Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Summer Infant BestView Handheld Color Video Monitor

In the final days (or at least what I hope to be the final days) of this pregnancy, I’ve been feverishly working on preparing for Sophie’s arrival and thus slacking on work and the blog.  Well…it’s 4am, the house is quiet, and I’m wide awake.  What better time to review our new video monitor? 

We went with the upgraded version of the same model we previously had.  I say previously, because 3 days before the second monitor arrived, I dropped and broke the handset on the old monitor.  It had been dropped (and thrown by Hayden) time after time over the last year and a half.  This last drop was just one too many.  Bummer.

Anyway, right out of the box, the upgraded version was a hit.  It’s thinner, sleeker design is easier to carry around, and the adjustable stand on the back makes it easier to set up at your desired angle than the old version because it doesn’t have pre-set stops.  You can adjust it at any angle you want up to 90°.

The controls are easy to use and intuitive with the volume control located on the side of the handset instead of having to go through the menu to adjust the level—a common complaint of the old version.  It took me about an hour to figure out how to adjust the brightness, not because it was hard to do, but because the instructions were a little misleading.  For those of you out there who may be having the same problem as me…to access the menu, push the power button once.  Simple enough huh?  I blame my confusion on this pregnancy.  Sorry Sophie, you’re an easy scapegoat for mommy!

As with the old version, the upgraded version allows you to pan around the room and zoom in close on your little one.  The camera automatically switches to night vision when not enough light is present in the room.  The daytime image is in color.  When not on the charger, there is a power save feature that turns off the video feed.  With one touch, you can turn the video back on.  If you so desire, you can also turn the sound off because there is a lighted sound meter that goes from green (no noise) to orange (moderate noise) to red (loud noise) to alert you that your child is awake and/or crying.

The sound quality on the upgraded version is terrific.  With the older model, the volume had to be turned way up to hear small noises like breathing, sighs or quiet whimpers, and at a high volume setting there was always a certain amount of static.  Not so with the upgraded model.  Even with white noise in the background, I can hear little to no static and can hear everything like I’m standing right beside the crib.  As with the older model, there is audio feedback if the handset and camera are positioned too close together.  You can avoid the feedback though by turning off the sound on the handset when they’re that close together.

In my opinion, the video quality is great and certainly sufficient for my needs.  Other reviews have complained that the night vision quality is too grainy.  It’s at least as good as the old model.  If you’re expecting the video to be HD quality, then you’re out of luck.  If, however, you want to be able to see whether or not your child is sleeping, getting into trouble, or simply to know that his/her chest is still rising and falling, you are good to go. 

The new model also comes with a cable that you can plug into the handset and your TV.  This turns your TV into the handset if you so desire to see your child on a larger screen.  Also, if you still have a working VCR, you could use this feature to record those precious moments when your child first wakes up cooing and babbling.  Wish we still had a VCR that worked!

For those of you worried about security, the handset has to be paired with the monitor in order to work, so you don’t have to worry about anyone outside of your home being able to pick up the signal with another handset or different monitor.

All of this is great, but the thing I like best of all about the new version is that it doesn’t interfere with my wireless router.  When we initially read reviews on the old version, they all said that being digital rather than analog, it wasn’t supposed to cause any interference with wireless signals.  Well, those reviews were wrong.  Any time the monitor was in use, I wasn’t able to connect wirelessly to the internet.  Very frustrating! 

With the new version, I haven’t had any problems connecting and maintaining a connection wirelessly to the internet.  Love it, love it, love it is all I have to say.  Thanks Summer Infant!

Did you find this review helpful?  Leave me a comment to let me know.