The Wifi Baby 3.0 might be a neat product, it certainly looks good on paper and checks some of the boxes parents might be looking for in a video product, but it fails to deliver a reliable monitor parents can depend on. After multiple attempts, by different testers, we just about gave up trying to keep it running. Given that most new parents are harried and lack ample time to sort out technical difficulties, we assume that the average parent would have thrown in the towel and sent the product back. We did contact customer service for help, and while they were nice and solved the problem, it took several days to arrange a time to talk via phone and then an hour to resolve the issue. For a baby monitor, this felt like an unreasonable amount of time to us for parents to be without a monitor for a new parent. Because we had difficulty keeping this monitor running, we lack any real data for how well the Wifi Baby actually works, so it did not score well in the performance metrics of this review. This product came in last out of the 14 monitors in our review and is not a product we recommend based on the difficulty of setup and the loss of connectivity we experienced when it did operate.
WiFi Baby 3.0 Review
Pros: Works w/ personal devices, Wi-Fi only
Cons: Difficult setup, up to a 4 sec delay, signal drop
Manufacturer: Wifi Baby
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Our Analysis and Test Results
WiFi Baby is an internet based monitoring camera that requires an additional device and free app for viewing (iOS or Android device). It features true color video and comes ready to use with a MyWiFiBaby url that creates a direct connection between the camera and your device; information is not stored or transferred from a cloud based account. There is no ongoing fee for this monitor or service. The camera is compatible with the latest OS: iOS 7, 8+, Android 4.4+, OSK Mavericks, and Windows 8. The camera itself offers night vision that has been improved from previous versions with a viewing range up to 30 feet in complete darkness. It sports a white noise eliminating microphone with a selectable minimum level, so you hear only what you want to hear while monitoring baby.
The app has an auto-lock override feature so you can continue to use your device and still hear baby as well as preventing the device from "sleeping", so you can continue to monitor overnight. The app also features the ability to set alerts, and select preferences for alerts on the iPhone and iPad only (alerts not offered for Android devices). The app can zoom in to see more detail and also features picture in picture capability. It works on real time video and audio with less than a 1-2 second delay in transmission. WiFi Baby 3 app allows for multiple devices to be connected at the same time so different users can access the video feed. This is great for grandparents or parents on travel to keep tabs on little ones at home. The app can connect to up to 4 cameras (sold separately) with a quad screen function. The camera itself has the ability to record and store up to 6 weeks of recordings on a 32G MicroSD card, which can be set on a specific schedule to record. This unit comes standard with a WiFi Baby 3 wireless monitor, stand and wall mounts, 6 ft or power cable, Ethernet cable, 6 adhesive rubber feet, mounting hardware, adhesive power cable clips, PC/Mac setup CD-ROM, and a 1 year warranty.
Given that this is a Wi-Fi product we assume its range is based on wherever there is an internet connection. In our experience though, this unit continued to lose connection with the internet or the app service, and there were significant breaks in transmission of information, which resulted in the baby not really being monitored. So while this unit is not affected by walls, distance, or other kinds of interference like a traditional monitor, it does appear to be self-limiting in some way that prohibited it from staying connected to the internet in our experience, making it virtually useless as a monitoring device.
For the other Wi-Fi devices in this review we were able to test how far away they could be from a wireless router. The Nest Cam had a relatively short range from the router with just 2 feet and 4 walls, which put it on par with the dedicated monitors and the distance between the camera and parent unit for those types. The Withings Smart Baby worked further from the router with a range of 90 feet and 5 walls. We were unable to test the Wifi Baby for this metric because it was not operational during this test. However, if distance from the router is a problem, parents could try some kind of range extender to potentially increase the distance between router and camera.
The Withings had the longest range for the Wi-Fi monitors. For dedicated monitors the Motorola has the longest range with 80 feet and 5 walls between parent device and camera. If your Wi-Fi is unpredictable or you aren't interested in internet capable cameras, the Motorola has the longest range and may be the only potential option for larger homes.
Audio / Visual
After multiple attempts to setup this monitor, with varied levels of success and failures, we were unable to really test its performance compared to the other products. Our feeling is that if it doesn't work consistently and reliably over time, then the performance of the unit itself is in question, and therefore its level of performance in any metric or test related to performance resulted in this product earning a 0 in our tests. Even though we eventually arranged for a customer support appointment that seemed to resolve our issue, it didn't occur until after testing was complete.
