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Hands-on Gear Review
Philips Avent SCD630 Review
Price: $220.00 List | $145.90 at Amazon - 34% off
Pros: Great range, clear sound, easy to use
Cons: Not many features, manual adjust camera
Bottom line: Our favorite dedicated monitor with impressive range that is very easy to use
The Philips Avent SCD360 is the top rated dedicated monitor in our review with a 4th place rank overall. This monitor has the longest range for dedicated options, and the best sound clarity in the group. With an easy to use parent unit and intuitive menu options, the Philips is a user friendly monitor that works well. We really like this monitor and feel it offers most of what parents are looking for. However, it should be said that it lacks a remote control camera and the images are not the best. All that being said, we think this monitor will please parents and is the one we would recommend to friend looking for a dedicated (non-Wi-Fi) video monitor for baby. If this monitor is not within your budget, the Levana Lila is also a nice video monitor that may have a shorter range, but offers a longer battery life and a list price that is less than half the price of the Philips.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Philips of the Netherlands is a health technology company focused on improving health and healthy living. The goal is to improve the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2025. The Philips Company was started in 1891 by Gerald Philips and his father Frederik Philips. They began by manufacturing incandescent lamps and other electrical products. After Gerald's brother Anton Phillips joined the company they became the world's leading producer of light bulbs. Over the years the company began to diversify into additional electronic products including lamps, televisions, and radios, shavers, and x-rays. In 1963 Phillips introduced the compact audio cassette. Throughout the years they partnered with Sony to create the CD and the DVD. Phillips continues to create products in several fields for the collection and transmission of audio and visual information for families and industry.
The chart below compares the overall scores of all the video monitors we reviewed. The Philips Avent SCD630 (shown in blue) earned a 4th place rank and is the highest scoring dedicated video monitor in the review. You can see how the Philips earned an Editors' Choice award for dedicated monitor with only Wifi options scoring higher.
The information in the subsections below provides a point by point analysis of how the Philips performed during testing in each metric and in comparison to the other monitors. Scores earned during testing for each metric combine to create the monitors overall score and rank.
The Philips earned a 9 of 10 for range, which is the highest score for the range metric for a dedicated monitor.
This monitor worked indoors up to 5 walls and 92 ft. This monitor was almost able to work up to the 6th wall, but it started breaking up before it got there. The sound is pretty consistent, but toward the end it started to glitch and have static, but you could still hear baby just fine. Outside open field test worked up to 700 ft well, became less reliable by 750 ft and lost signal entirely past 800 ft. The manufacturer claims a range of 984 ft line of sight, which we were not able to duplicate in our tests.
Audio / Visual
The Philips earned an 8 of 10 for sound, which is the highest score for any monitor in the group, including the Wifi options.
The Philips has a maximum amplification of 100 db with a very clear sound, that only has distortion at higher sound in our tests with music only (not with baby). It offers sound activation in ECO mode with a low activation of 78db and a high of 87db. The sound has no echo and is somewhat bright. The sound sensitivity on the highest level took a little longer to pick up our crying baby than we would have liked, but it did kick on with only a little delay.
The Philips earned a 5 of 10 for video images, which is average for the dedicated monitors with only 1 dedicated monitor scoring higher.
The Philips daytime images were a little on the dark side compared to real life, but the picture is clear and has good clarity even using the zoom feature. The night images weren't as good as the daytime images. They were fairly grainy and got worse when using the zoom feature. Even with additional lighting in the room the images were better, but not the best quality.
Ease of Use
The Philips earned an 8 of 10 for ease of use, which is the high for the metric for dedicated monitors and only 1 Wifi option scored higher. This camera and parent unit pair when you plug them in, which is good for technically challenged parents.
This monitor has the most used features with buttons on the front for easy access. The menu isn't the best for accessibility, but it doesn't really have to be because you can find most of what you need regularly outside the menu. Overall, it is a straightforward and easy monitor to use that could be used without the manual if necessary.
The Philips earned a 5 of 10 for battery life, with a less than stellar performance in our tests.
This monitor has a lithium ion battery with a run time of 9.5 hrs in our tests. The longest battery life in our tests is 12.75 hrs for the Levana Lila, the second highest ranked dedicated monitor we reviewed. Philips claims a battery life of 10 hrs for this unit, which is close to what we got during testing.
The Philips earned a 4 of 10 for features, which is its lowest performance in any metric, but two competing monitors did score lower.
This monitor does not offer a lot of features, which is responsible for the lower score. The Philips parent unit has a 3.5 in screen and only works with one camera, it cannot be paired with multiple cameras. It does have a belt clip for hands free monitoring while using it away from the bedroom.
This monitor offers a few features parents are looking for. It has a temperature sensor, but it did not reflect an accurate temperature for the room. Our test room temperature was 73.7 and the monitor reported a temperature of 75. This may not be a big deal, but if you are trying to maintain a certain temperature you should be advised that the temperature sensor is inaccurate. Probably the most missed feature with this camera will be the lack of remote control over the camera. There is no pan or tilt control, so if you need to change the field of view, you will need to be in the same room to make adjustments.
This video monitor also offers the following features:
Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Levels
The Philips camera has an EMF reading of 1.91 with the reader 6ft from the camera. This is likely the minimum distance between baby and the camera with the EMF exposure decreasing as the camera gets further from baby. The EMF reading for the parent unit is about 4 when placed 3ft from the reader. Unfortunately, parents will likely be closer to the parent unit at night than baby is to the camera because parents keep the device on their night stands in close proximity so they can reach it in the middle of the night without getting up. Once again, the further the parent unit is from your person the less exposure you will have to EMF.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
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