The Best Video Monitor Review

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Credit: BabyGearLab Staff
What's the top video baby monitor? We put eight of the best monitors through a rigorous series of tests to compare range, clarity, ease-of-use, functionality, and more. We performed tests on indoor range, open-field range, compared image quality, sound clarity, features, and ease of use. Our testing and analysis aimed to find the best monitor on the market. We also tested an iPhone solution that combined a Y-cam wifi webcam with an iPhone (or iPad) to create a video baby monitor that can work anywhere in the world. Read on to see which ones we picked as the very best.

Refer also our sound monitor review: The Best Baby Monitor Review

Read the full review below >

Review by: ⋅ Review Editor, BabyGearLab

Top Ranked Video Monitors Displaying 1 - 5 of 8 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor
Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor
Read the Review
Video video review
iPhone Baby Monitor with Y-cam Wifi Webcam
iPhone Baby Monitor with Y-cam Wifi Webcam
Read the Review
Motorola Digital Video 2.8 inch monitor
Motorola Digital Video 2.8 inch monitor
Read the Review
Summer Infant Baby Touch Video Monitor
Summer Infant Baby Touch
Read the Review
Lorex Video Baby Monitor
Lorex Video Baby Monitor
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  Best Value Award     
Price $250 List
$200 from Amazon
$230 List
$220 from Amazon
$200 List
$149 from Amazon
$250 List
$151 from Amazon
$200 List
Overall Score 
100
0
74
100
0
67
100
0
67
100
0
62
100
0
52
Editors' Rating
  • 1
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  • 5
  • 1
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  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
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  • 1
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Pros Best video monitor we tested, excellent range, great pan/tilt/zoom, top-notch clarity in both sound and video, easy to useYou can watch baby from your iPhone, the office, or grandma's house, video clarity is excellent, can later be used as a webcam or nanny camRelatively low-priced, best-in-class range and clarity, easy-to-useGood image quality, above average range, great pan/tilt/zoom, easy to useAttractively priced, easy to use, sound activation feature
Cons No way to adjust sound activation sensitivityMuch harder to set-up and use than a traditional video baby monitor, unreliable, poor audio clarity, and you'll still need a traditional baby monitorSmaller 2.8 inch screen, no remote controlled pan/tiltNo sound activation, relatively few featuresNo pan/tilt remote control, small screen
Bottom Line Editors' Choice winner for video baby monitor. Highly recommended.If the techie-set-up doesn't scare you off, you're certain to impress friends and family by showing baby on your iPhoneA compelling video monitor the delivers strong performance at an attractive priceA good video monitor, but not our favoriteA good quality video monitor at a reasonable price
Date Reviewed Apr 09, 2012Mar 27, 2012Apr 09, 2012Mar 28, 2012Mar 28, 2012
Weighted Scores Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor iPhone Baby Monitor with Y-cam Wifi Webcam Motorola Digital Video 2.8 inch monitor Summer Infant Baby Touch Lorex Video Baby Monitor
Range - 30%
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
Sound Clarity - 20%
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
Video Quality - 20%
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
5
Ease of Use - 10%
10
0
6
10
0
1
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
Features - 10%
10
0
8
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
7
Battery life - 10%
10
0
3
10
0
2
10
0
3
10
0
3
10
0
1
Product Specs Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor iPhone Baby Monitor with Y-cam Wifi Webcam Motorola Digital Video 2.8 inch monitor Summer Infant Baby Touch Lorex Video Baby Monitor
Price Options $250 (1 parent unit)
$300 (above w/2 cameras)
$100 (1 extra camera)
$230 Y-cam camera
$10 Baby Monitor HD app
$200 (1 parent unit)
$100 (1 extra camera)
$250 (1 parent unit)
$130 (1 Extra Camera)
$200 (1 parent unit)
$120 (1 extra camera)
Communication Technology 2.4 GHz FHSS Wifi 2.4 GHz FHSS 2.4 GHz Digital 2.4 GHz FHSS
Screen Size 3.5" color screen 640x480 VGA color 2.8" color screen 3.5" color screen 2.4" color screen
Max # of Cameras 4 4 4 4 3
Temperature Yes Yes
Movement Detection
Sound Activation Yes, w/adjustable sensitivity Yes, w/adjustable sensitivity
Talk-to-Baby Yes Yes Yes Yes
Indoor Range Test (walls & feet) 5 walls, 90 feet worldwide 5 walls, 90 feet 5 walls, 75 feet 4 walls, 65 feet
Open Field Range Test 2,385 feet worldwide 2,385 feet 779 feet 722 feet
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) 590 feet* worldwide 590 feet* 400 feet* 150 feet indoor*
450 feet outdoor*
Max Sound (db) 79 n/a 79 82 78
Min Sound (db) 43 0 43 47 0
Battery Life (hours) 9.0 n/a 10.0 8.5 4.2

BabyGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review



It's Like A Teleporter to Baby's Room
A great video baby monitor can play a key role in helping both you and baby get more sleep. Often, baby will wake up momentarily and then self-soothe back to sleep. But the act of you walking into baby's room is often enough to fully awaken baby, resulting in a lost sleep opportunity for both of you. Video gives you a way to silently look in on baby and see if a trip to the nursery is warranted.