Ease of Use
In our opinion, there is nothing easy about this product. The setup process did not go well with our unit, and it took multiple attempts to get the monitor to work at all, and even then it worked sporadically and with limited connectivity. In addition, we had difficulty getting a response from customer service, and it took multiple days and various efforts to resolve our issue. The sheer number of days and lack of manned customer support helpline gave us pause and we feel is likely a deal breaker for most parents.Given that technology has matured in the last few years, and there are other Wif-Fi monitors on the market like the Nest Cam and Withings Smart Baby that did score well, it makes it hard to discuss or even begin to recommend a product that didn't work as well as competing (and often cheaper) products. In our opinion it is not reliable enough to use as a primary baby monitor given how often it crashed. In the past we felt it was a fun gadget for tech savvy parents in conjunction with a dedicated monitor, but given how well the Nest Cam did in our review we feel there is no reason to settle for a product with so many potential problems and hard to solve issues.
For ease of use this monitor had the lowest score in our review with a 1 of 10. The highest score for ease of use is shared by the Nest Cam and the Summer Infant Clear Sight which both earned 8s for being straight forward and relatively intuitive in their setup and daily use functionality.
Given that the we never really got a chance to use our monitor it is hard to say how well the features work or how easy they are to manipulate. That being said, this product did not have the same kind or variety of features as most of the others in our review. While it did have the ability to limit background white noise, it is not a sound activated unit where you only hear it when baby makes a noise; essentially, you will hear this monitor at all times. What it doesn't have is what is noteworthy. This monitor does not have a talk to baby two way communication feature, which all the other monitors had. In general, it offers very little in the way of extras for convenience, or bells and whistles for fun, which is really a shame for a product that is also one of the most expensive in our review.
This monitor has one of the lowest scores for features with a 2 of 10. This is a tie score with the Philips Avent Digital. The Withings Smart Baby earned the highest features score with a 10 of 10 in our review. It offers just about everything from temperature and humidity sensors, to multi-color nightlights and lullabies. With talk to baby 2 way communication and motion detection alerts, the Withings just offered more bang for less buck.
WiFi Baby gives us a pause for concern when it comes to safety and security of their video feeds via the internet. Their website offers a few tips and tricks to keep your device "safer", but they do go on to admit the only way to be truly safe is to not use the device connected to the internet. We feel that solving a security problem by not using the camera as intended is not a solution at all, but sort of a copout. Given that they use a similar technology and architecture as the previously hacked Foscam models, it causes concern for us that they aren't interested in finding a better solution to the potential problem. Because Nest Cam has successfully been able to create a virtually un-hackable camera we feel other companies should be able offer similar levels of confidence in their security.In addition, WiFi Baby offers the following information pertaining to keeping your camera "safer" when in use as intended:
Change the default password and use a strong password. They suggest a password that is 8 characters in length with 3 out of 4 of the following: Upper and Lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
They use an authentication process that does not send or store passwords in plain text
They advise changing the standard access port to a different 4 or 5 digit port number in the range of 1024-65535(we aren't convinced that most parents will be able to do this without tech support).
The home WiFi network should also be password protected, it is always recommended to change the default to a unique and secure password.
Disabling the remote viewing option (as previously discussed)
We do not feel as confident about this camera's security as we do the Nest Cam. It lacks much of the sophistication and technology and works in a similar fashion to the Foscam products that have been successfully hacked in the past. In addition, we feel their suggested guidelines and tips for avoiding problems are too basic and put the onus of the problem on the parent instead of the fundamental technology used by the monitor itself.
This product was not tested for EMF emissions because it was not up and running when we did the test. We struggled with this monitor only getting it to work in an off and on again manner. However, all the monitors in the review had EMF readings of 6+ when placed right next to the baby camera. All of the readings dropped by about half at 3 feet away and continued to drop at 6 feet. The Withings Smart Baby is the only one that managed a relative 0 EMF reading (no increase in EMF compared to the ambient room reading). However, this is with the camera connected to the internet via an Ethernet cable, not when used wirelessly with Wi-Fi, which presents its own problems with safety of cords or expense of installing an Ethernet port in baby's room.
