Vtech DM271 Review
Pros: Lots of features, lower EMF
Cons: Harder to use, shorter battery life
Our Analysis and Test Results
Vtech is a Hong Kong company that started in 1976. Vtech operates in 10 regions internationally and the North American location is one of the best for cordless phones. VTech creates budget-friendly consumer electronic products.
Vtech traditionally does sound monitors well and usually offers good clarity and volume as well as activation features designed to keep the monitor quiet so you can get a restful night's sleep. The DM271 is no different overall but it isn't as impressive as its more basic cousins with sound that is a little bright and some background static at times. The highest sound level is 88.9 dB with clear if hollow sounds and bright highs without much low tone, which is on par for a baby monitor. The sound filtration features that keep the monitor silent when your baby is worked well on 3 of the 4 settings during testing and can help you get an uninterrupted night's sleep without background noise from the baby's room or the monitor itself.
Ease of Use
This monitor can be trickier to use than most given the involved nature of the additional features. The DM271 has an auto startup that only requires plugging in, turning on, and setting the time. This process is straightforward and not too much hassle. Setting up the motion sensor and the door or window alarm feature requires a little more work. We tested both the motion and door sensor and both work well and are relatively user-friendly if you need these kinds of features. The main buttons you will use regularly are all on the front of the parent unit (alerts, menu, volume and navigation buttons). The talk to baby and power buttons are on the side. The menu is fairly intuitive and easy to navigate the alert button is a nice addition easily turn on and off the alerts when you need to.
The DM 271 has better than average range with an outdoor eyesight test of 1375 ft, which is 375 ft over the manufacturer claim of 1000. For real-life indoor use where walls and interference from other appliances and items is a factor the DM271 works well up to 98 ft and through 7 walls. This result will vary somewhat in each home depending on the construction of the house and what you have inside, but it is a good base and an apples-to-apples comparison to the other products we tested. If this option doesn't work in your home, it is unlikely any product with lower results will work.
The DM271 has a respectable battery life with test results of 14 hours on the parent unit. This time is ample for naps or overnight, though we recommend plugging it in overnight just to be sure. However, if the longest battery life is what you are after, some of the competition can last significantly longer.
The DM271 offers adjustable mic sensitivity and sound activation, two of the most important features in our opinion. Both work well and help create a quiet monitor for parents that only makes a sound when your baby makes a sound.
These features, plus a variety of other interesting and unique features helped the DM271 earn a higher than average overall features score.
The DM271 also offers the following features:
- Motion detector
- Door open alert
- Two-way talk to baby
- Temperature sensor
- Lullaby and nightlight
- Out of range alert
- Sleep mode
- Sound level indicator
The average 6 ft from the baby unit EMF reading for the DM271 is 1.63 V/m. This is one of the lowest readings in the group, though not as low as many of the video monitors. While already somewhat low, this average reading could be lower by using the baby unit further from the baby. We recommend putting it as far away as possible for it to still be functional. We also suggest unplugging it when not in use to limit EMF exposure.
— Dr. Juliet Spurrier and Wendy Schmitz