In this review we've compared each monitor on a comprehensive series of metrics, scored each monitor based on our hands-on tests, and selected award winners.

If you are looking for some help in deciding what features are important to look for take a look at our two buying advice articles:
  • Baby Monitor Buying Advice — this article will give you the low-down on both sound and video monitors, what features to be aware of, and why it might be worth investing more in a baby monitor than you realized.

Best Video Baby Monitor - Motorola Digital Video 3.5 inch
In our tests the Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor with 3.5 inch LCD screen won hands down and earned out Editors' Choice award. In our range tests, it came in better than any other video product, with impressive video clarity and perfect sound. Although it has a lot of features, such as temperature, talk to baby, and preference settings, we found them easy to use. We loved the ability to control the camera's viewing angle from the parent unit, and the large, clear, 3.5" LCD screen. In our tests of video image quality, the Motorola was unmatched under daytime or nighttime situations. Although not cheap at over $200, it is competitively priced. The Motorola Digital Video 3.5" is our favorite out of all the products tested.

If you like the Motorola 3.5 inch, but the price puts you off, take a look at the more economic little sister, the Motorola Digital Video 2.8 inch monitor. It shaves off a few features and shrinks the screen size a bit, but it offers the same great range and clarity as the 3.5 inch version for a street price under $200.

Best Value Award - Motorola Digital Video 2.8 inch
The little sister of our Editors' Choice winner, the Motorola Digital Video 2.8 inch monitor wins our Best Value award. Offering the same award winning range and clarity as its 3.5 inch sibling, the 2.8 inch version comes in significantly less expensive. Although it lacks the remote controlled pan/tilt feature and screen area is reduced, the 2.8 inch version offers great bang for the buck. If you want a video solution, but the price puts you off, take a close look at the 2.8 inch Motorola. It might be just right for you.

Top Pick Award - iPhone Video Baby Monitor
Is an iPhone and a Wireless Webcam an Effective Baby Monitor?
The most spectacular, as well as the most expensive iPhone solution, would be the iPhone Baby Monitor with Y-cam Wifi Webcam. This solution combines an iPhone, a Y-cam Knight S (YCK004) wireless webcam, and the Baby Monitor HD iPhone/iPad app by SunshineApps to provide a technically challenging, but nerd-worthy baby monitor solution. While we don't recommend using any of the iPhone monitoring solutions as your primary baby monitor, due to reliability issues, this solution is sure to make you king-of-the-nerds at the office when you pull up baby's webcam on your iPhone or desktop computer. If you are a geek, and you've got the time and $219 bills to spare, get thee a Y-cam straight-away along with the $10 Baby Monitor HD app for your iPhone. Note that you can also spend about $60 more and buy the same Y-cam for $279 as part of Wifi Baby 3G which includes technical support by email and phone that might save you hours in getting it all set up. We found the tech support from Wifi Baby 3G to be unnecessary in getting our unit set up. And, while we love the ability to see baby from the office or on our iPhone, if what you wanted was a video baby monitor to use day-in-day-out at home, you'd be way better off with the Motorola Digital Video product, which offered more features, better sound quality, rock-solid reliability, and much higher ease of use than Y-cam. (But, of course, you'll lose iPhone viewing and the associated praise of your nerd friends). An added bonus is that you can turn the Y-cam into a wireless webcam solution when baby is older, perhaps using it as a nanny cam, security cam, or your nerdy secret spy cam.

Using Two iPhones to Create a Video Walkie-Talkie
There are a handful of apps that let you use iPhones for video baby monitoring. The way this works is you dedicate one iPhone to serve as the camera, and then use another iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad to work as the parent unit. If you have two relatively new iOS 5 devices, then check out Best Baby Monitor by Martin Man. It costs $2.99 and can supports both a phone call alert mode with one iPhone used as a monitor, or a video baby monitoring capability if you pair two iOS 5 devices.

Again, reliability issues and a lack of competitive functionality with dedicated baby monitors leave us feeling that all the iPhone solutions we looked at should only be relied on to augment, not replace, a real baby monitor. But, when you are at grandma's and realize that you have no baby monitor, one of these apps can work well in a pinch.

RJ Spurrier
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