In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Uniden Lullaboo Guardian Review

Lacks clear images & useful sound features
Uniden Lullaboo Guardian G403 has a quad screen view that it always reverts to
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Price:   $250 List
Pros:  Lg screen, wi-fi capable, 2 way talk
Cons:  Poor image & sound, high EMF
Manufacturer:   Uniden
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team  ⋅  Jan 26, 2015
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OVERALL
SCORE
  • Range - 30% 4
  • Sound - 20% 4
  • Video - 20% 5
  • Ease of Use - 15% 3
  • Features - 5% 6
  • Battery life - 10% 3

The Skinny

The Uniden Lullaboo Guardian was discontinued in February of 2015.

The Uniden Lullaboo Guardian (G403) ranked 13 out of 14 products in our review. Which means it performed poorly in most of our tests. This monitor only scored above a 5 in one category, making it solidly below average for just about every metric. It had a lot of white noise in the audio portion of the test, even on the lowest settings, and with no option for white noise reduction, this unit will be hard for most parents to fall asleep while using. Add to that the poor video of the parent unit and you have a monitor we just can't recommend.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Uniden Lullaboo G403 baby monitor offers a 4.3-inch color touchscreen monitor that can record up to 60 hours of video on an included 4 GB SD card at a range of about 500 feet depending on obstacles. Recording can be done when elected, on a schedule, or when motion is detected. You can also view baby on your iPhone or Android smartphone remotely from anywhere. This monitor has a zoom in feature for viewing small details and the field of view can be adjusted as well. This parent unit can accommodate up to 4 cameras on full or quad view options, each with a 20-foot night vision range. The included parent monitor has a 3.5-hour battery life with a rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery when in full use mode so you can stay mobile when you need to be and plug in when you don't. This unit offers two-way communication so parents can soothe baby from a distance. This model includes LCD monitor, portable camera, monitor cradle, 2 power adapters, 4GB Micro SD card, and Ethernet cable.

Performance Comparison


This monitor looks and performs like older technology
This monitor looks and performs like older technology

Range


This monitor has a manufacturer claimed range of 500 feet. We tested the monitor in both an open field line of sight and inside a house (where one would usually find a device of this kind). Our open field test gave a range closer to 492 feet, which is off a little from the claim on the box, but not as much as some other monitors which were off by 100 feet or more.

Even the large dated looking antenna weren't enough to help this monitor with range
Even the large dated looking antenna weren't enough to help this monitor with range
While 492 might sound like a lot and make you feel like this monitor has a good chance of working in your home, it did not score as well in a home environment. In fairness, none of the monitors did because obstacles and other appliances can play a factor in how well these products work indoors. In our tests the Uniden worked up to 60 feet and through approximately 4 walls; the reception became a little spotty after the 4th wall at 60 feet, and stopped altogether at 5 walls, no matter how many feet they were apart.

These results are about average for the non-Wi-Fi units, with the majority working at just around 60 feet and 4 walls. Only 3 models worked through 5 walls and over 60 feet; the Motorola and the Infant Optics DXR-8 had the best range for dedicated units by working up to 80 feet and through 5 walls. The product with the lowest range in our tests was the Foscam which worked up to 55 feet and just 3 walls.

For interference, the Uniden scored about average with a 5. Certainly, some models had more problems with interference, but our tests revealed several monitors that had significantly fewer problems with interference. Interference can make a monitor unusable, or be so annoying you won't want to use it. In our tests, the Nest Cam experienced no interference, while the Lorex Sweet Peep and the VTech Safe & Sound had the most.

Audio / Visual


The audio and visual tests are where the Uniden really started to struggle compared to the competition. In what can only be described as arguably one of the most important aspects of a monitor of this type, the Uniden didn't offer the best image or the good sound.

For sound, it had a max decibel level of 101 which is relatively high compared to the other products in our review. Unfortunately, being loud doesn't equate to being good, because it also has poor sound clarity and excessive white noise with crackly background interference. This model lacks the ability to adjust the sound sensitivity, which would have helped limit the amount of background noise that could be heard, and is offered on some of the competing product. In essence, what this means for parents is a parent unit that might actually prevent sleep instead of encouraging it. If the purpose of a monitor is to give peace of mind that helps parents fall asleep, then this product misses the mark by being too loud for parents to even shut their eyes. Even on the lowest volume setting (which might not wake up deep sleepers), this unit is still loud enough to prevent some parents from getting adequate shut-eye.

