Currently I have a two year old daughter and a 10 week old son, as I was approaching my son's guess date I looked to add to the Summer Infant Night/Day Video Monitor that we had used for two years with my daughter. We had purchased it specifically because we knew that we'd be able to add a second baby camera, but shockingly within the space of 3 short years (as I had received the Sumer Infant monitor as a baby shower gift) they had stopped making the particular model that I had. As I researched the reviews on the newer Summer Infant model from other parents it became apparent that Summer Infant had let their quality slip so I started investigating other camera brands.
Recommend this product?
I had wanted a camera that would monitor both kids rooms at the same time, as in picture within a picture and audio detection, but no monitor that I found yet had this technology.
It wasn't until I saw the absolute rave reviews regarding the Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor that I decided that this was the camera to go with.
Some of the "features" other parents mentioned that appealed to me...
-You can indeed monitor two kids at once using this particular baby monitor by adding a camera.
-You can speak to your child through the camera to soothe them.
-The camera has settings to play various lullabies to soothe wee babe.
-Both Nighttime and Daytime visibility of kiddos, nighttime offers infrared and daytime is in color and this is auto detected by the camera.
The price tag at $299 for the Motorola that came with two cameras from Babies R Us seemed a bit steep, but thanks to coupons which I had to "time" correctly and baby shower gift cards I think I wound up spending only $150 out of pocket.
It took my husband about 3 hours to take down the old Summer Infant monitor and put up the new Motorola monitors. There was no direction referencing, but since my husband knows his electronics I wouldn't have expected there to be. On the up side there was no swearing so I figure the installation went relatively easily given his electronic know how.
Once the monitors were up it was time to "play" with our new purchase. Just looking at the handheld portion there was no way neither me or my husband would have figured out all of the options without having referenced the instructions and since we both work in the technical field what I can tell you is that it just wasn't intuitive. However, after a brief skimming of the instructions (who has time to actually read with a two year old running about?) we were both ready to go.
I loved that I could "scan" both kids rooms with a particular setting. This actively switches the audio and video from camera 1 to camera 2 every 12 seconds. (While I'm still waiting for the baby monitor that can do this simultaneously without having to buy two separate monitors, this was a pretty cool feature.)
I also loved the fact that I could "pan" around the room so after my son was born and we switched her to her big girl bed I could speak to her through the camera (which after having a c-section it was awesome not to have to trudge up the stairs to tell her she could get up from her nap) and then follow her progress out of her room to ensure she wasn't up to any mischief.
The downside to being able to speak through the camera, since that's not what her previous camera was capable of and my two year old already has a very active imagination and is quite communicative for a two year old she told me that it scared her. I had my husband speak to me through the camera to see what the fuss was about, the voice is a bit distorted though I could still tell it was my husband and when the parent pans the camera there is a slight robotic noise so I can see how this might upset a child with delicate sensibilities. I don't use this particular feature with her any longer and have spent weeks reassuring her that the camera is friendly and helps mommy and daddy. She's starting to come around. I think had we had a camera where I was able to speak to her before I don't think she would have blinked twice, but bear this in mind should you be looking to use this for a slightly older sibling with delicate sensibilities.
As for my son, being 10 weeks old he doesn't much mind the camera regardless of what is happening. We've attempted to use the lullaby setting on him twice, since he's happiest in someone's arms that particular method of soothing didn't quite work for us.
Outside of that I have a 3,500 square foot house (excluding the basement) with a ton of wireless technological gadgetry and have found no spot in the house where there is interference or where I am out of range. My husband does venture in to the basement on occassion and has not found interference or trouble with the video camera there either. I have yet to wander outside with it say to get the mail so I don't know what it's actual range limits are.
The picture quality is good, there's a zoom feature so if I'm having trouble with a particular detail I can zoom in to see it better.
The features I use most often are the scanning between the cameras in each child's room as well as the panning option and the volume control on the parental handheld. My husband turns it up nearly to full volume, I turn it down to two notches. Course my husband is a heavy sleeper...I on the other hand am a light sleeper.
As I mentioned before my husband and I both work in the technical field, that being the case we both are intrigued by gadgetry. Best thing my husband said after we got the monitor, "Ya know, this particular monitor is kinda cool."
A few things we weren't so thrilled with, our Summer Infant parental handheld unit was a bit bulky which made it feel more durable (particularly when over tired mommies and daddies clumsiness increases and it gets dropped), but it had a way to hook it to your person while wandering the house. The Motorola has no such feature and by design is much slimmer, both my husband and I are afraid to drop it. When I say afraid to drop it, I mean it's been dropped twice, once down the basement stairs (which have carpet) and once off the windowsill ledge where my husband had it resting. We were both super paranoid that it would stop working after both of those tumbles, but so far so good.
The reason we are so paranoid is because the first Motorola that was shipped to us stopped working after a week. My husband had to take down the cameras and we had to ship it back to Babies R Us (as we couldn't find a local Babies R Us that had it in stock) to exchange it for a new one. Now whether we just got a defective one or all the jumbling during shipping damaged the insides I'll never know. While I was nervous about them having to ship the second one, we've been using the new Motorola for 5 months now without issue.
I would definitely recommend this particular product, though I would like to see some way to attach the parental handheld unit to the parent and for Motorola to offer some kind of protective casing for it (I have the same trouble dropping cell phones too particularly when attempting to juggle two kids.)