I’m something of a techie, and I love my gadgets. I have multiple smart devices, at least one of which is with me at all times. Given that, I guess it’s only natural that I’d be interested in finding out which baby monitors worked the best with a smart phone or tablet. And while we haven’t as of yet done a complete review on either of these two monitors that I’m going to speak about now, I have done some research and thought I would share.
There are several video baby monitors that I researched at a cursory level — that are compatible with a smart phone — and two that I looked at a little more in depth. They are the BabyPing monitor and the Withings Smart Baby Monitor. Both of these monitors are more than just video monitors in that they also have the capability for audio monitoring, motion sensing, and night vision or infrared technology as well. Naturally, both have their pros and cons and to some extent I wish I could take the two of them and meld them together, but I’ll share with you my findings.
BabyPing Baby Monitor
Not only will the BabyPing connect with your smart phone, it has a lot of slick features. First, we’ve talked extensively about a feature that I feel is important, which is sound activation or audio filtering. The BabyPing features that along with the obvious Wi-Fi connectivity, night vision, both audio and vibration alerts, audio streams, a password lock, and direct set up from an iOS device. Unfortunately for my two Android devices, according to the BabyPing website, their Android app isn’t ready yet, because of issues around getting reliable background audio and alerts working across the multitude of different Android operating systems. Blah blah blah. I guess it’s a good thing I have an iPad as well.
The unit itself is well designed and has a multi-angle, ball and socket bracket and secure brace. You have the ability to either mounted it on a shelf or to a wall, and the package also includes cable clips that will allow you to run your cabling along the baseboard or up the wall. And so your iDevice doesn’t run out of battery life while monitoring your baby, but they’ve also included a USB extension for you to keep your device plugged in.
This baby monitor is exclusive to your own home network, so you’re not able to use it while you’re away from home and/or your baby. It has to be wired into your router for its initial set up, but once that is complete, it’s portable as far as your Wi-Fi network will reach.
The iPhone app for BabyPing is clean and simple to use, allowing you to switch between audio and video monitoring easily.
So there are lots of good things to say about the BabyPing, but it does have a rather big drawback as well. I thought this might be limited to me, but with some research I see that others have experienced the same thing, and that’s a pretty significant lag. Even with a strong Wi-Fi connection, there is a lag of about five seconds in the video transmission. The whole point of a baby monitor is being able to react quickly when your baby is in distress, but this monitor cuts five seconds out of your response time.
Withings Smart Baby Monitor
Of the two smart baby monitors, the Withings monitor is marginally more expensive than the BabyPing. But it also has some unique features, so the difference in cost is acceptable. It has all different kinds of sensors, it’s not limited to your local network like the BabyPing, it has Bluetooth capability, and is battery powered.
Due to its design, you can either sit this baby monitor on a table or shelf or use the included clamp and mount it somewhere in the nursery. As discussed in our baby monitor safety tips article, do not attach it to the baby’s crib.
With regards to some of the above mentioned sensors, they include both humidity and temperature measurements. It also has two way communication with both a microphone and speaker, allowing you to speak to your baby from another room. It also has a variety of preset lullabies, or the ability to add customized lullabies. It has nightlight with the ability to change the color as well. It also has all the regular features you’d expect to find on a baby monitor, including alerts and notifications based on either sound or movement of the baby. It also has customizable settings for temperature and humidity. One cool thing is that it keeps a log of motion and audio levels for you. Add to that the infrared night vision lamp, and you have yourself a feature rich smart baby monitor.
Due to a few features, it’s very easy to use this baby monitor remotely. One is its rechargeable battery, and the other is its Bluetooth connectivity. With regards to the battery, it does have a fairly short life, with only about an hour for video and two hours for audio. With the Bluetooth you don’t have to worry about connecting to somebody else’s Wi-Fi network, all you need to do is connect directly through your iPhone or iPad. If you do take it to someone else’s home regularly, you do have the option of storing up to three different Wi-Fi networks at once, and being able to transfer between them at any time.
Both the BabyPing and no Withings baby monitor have some great features, and are worth looking into if you want a smart phone compatible baby monitor. Of course, if you have an Android device, you are limited to the Withings monitor.
When I initially researched these two monitors the Withings was more expensive than the BabyPing. I just looked at the pricing now and the BabyPing monitor has a suggested retail price of $299 and the Withings monitor has a suggested price of $249. I’m not sure when they dropped their price.