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Project Nursery 4.3 Review

Project Nursery 4.3
Price:   $260.00 List
Pros:  Low EMF, 2 parent units, remote pan and tilt camera
Cons:  Limited range, washed out images, hard to use, higher price
Bottom line:  A pricey option with a frustrating menu and disappointing images
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Project Nursery

The Skinny

The Project Nursery 4.3 came in last place out of 9 video monitors tested. This monitor scored fairly poorly in all metrics. It does offer 2 parent devices, including a mini watch like option, and it looks pretty snazzy coming out of the box, but unfortunately, that is about as cool as this monitor gets. The Nursery 4.3 has disappointing sound and even worse image quality that leaves a lot to be desired, and generally disappoints in almost every way compared to the competition. So, while it does offer some most wanted features like talk to baby, lullabies, and temperature sensor, it doesn't really do any of them well enough to merit the higher price tag. Given the low scores in every metric, including range and ease of use, and the washed out images of baby, this video monitor is one we don't recommend.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Video Baby Monitors of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief
BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
February 14, 2017

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The Project Nursery 4.3 "mini" monitor felt more like a gimmicky addition than a useful monitor  and the fact that it cannot be used in conjunction with the larger parent unit is frustrating.
The Project Nursery 4.3 "mini" monitor felt more like a gimmicky addition than a useful monitor, and the fact that it cannot be used in conjunction with the larger parent unit is frustrating.
Melisa Fluhr and Pam Ginocchio are interior design enthusiasts who wanted to help parents develop tools and find products for baby's nursery and kid friendly projects. The Project Nursery website has grown and reaches more than 1.5 million millennial parents, and design professionals. Project Nursery now has some licensed products that include nursery electronics, with a joint venture with VOXX International.

Licensing Brand Names
The Project Nursery baby monitor is not made by Project Nursery. We think it is important to point out to potential buyers that the product is made by another company that then pays for the right to use the "Project Nursery" name. This is similar to stroller manufacturers that pay to use the names of well known products to give consumers the illusion that the strollers will be of similar quality to the product they share a name with. Two common licensed brands we have seen are Jeep and Schwinn. These well known names are applied to strollers that are not designed or manufactured by Jeep or Schwinn, and have nothing in common with the traditional products associated with those brands.

 

Performance Comparison


A quick look at the chart below makes it clear why the Project Nursery 4.3 (shown in blue) video monitor did not win an award.


The sections below will further illustrate how the Nursery Project fared in our tests during side-by-side comparisons.

Range


The Project Nursery monitor earned a score of 3 of 10 for range. This is the lowest range in the review, barely working through 3 walls and 54 ft in our indoor house tests. By contrast the Philips Avent SCD630, another dedicated monitor earned a 9 for range and worked up to 5 walls and 92 ft. Project Nursery claims a line of sight range of 800 ft, which is different than indoor testing, but even our field test results only showed 700 ft and that was touch and go with coverage we didn't feel confident about.

This daytime image on the Project Nursery 4.3 parent unit doesn't look bad at first  but the details of the eye chart   crib sheet  and baby's face are blurry and hard to decipher.
This daytime image on the Project Nursery 4.3 parent unit doesn't look bad at first, but the details of the eye chart , crib sheet, and baby's face are blurry and hard to decipher.

Audio / Visual


This monitor earned a 4 of 10 for sound clarity. In contrast, the Philips Avent SCD630 earned an 8 for sound. The Project Nursery monitor has a bright and somewhat "echoy" sound. It is not super clear at any volume and it doesn't get as loud as the competition. It does offer sound sensitivity adjustment and background noise reduction, but it doesn't do either very well.

The night vision on the Project Nursery 4.3 is worse than the daytime images. The details are now completely washed out and some are gone altogether.
The night vision on the Project Nursery 4.3 is worse than the daytime images. The details are now completely washed out and some are gone altogether.

The Nursery earned a 5 of 10 for video quality. The picture quality for the monitor is not the best. It looks sort of washed out, muted and strangely stretched like it is trying to fit a screen wider than it needs. The colors in the daytime are muted and the zoom makes the image fuzzy. For night vision things didn't get better. The image becomes really washed out, and the bottom part of our eye chart disappeared. Almost all of the clarity it has during the day is completely gone in the dark.

While the Project Nursery 4.3 comes with a "mini" monitor  it is small and the buttons are not that useful. This 2nd unit feels more like a marketing ploy than a useful addition.
While the Project Nursery 4.3 comes with a "mini" monitor, it is small and the buttons are not that useful. This 2nd unit feels more like a marketing ploy than a useful addition.