The lowest reading in the group outside the Withings with Ethernet, is the Nest Cam which has a reading of 0.78 at 6 feet and the camera can be placed at almost 3 times that distance, which should lower the EMF even further. The dedicated monitors had higher readings in general, with the Levana Ayden and Phillips Avent products reading 1.29 at 6 feet.
Battery life for this device is hard to measure with any accuracy. The longevitiy of the battery is dependant on the type of device used as the parent device, and if other applications or functions are being used at the same time. Because we had difficulty getting this monitor set up and working for a significant period of time we can't really say how the app works or if it allows for other applications to be used or phone calls to even be made. However, because most tablets and smartphones have extended battery life we suspect this would be the same as any of the other Wi-Fi type monitors. It scored a 10 of 10 in this metric, which is more a reflection of the device used as a parent unit as opposed to the monitor itself.
There is no best application for this device. Given that it is difficult to set up, and we had trouble keeping it set up, it is not a good choice for monitoring baby. If you are looking for a web based monitor, the Nest Cam and Withings Baby are both better options that scored higher in our tests, were easier to setup (for the most part), and offered far more features. The Withings even offers lullabies and a variety of nightlight options, including a soothing light show with rotating colors. The Wifi Baby is more expensive than either competing Wi-Fi products, so even if it had worked consistently for us, it would be hard to recommend it.
This monitor is one of the more expensive products in our review with a list price of $260. Even if we had managed to get it up and running without the aid of customer support, or with faster customer support, it fails to offer very many features and can't match what the other products had to offer for performance or quality. Frankly, in our opinion, at any price this is not a good value because the lack of connectivity we experienced meant it could not do the basic job of acting as a reliable baby monitoring device and would require another product be used at the same time to ensure true consistent monitoring.
This product ranked last out of the 14 products in our review. It failed most of our performance tests because it didn't stay on and connected to the internet long enough to get reliable results or draw valuable conclusions. The setup is difficult and required significantly more time and patience than any other model in our review, and the customer support we experienced was inadequate for a product of this type. It took several back and forth emails between our tester and customer support to arrange an appointment time to sort out our issue. Once the time was set it took over an hour to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. The entire process took over 5 days from initial contact to resolution, something we feel very few parents will be comfortable with or want to wait on. Their customer service representative was very friendly and knowledgeable, and he did resolve our issue, but it felt like too little too late to be really useful for a product parents rely on so much. The lack of connectivity with the internet meant it couldn't reliably monitor baby when parents will need it the most, and given that there is at least 1 other Wi-Fi model in this review that didn't share these hiccups, we simply can't recommend this product.
In our research and testing of all the monitors we noticed some suspicious, or at the very least noteworthy, happenings with customer reviews shown on Amazon for Wifi Baby 3.0. While it appears to have a high overall rating of 4+ stars with 127 reviews, if you look closely at the reviews things start to look a little fishy.
For the 4 or 5 stars reviews, a total of 88 reviews, only 27 of these were made by verified purchasers of the monitor (meaning Amazon knows for sure that these people bought this product). This seems a little strange and is not the normal ratio of verified to not verified purchasers who write reviews on the site in general. Also, if you look at the profiles of the people who are not verified purchasers, their review of Wifi Baby is their only review. Yes that could happen, you buy something at a store and you love it so much you come home and quickly log on to Amazon to tell the world how awesome it is and you have never done this before and you never do it again. This probably does happen every now and then. However, we doubt this happens as often as it did for this product. This makes us wonder if the reviews are "padded". We can't prove this, we aren't saying they are, we are just saying it seems fishy. On the other hand, for all reviews of 1-2 stars, 32 in total, 21 were made by verified purchasers; a ratio that is far more common on the Amazon site.
The other interesting thing we noticed from the reviews that raved about the product, is that most of them LOVED the customer service and enjoyed their "hours" of phone time troubleshooting the product. While it is nice to know others experienced friendly and helpful customer service, in our opinion it is a shame that the product requires hours of customer support in order to set up and operate, and we personally don't think new parents have the time or energy to spend answering emails or on the phone trying to get a product to work. According to their customer support specialist that helped us, only 1% of users can successfully set up the product without help, even if this number is significantly off, there are probably still too many parents requiring support than there should be.
This video includes footage of a Wifi Baby camera placed next to a crib railing with its cord directly within reach of baby. To avoid injury or death, you should never place any cord within reach of baby.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team