This parent unit has the largest screen size of any in our review
This parent unit has the largest screen size of any in our review
The image quality of the Uniden is a disappointment. While it sports the largest screen in our review at 4.3 inches, it doesn't offer a very clear picture during the daytime, and the problem gets worse in night vision mode. This monitor scored a 4 of 10 in this metric with 2 others scoring the same and only 2 coming in lower with 3s. Using an eye chart for clarity tests for each product the Uniden produced an image where none of the letters on the chart were clear enough to read with the camera 10 feet away (with the eye chart at baby's location in the crib). With the full zoom used, this increased to 1 line, but the letters were blurry and unclear.

Getting to the zoom feature is also a problem because it doesn't have a 1 button push feature like most of the parent units. This unit requires 3 levels of selections inside the menu in order to zoom in 1x (the limit on this unit). This can be a hassle in the middle of the night when what you really want is a quick visual, not a bunch of menu hopping.

We also tested image quality with a color chart and compared the colors seen on the parent screen with the actual colors of the chart for how well they match. The Uniden scored 5 of 10 in this metric with 7 products scoring higher for accuracy in color representation.
The infrared LEDs are not invisible on this camera and they might draw baby's attention when you don't want them too
The infrared LEDs are not invisible on this camera and they might draw baby's attention when you don't want them too
The day time and night time image quality is also disappointing. As you can imagine with poor clarity and color representation the resulting images would be unsatisfactory, and the results were only slightly better in the black and white night vision. Given that most parents purchase a video product because they want to see the details of what is happening in the crib, so they don't need to go into the room, this monitor doesn't do the job well enough to reliably feel confident that you know what is happening or even if baby has their eyes open or closed. So if you are trying to reduce paranoia and you want to be able to see if your little one is breathing or awake, this is not the monitor for you.

The Wi-Fi cameras really had the best visual acuity and quality given that most tablets and smartphones have more advanced screen technology than the parent units of dedicated monitors. However, it didn't take a Wi-Fi camera to get a great picture; the Summer Infant Clear Sight earned the second highest score in this metric with an 8 of 10 overall and a 10 for night vision.

Ease of Use


This model is fairly easy to get out of the package and set up. The manual is helpful and it is essentially plug and play unless you want to utilize the online Wi-Fi option as well. The parent unit and camera have a manual pairing button that is easy to find and use. This is somewhat of a boon to the non-tech savvy parents in the crowd who might find even the term "pairing" overwhelming. It scored a 6 of 10 for ease of setup, with only a few models scoring 7s and the top score being an 8 for the Infant Optics DXR-8 which came with a great quick start guide that sped the process up considerably.

For ease of use once set up the Uniden looks like it should be an easy to operate touch screen. However, it is more of a push screen that has a resistant surface that requires a lot of pressure to activate. The menus are also not intuitive and take some practice to navigate with any efficiency. For example it takes multiple button pushes to navigate deep into the menu options just to find the zoom feature when the majority of the monitors in our review were a simple 1 button push easy to find and use in the dark half asleep.

One of the really annoying features about this model is that the viewing screen always reverts back to a quad screen view style, even when using only 1 camera. So while the parent unit has one of the largest screens in our review, after a few seconds of looking at the view from the only camera we had hooked up, it reverted to a 4 camera view essentially utilizing only 1/4 of the screen. This seemed a bit silly and frustrating that parents can't select a constant view of just 1 camera, especially when only 1 camera is in use.

This model scored a 3 of 10 for ease of use putting it close to the bottom of the pack with only the Wifi Baby 3.0 scoring lower, primarily because 3 different testers were unable to get it to work at all. Top scorers for ease of use were the Top Pick for WiFi winner, the Nest Cam, and the Summer Infant Clear Sight, both of which earned an 8 for their simplicity and intuitive interfaces.

Features


Features is the only category that this monitor did fairly well in scoring a 6 of 10. The high score for features was earned by the Nest Cam with a 10. The Withings Baby also scored well with a 9.

This monitor is full of features and checks many boxes on parent's wish list for a monitor. Unfortunately, just having features doesn't mean it does them well or that they are features you necessarily will use. For starters this monitor has the largest viewing screen of any in our review at 4.3 inches. However, as already noted, even when you select a specific camera to watch, the unit always reverts back to a quad screen so you will almost always be looking at a picture 1/4 that size with the rest of the screen remaining black. It can accommodate up to 4 cameras (sold separately), and if you have 4 set up maybe this action won't bug you that much, but it does seem short sighted that parents can't really control what they view.

