Baby Monitor Review: Project Nursery

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We originally had the Motorola 36S Baby Monitor, which we loved, but the cables ended up breaking on us, and since we are expecting our second child in April 2017, we decided it was time for an upgrade to a baby monitor that would support split screen capabilities.  For anyone interested in a basic baby monitor, the Motorola 36S is a great monitor, and we highly recommend it.  You can read my review on it here.

My brother purchased the Project Nursery Baby Monitor for us for Christmas, and also got us the extra camera (which is sold separately).  You can purchase this direct from BuyBuy Baby (and walk out of the store with it), or you can order it online either from Amazon.com or direct from Project Nursery.

The camera has quite the price tag on it, retailing at CAD$379.99, with extra cameras setting you back CAD$129.99.  With this however, you get a 5″ parent unit/screen, as well as the mini monitor which also comes with a watch strap or carabiner so you can either wear it or clip it on you somewhere (such as a belt hoop or something).   The mini monitor is a great addition to the overall baby monitor, as I find it super convenient if you need to do chores around the house (such as laundry, vacuuming, general cleaning), where you can’t be holding on to a 5″ parent unit.  The mini monitor basically allows you to be hands free, while still having your baby/child in sight.  This is a unique feature exclusive to Project Nursery, and is what I would consider the reason for the hefty price tag.  If you can afford it, or if you can request this monitor for a baby shower/gift from a loving relative, I would highly recommend it.

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Unboxing of the Project Nursery 5-inch Baby Monitor 

The overall unit is very easy to set up, you could do it without even reading the instructions, but instructions are always a good idea.  It comes out of the box basically ready to go.  You just have to plug it in and away you go.  The unit runs on its own secured network, meaning it does not run on wifi – which is more secure, and prevents other people/strangers/creeps from tapping in to your baby monitor and doing weird sh*t.  And apparently, there’s actually creeps out there who do this, and even go so far as to communicate with the baby by accessing the microphone on the units.  I legit did not think people did this, but I guess there’s all sorts of crazies out there.

The Parent Unit
The parent unit for this particular model comes with a 5″ screen, but is also available in a 4.3″ screen for CAD$249.99.  There’s pros and cons with the large 5″ screen.  The obvious pro is that its big – so you can see easily, you’re not straining to look at details, etc.  This is especially helpful when using multiple monitors on the split screen option, since you aren’t sharing the small space with multiple cameras.  The major problem that I have with the size of this monitor however, is that because its so big, its very bright.  We use the monitor primarily at night, so when my husband and I are sleeping, we have the monitor on.  When you have such a large screen, it gives off quite a bit of light or glow in a dark bedroom which can totally suck if you like a nice dark room.  Although there is an option to “dim” the brightness on the parent unit, when you do so, the infrared doesn’t seem to work as well and the whole screen almost goes blurry. There is also a button right on the parent unit where you can turn the video feature off, so the screen is black, but that kinda defeated the purpose of a video monitor for us.  You can still hear everything from baby unit though, so if your baby is crying, you’ll still hear that with the video turned off (not the monitor).  The other problem that I have with the parent unit is that it emits a fairly loud sound (probably from transmitting or some sort of interference).  This poses a problem when we are trying to sleep.  Its very annoying, and the only way to make it stop is to turn the sound all the way down.  When you do this however, you compromise the actual sounds coming from your child’s room.  When I contacted Project Nursery about this, their response was that they wanted to have a super sensitive microphone so that the parent unit would basically pick everything up.  I have posted a short video of the sound on YouTube here, so you have an idea what I’m talking about.  Its a 14 second video with our dog as the test subject (instead of our kid), and you can hear almost like a “ticking” sound coming from the monitor.  So, thats the pros and cons of the parent unit in a nutshell.

The parent unit is super easy to maneuver through.  There are buttons on the unit, and they are easy to figure out and use.  The main screen on the parent unit displays signal strength, room temperature, which camera(s) are connected, night time mode, and the time.  I love that it shows the time, as our previous baby monitor (the Motorola 36S) did not.  The battery on the parent unit lasts a long time which is a plus, especially if you’re a lucky parent who has a baby who naps/sleeps for long periods of time.  While we’re on the topic of battery life, the baby monitor comes with cables that are almost like a rope, rather than the usual plasticky cables.  I prefer this, as I find this “rope” material more flexible and more durable.  The parent unit also has alerts that you can set up, such as motion, sound, temperature and battery alerts.  Basically, if the temperature in the room falls below a certain temperature, or rises above a certain temperature, you can have the monitor alert you to this.  This monitor also supports an SD Card so you can record stuff if you need/want to as well.

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Project Nursery 5-inch Baby Monitor in Split Screen

The split screen capability on this monitor is the main reason we were interested in it.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, we are expecting our second child in 4 months, so we wanted to make sure that we had a monitor that would accommodate more than one camera, and not one that you had to scroll through.  This was huge for us, and I hadn’t seen any reviews about the split screen anywhere online, so I wanted to make sure that I posted a picture (above) so you can see what it looks like.  I only have the 2 cameras, but my understanding is that this monitor can display up to 4 cameras all on the one screen, without having to scroll between cameras.

The Mini Monitor 
The mini monitor is a great addition to this monitor, and personally I think is the reason for the extra money that you spend on it.  Put it this way, if you were to purchase a baby monitor and be able to purchase an extra parent unit, then it would probably all work out to around the same price.  The mini monitor is a little bulky to wear as a watch (and it does come with a watch strap), but if you don’t care what it looks like and you’re just into the practicality of it, then its awesome.