Ease of Use


The Project Nursery earned a 4 of 10 for ease of use, the lowest score in this metric. The Philips Avent SCD630 earned an 8, making it the highest ease of use score for a dedicated monitor. The Nursery comes in a cool box and the presentation makes you feel like you are special and have purchased something akin to an iPhone. Setup is easy as the camera and parent unit come pre-paired. This however, is where things take a turn. The overall usability and day-to-day experience of this monitor is more difficult than the competition.

The Menu options on the Project Nursery 4.3 are not as intuitive as they appear at first blush. With several features being 2 or more button pushes deep  it can be frustrating to mess with when you are sleep deprived in the middle of the night.
The Menu options on the Project Nursery 4.3 are not as intuitive as they appear at first blush. With several features being 2 or more button pushes deep, it can be frustrating to mess with when you are sleep deprived in the middle of the night.

The buttons and menus are not intuitive for this monitor and you need to select options inside options inside options to accomplish the simplest of tasks. This means a lot of button pushing in a sleep induced haze that may be difficult even after you've owned it a while. You also have to repeat your steps to get back out of the menu, making it annoying to deal with if baby is crying. The zoom button is the only easy button to use and it works the camera movement as well. Pan and tilt for the camera requires holding down the zoom button until the arrows appear, but moving about can be herky jerky and slow.

Battery Life


The Nursery earned a 6 of 10 for battery life, its highest rated metric in our tests. This monitor has a lithium ion battery in the parent unit that lasted 10 hours in our tests. The manufacturer claims 8 hours for the mini monitor and 16 hours for the larger parent unit when using the sound activated power saving mode. While our results do not match those claimed, they should get you through a regular night's sleep at least.

The Project Nursery 4.3 comes with a variety of accessories that include 4 ways of carrying the parent units.
The Project Nursery 4.3 comes with a variety of accessories that include 4 ways of carrying the parent units.

Features


The Project Nursery earned a 4 of 10 for features, which is below the average of 5. This monitor comes with everything you need to use the monitor including a mini parent unit you can wear as a watch or clip on with a carabiner or belt clip. Unfortunately, you CANNOT use both parent units at the same time, so mom and dad cannot both watch baby from different rooms. The Nursery standard parent unit has a 4.3 in screen and will work paired with up to 4 Project Nursery cameras.

The smaller image on the Project Nursery's mini monitor only makes it harder to see what baby is doing. The smaller size monitor is probably not worth the decrease in image quality.
Even when using the 2X digital zoom feature on the Project Nursery's mini monitor it is still hard to see baby's face or tell if he/she is awake.
 
While the idea of the mini monitor is fun, we didn't think it was very easy to use and the smaller size isn't worth sacrificing image quality. During daylight (above left) the baby has all but lost his face on this small image, and even using zoom at night (above right) his mouth is missing and you won't be able to tell if he has his eyes open or not.

This camera offers a temperature sensor, but in our tests it reported a temperature 4 degrees cooler than the room actually was, which can be concerning if you are trying to create the optimum temperature suggested to avoid SIDS.

This monitor also features:
The mic on the nursery 4.3 is on the back of the camera facing away from baby  which may be part of the reason it is hard to hear baby's cries clearly. The speaker is on the front  so hopefully baby can hear you better than you can hear her.
The mic on the nursery 4.3 is on the back of the camera facing away from baby, which may be part of the reason it is hard to hear baby's cries clearly. The speaker is on the front, so hopefully baby can hear you better than you can hear her.
  • Two-way talk to baby
  • Sound / motion activation
  • Auto screen wake up / sleep
  • 2X zoom
  • True camera pan and tilt
  • Night vision
  • Recording on micro SD
  • 3 lullabies

With the camera placed at least 6 ft from baby  the Nursery 4.3 has the lowest EMF reading for dedicated monitor (non-Wifi) in the group.
With the camera placed at least 6 ft from baby, the Nursery 4.3 has the lowest EMF reading for dedicated monitor (non-Wifi) in the group.

Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Levels


The Project Nursery does have the lowest average EMF readings for a dedicated monitor, but the readings were not as good as the Wi-Fi monitors. With the camera about 6 ft from baby, the read out was 1.93. The parent unit will need to be closer as most parents set this by their bed at night, but many parents have fewer concerns for themselves than baby. With the parent unit 3 ft from the reader the average EMF was 1.24, and over 6 with the unit within 6 inches.

Manufacturer Video


Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz

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Most recent review: February 14, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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