In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

Philips Avent DECT SCD720/86 Review

Our favorite monitor if the price is not a barrier, that offers a longer range and great sound quality, making it a great choice for larger homes
Philips Avent DECT SCD720/86
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $120 List | $86 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 5
  • 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

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Value Award  
Price $120.00 List
$85.99 at Amazon - 28% off
$40.00 List
$29.95 at Amazon - 25% off
$50.00 List
$49.99 at Amazon
$30.00 List
$15.00 each at Amazon - 50% off
$50.00 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great sound clarity, nice range, long battery lifeExcellent sound clarity, lots of features, long battery life, priceGood sound clarity, easy to use, budget-friendlyEasy to use, nice range, inexpensiveLower price, nice range
Cons Harder to use, fewer featuresHarder to use, shorter rangeLimited features, average rangeLimited features, short battery lifeDistorted sound, short battery life
Bottom Line Longer range and good sound quality make this monitor a good choiceAwesome sound with lots of features that is a winning choice for almost any familyIf you are looking for ease of use and a nice price instead of features, then this is a good choicePriced nicely for the tightest budgets and gets the job done without added featuresDisappointing sound and shorter battery life can't compete with less expensive monitors
Rating Categories Philips Avent DECT... Vtech DM221 Philips Avent DECT... Vtech DM111 Baby Wave Deluxe
Sound Clarity (30%)
10
10
8
7
4
Ease Of Use (25%)
7
6
10
9
6
Range (20%)
7
6
6
7
8
Battery Life (15%)
6
10
4
3
2
Features (10%)
9
9
4
3
6
Specs Philips Avent DECT... Vtech DM221 Philips Avent DECT... Vtech DM111 Baby Wave Deluxe
Indoor Range Test (walls & feet) 6 Walls
95 Feet
5 Walls
90 Feet
5 Walls
90 Feet
7 Walls
98 Feet
8 Walls
100 Feet
Open Field Range Test 1350 Feet 1325 Feet 1320 Feet 1350 Feet 1350 Feet
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) 1083 Feet 1000 Feet 984 Feet Not Listed 650 Feet
Communication Technology DECT technology DECT 6.0 Digital Technology DECT Technology DECT 6.0 Digital Technology Not Listed
Sound Activation Yes Yes Yes No No
Adjustable Mic Sensitivity Yes Yes No No No
Sound Filtering Test Results Excellent Excellent Poor Very Poor Very Poor
Talk-to-Baby Yes Yes No No Yes
Max Sound 102 db 103.4 db 101 db 103.6 db 103.6 db
Temperature Yes No No No Yes
Parent Unit Battery Life 31 Hrs 46 Hrs 19 Hrs 13 Hrs 9 Hrs
Nursery Unit Battery Backup Yes No No No No
EMF @ 6 Feet Nursery Unit 0.72 V/m 3.11 V/m 0.95 V/m 2.63 V/m 2.36 V/m
Night Light Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Lullaby Music Yes No No No No
Out Of Range Alert Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vibrate Alert Yes Yes No No No
Warranty 2 Years 1 Year 2 Years 1 Year 1 Year

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

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...
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.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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...
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.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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...
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.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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...
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.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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

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

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 belt clip on the parent device for the V makes it easy to carry the device from room to room hands-free.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

  • 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