When I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing a new baby monitor from Philips, my first thought was, "We already have a baby monitor - how different could it be?"
But I checked out their site, and this monitor seemed pretty slick. And, being the self-proclaimed gadget whore I am, I decided to give it a try.
Sure, J.J.'s monitor does what it's supposed to do - it monitors J.J.’s room and allows me to wander farther than hearing distance when he's taking a nap or playing in his crib. But here's where the Philips DECT baby monitor is different - our old monitor is always there, hissing at us while it broadcasts J.J.'s lullabies, sometimes making it difficult to enjoy our weekly "date night". This monitor is much more polite - only interrupting when it notices a change in the sound in the nursery. It's like it evaluates the room and says, ok - those lullabies are pretty constant and there's no need to waste my time sending those downstairs to mom and dad, so if the noise in here changes, I'll let them know.
I'm getting ahead of myself... From the time we opened the package, it was apparent this monitor was different. It's sleek. The parent unit is battery operated with a charger and is small enough to slip in a pocket and comes with a lanyard so you can hang it around your neck while carrying laundry or getting other chores done. So there's less of a chance of you leaving it in the laundry room because you don't have a free hand to grab it.
But get this - the parent unit doesn't just receive - it also lets you communicate back to the base. So if J.J. starts yelling, I can say, "Hey baby - momma's on her way," and hope the sound of my voice
Or, I can set it on the windowsill next to the shower and not have to skip conditioning my hair or shaving my legs because I'm afraid JJ might need my attention.
The monitor plugs in and sits in the nursery, and, well, monitors the nursery (or whatever room it happens to be in). But that's not all... It comes with a cool travel case and both units can run off of battery power, so it can easily go with you. It also plays lullabies (which you can turn on remotely - umm, hello? This is HUGE: baby fusses, mom says, "It's ok baby", turns on the lullabies, and he falls right back to sleep) and it has a night-light.
Think about this - I know when J.J. spends the weekend with his grandma at the end of this month, I won't be dragging his monitor and boom box and lullaby CD and night-light to Spring Hill. It's all included in the monitor... I also won't be dragging diapers, because she already called to tell me she bought a pack and they're waiting for him, but that's beside the point.
Once we had set up the monitor and charged the parent unit, we decided to test it out. First big difference: our old monitor had 10 channels we could choose from, in case there was interference on the one we were using, all we had to do was switch to a different channel. This monitor selects a clear channel automatically. I grabbed the parent unit, and carried J.J. outside to test things out.
"Where are you?” asked Joe. I responded, "We're clearing Tim's driveway" (next door). We continued on, and once I got three houses away, Joe requested that we return, as he was getting lonely. It's not likely that I'll go for a stroll while J.J. is asleep, but what this does mean is I can go a couple houses down the street if I need to talk to the neighbors, and if J.J. and Joe need me to come home, all they have to do is tell me (or page the parent unit - which is a handy feature if we should forget where we set it down).
There's also a temperature readout on the parent unit. It came in handy the first evening we used it. We were comfortable downstairs, but a quick glance showed me that it was getting cool upstairs and I ran up and turned on the heat. Pretty handy this time of year, when we often find it necessary to have the AC on during the day, and the heat at night. But think of the safety uses - if there were to be a fire upstairs, I'd be able to see that the temperature was rising before things got out of control and the smoke detectors went off.
The 2-way capabilities of this monitor will make it a lot more useful once J.J. is older - Joe can have the parent unit with him if he's doing yard work, and won't have to run inside and upstairs dripping blood everywhere next time he has an incident with the mower. And when we have our next yard sale, I won't have to wait for Joe to wander outside to ask him to make a run for Cherry Limeades.
If any expectant parent (like my sister in law) were to have asked me a few weeks ago about baby monitors, I would have shrugged and said ours was OK, but they're pretty much all the same. But I have to say after taking this Philips for a test drive, I would whole-heartedly recommend anyone add it to their baby registry. A big thanks to Philips for letting us try this out!