Childcare is a full time and stressing job. When you become a parent, you’re constantly worrying for the safety of your children, from the day they are born and well…pretty much until you die. But that stress is at its peak when your child is a baby, because it is their most vulnerable age.
A baby monitor is like having your personal, around the clock nanny, only cheaper. While the first baby monitors were basically radio systems that monitored the sounds made by babies, nowadays, baby monitors are smart, complex gadgets that come with high resolution cameras, night vision, WiFi connection, smartphone apps and more.
Types of baby monitors
There are 2 main types of baby monitors: audio monitors (also called baby sound monitors) and video monitors (also referred to as baby cams). The sound monitors can be analog or digital and they just monitor the sounds from your baby’s room.
The video monitors have both a microphone and a camera and transmit images and sound to a receiver. The receiver has a screen on which images are displayed, either in colors or just in black and white. More advanced baby monitors can stream the images via WiFi, so you can watch them directly from your smartphone or computer.
There is another less common type of baby monitor: the motion (or movement) monitor, which is usually used for babies with health problems. This monitor has a sensor that detects your baby’s movements. If the baby doesn’t move for a number of seconds, an alarm will be triggered.
Aspects to consider when choosing a baby monitor
The first thing you have to consider is your budget and based on that, you can narrow down your choices. You can find baby monitors that cost as low as $20 or as high as $500 or more.
Decide whether you want a simple audio monitor or a video one, although, with today’s technology, it’s a shame not to take advantage of WiFi, smartphone apps, high resolution and other useful features found in most video monitors.
Features are also important to look at when in the market for a baby monitor. Some of the most significant ones are night vision, DECT technology, rechargeable batteries, temperature sensor, video options such as pan, tilt, zoom, WiFi.
VTech VM343 – is it any good?
The VTech VM343 is not the most complex baby monitor out there, but it is reliable, easy to use and it won’t break the bank.
The VM343 is a high-resolution video monitor with a 4.3-inch color display. It has all the basic video options such as zoom, pan and tilt. It can pan up to 270 degrees and tilt 120 degrees up and down and has full motion (up to 25 frames per second).
The parent unit doesn’t have touchscreen, all the controls are buttons. There are 5 buttons on the right and 5 on the left, for menu access, volume, zoom, talk and more, screen brightness. There is a built-in microphone so that you can talk to your baby.
- Dimensions: 5.6 x 3.4 x 0.6 inches (the monitor unit)
- Weight: 7.2 ounces
- 25 fps
- Expandable up to 4 cameras
On Amazon, you can get the VM343 for approximately $180.
The VM343 has rechargeable batteries and a range of up to 1,000 feet (outside). In the power saving mode the parent unit lasts more than 9 hours and puts it into sleep mode. You can also plug the unit if you want.
You can also put the baby monitor in silent mode and use the 9-level sound indicator to visually monitor the noise levels coming from your baby’s room.
The VTech monitor also has a temperature sensor, so you can make sure your baby’s room is just comfy enough, not too cold and not too hot.
The VM343 has automatic infrared night vision. In terms of viewing modes, you can choose between single view and patrol mode, in case you use more than one camera (it is expandable up to 4). In the patrol mode you will also get a single view but every 7 seconds the image will change, showing a different camera.
The VM343 is a simple baby monitor, so don’t expect all the bell and whistles. You get a crisp image and a decent sound, vibrating sound alert, night vision, zoom/pan/tilt and 2-way communication, but that’s about it. The VTech doesn’t have fancy features such as lullabies, mobile apps, humidity sensors and so on. You’ll only get the basic.
PROS of the VTech VM343
- Easy to use
- Automatic infrared night vision
- Good video and audio quality
- Reasonably priced
- Rechargeable batteries that last up to 9 hours
- Temperature sensor
CONS of the VTech VM343
- It lacks more complex features such as smartphone control via app, lullabies, humidity sensor, recording feature and others
- The buttons on the parent unit are not back-lit, making it a bit hard to navigate during night
- No touchscreen