Speaking of bells and whistles, many of the baby monitors on the market today have an astounding number of additional features. And, based on our testing, there’s a fairly even split between features that serve a real need and features that just aren’t particularly useful.
As we’ve said before about other baby-related products – if you use it in the middle of the night, it damn well better be easy to use. As monitors add more bells and whistles, it becomes harder to have a logical, intuitive user experience.
Most monitors with a dedicated parent unit constantly have an open audio channel – meaning as soon as your child makes a sound, you’ll hear it in real time. However, with wifi baby monitors we reviewed, a constant audio feed isn’t a given as the monitor app often gets relegated to the background when you do other things on your phone or tablet. So, having a rock-solid alert system or process for creating a constant audio feed is an important issue any wifi monitor needs to solve.
We’d argue that sound quality and sensitivity are more important than picture quality. After all, you aren’t going to be constantly staring at your child through the monitor (hopefully sometimes you’ll be sleeping, too) so being able to hear your child clearly is hugely important.
Seeing your child is a critical part of the function of a baby monitor, and picture quality in monitors can vary widely. We include night vision as part of the picture quality discussion since your baby will (and should) sleep in a dark room, at least a large portion of the time.
If you don’t have a strong enough signal that you can clearly and consistently connect to the child unit located where your child is sleeping, your monitor is useless. We’ve used a number of monitors with our own kids where the range of the monitor was a major issue, even in smaller houses.