Oct 2015 | Helen
The arrival of your first precious little bundle of joy can only mean one thing…the terror of being in charge of an actual other human, followed shortly after by a very expensive trip to your local baby emporium to stock up on five types of baby thermometer, gates to stop them going upstairs….or falling downstairs, locks to keep them out of the medicine cupboard, or from falling head first in the toilet – the list is endless.
But the daddy of all baby gadgets? It’s the baby monitor.
If you want to find out a bit more about how smart baby monitors work and their top features read on, but right now we’ll cut to the chase on what monitor we think is the best on the market:
Why we chose the Withings Smart Baby Monitor:– Impressive range of functions
– High quality imagery, day and night
– Temperature and humidity monitors
– Allows streaming to up to 3 devices
– Sleek yet subtle design – will suit any nursery
– Glowing reviews from tech site after tech site
– Price at time of writing – £205 (via Amazon)
What were we looking for, and how did the Withing smart baby monitor tick our boxes?
We know how long it can take to research technology online, so at wifimypad we aim to do the legwork for you.
We check reviews across a multitude of other tech sites and customer review sites to see which baby monitors get the most thumbs up so we can tell you the good, the bad and the downright ugly about the technology you are searching for.
We are specifically looking at the criteria listed below to give you a great overview BEFORE you get your wallet out.
Functionality – what can it do? Does it cover the basics well and give you any notable extras?Withings Smart Baby Monitor is equipped with a wide-angle, high definition lens, offering you a great quality live image of your favourite little human, not only during the day but also at night, thanks to an intelligent LED IR night vision system, that will automatically activate when it gets dark. The device is controlled via a dedicated app that you can use to zoom in and out, and even to pan and tilt the monitor (in case your baby decided to leave the cot without letting you know).
There are also four sensors, detecting motions, noises, and, what is less common in baby monitors, temperature and humidity in the room. You can set smart alerts e.g. to get notifications after a certain time of consistent movement or when it gets too cold, or too dry. The best part is that you don’t have to get up and run to your baby’s room every time you hear an alarm go off. This gadget can project your voice through the speakers straight from the app. And if that’s not good enough (or a bit too creepy), you can play one of seven lullabies, or turn on a soothing light, either in one colour or as a rainbow animation, to put your baby back to sleep. Being able to view motion and noise patterns for the last 15 minutes is also a nice addition
Connectivity - is it compatible with Apple and Android? Does it use a wifi or Bluetooth connection? How reliable is the connection?To set the Withings Smart Baby Monitor up for the first time, you will need to connect your mobile device to the monitor via Bluetooth, which will share and save your home wifi network settings (stored on your phone/tablet). After that, the image can be streamed via app as long as the wifi connection remains stable. Some connectivity problems might occur (reported more often on Android than iOS) when your network security settings are especially strict. The streaming is not limited to just one device. Any family member with your Withings account details (up to 3 people at the same time) can connect to the monitor, so for example your mother-in-law no longer has to come over to see her grandchild—simply give her your username and password, sit back, and relax.
Usefulness of app(s) - how useful is the associated app and can you hook up to other Withings products?Withings offers both iOS and Android apps that you can quickly download onto pretty much all the devices you could possibly use to monitor your baby—smartphones, tablets, iPhones, iPads—you choose. There is also a desktop dashboard, so next time when you drop your phone and wait for your insurance company to send you a new one (and we all know it can take a while), you can temporarily switch to your computer.
The app itself is pretty simple and does all the things a worried parent would want it to do. The app can be used to zoom in and out on your little cherub, and even to pan and tilt the monitor (in case your baby is of the more adventurous type and navigates around the cot – or makes a bid for freedom all together!).
It gives you and your family secure access to the monitor (or multiple monitors!) but does not connect to any Withings products other than Smart Baby Monitor, which may be useful for members of the Withings product fan club.
