Motorola MBP10S Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
MBP10S Digital Audio Baby Monitor has a sound level indicator LED and a sensitive microphone to catch even the smallest sounds. It is a simple unit that comes with a parent device, baby unit, ac adapter, rechargeable batteries, and a warranty.
This monitor has the shortest range of all the products we tested. With a distance less than 62 feet through 4 walls, it has a range more on par with video products as opposed to sound. For open field tests it still didn't manage to impress with a range of 1050 feet, it still is shorter than 7 of the other monitors in this review. Had the performance overall been stellar this shorter range might have been something parents could work with, after all it is an average range for video, but given the lack luster performance in the other metrics, it is hard to feel good about a product that only works a distance of almost half the best monitor. The Angelcare AC420 has a range of 110 feet through 6 walls, and the average monitor in this review worked up to 90 feet and 5 walls.
While this monitor didn't earn the worst score for sound, that honor went to the Graco Secure Coverage with a score of 2 of 10, it still scored poorly. Earning just a 3 of 10 in this key metric is a good indicator that a monitor isn't going to be one we love. The Motorola tied with 2 other monitors, but given that 4 other product scored higher than a 6 it is hard to feel like it delivered the goods in this metric. Both of the Philips monitors earned 8s in this metric by providing a good quality sound and some voice activation features to keep it silent when baby is asleep.
The overall sound at full volume is so distorted that it sounds like electronic sounds or robots as opposed to a live baby crying. It definitely isn't a good representation of reality or what is truly happening in baby's room, and could potentially leave parents feeling more panic at the questionable sounds instead of reassured that baby is just adjusting and headed back to bed. The sound is hollow and less bright than some of the competition, but it isn't loud enough to wake some deep sleepers and there is random static even with the volume turned all the way down.
This product fails to offer any kind of voice activation feature or microphone sensitivity adjustment that might make the static and electronic sound more bearable. With a monitor that is always actively making noise, parents might find it difficult to fall or stay asleep with the chronic inundation of white noise. We think this sort of defeats the purpose of having the monitor in the first place. If good sleep is unlikely to happen thanks to all the random noise, then there is little use for this product.
Ease of Use
The Motorola earned a 3 in this metric, the lowest in the group for this metric. Despite it being a simple product overall with few features it still wasn't that easy to use for monitoring purposes. It is relatively easy to set up, but we found the directions to be a little unclear on how to get the link feature to work, so even though it automatically links, it is confusing in the manual. For regular day-to-day functions the unit itself has trouble staying upright. It only has a few buttons, but the functions for each aren't entirely clear, and while you will be able to learn them quickly, we feel it should be more intuitive from the get go given how fewer buttons and functions there are to begin with.
The Philips Avent SCD570 earned the highest score for ease of use with a 9 of 10 offering a nice to hold unit that had intuitive buttons and menu options. You can almost forgo the manual with this monitor and still have it up and running in a few minutes.
Earning the lowest score for features in this review of 2 of 10 there isn't much to report on what the Motorola has to offer. While it does relay some kind of noise from baby's room to the parent unit, it doesn't do much more than that. It does come with a belt clip for easier transport while doing chores around the house, and it has a volume level indicator, but that is the extent of what it offers.
In general, we prefer products that have sound activation features that help the parent unit stay silent when baby is sleeping. If the goal of a monitor is to potentially increase the amount of sleep parents can get, then having a unit that makes chronic white noise or relays normal boring house noises can negate the whole purpose. We also think the 2 way talk feature that most of the products offer is also a nice option to have. You might not use it much in the beginning, but it can definitely help soothe older babies and toddlers or at least buy you some time before you climb out of your cozy bed. Given that many products offer both of these features, it is hard to really love a product that doesn't have either. If it were significantly cheaper than most of the others we might be able to forgive it the lack of usefulness, but as it stands it isn't really that cheap at a list price of $50.
Most of the monitors in our test have average EMF values under 1 with the reader 6 feet from the baby unit. For the most part, sound products have lower EMF readings than the video products in our tests. The other plus to sound only monitors is the ability to put them further from baby and still get good performance overall, unlike video products which need to be in a closer range to baby for the night vision to work properly.
The Motorola had an average EMF reading of 0.59 6 feet from the baby unit. This is neither a high reading nor a low one compared to the competition. The lowest reading in our tests is a 0.55 for the baby unit on the Angelcare AC701 model. The highest value is 1.44 for the Safety 1st High Def.
The Motorola has one of the shortest battery life in the group with a time of 7.5 hours. This might be too short for a full night's rest. While not as short as the 7 hours of the Summer Baby Wave Deluxe, it still isn't an impressive amount of time. In short, both of these monitors don't meet the average for the products we reviewed, and didn't come close to meeting the battery life of the Philips Avent SCD570 that lasted 36 hours. It would be good if a monitor could potentially last through the night just in case of a power outage or misplaced AC adapter, which we feel this model probably won't. It also didn't have any warning beeps that the battery was about die, so parents could potentially sleep through the night never knowing that baby was no longer being monitored, which defeats the purpose of this kind of product.
While some parents will be drawn to this product based on the Motorola name itself, we don't feel that is enough to merit the purchase. Given that it scored at the bottom of the bunch and has poor performance in sound (a key metric) we think parents can do better with just about any other product on the list. The VTech DM221 Safe & Sound Review is a cheaper model by a well-known company that scored higher in our tests.
With a list price of $50 this model is one of the cheaper products in our review. Only two other products cost less; including the VTech. Unfortunately for the Motorola model, the VTech scored over twice as many points overall, and a 7 of 10 for sound compared to the Motorola 3. Given the scores it is hard to say that the Motorola is a real value.
The Motorola MBP10S ranked 9th out of 9 products in this review. Our tests indicated that this model has very little to offer even in the way of basic functions like relaying sound from one unit to the other. Its score of 3 of 10 for sound means it isn't good at giving parents the minimal information they will be looking for, and given its lack of other features it leave us feeling like it isn't the best model Motorola on the market. All of this makes the Motorola a monitor we don't recommend.