I posted this in our baby blog, but since it is kinda geeky-related, I figured I would cross post it to my blog as well.
I wrote a post a while back about the beginnings of my research for baby monitors so I figured I would follow up with my decision and a review of how it is working so far. I only posted about a couple options initially, but I continued to do my research and was constantly amazed by how expensive some of these monitors can be! Especially those that had any kind of internet connectivity, which is something I wanted since both grandmas are far away.
As you can guess from the title, I eventually settled on the Dropcam HD. For only $150, it had all the features I figured we would want including night vision, audio, and internet accessibility. It was pretty simple to set up as all I had to do was create an account with Dropcam and tell the camera which wireless network to use. After that, I could log in via computer, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, etc. and view our camera! Right now we only use it to monitor her while she naps, so we haven’t done the full setup with the Grandmas yet, but we will probably do that once she is sleeping in a more consistent place, like her crib. Here’s my basic breakdown review.
- Good quality video and audio feed
- Ability to digital zoom on one of 5 sections so camera placement is pretty lenient
- Cost – I saw pretty simplistic monitors without many features that were as or more expensive
- Dropcam offers a DVR service where you can record and also get notifications of events like movement. Not really necessary for the baby monitor, but means it could easily double as a pretty good security camera
- Ability to talk back – From an app or the website, I can talk and it will play from the cameras speaker. I don’t think it is enough to help settle a waking infant, but it could definitely be a handy feature depending on your usage
- Internet connectivity means access from just about anywhere
- The last pro is also a bit of a con. It is SOLELY internet connected, which has caused some issues with us. If the internet gets spotty, the feed can easily cut out a good amount which can be extremely frustrating, especially since it always seems to happen at the exact moment she starts seeming restless
- Night vision – It is great if you can place the camera near the baby, but since it relies on the built-in infrared light, subjects that are not right in front of the camera still remain pretty dark. On the auto setting, it also switches to night vision a little early so there have been times where we could actually see better without it. Luckily, you can manage whether it is on or off from anywhere you are viewing the camera
- Zoom changes are enacted for all viewers. If I am viewing the cam on my computer and MC is watching on an iPad, my view changes if she decides to zoom in on a section. Since it is just a digital zoom, I don’t see why each viewer couldn’t manage it individually
- The mount is a little finicky. The round cam fits snuggly in the hole of the metal mount, but there are no clips, snaps, etc. to really hold it in place so you tend to have to do some cable placement finagling to get the cam to stay exactly where you would like it
- The only way to turn the camera off it to unplug it. It fits fairly snugly, so this can be a bit annoying. I ended up taking the wireless remote AC cord that we had been using for the Christmas tree lights and plugged the camera into that so we can easily turn it on and off with a little remote.
So far it has still been a really good monitor, and we have enjoyed having it. It would be really nice if we could connect to the camera directly. Our internet is usually pretty good, but I am not the hugest fan of the idea that our baby monitor would become useless if our internet were to go out.
The other minor thing I would like to see is a “guest access” feature. You can allow other users to access your camera, but from what I have read they then have as much control as you do. They could change any settings and do things like talk back through the cam just like we can. It would be nice to give a limited access so someone could view without having full control.
Overall, I am definitely happy with it, and we get a lot for the money. The minor gripes I do have could possibly be remedied with software updates (or possibly hacking in the case of intercepting and decrypting the stream) so there is at least hope that they can be fixed in the future.