Does it look good? – with baby monitors, good looks certainly aren't the most important thing, but as it is on display in your nursery, you'll still want it to look nice.Withings Smart Baby Monitor is a sleek design but subtle enough to work in any nursery style. In fact, it looks a lot like many Apple products—a white, flip-open case, round edges, and a symmetrical positioning of the lens and speakers. It is also quite small, so it will not attract everyone’s attention and steal the spotlight off your beautiful little munchkin.. If you like fresh and modern looks, then Smart Baby Monitor is all about that.
Value for money – it's not cheap, so does this monitor still manage to give you value for money?At the time of writing the article, the price of a new Withings Baby Smart Camera was £205.99, which seems a bit steep. Although, you need to bear in mind that this isn’t simply a nice gadget that you can brag about in front of your friends. You are paying for peace of mind. It may also help to ease the pain that this monitor offers a whole lot of extra, and extremely useful, functions that other monitors do not usually have. Add to that: great accessibility, ease of use and setting up (less than 60 seconds!), and the price is likely to feel less painful.
At the end of the day, many of us are willing to splash the cash on two things in our lives, family and security, and this device ticks both boxes.
The home foot spa test – a.k.a. is this a genuinely useful smart product, we’ll give the heave-ho to products that you are likely to only use once before relegating them to the local charity shop collection box.So, is the Withings Smart Baby Monitor the right one for you? That depends on what you want (and need). If you are looking for a simple device to take on holiday once a year but you don’t plan to use at home, then no, there are far cheaper and better options for you.
But if you are looking for an all-singing, all-dancing monitor to use at home, and to allow you to check up on your baby even when you are elsewhere (ideally leaving someone responsible in charge!), then Withings Smart Baby Monitor is probably your best option. Critics and users alike give this monitor serious plaudits across the board.
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Intro to the Withings Smart Baby Monitor
Philips Avent Digital Baby Monitor
Which other smart baby monitors did we check out?
We liked the BT Digital Monitor, it has a reasonable number of useful functionalities such as a projected light show or an ability to connect an iPod / MP3 with your baby’s favourite songs, and it come with a much cheaper price tag. However, it is in a different league to the Withings monitor as it doesn’t come with a camera function so you can’t check in on your baby visually.
One of the more pricey monitors, but functional, with digital video, sensitive movement (an under-mattress sensor pad) and noise detectors. It comes with good quality sensor pads, a large screen and offers great image and sound even up to 200m away. It gets good reviews however some customers have commented on the video quality and sound.
This monitor can run up to 6 hours without recharging, is wall mounted and has a range up to 150m. It is an attractive (and quite a cheap) alternative to the Withings. It does not offer as many useful functions however like temperature and humidity sensors, but is a good budget option for parents who want to keep it simple and do not need so many extra features.
Frequently asked questions:
What are smart baby monitors?
We are talking all-singing, all-dancing smart baby monitors that will allow you to listen to, and watch your baby in full high-res video – with night vision and zoom functions to boot – all connected by wifi and viewable from your smartphone or tablet from wherever you happen to be. They can even check for motion, temperature and humidity levels too.
You can talk to your baby on it, play lullabies or activate a night light, all from your phone.
And like the old-school models, they are also good for eavesdropping on unsuspecting visitors and scaring your other half with the spooky voice in the room joke – yeah, we’ve all done it.
Can I see my baby via my smart phone with all video smart baby monitors?
No. Most of the smart baby monitors that video your baby have a parent unit (display) that is connected to the monitor and is the only device that can be used to receive images. Smart phone remote control is to video baby monitors what chocolate is to a croissant—something that turns an already great concept into a perfect and enjoyable combination.
What are the main features to look out for when buying smart baby monitors?
- Movement and noise sensors
- Automated night vision
- Remote control app
- Adjustable camera position
- Zoom in / out
- Pacifiers (such as lullabies, soothing light)
- Multiple account access
- Voice projection system