'll also want to carefully tie down the cord so it can't be reached by baby from the crib (think about baby's reach when much older, even though your newborn won't have the mobility to reach it initially, so you are sure to avoid creating a future strangulation hazard).

When baby is a toddler, we think you'll prefer a shelf mounting on a high corner cabinet or shelf where the Motorola's panning ability will give you a complete view of the room.

Which Model to Choose?
Motorola offers several models of their digital video monitor in addition to the 3.5 inch LCD screen model we reviewed (MBP 36).
  • Motorola Digital Video 2.8 inch LCD (MBP 33) - $200 list — this model is $50 lower list price and differs only in two features: smaller screen (but still large enough to be practical), and no remote pan/tilt/zoom capability. If you like this monitor, but want to save a bit of money, this might be just right for you.

Additional Cameras?
Motorola makes additional cameras available. These can be very useful if you want to watch multiple rooms at once. The parent units can support up to four cameras.
  • Motorola Additional Camera for MBP36 - $99 list — a full featured camera for the MBP36 Motorola Digital Video 3.5 inch LCD video monitor. Includes pan/tilt/zoom remote control capability.

Conclusion
The Motorola Digital Video monitor offers best-in-class performance in a simple-to-use and easy-to-set-up package. We recommend it.

RJ Spurrier

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User Reviews


Most recent user review: November 5, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (2)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Nov 5, 2014 - 09:14pm
Crystal · Thunder Bay, ontario
I have had this monitor for 16 months (can't believe my baby boy is already that old…sniff sniff 😘) and it is the BEST and MOST USED item we have purchased as parents. Seriously. If you are buying a video monitor, buy this one. It is wonderful. Great picture, great range (we go to our fire pit and our neighbours and can see the babe clearly!), very sensitive sound, great tilt/pan/zoom, I love that it tells the temperature because we live in northern ontario and I want to make sure we have the thermostat set properly. Two things I wish it had that would make it utterly perfect are a built in clock and longer battery life for the monitor. If you keep the monitor picture on, it dies quickly. We just keep the cord plugged in always. If your on the fence about video vs traditional sound monitor BUY THE VIDEO MONITOR. It is the most used purchase we've made for the baby.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Click to enlarge
Motorola MBP 36 Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor. Front views of baby unit (left) and parent unit (right).
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff
Where to Buy?
Seller Price
Amazon $197.11  -  21% off!

*If you click on any of the above links and make a purchase, a portion of sale helps support this site
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