Project Nursery 4.3 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
Project Nursery does not make Project Nursery the baby monitor. We think it is important to tell potential buyers that the product is made by another company that then pays for the right to use the "Project Nursery" name. This practice 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 whose name they share. Two common licensed brands we have seen are Jeep and Schwinn. Stroller manufacturers apply the well-known brand names to their products even though they are not designed or manufactured by Jeep or Schwinn and have nothing in common with the traditional products associated with those brands.
The Project Nursery monitor has a very limited range with test results below the video monitor competition. This unit barely works through 3 walls and 54 ft in our indoor house test. Project Nursery claims a line of sight range of 800 ft, which is different than indoor testing, but our field test results only show 700 ft, and that was touch and go coverage.
Audio / Visual
This monitor has below-average sound clarity with a bright and somewhat echoey sound. It is not super clear at any volume, and it isn't as loud as the competition. It does offer sound sensitivity adjustment and background noise reduction. Still, it doesn't do either very well compared to the audio monitor or other monitor competition.
The Nursery offers below-average video with sub-par picture quality. It looks washed out and strangely stretched, like it is trying to fit a screen wider than it needs. The daytime colors look muted, and the zoom makes the image fuzzy. For night vision, things don't get better. The picture is washed out, and the bottom part of the eye chart disappears. The clarity it has during the day disappears in the dark.
Ease of Use
The Project Nursery is challenging to use compared to the competition. It comes in a cool box, and the presentation makes you feel special, like you've purchased something akin to an iPhone. Setup is easy with pre-paired components. However, after setup is where things take a turn. The overall usability and day-to-day experience are challenging compared to the competition.
The buttons and menus are not intuitive, and you need to select options inside options inside options to accomplish the simplest of tasks. This design means a lot of button pushing in a sleepy haze. You also have to repeat your steps to get back out of the menu, which is annoying if your 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 require holding down the zoom button until the arrows appear, but movement can be herky-jerky and slow.
The Nursery best test result came in battery life, but it still has nothing to write home about. 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 don't match the claim, they should get you through a regular night's sleep.
The Project Nursery comes with everything you need, including a mini parent unit you can wear as a watch or clip-on with a carabiner or belt clip. Unfortunately, you can NOT use both parent units simultaneously, so mom and dad can't watch the baby from different rooms. The Nursery standard parent unit has a 4.3-in screen and will work with up to 4 Project cameras.
While the idea of the mini monitor is fun, it isn't easy to use, and the smaller size isn't worth sacrificing image quality. During daylight (above left), the baby all but loses his face, and when using the 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, which is misleading if you are trying to create the optimum temperature suggested to avoid SIDS.
This monitor also features:
- Two-way talk to baby
- Sound / motion activation
- Auto screen wakeup/sleep
- 2X zoom
- True camera pan and tilt
- Night vision
- Recording on Micro SD
- Three lullabies
Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Levels
The Project Nursery has the lowest average EMF readings for a dedicated monitor, but the readings were not as good as the WiFi monitors. With the camera 6 ft from the baby, the readout is 1.93. The parent unit will be closer, as most parents set this by their bed, but many parents have fewer concerns for themselves than the 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.
Should You Buy the Project Nursery?
There isn't much redeeming about this monitor. It thas some of the shortest range in the group, and the performance for video quality and sound clarity is some o the worst we've seen. It is also one of the most expensive options in the group, and we think most parents will be glad they spent their money elsewhere as this monitor was frustrating as best for us during testing.
What Other Video Monitor Should You Consider?
Depending on what you want, there is something better in this lineup. If your goal is an easy-to-use dedicated monitor, we like the Hello Baby HB65. This higher-performing dedicated option is far cheaper and has better video quality and sound clarity. It also offers slightly better battery life and range distance through more walls. If you want a great WiFi option or your house is larger, the iBaby Care M7 WiFi is a great choice with loads of features designed for babies. If you are on a WiFi budget and don't need the baby features, the Nest Cam Indoor WiFi could be the long-term security and monitoring camera for you. It has great video images adequate sound and can be used for years after your little one no longer needs monitoring.
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