By Eleanor Ayres
Before having my baby, buying a baby monitor was not my top priority. I knew the new arrival would be in our bedroom at first, and therefore we wouldn’t use a monitor straightaway. I wasn’t too bothered about having a video monitor, but didn’t really know where to start. In the end, I left it to my husband to decide – he is definitely happier choosing gadgets rather than baby clothes.
We ended up getting the Samsung SEW-3041W video monitor. I am completely converted to a video monitor as it makes so much difference being able to see your baby and decide whether they need you to go to them or not. Our main priority was an excellent quality screen, but we also felt that we did not want an internet-connected monitor, due to recent hacking scares.
The Samsung SEW-3041W more than delivers on these criteria. The monitor has a 4.3 inch screen, which, although not HD, is one of the bigger and better screens on the market. It provides excellent quality video, even in full darkness – in colour when there is enough light, and black and white in darkness. The camera (which can be wall-mounted or placed on a surface) can be zoomed, tilted and panned from the monitor unit, giving you a view of almost the whole room and it has an integral nightlight which can be switched on and off remotely.
The sound quality is very clear, and the microphone feature allows you to reassure your child without going into the room. An LED display gives a visual indication of the volume of noise, even if you can’t hear clearly (perhaps in a noisy room). The VOX (quiet mode/battery saver mode) setting allows you to have a (hopefully) good night’s sleep without background noise or light from the monitor, safe in the knowledge that the monitor will light up and alert you if your baby cries – and snoring doesn’t wake up the monitor!
The monitor is advertised as having good connectivity for up to 300m/900 feet away from the camera, although this depends on what is in the way. We have never had a problem with distance affecting the connection, but, as the monitor uses the same radio frequency as 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, heavy Wi-Fi use can affect the connection. This can be a little irritating at times, as the monitor beeps when it loses the connection then lights up, but it does take a lot to interrupt it – e.g. downloading large files and using several devices at once – general internet use, even on a few devices, doesn’t affect use. This problem wouldn’t occur if you have 5GHz Wi-Fi. As this system doesn’t use the internet to connect the camera and monitor, you cannot view the picture on other devices, but it also makes it very portable – we have used it at grandparents’ houses and on holiday.
The other useful feature of this monitor is that it can take up to four cameras at once, and will rotate the view between the rooms. So if you want a monitor that will work for several children at once, this is a great option.
Overall, this is a great monitor, perfect for everyday use. It is perhaps pricier than some video monitors, but not outrageously so. Hopefully we will continue to use it for a long time to come.
Taken from the May issue of Geek Parenting, out now!