The Baby Monitor


This is the most extravagant baby accessory I think we’ve purchased, at least in terms of its cost relative to other options.  It is entirely possible that you can get a perfectly fine baby monitor for less than a third of the $199 that this one costs.   But having owned about 30 bargain-priced cordless phones in my lifetime in attempts at one clear conversation on them, I simply did not want to go through the hassle of dealing with several bad options on this item before finding one that always works.   I also figure that finding out that your kid was screaming for 30 minutes as you were unwittingly “out of range” sounds particularly worse than the garbling of whatever phone conversation you could have been having in 1991.

So this, my friends, is the Rolls Royce of baby monitors, the Philips LCD DECT Digital Baby Monitor.

Now,  I don’t ever make the assumption that more expensive is better.  But either does one particularly well known magazine that reports things to consumers.  In this case, it gave the top performance rating to this device by a longshot.  And although it admittedly costs three times as much as the next best-rated competitor, the performance gap between this and the second place monitor was equally big.

And I love having the best when it comes to things with buttons and LCD displays.  And we saved some cash off the fancy strollers with our very smart choice on that.

So I trusted my sources and went with the best, and so far I’m glad I have.

The number one concern I had was interference.   We’ve got so many wireless signals and networks flying around our house at this point it’s entirely possible that a bad baby monitor could seize control and program our refrigerator to tip over and crush us.

Just what do you think youre doing, Dad?

Interference can be deadly.

But this one has DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications).  DECT is condescendingly ridiculous geek-speak for “This Time We Actually Made It Work,” but TTWEAMIW apparently isn’t considered as nimble a marketing phrase.  For the record, to me, DECT actually resembles the sound the cat makes when she coughs up a hair-covered rubber band strand.

Anyway, this thing has 60 channels in order to accomplish the DECT.   Don’t worry, none of them are Lifetime or Bravo.  They’re channels like on cordless phones, and it chooses the clearest for you automatically.   Lesser models have 12.  Ha, 12.  12 is for existentialists or something.  60 is for MEN!

The other advantage is range – this one is guaranteed to work for 900 feet.  That’s nearly two blocks.  Which gets us all the way to the park in back of our house.  No, my wife and I aren’t leaving our baby in the nursery while we play on the monkey bars, but the range will come in handy later on down the line due to the other great feature – the two-way intercom on the parent unit.   In the meantime, I’m using that function to play the voice of God for Buster, as well as to sing ridiculous songs from downstairs while Mom is in the nursery with him changing his diaper.

It also has this self-regulating feature where it kind of scans for ambient sound and sets a threshold level for itself and doesn’t broadcast white noise or quiet music.  This way, you don’t necessarily have to listen to the mobile clink away or even low-level grunts.  Once Buster raises his voice at all, it’s loud enough to hear, and there’s even a visual sound meter to help you decide whether the last yelp was loud enough to warrant a visit.    Two to three bars is a “probably.”  Four bars is a “yes.”  Five bars is “you stupid, lazy parent, you have five seconds to get up here and comfort me or I will destroy you.”

There are some other cool features too, like the temperature gauge that displays on the parent unit, the “starry” nightlight feature and the built-in lullabyes.  Though my singing still is better.

And also you have to wear this sweater.

And also you have to wear this sweater.

The only annoying part is the complicated instructions for the first few uses, in terms of charging the battery.  It is like being sent back to 1991, with the instructions telling you to use the battery until it’s totally drained and then to charge it completely for 13 hours, and then to repeat that three times, and then to watch the Cosby Show or Family Ties the entire time that’s happening.

In all, though, I’m happy with its performance and actually am glad we forked over the bucks on this item.  Again, you may do just fine with a $60 model, but you definitely won’t have problems with this one.  And maybe you can find it on Craigslist, because it’s been around since 2006.

Anyway the round-up, as is customary on these reviews.  I chose and like this product because:

  • It is guaranteed to be interference-free and has proven out
  • It has great range and a two-way talk function
  • It does a good job letting through only sounds that matter
  • It is has the most advanced features of any baby monitor I considered
dadorbust no-brainer product pick guidelines: I don’t do competitive reviews or discuss the merits of several models when I offer my purchase decisions. I use widely trusted sources, personal recommendations, and a fully functioning forebrain.  I try not to yammer on with feature comparisons- I just tell you what I picked, the top few reasons why, and maybe I throw a few tips in.  And I follow-up with an update or separate post if something goes wrong with the product.

11 Responses to “The Baby Monitor”

  1. “No, my wife and I aren’t leaving our baby in the nursery while we play on the monkey bars…” Oh. Mah. Gah. HEEHEE!

    I’m in my 30’s and I think I’d like the “starry nightlight feature” and the “built-in lullabyes” for myself, thankyouverymuch. (Currently sleeping for crap.)

    And I love Family Ties so I’ll be changing the battery just about every day.

  2. I am soooo not your target audience. Which makes me feel the need to constantly apologize for my every comment I leave as I know each one makes you think, “GOOD GRIEF THAT WAS NOT AT ALL MY POINT.”

    So I’m sorry.

  3. Your are the king of the Baby Monitors. I have not even taken mine out of the package yet. I think that will be the chore for tonight. Get it out and play with it. Im sure its not BabyMonitor3000 Super Blaster like yours but hopefully its fun.

  4. We went with the Sony Style 900 MHz monitor after a failed attempt at the Summers video monitor. That one last five feet and then went to static. Luckily we got that for a Christmas gift and did not throw down the 150 plus bucks and our first born.

    The Sony one has been great so far. We live in a row house and have no problems between the top floor and basement. It is not fancy, but it gets the job done.

  5. 5 Katherine

    haha. my favorite was the bit about the cosby show and wearing the sweater.

  6. So, we just moved, and in our previous place we were using the basic 2 channel (A-B) Fisher Price monitor. Worked fine at our old place…
    We settle in for the first night in our new place, baby has her own room now, so we setup the monitor, a quick test, all is well.
    Next day, the other tenant (2 family house – they have 3 kids), asks if we have a baby monitor (I could see where this is going). Turns out, around 4am, our little one decided she was hungry, started screaming, which also caused the mother of the other tenant to go running for their youngest, causing her to fall down the stairs. (She was fine) To exacerbate the problem, their middle child fell out of bed at 5am, but she had already switched to channel “A”. Good thing we are on excellent terms with them and had a good laugh at all of it. So your fancy schmancy baby monitor would have saved me there. My cordless phones are DECT and work splendidly – but I don’t think we need to upgrade our monitor – yet.

    Oh, and if you could work in A-Team and Riptide into a post, that would be great too. Family ties and Cosby…eh…I’m not charging any batteries for them!

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  8. Great post. I especially found it useful where you stated why a parent should buy this Philips LCD DECT Digital Baby Monitor, it has a nice features too. thanks, Janelle.

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