VTech VM819 Review
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|Pros||Excellent battery life, budget-friendly, low EMF reading||WiFi range, lots of features, great images, easy to use||Great video quality, lots of features, low EMF reading||High-quality video, clear & loud audio, can be paired to multiple cameras, infinite viewers||Budget-friendly, good video quality, WiFi connectivity|
|Cons||Manual camera, poor sound quality, mediocre video quality||Sub-par sound, higher price, internet dependant||Delayed camera control is annoying, no precision adjustment to camera, connectivity issues||No baby-specific features, requires a Google account, a barebones app that isn't intuitive||Past security concerns, no baby-specific features, must physically move the camera, poor sound quality|
|Bottom Line||Not the best video or sound quality, but this simple monitor had the longest battery life we tested by a long shot||Cool WiFi option with all the bells and whistles that is easy to use||The great video quality and tons of baby-help features make this a standout pick, but the delay in the camera control causes a big setback for this model||A great option for those looking for sharp video and crisp audio who aren't as concerned about baby-specific features||This barebones model is easy on the wallet and doesn't compromise on video quality|
|Rating Categories||VTech VM819||iBaby Care M7 WiFi||iBaby M8 2K Smart Baby||Google Nest Cam 2nd...||Wyze Cam V3|
|Sound Clarity (20%)|
|Video Quality (30%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Battery life (10%)|
|Specs||VTech VM819||iBaby Care M7 WiFi||iBaby M8 2K Smart Baby||Google Nest Cam 2nd...||Wyze Cam V3|
|Communication Technology||2.4 GHz||802.11 b/g/n||2.4/5GHz||2.4 / 5 Ghz||2.4 GHz|
|Indoor Range Test||3 walls, 155 feet
6 walls, 75 feet
|Anywhere You Have Connectivity||Anywhere You Have Connectivity||Anywhere You Have Connectivity||Anywhere You Have Connectivity|
|Open Field Range Test||400 Feet||Anywhere You Have Connectivity||Anywhere You Have Connectivity||Anywhere You Have Connectivity||Anywhere You Have Connectivity|
|Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!)||1000 Feet||Anywhere You Have Connectivity||Anywhere You Have Connectivity||Anywhere You Have Connectivity||Anywhere You Have Connectivity|
|Max Sound||67db @ ~1ft||82 db @ ~1ft||85 db @ ~1ft||110 db @ ~1ft||100db @ ~1ft|
|Max # of Cameras||2||Not Listed (Unlimited?)||Not Listed (Unlimited?)||Not Listed (Unlimited?)||5|
|Battery Life||16 hours 28 minutes||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|EMF @ 6 Feet from Camera||0.22 V/m||1.42 V/m||0.23 V/m||0.6 V/m||1.47 V/m|
|Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Headquartered in Hong Kong starting in 1976, VTech expanded internationally to more than ten different regions. Its mission is to create innovative and high-quality, budget-friendly electronics. VTech's North American headquarters is one of the highest ranked for cordless landline phones.
The manufactures outdoor unobstructed range is listed as 1000 ft. This does not consider walls or other interference from appliances and such. In our tests, it was only up to 400 ft and became spotty at 370 ft. That is a big difference. The indoor test results are not much better. If there were fewer walls, it could go further with test results of connectivity, not more than 3 walls and 155 feet, or 6 walls and 75 feet. This is about average for the group and maybe a bit better than some of the competition, but mostly it's disappointing that it doesn't come close to the expected range on any level indicated by the manufacturer.
Audio / Visual
Neither the sound nor the video of this VTech is anything to write home about. While it offers both, it is hard to love either.
The sound has weird distortion and robot noises when we played music during testing. We tried different songs, but the speaker on the monitor didn't like any of them. We could understand most of what the vocalist was saying, but it sounded tinny and distant, and the weird mechanical noises continued throughout the songs. While it has sound activation that is somewhat adjustable, it always picked up the white noise in the room, and the monitor was never silent unless the volume was off. It has a constant, random machine-like sound when the volume is on. It isn't loud or annoying, but it is noticeable and could be distracting for some parents trying to sleep. The monitor picked up conversations in other rooms; we couldn't understand what they were saying, but you could hear adults chatting. You also can't change the volume for alerts or mute the menu sounds, which makes it a loud monitor for no reason.
The video is disappointing. Many of the angles for this camera show a screen that is dark/hard to see. You have to tilt it just right to be able to clearly see the full screen if you are holding it in your hand. The parent device screen is easier to see if you have it propped on a table. The daytime video is decent but not good quality.
Night vision isn't any better, but you can see the baby. Most of the room details are visible, but some of the decorations reflect weirdly and make strange blobs reflect back on the camera. This camera also turns on to night vision pretty early when it is still light out or the room is dim. For both day and night vision, the parent device shows a hatch mark pattern like you are viewing your baby through a screen door.
Ease of Use
This VTech is easier to use than most of the WiFi monitors we tested, but it struggles to be as easy as much of the dedicated competition. This is really saying something, given how few features it has and that most of the functions are controlled by buttons on the front of the parent device.
Setup is easy, and the two units self-pair. Until we figured out the device, we experienced a lot of beeping. It has a LINK indicator light on the front screen along with a battery indicator and buttons for the typical functions. It isn't complex; it just doesn't work as well or feel as intuitive as some of the similar competition.
This monitor has a rechargeable battery. The manufacturer claims it has a run time of 19 hours. In our tests, it lasted over 16 hours. While this does not align with the manufacturer's claim, it still has a longer run time than most of the competition, with no other dedicated monitor coming close.
This basic monitor does not come with many features. It has what most parents will use but lacks what some parents will want. However, if simplicity is what you crave, it's hard to be more simple.
- 2-way talk to baby
- Two lullabies and 2 sounds
- 2x digital zoom
- Temperature sensor
- Sound activation screen mode
Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Levels
Each monitor emits EMF, and we tested them all to determine how they compare to one another. We did tests and took the average emissions at 6 ft away from the camera. This might be an important test for parents with concerns about how EMF affects the development of infants and small children. While the jury might still be out, it seems prudent to err on the side of caution when it comes to EMF. Turning off the camera and keeping it as far away as possible while still being useful can also help limit EMF exposure.
This camera has an average emission of 0.22V/m in our tests, which is relatively low and one of the lowest in the test group.
Should You Buy the VTech VM819?
The VM819 is largely a disappointment in our testing. It didn't do much well, and compared to the competition, it struggled to provide good video or sound. Overall, we think there are better options with more useful features. While we understand that the price is a draw for some parents, we caution that even if you save money, we don't think the frustration of using it is worth the dollars you save.
What Other Video Monitor Should You Consider?
If your goal is inexpensive monitoring, the Wyze Cam V3 is even less expensive and offers superior sound and ease of use. With WiFI connectivity on its side, it also can be viewed from anywhere you have WiFi and isn't limited by the range of distance or walls in your home. If you wanted straightforward dedicated monitoring, we like the LeapFrog LF920HD 7" Display is our top choice. This monitor is easy to use, has a giant parent device, and has a better-than-average range. While more expensive than the VM819, we think it is well worth the money for the better performance and features.
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