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Hands-on Gear Review
Philips Avent DECT SCD501/10 Review
Price: $50.00 List | $29.85 at Amazon - 40% off
Pros: Good sound clarity, easy to use, budget-friendly
Cons: Limited features, average range
Bottom line: A great price for those who favor ease of use and price over excess features
The Philips Avent DECT SCD501/10 is a basic sound monitor that has good sound clarity and is super easy to use. This product has a fairly good range and a battery life that is longer than most parents will need. The price of the DECT SCD501/10 is reasonable helping it earn a Best Value award to go with its third place rank. We think this product will work for most families and can act as a main or travel monitor with ease. However, some parents will find the lack of two-way communication and other features to be a deal breaker, but those features come at a price and a more complicated user interface that will make the monitor harder to use. If you are looking for a simple monitor that gets the job done with good sound, this is a good choice for you.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Sound Baby Monitors of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Philips, a Netherlands company, is primarily a health technology company striving to improve health and healthy living. The company was started in 1891 by Gerald Philips and his father Frederik Philips. Their first product was incandescent lamps and small electrical products. When Gerald's brother Anton joined his brother and father, they quickly became the leading producer of light bulbs. Over time they diversified into other electronics including lamps, tvs, radios, shavers, and x-rays. In 1963, Phillips created the compact audio cassette and partnered with Sony to create the CD and the DVD.
This comparison chart includes the overall scores for the sound monitors tested in this review. The Philips Avent DECT SCD501/10 (in blue) has a third place rank and an impressive ease of use score.
The sections outlined below offer additional details on how the DECT SCD501/10 performed during testing for each metric. The results from testing were used to determine the overall score with weighting toward sound clarity and ease of use.
The DECT SCD501/10 earned an 8 of 10 for sound clarity. This is the second highest score for the metric.
Th parent unit for this monitor has a maximum volume of 101 decibels. At this volume, the sound is crisp, clear and bright. At 85 db, the sound is clear with no distortion and easy to hear. If your only concern is hearing baby, then the sound is impressive and hits the mark. However, the sound filtering option isn't the best and we were able to hear the fan in baby's room through the parent monitor when the fan was on the highest setting.
Ease of Use
The DECT SCD501/10 earned a 10 of 10 for ease of use. This is the top score for the metric in this group.
Easy to use often goes hand in hand with few features, something true of this product. With only a power button and volume adjustments, there is almost no way to make a mistake or press the wrong options in the middle of the night. Setup is also easy with a less than one minute process that includes unboxing, plugging in, and turning it on.
The DECT SCD501/10 earned a 6 of 10 for the range distance. The range score is average for the group.
The manufacturer range claim is 984 ft and our tests revealed a distance of 1320 ft. The last 100 ft had a fairly choppy connection and would lose signal with any kind of interference or if the units weren't facing each other. This is a line of sight measurement outside without walls. Indoors the manufacturer claims 164 ft but our tests showed only 90 ft through 5 walls. The connection started getting staticky at 75 ft and was completely unreliable after the 6th wall. It was still trying at 8 walls and 110 ft, but it wasn't a connection you can rely on for monitoring. These results will vary by home depending on construction and competing appliances.
This isn't the best range for a larger home or a home with a floor between rooms or more walls than 5. However, the best monitors worked at about 100+ ft and 8-9 walls. This is a crucial metric for many parents because if the range isn't enough the monitor won't work.
The DECT SCD501/10 earned a 4 of 10 for battery life. This score is below average for the group in this metric.
This monitor has 1.5V R6 AA alkaline non-rechargeable or 1.2V R6 AA rechargeable batteries with a claimed run time of up to 24 hours depending on use. Our tests showed a run time of closer to 19 hours. This is a reasonable amount of time and more than enough for a full night's sleep or napping monitoring during the day. It paled in comparison, however, to the products that ran longer than 30 hours. The Vtech DM221 lasts up to 46 hours which is over twice the battery life of this Philips.
The DECT SCD501/10 earned a 4 of 10 for features with few features and fluff without sacrificing what you really need for a sound monitor to work.
The DECT SCD501/10 has one of our favorite features of sound activation. We like this feature because it keeps the parent unit silent when the baby is silent which can help parents get a better nights sleep. Unfortunately, it is missing what many parents consider to be a necessity, the two-way communication feature so you can soothe baby from another room. However, we aren't convinced this feature is a necessity and think many parents never use it or use it rarely after the novelty wears off. Some new parents would rather head to baby's room than mess with chatting bay up from another space.
The DECT SCD501/10 also has the following features:
This Philips has an average EMF reading of 0.95 V/m at 6 ft from the unit. This is the third lowest average in the group.
While this is a lower EMF reading, you can further decrease baby's exposure by placing the baby unit farther from your baby. This high-quality option will still be able to pick up all baby sounds even if you place it across the room on an opposite wall.
Philips makes a variety of baby monitors both sound and video. We also tested and reviewed the Philips Avent DECT SCD570/10 which scored well and earned an Editors' Choice award with high marks for sound clarity, range, and battery life. The Philips Avent SCD630 video monitor earned an Editors' Choice award in our video monitor review.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
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