The Uniden has motion detection and sound activation features. The motion activation can send you push notifications on your smartphone or personal device if you have the app installed and connected, and the voice activation will turn on the parent unit screen if it has fallen into sleep mode. Unfortunately, as noted above, the sound activation isn't great because parents can't filter out white noise or background sounds they don't want to hear, so the parent unit is always making some kind of noise. Some of the competition had nice noise filtering options that rendered the monitor truly silent unless baby was making noise, by far the better option.

Another feature of this monitor is it has a relatively large field of view with pan/tilt and zoom features within the field of view. However, the menu to get to the controls to execute these features is a few button pushes in and the zoom is only a 1x zoom that is controlled by choosing a portion of the screen; it isn't the most useful or intuitive design.

SD slot allows video recording of all the action
SD slot allows video recording of all the action
The monitor also feature the ability to record to an SD card that fits into the parent unit which is a nice touch if baby is doing something cute you want to save forever, or if you are using it as a nanny cam to review later.

In general, the parent unit on this device is large and a bit bulky which might limit mobility and how it is carried around. It has a kickstand but no other feature for mounting or carry, like a belt clip or hardware. If it had a belt clip at least it would give you a hands free option for moving from room to room. As it is the monitor is too large to fit in most pockets, so you will always need a hand free to take it with you, thus limiting your ability to hold other objects or get chores accomplished from room to room. However, it is the only dedicated monitor in our review that also has an app feature. The app feature on a smartphone might be a better option than the parent unit for moving around the house so you can carry it in a pocket or have a further range.
The giant kickstand is a nice touch  but it would be better if this parent unit had a hands free option for transport
The giant kickstand is a nice touch, but it would be better if this parent unit had a hands free option for transport

EMF


All of the monitors had around the same EMF reading of 6+ when the reader was placed directly next to the components. However, most of these values decreased as the units were moved further away. With the camera of the Uniden at 3 feet from the reader, it still emitted about 3.3 EMF; at 6 feet this dropped to 2.29. Given that EMF can potentially have health concerns over time, the less EMF coming into close proximity to baby the better. The cameras with the least amount of EMF were the Wi-Fi units, the Nest Cam was about .78 at 6 feet and the Withings Smart Baby was essentially ) when connected via Ethernet cable. For dedicated monitors, the Levana Ayden and the Philips Avent Digital both had about 1.29 EMF readings at 6 feet, which was the lowest for that type of monitor.

Battery Life


The Uniden has a lithium polymer battery with a run time of 3.5 hours for the parent unit according to the manufacturer and in our tests. This is the least amount of time of any unit in our tests and therefore it received the lowest score for battery life. The Wi-Fi monitors had the best battery life with the life dependent on the device being used as a parent unit and if the device is being used for other tasks. For dedicated monitors the Levana Ayden had the longest battery life with an average of 9.5 hours run time.

Best Applications


There really is no best application for this unit. Maybe its only saving grace is that it is a dedicated monitor that happens to also have an app that allows Wi-Fi access. This feature makes the monitor unique in our review, but the overall poor performance in general still prevents us from really being able to find a good application for this particular monitor.

Value


This monitor has a list price of $250, which is more expensive than the top 2 scoring products in this review, the Nest Cam ($200) and Lorex Sweet Peep ($120). With both a Wi-Fi and dedicated monitor to choose from that scored significantly better than the Uniden and were both cheaper, it is hard to see the value of this product. In fact 10 of the products in our review were cheaper than the Uniden. However, this monitor has such terrible results from our tests, that even on sale this monitor is not a good value.

Conclusion


This monitor scored just 41 of 100 and ranked 13 out of 14 monitors. It probably would have come in last place had we been able to get the Wifi Baby 3.0 to work in time for testing. The only metric it remotely did well in was features, which is a tally of what kind of features it offers, not whether or not these features work well. For all the metrics that gauged actual performance the Uniden failed to impress; its sound lacked clarity and is muddled by loud white noise, its visuals are not very clear, the screen always reverts to quad setting regardless of the number of cameras being used, and the zoom and talk to baby features parents will use most are buried inside a multiple push menu navigation that is hard to operate in the middle of the night in a sleepy state. All of this makes the Uniden Lullaboo Guardian G403 a monitor we don't recommend.

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Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team