In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

VTech VM819 Review

Not the best video or sound quality, but this simple monitor had the longest battery life we tested by a long shot
vtech vm819 video monitor review
Credit: VTech
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Price:   $69 List | $51.72 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent battery life, budget-friendly, low EMF reading
Cons:  Manual camera, poor sound quality, mediocre video quality
Manufacturer:   VTech
By Wendy Schmitz ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 11, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 14
  • Range - 20% 6.0
  • Sound Clarity - 20% 4.0
  • Video Quality - 30% 5.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7.0
  • Battery life - 10% 10.0
  • Features - 5% 6.0

The Skinny

The VTech VM819 is a dedicated monitor with a straightforward design that is simple to set up and use. It offers better battery life on the parent unit than some of the competition and has a wallet-friendly price. It could appeal to parents who want something they can plug in and use without downloading an app or reading a manual. However, this video monitor has mediocre video quality, and the sound is disappointing. The camera requires manual moving, and the features don't work as well as some of the competition. Alternatively, if price and battery life are your top concerns, we can see how someone could be drawn to this unit, especially if you aren't interested in less expensive WiFi options that require your smart device, app, and some technical savvy.

Compare to Similar Products

 
vtech vm819 video monitor review
This Product
VTech VM819
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Value Award 
Price $69 List
$51.72 at Amazon
$150 List
$151.47 at Amazon
$220 List
$169.95 at Amazon
$100 List
$69.98 at Amazon
$30 List
$35.98 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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80
Star Rating
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Pros Excellent battery life, budget-friendly, low EMF readingWiFi range, lots of features, great images, easy to useGreat video quality, lots of features, low EMF readingHigh-quality video, clear & loud audio, can be paired to multiple cameras, infinite viewersBudget-friendly, good video quality, WiFi connectivity
Cons Manual camera, poor sound quality, mediocre video qualitySub-par sound, higher price, internet dependantDelayed camera control is annoying, no precision adjustment to camera, connectivity issuesNo baby-specific features, requires a Google account, a barebones app that isn't intuitivePast 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 shotCool WiFi option with all the bells and whistles that is easy to useThe 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 modelA great option for those looking for sharp video and crisp audio who aren't as concerned about baby-specific featuresThis 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
Range (20%)
6.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Sound Clarity (20%)
4.0
4.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
Video Quality (30%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Ease of Use (15%)
7.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
8.0
Battery life (10%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Features (5%)
6.0
9.0
10.0
6.0
7.0
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
Screen Size 2.8" n/a n/a n/a n/a
Max # of Cameras 2 Not Listed (Unlimited?) Not Listed (Unlimited?) Not Listed (Unlimited?) 5
Temperature Yes Yes Yes No No
Movement Detection Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sound Activation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Talk-to-Baby Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pan/Tilt/ Zoom Zoom Pan/Tilt/Zoom Pan/Tilt/Zoom Zoom Zoom
Battery Life 16 hours 28 minutes n/a n/a n/a n/a
EMF @ 6 Feet from Camera 0.22 V/m 0.75 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.

Performance Comparison



vtech vm819 video monitor review - this vtech is an inexpensive barebones model with little redeeming...
This VTech is an inexpensive barebones model with little redeeming functions in our tests.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Range


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.

vtech vm819 video monitor review - the sounds from the baby's room are not crisp and lack real-world...
The sounds from the baby's room are not crisp and lack real-world quality for the VM819.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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.

vtech vm819 video monitor review - the camera for the vm819 has a talk-to-baby speaker, but it is...
The camera for the VM819 has a talk-to-baby speaker, but it is robotic and not the best sounding and could be upsetting instead of soothing to little ones.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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 daytime video for the VM819 is okay but nothing to write home...
The daytime video for the VM819 is okay but nothing to write home about with little crispness or clarity.
The night video for the VM819 has a bright spot in the center, and...
The night video for the VM819 has a bright spot in the center, and it washes out what you really want to see.

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.

vtech vm819 video monitor review - most of the buttons you'll use regularly are on the front of the...
Most of the buttons you'll use regularly are on the front of the VM819, but it still has menus you'll need to navigate for lesser used functions and settings.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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.

vtech vm819 video monitor review - the vm819 parent device has a rechargeable battery.
The VM819 parent device has a rechargeable battery.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Battery Life


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.

vtech vm819 video monitor review - the vm819 camera comes with easy-to-use hanging holes on the bottom.
The VM819 camera comes with easy-to-use hanging holes on the bottom.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Features


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.

vtech vm819 video monitor review - the camera on the vm819 is easy to rotate and adjust with a ball and...
The camera on the VM819 is easy to rotate and adjust with a ball and socket joint.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

  • 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.

Manufacturer Video



Wendy Schmitz
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