In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Vtech DM271 Review

Loaded with features and better sound quality this harder to use option is gadgety
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Price:   $85 List | $40 at Amazon
Pros:  Lots of features, lower EMF
Cons:  Harder to use, shorter battery life
Manufacturer:   Vtech
By Dr. Juliet Spurrier and Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Dec 26, 2019
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 6
  • Sound Clarity - 30% 7
  • Ease of Use - 25% 5
  • Range - 20% 7
  • Battery life - 15% 3
  • Features - 10% 9

The Skinny

The Vtech DM271 is a feature-full Vtech offering with better sound and range. This monitor comes with sound activation and mic sensitivity adjustment abilities and includes a motion sensor and a door sensor. You get a lot of features for the price but the features make it more challenging to use and feel gadgety if all you want is a basic sound monitor. While we like many of the features and they work quite well, overall the performance of the DM271 struggles to compete with some of the less expensive options or those with better sound quality. However, depending on your needs, this feature full option could potentially get the job done if you need sensors you can't find elsewhere.


Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison



The sound clarity on the DM271 is good though not as good as some of its less expensive Vtech brothers.
The sound clarity on the DM271 is good though not as good as some of its less expensive Vtech brothers.

Sound Clarity


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.

While not difficult to use  the DM271 has more features and therefore a more involved user interface and menu that can take time to master.
While not difficult to use, the DM271 has more features and therefore a more involved user interface and menu that can take time to master.

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 DM271 has a respectable range that works through 7 walls and 98 ft.
The DM271 has a respectable range that works through 7 walls and 98 ft.

Range


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.

While it can't touch the top battery life in the group (over 40 hrs)  the DM271 lasts about 14 hours which is plenty of time to make it through the night or nap time.
While it can't touch the top battery life in the group (over 40 hrs), the DM271 lasts about 14 hours which is plenty of time to make it through the night or nap time.

Battery Life


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 has loads of features including temperature  motion  and door sensors  as well as a nightlight  lullabies  and two way talk to the baby.
The DM271 has loads of features including temperature, motion, and door sensors, as well as a nightlight, lullabies, and two way talk to the baby.

Features


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.
The DM271 comes with a motion sensor device (back center) and a door or window alert device (front center). While not a necessity for good sound monitoring  some parents might find these features useful when little ones are on the move and old enough to explore past their bedroom.
The DM271 comes with a motion sensor device (back center) and a door or window alert device (front center). While not a necessity for good sound monitoring, some parents might find these features useful when little ones are on the move and old enough to explore past their bedroom.

These features, plus a variety of other interesting and unique features helped the DM271 earn a higher than average overall features score.

The parent unit on the DM271 has a handy belt clip for hands-free monitoring as you move about your house.
The parent unit on the DM271 has a handy belt clip for hands-free monitoring as you move about your house.

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
  • Page
  • Mute
  • Sleep mode
  • Sound level indicator

The DM271 has one of the lower EMF readings in the group  though most of the video monitors are still lower.
The DM271 has one of the lower EMF readings in the group, though most of the video monitors are still lower.

EMF


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