Six weeks old, thats when Mason went into his own room to sleep. When he no longer was by my side in that precious little moses basket and all of a sudden in a big room, let alone a big cot all by himself. I can tell you now it wasn’t easy to have him so far away. Back in the day it was common to put your babies down to bed and just go and check on them as often as you felt you needed. Monitors gradually became a thing but even then they were audio based.
There was no way Nath and I wanted to spend loads of money on this kind of product. It’s something that could easily be done, there are many of these products out there – some stretching up to $400 but that was no way in our budget. We wanted to find something that would do what we needed it to but for a reasonable price. We did a bit of research and found the Vtech brand. They do an audio only monitor but also an audio/video kind too.
Unfortunately no one had recommended it to us so we just did the research we felt we needed and went ahead with the purchase. This is how we have found it…
For a small little screen the camera and video quality is actually really good. At the beginning we were confused to why the picture was coming through quite blurry and unfocussed. We soon realised that the camera was best positioned further away where we had it rather close to Mason whilst he was sleeping. As soon as we positioned the camera at a decent distance the video quality became clearer and we could see a lot more of Mason through the screen.
The box highlights that it transmits 25 frames per second.
What we have loved about this camera is that it is colour during the day and once it becomes dark enough in the room it flicks onto night mode naturally. This means the picture comes through black and white.
Another video feature includes being able to zoom in and out by using the parent unit (the one with the video picture display), personally we have never needed to do this but depending on where you position your monitor you may want to.
The screen itself isn’t that big in size but I find it good overall as it shows me the perfect amount needed to keep an eye on Mason and with a smaller screen the battery doesn’t die as fast. You also have the choice of turning the screen off without turning the whole monitor off itself if you just wanted audio on alone.
When we first started using the monitor the sound was the thing that confused me most. I noticed that Mason would begin to cry and I couldn’t hear it coming through for a wee bit. When he sleeps in the day I play music to him also and after a while the monitor would go silent and I couldn’t hear even the music through it. If I pushed the talk button it would instantly come through again though.
Eventually we worked out that this was a feature on the monitor. The box highlights – digital transmission providing superior security and sound quality, no annoying white noise. So what it does is picks up that no crying is happening within the room so it goes silent so you aren’t left with an annoying ‘running’ or white noise sound coming through whilst your baby sleeps. Or in our instance we don’t have to listen to his music or shusher whilst we are in another room! Even though this is the case it’s been perfectly fine to live with as once Mason is crying properly it instantly comes through within 30 secs roughly and if I do want to check on the sound I just hit the talk button if need be.
Theres 5 levels of volume included as well and I usually have it sitting on about 4. If you minimise the sound as far as it will go it will then also mute it.
As I think I mentioned above the unit itself is a nice size, not to big and bulky and doesn’t take up much space. The parent unit can easily fit into your pocket and also has a panel to have it hanging if need be. There are three different kinds of lights on this part of the unit these being a battery light if the monitor is plugged in, power light and 5 little lights that flash if sound is being picked up in the room. It also has an on button, two volume buttons, menu button, talk button and zoom buttons.
The unit that includes the camera that stays within the room with the baby the whole time also has an on button and talk button. The camera is in the centre but has 4 different circles surrounding it. There is another yellow light that comes on when you turn the monitor on. This stays on the entire time. This unit doesn’t work unless it’s plugged in so this will also determine where you position it within the room. You can angle the camera up and down easily and if mounting it to the wall is your preference it seems simple enough by literally hooking it onto the bottom of the camera stand. We have always had ours balancing on a book on the edge of Masons cot as we can’t put to many holes in our walls plus the base is quite square so it needs a good place to balance.
The screen on the parent unit also displays the service, battery level and temperature in the room the baby is in.
I know many monitors can be iffy with the battery. Anything with a video or big screen seems to consume so much battery, fast. I actually find this monitor pretty good. I find the parent unit will last a good couple hours without needing to be plugged in. Maybe around 3-4 hours in fact (not that I count though). This part of the monitor has a battery included so it just needs to be charged and then can easily be unplugged and taken around with you. When the battery gets low it will beep at you on and off for a while and a symbol will come across the screen. It doesn’t immediately turn off either. It gives you warning which I find great as it gives you plenty of time to plug it in again without having to rush.
I’m unsure how long it takes to charge really but I tend to just leave it plugged in for ages once I know it has been low. During the night it stays plugged in all night and I also leave the screen on and cover it with a tissue (cause I’m that crazy mother who doesn’t feel comfortable turning the screen off).
Just a reminder that the unit in the room with the baby does need to be plugged in all the time though but I just switch it on and off before and after each of his sleeps.
– The monitor comes with in-built lullabies that you can apparently turn on and play within the room for the baby.
– There is a thermometer on the monitor that detects the temperature of the room the baby is sleeping in. It seems to be overall pretty accurate from what I can tell when comparing it with our thermometer for our body/room etc
– It has a two way communication function. You can hold down the talk button and talk and the other monitor will pick the sound up. This can be done both ways. We have never had to do this though but I have heard of some people doing it to shush at their baby so they don’t have to go in – ha!
Pros and Cons
I thought I would highlight the things I love about the monitor and why I would recommend it:
– Its a good size
– The screen doesn’t use up all the battery quickly
– I actually like how it goes quiet so you can’t hear it running all the time or the music/white noise.
– The picture is clear and good quality!
– Good quality for the price we paid
– No faults with it at all
– Clear sound and nice simple style.
Downsides to the monitor:
– You can dim the screen but not enough where it makes a difference. This resulting in you either having to have the bright screen on all night or the screen off completely
– I wish there was an easier way for us to have it positioned rather then on a book but overall this isn’t a big deal especially if we owned our own home and could easily put stuff on the walls.
– The power light stays on all the time and on the unit in the babies room the four lights around the camera are actually red and you can see them when you look at the unit. I have noticed sometimes this results in Mason looking at the camera when hes in his bed especially at night as its brighter then. In saying this its not drastically noticeable unless your child can really see the camera. We placed a plaster over the power light!
Price/Where to buy
We got ours from The Warehouse. At the time I think it was selling for $120 which we thought was reasonable for the fact it included both audio and video in one.
Currently at The Warehouse it is selling for $130 – https://www.thewarehouse.co.nz/p/vtech-safe-n-sound-video-baby-monitor-bm2500/R2113004.html#q=vtech+monitor&start=1
Farmers also sell a range of the Vtech brand and currently have a buy 2 get 30% deal going. They don’t seem to stock our exact monitor but instead the next model up from ours the BM2600 for $200 – https://www.farmers.co.nz/vtech-baby-monitor-bm2600-6167053
I do recommend waiting for sales if you can on things like this or shopping around different stores to compare prices. Overall I highly recommend this monitor, it’s been so great for us and something we use many times a day on a daily basis!
If you have any questions feel free to comment below, I’m happy to answer anything you wish to know.