In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Philips Avent DECT SCD720/86 Review

Great sounding monitor that works well in larger homes
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $120 List | $72 at Amazon
Pros:  Great sound clarity, nice range, long battery life
Cons:  Harder to use, fewer features
Manufacturer:   Philips
By Wendy Schmitz ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 14, 2020
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 6
  • Sound Clarity - 30% 10
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7
  • Range - 20% 7
  • Battery life - 15% 6
  • Features - 10% 9

The Skinny

The Philips Avent DECT SCD720/86 is the newest audio monitor for babies from Philips. This monitor has some impressive features and some of the best quality sound in our tests, earning a perfect 10 of 10 in this crucial metric. We like that this monitor has a sufficient range for most homes, battery life of about 31 hours, and enough features to keep most parents happy, including the coveted sound activation for a silent monitor when a baby is sleeping. This monitor is sort of expensive, more on par with some high-end video monitors than sound options, making it a no-go for a tight budget. However, if you want an impressive top-quality option with superior sound clarity, this is one we recommend.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Philips company hails from the Netherlands. They have a company goal of creating products that improve healthy living and health-related technology. Gerald Philips and his father, Frederik Philips, launched Philips in 1891. It all began with incandescent lamps and small electrical products. After Gerald's brother hopped on board, they became the world's leader in light bulbs. Philips now offers a variety of electronic products.

Performance Comparison



The nursery unit relays accurate and clear sound to the parent unit for reliable and consistent reporting from the nursery.
The nursery unit relays accurate and clear sound to the parent unit for reliable and consistent reporting from the nursery.

Sound Clarity


The DECT SCD720/86 has one of the top-ranked sound quality and clarity in our side-by-side testing of the competition.


This monitor has a maximum volume of 102dB, and the sound is clear if a bit hollow (all of the audio monitors are). It is important to remember you aren't looking for, nor paying for an impressive sound system. What you want is real, true-to-life sound, so you can tell what is happening in the baby's room. More importantly, this monitor has excellent sound filtering abilities. This feature means you only hear sound from the monitor when your baby is making noise. You won't hear fans, white noise makers, or other "home" noises. Because most families choose a monitor to increase their ability to sleep by offering peace of mind that it will wake them should the baby cry, it is a huge benefit to have a silent monitor to encourage sleep.

The talk to baby feature on the SCD720/86 is on the side of the parent device  making it easy to access  even in the dark.
The talk to baby feature on the SCD720/86 is on the side of the parent device, making it easy to access, even in the dark.

Two-way communication for the speaker in the nursery is also impressive. If you choose to talk to your little one through the monitor, this option provides clear sound without a robotic on tinny overtone that could be potentially unsettling to a baby.

Despite few buttons and a menu to toggle through  the SCD720/86 remains easier to use than much of the competition with few features being hidden in folders within the menu.
Despite few buttons and a menu to toggle through, the SCD720/86 remains easier to use than much of the competition with few features being hidden in folders within the menu.

Ease of Use


The DECT SCD720/86 has a better than average ease of use test results. It has more features than some of the competition, which could translate to being hard to use. However, this monitor is relatively easy and intuitive when compared to the competition.


Setup is a simple "plug in and go" affair with automatic paring and nothing to do but start monitoring. Of course, some of the features require some fiddling. However, overall, there isn't much to do here, and almost anyone can use it without reading the manual.

The nightlight and lullaby features on the SCD720/86 are on the nursery unit only  so there is no remote capability with these useful features.
The nightlight and lullaby features on the SCD720/86 are on the nursery unit only, so there is no remote capability with these useful features.

The user interface on both the parent and nursery devices are basic and intuitive for the most part. There is a menu to toggle through, which isn't our favorite method, but it is better than some of the others that have folders inside of folders in locations you can't remember. The features you'll use most often, like volume and on/off, are located on the device outside of the menu. We didn't need the manual to figure out this monitor, which isn't true of all of the competition.

The range on the SCD720/86 can't touch that of a Wi-Fi video monitor  but it respectable and competitive against the sound competition in our tests with 95 ft and six walls between the nursery and parent devices.
The range on the SCD720/86 can't touch that of a Wi-Fi video monitor, but it respectable and competitive against the sound competition in our tests with 95 ft and six walls between the nursery and parent devices.

Range


The DECT SCD720/86 range is reasonably impressive for a sound monitor, which historically in our tests is better than non-Wi-Fi video options. The manufacture claims an open range of 1038 ft, and we were able to get good reception up to 1350 feet, with static starting around 1250.


For indoor range, this option also fared well. In our tests, it worked up to 95 feet and through six walls. On average, most of the competitors stopped working closer to 90 feet and five walls.

The nursery unit on the SCD720/86 has a battery backup in case of power outages.
The nursery unit on the SCD720/86 has a battery backup in case of power outages.

Battery Life


The DECT SCD720/86 parent and nursery unit battery is rechargeable, and they come with plugin adapters specific for each one.


In our tests, the parent unit battery had a life of 31 hours, which is more than enough time to make it through the day, moving it from room to room as needed. It is also enough to go all night, should a power outage occur. We do recommend leaving it on its charger when you can, just in case the power goes out, so it will be filled charged. The nursery unit has a battery backup designed for power outages, but you shouldn't rely on it for everyday use.

The Avent SCD720/86 is heavy on the baby-centric features compared to the audio competition in our tests.
The Avent SCD720/86 is heavy on the baby-centric features compared to the audio competition in our tests.

Features


The DECT SCD720/86 is full of more baby-centric features than much of the sound competition.


The DECT SCD720/86 includes the following features:
The belt clip on the parent device for the V makes it easy to carry the device from room to room hands-free.
The belt clip on the parent device for the V makes it easy to carry the device from room to room hands-free.

  • Belt clip
  • 2-way talk
  • Sound activation
  • Nightlight
  • Lullaby
  • Adjustable mic sensitivity
  • Temperature sensor
  • Vibrate alert
  • Mute
  • Battery backup in the nursery unit

EMF


This Philips has lower EMF readings than much of the sound competition. When we place the reader 6 ft from the baby unit, the average EMF reading is 0.72 V/m. Given that the average for the test group is over 1 V/m with some registering over 2, this is fairly impressive.


You can further decrease the amount of EMF exposure to your little one by placing the nursery unit as far from your baby as possible while still maintaining functionality. Most units will work fine when placed up to 12 ft away from the crib, but you can experiment with your situation to find the right location that works for you and your monitor.

Wendy Schmitz