I would like to introduce you to one of the most essential items for all new parents – the Summer Infant BestView™ Handheld Color Video Monitor. After over a year and a half of video baby surveillance using different models, we feel this little video baby monitor is the mother of all monitoring systems, and has every single feature I would recommend in a monitor. Besides being a video monitor, which is the new era of baby monitors that all parents covet, the Summer Infant BestView™ Monitor has a whole list of features that I don’t know how we lived without.
I will admit that we were hesitant at first to make the leap from audio baby monitors to video monitors, but I truly feel that we shouldn’t have resisted nearly as long as we did. Yes, you can argue that they are unnecessary or superfluous, but as someone who has used both types of monitors, I can honestly tell you they have become essential to me. Knowing that I can see baby at any time has almost had the opposite effect that I thought it would on my predisposition for nervousness. Whereas before we had a video baby monitor, I would continually tiptoe to the nursery at naptime and try and see her through the crack in the door and sometimes wake my sleeping baby, now I can check on her quickly and quietly without disturbing her at all, which I think makes us all a whole lot more relaxed.
With a list of features that make this seem more like a video camera than a baby monitor, I was really excited to check it the Summer Infant BestView™ Handheld Color Video Monitor in person and see if it performed any better than other video models. The short answer is yes, the BestView Baby Monitor has exceeded all of my expectations of video monitors and even added some extra features that I don’t know how we did without.
And the long answer: With a large 2.5” screen that offers a clear digital image of your child sleeping, you can literally keep a close watch on your child 24 hours a day from every room in your house. Because the Summer Infant Best View Video Monitor has audio and visual capability in both daylight and in the dark, there is absolutely no doubt about how baby is doing at any given time. Even better than a clear video image of your sleeping angel, is that you can also pan the camera around the nursery either up-and-down or side-to-side to check on things remotely. This feature allows you to check and make sure all is well and that the beloved monkey hasn’t inadvertently fallen to the floor, or even checking on two children in one bedroom using the same camera.
As well as being able to give you a detailed view of the entire nursery remotely, the Summer Infant BestView Baby Monitor also gives you the option to zoom at the press of a button. This is the first video monitor I have ever seen with a zoom function, and I really didn’t know what I was missing until now. I absolutely love being able to zoom in to watch my baby’s chest rise and fall or be able to see subtle baby movements easily. This function is also particularly useful if you are checking on two children in one room or want to see more detail on the far side of the crib or nursery.
I love that the monitor is dual purpose; You can crank the volume up and bask in the sound of baby’s every breath or, you can lower the volume and just keep a watchful eye on your little one. We actually use our BestView Monitor more often this way as the color image on the monitor is so detailed we find we can easily discern baby’s cuteness and breathing with just a glance and therefore can savor the silence with full peace of mind. As an added bonus, even with the sound off you can see how loud baby is by the visual light scale that shows you how loud sounds are in the baby's room.
One great feature we love in the BestView Infant Monitor is that you can also turn off the screen and only use the audio functions to save battery life. This is the first video monitor we found with this feature, which we feel is absolutely essential if you will be using the monitor away from outlets for a good deal of time. And best of all, this feature has its own specific button located on top of the monitor, allowing you to quickly turn the video back on if you hear a strange noise, or if you just need to sneak a peek.
Being able to conserve power and extend our mobility really made a huge difference in how much we would actually use the monitor in this way. Adding to that is the fact that the Summer Infant Monitor uses rechargeable batteries so there is no cost penalty from batteries with our newfound freedom.
Some other features that really make this monitor portable and have us raving are the belt clip and monitor stand design. The sturdy belt clip allows for hands free roaming in and out of the house and even next door when paired with the large range of coverage (350 feet!). While you run around, you can rest assured that the 100% digital signal will remain secure from prying eyes, and free of static. Once you get tired of roaming, the monitor’s kickstand has so many notches that you can prop it at just the right angle for almost any position you can come up with, ensuring your comfiest chair will also have the best view.
If you’re like me and appreciate items that can truly grow with you and your family, you will also love that this system is completely expandable and has the capability of controlling up to 4 cameras. This means you could potentially watch all your children in 4 separate rooms on one monitor. I have dreams of eventually having three cameras on this system that would enable me to watch the nursery on one, the playroom on another and then another that I could take with me into the living spaces. Then I would only need to bring the handheld monitor with me and I would have a super sophisticated video setup wherever I go.
Features of the Summer InfantBestView™ Handheld Color Video Monitor:
100% digital for a secure and private connection
2.5”color LCD screen with B&W night vision
Belt clip & flip stand
LED sound light to see and hear baby's every sound
One touch video on/off for night time convenience
Now, in the interest on saving on some emails I will answer some questions that seemed to come up a lot when I mentioned to friends and readers that we were trying a new video monitor.
HOW IS THE VIDEO QUALITY? The video quality is good when using both the night vision and in daylight, with the daylight video having superior color to other monitors we have tried. Whereas other video monitors tend to experience static and frequent video skips, we found the BestView to offer much better and more consistent images.
HOW IS THE AUDIO QUALITY? The BestView audio quality is good, and doesn't seem to be subject to a time delay. Because we can actually hear baby when we are in bed, we really don’t use the audio features of the monitor that often, but it is nice that the sound quality is better than other monitors we have tried and doesn’t seem to be susceptible to static as other monitors are. In fact, you can even hear baby breathing on the BestView monitor, which just might be the most relaxing sound on Earth.
IS THE MOVEMENT OF THE CAMERA LOUD? The BestView camera has a motorized mount, which allows you to turn it almost completely around a room. Using the joystick-esque controls on the parent monitor, you can remotely control where the camera is pointing at any time. While this function is not entirely silent, and does get baby’s attention when she’s awake, it’s not a loud function, either and definitely won’t wake her.
Any potential issues with the Summer Infant BestView™ Handheld Color Video Monitor?
2.4 GHZ TRANSMISSION: The BestView Video Monitor has the potential to interfere with wireless networks or other devices that use 2.4 GHZ. We have a wireless network in our house but haven’t noticed any problems with interference at all, even though the wireless router and the BestView Monitor are located mere feet apart. If you're experiencing problems, try moving the monitor or the other devices so they aren't too close to one another.
VOLUME CONTROL: The volume is a little inconvenient to use, you have to go into the menu and use the joystick. I actually don’t mind this since I barely touch the volume control, but I can see how sleep deprived parents might appreciate a more accessible volume control.
Random Rave: I have no plans to retire this little baby once I no longer have babies. Unlike most baby monitors that are basically useless after your little one is able to move freely, the Summer Infant BestView Monitor will be perfect for keeping an eye on the kids in the yard or in the playroom because I can pan and tilt the camera to see large areas of ground. Obviously, I wouldn’t be going far away from the kiddos and wouldn’t use the video camera as a babysitter (baby’s future playmate’s parents all breathe a sigh of relief) but it would be nice to put dinner into the oven and then return without worrying they were climbing trees or walls unassisted.
A big thank you to Summer Infant for sending their BestView Handheld Color Video Monitor for review and to put through extensive toddler testing. All opinions are 100% ours and no form of monetary compensation was received in exchange for this Rave Review.