The Baby Unit
The baby unit or the main camera has a very good range of motion for the pan/tilt function.  It is much better than the Motorola 36S.  It also has better baby lullabies or white noise options if this is something of interest.  The zoom is about the same as the Motorola, basically showing the regular view, or a 2x zoom feature.  The baby unit also has a very bright blue light that comes off the camera (see picture below), and literally almost lights up the room, but they do provide stickers for you to place over top of this light if you find that it does bother your baby.

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Here is the blue light I mentioned, coming from the Project Nursery Baby Unit

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Project Nursery Parent Unit vs. Motorola 36S Parent unit. This is shown without the infrared, so the baby unit was filming in a well-lit room.  

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Project Nursery vs. Motorola MBPS38-2.  This was taken with the baby units in a completely dark room, with the infrared working.

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View # 2 of the Project Nursery Baby Monitor (behind) vs. Motorola MBPS38-2 (in front)

And that pretty much wraps up my review of the Project Nursery 5-inch Baby Monitor.  If you have any questions, or want more pictures/video, please feel free to contact me and I can provide those to you.  Also, if you have anything to add to this review, please feel free to leave comments below!  Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

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Baby Monitor Review: Motorola MBP 36S

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I’m on a mission to find the best baby monitor on the market.  We currently own the Motorola 36S baby monitor, and are very happy with it thus far.  It does the job for what you will need, and has some extra features that you wouldn’t think you need, but end up being pretty useful and you’ll be thankful are there.  This first review is going to be a basic review of the 36S, as we have the unit with only one camera, and one parent unit.  I’m hoping to eventually get another camera so that I can review this for parents with multiples, or parents who are expecting baby number 2 or more.

The Motorola 36S baby monitor runs on its on network.  In the beginning, I couldn’t have cared less about this feature.  But as time went on, I saw more and more articles popping up on social media and in the news about people hacking into wifi networks in regards to baby monitors, and watching your baby, and in some instances talking to your baby.  Creepy, I know, and again, at the beginning, I thought “yeah right, who would even care about your baby sleeping?!” but I guess there’s some crazies out there, or people who maybe have mental issues.  So, this feature is really not something to be overlooked, and is something you at least will want to consider when choosing a baby monitor for your baby/family.  The disadvantage to it not working on a wifi network is that you can’t use it with a smart phone or other similar device.

The camera itself was super easy to set up – no fiddling around with wifi networks or anything like that.  You basically take it out of the box, plug it in and its ready to go.  Easy as pie.  The range on the monitor goes up to 800 metres, which is fairly decent.  Our son can be asleep in his room, and I can take our dog out for a pee on the corner of the street and still be able to watch the parent unit without it cutting out.

The infrared on the camera is awesome.  It moves along with the pan/tilt/zoom features in the camera, meaning that when you’re using the camera at night, you’ll get good quality regardless of the position of the camera.  If you need to place the camera somewhere on a shelf for example, and tilt the camera downwards to be able to watch your baby who is positioned lower in a crib, or a toddler bed, the infrared moves with the camera, and the picture quality and lighting is not jeopardized.

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A photo of our 15 month old, asleep at night (this is the view with the infrared, in pitch darkness)

Video quality is far superior to some of the other brands on the market, particularly at night with the night vision or infrared.  The microphone on the baby unit is super sensitive, and you can literally hear a pin drop, which is awesome.  You can obviously turn the volume down if you need to, but you can hear everything from blankets swishing around to your baby sitting up (even if they’re quiet).  There is no audio or visual static interference, so you don’t get any annoying and unwanted sounds through the parent unit, which is a bonus if you’re using the monitor overnight when you’re trying to sleep.  The only noise you will hear from the monitor is your baby.

The camera comes with some additional features, such as temperature, lullabies, ability to speak to your baby from the parent unit, and alarms.  Although I have yet to see a review of this, I believe you can also purchase extra cameras to use with this model.  However, beware that the camera models are very particular, meaning if you have the 36S model, the camera for the 36 will not pair/work with the parent unit.  Also, my understanding of this baby monitor with multiple cameras, is that it does not offer up a split screen option, so you will have to scroll from one camera to the next, which may not be ideal when you’re trying to keep an eye on a newborn.

There are a few set backs that I’ve noticed with this particular unit however.  First of all, the screen on the parent unit only stays on for 60 minutes.  After that, it shuts off, so you’ll have to physically turn the screen back on.  This only happens when its not plugged in, so this isn’t an issue if you’re using the monitor over night and it remains plugged in.  The battery life doesn’t last very long even with a full charge, but so far, it has lasted longer than our 15 month old naps.  The other thing that I would like to have seen on the parent unit is the time.  It shows the temperature in the room, the signal strength, which camera it is looking at (if you have more than one paired), and it shows the battery life.  Lastly, after about 6-7 months of everyday use (overnight plugged in use, and probably a 2 hour/day nap, unplugged) the cable to charge the parent unit is starting to wear.  What I mean by this is, when the parent unit is plugged in, it’ll show that its charging, and maybe 10 minutes later, it will stop charging, and suddenly start charging again.  The best thing I can relate this to is when your iPhone cable is frayed and it keeps getting and losing a charge, even though it is plugged in.  This is a huge problem for us, since, as I mentioned just before, that the battery doesn’t last very long on the parent unit when its unplugged.  So, if the cable shorts out, and the parent unit isn’t being constantly charged overnight, when my husband and I are sleeping, we won’t know if/when the unit battery dies.

Overall, an awesome baby camera, on the top of our list for sure when it comes to baby monitors.  The only reason we are replacing it, is because we are expecting baby number two and we really want to get one that has a split screen option.