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Hands-on Gear Review
Infant Optics DXR-8 Review
Price: $230.00 List | $166.00 at Amazon - 28% off
Pros: Easy to use, long battery life
Cons: Limited range, fewer features, price
Bottom line: Spendy monitor that is easy to use, but has a limited indoor range
The Infant Optics DXR-8 video monitor came in 6th place out of 9 competitors. This monitor has an easy to use parent unit, automatic pairing for devices, the best images for a dedicated monitor, and it has a long battery life. The Optics also comes with an additional zoom lens for an increase in camera placement options, which is something unique to the Infant Optics monitors. Unfortunately, the camera is relatively average in most ways with disappointing clarity on daytime visuals and night images where baby has no face. The indoor range is functional up to 4 walls, the second fewest in the group, and we think the Infant Optics might struggle in larger homes with more space and rooms between baby and parents. Given that the Philips Avent SCD630 has higher scores in almost every metric, and the highest range for a dedicated monitor, we think it is a better buy with a cheaper list price.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Infant Optics began in 2011 developing and manufacturing baby monitors. The company continues to advance their designs and manufacturing techniques using feedback from users. After products launch they continue to improve functionality and reliability. With a goal of becoming the most trusted baby monitor brand in the USA, they are planning to introduce new monitors to fill every gap in the monitor market, and continue their focus on after sales customer service with live agents available 7 days a week.
This comparison chart below offers a graphic representation of how the video monitors we tested compared to one another. The Infant Optics DXR-8 performed better than 3 other dedicated monitors.
The information provided below includes details on how the Infant Optics performed in tests for each metric.
The Infant Optics earned a 5 of 10 for range. For indoor range the Optics worked up to 4 walls and 65 ft. The best dedicated monitor in the group, the Philips Avent SCD630, worked up to 5 walls and 92 feet. In our open field test, Infant Optics worked up to 600 ft and began breaking up at around 650 ft. We lost all signal at 750 ft.
Audio / Visual
The Optics earned a 5 of 10 for sound clarity. The high for this metric is 8 earned by the Philips Avent SCD630. This monitor has a maximum decibel level of 86 db. The sound clarity for this monitor is actually better than most of those we tested. We did not experience any distortion, echo, or interference during testing. It does not offer sound activation or sensitivity adjustment, so you need to set the volume on the parent unit at 1 or 2 in order to cut the background noise. However, doing this could result in sound sleepers failing to wake when baby starts to cry.
The Optics also earned a 5 of 10 for video quality. The daytime images are not bad, with color that is slightly darker than the real color in baby's room. The letters on the eye chart are a bit fuzzy, but they tend to clear up when you zoom in, which also lets you see baby's eyes and facial expression. Night vision is a little darker than average for this group, but using the zoom feature helps make things clearer and more evenly lit. The image itself has decent contrast for night vision, but is a little fuzzy around the edges.
Ease of Use
The Optics earned an 8 of 10 for ease of use, the second highest score in the group, and the highest for dedicated monitors tying with the Philips Avent SCD630. This monitor is a plug and play option that pairs the parent unit with the camera automatically when plugged in and turned on.
The user interface for the Optics is one of the easiest to navigate. It has simple and straightforward buttons that are easy to use. It does have a shortcut button for volume and brightness, but the shortcut is almost the same as going through the menu features, so we still wish it had buttons outside the menu options on the body of the parent unit. Maybe the only downside reported by testers was a choppiness to the pan of the camera after a few weeks continued use. The image didn't seem to match with the navigation on the screen. This could only be rectified by turning the device off and back on.
The Optics earned an 8 of 10 for battery life, with a run time of 11.5 hours in our tests. The monitor parent device has a rechargeable Li-ion battery that Infant Optics claims will run 10 hrs on standby mode and 6.5 with the screen on continuously. Given that we experienced a longer run time, we feel the manufacturer claims are probably accurate enough for parents to trust.
The Infant Optics earned a 5 of 10 for the features metric. This parent unit screen is a fairly standard 3.5 in and can be paired with up to 4 cameras (sold separately). It does not offer a belt clip or other feature for wearing the unit.
The main feature often stressed by Infant Optics is the additional lens parents can place on the camera manually. This "zoom" lens allows for a closer look at baby, but we aren't sure it is a handy tool unless you use it as a permanent part of the camera so you can place the camera further from baby for a decrease in EMF exposure. Otherwise, we think more parents are likely to use it or let it gather dust, than to add and remove it to the camera on a regular basis. It certainly isn't something you can do for a better look while baby is sleeping.
This monitor offers several additional features many parents may be looking for. In our experience only a few are features you will use regularly, but the others may be something you want "just in case". This monitor has a temperature sensor on the camera. This can be handy for ensuring baby's room is a good temperature for avoiding SIDS, but only if the sensor is accurate. Our Optics sensor read 73.4 degrees in a room that was actually 75. This is not the largest disparity in the group, but the lack of accuracy is concerning.
This monitor also features:
Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Levels
The Infant Optics camera has an average EMF reading of 1.89 when placed 6 ft from the reader. This is the minimum approximate distance of most baby monitor cameras. The further you place the camera from baby, the less EMF baby is exposed to. The parent unit placed at 3 ft is has an average reading of about 3.6. We assume the parent device will be within arm's reach so the level can vary and will be higher the closer it is to you.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
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