The baby sound monitor is no doubt something most new parents will have. But isn't sound so two dimensional, wouldn't it be great if you could see your baby or child and monitor their environments too? Well we have a product that can do just that, it's called the Motorola Blink1 Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor Camera. It could also be used as a surveillance camera when your children or child has grown up.
So the Blink1 looks a lot like a webcam. Currently for sale in white, black, silver and red. It has a pod-like shape, with the camera module being built into a rounded ball which pivots onto the base. It's light in weight and has rubber grips that secure a stable sitting on most surfaces within a home environment. It uses the mains electricity as a power source and has a wall mounting option built under the base.
Setup & Features
The camera has to be hooked up to the Wi-Fi network (Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n compatible) of your household and this setup process is relatively simple and speedy. Once it's established onto your Wi-Fi network you can view and control the camera away from the house: this means you can use it from anywhere in the world. The camera can be moved up, down, left and right via an inbuilt motor. The field of view is large because of this and if positioned in a corner of a room, you can nearly pan the entire space within it. Our streaming quality experiences have been mostly positive, slower connections will downgrade the quality but it's no worse than traditional CCTV. At night the camera switches its infrared on and that does an exceptionally good job at presenting clear and highly defined detail in dark environments.
We primarily used the Motorola Blink1 Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor Camera with iOS devices via the free Monitor Everywhere App, it worked OK with the iPhone and iPad, but does also support Android devices too. To use the Blink1 with a Mac or Windows PC simply log onto the Monitor Everywhere website. This makes the service accessible on all your devices whenever you have an internet connection.
The Monitor Everywhere software operates and sports the same features wherever it's accessed from, so it can trigger a conversation with the child or anyone else in proximity with the Blink1. Speaker volume is loud and clear and the microphone is also clear and does a good job at blocking background noise. You can play baby lullabies, pan the camera, mute audio, capture photos and videos, trigger digital zoom and turn high quality streaming on and off.
Bad Connection > Bad Experience
The strength of the video and snappiness of the controls the Monitor Everywhere software makes accessible are totally reliant on the Wi-Fi connection the Blink1 has and the connection the device you're viewing and controlling it from has too. If you have a slow network this would be a very redundant purchase. Delayed audio, bitty remote video panning controls and a choppy stream are likely on slow and unreliable connections. We were disconnected numerous times when trying to access and pan the Blink1 from access points such as free Wi-Fi within a coffee house. This is a hindrance on the overall product experience and means you can't always rely on checking in to see how your baby or child is doing. We have to place the blame with the Monitor Everywhere software; its occasional instabilities and bugs are annoying but when it does work it's fantastic. On slower connections it's best to just watch the live stream and do nothing more.
Real World Usage
One member of our studio team has a small child of the age of two and chose to set it up within their bedroom to monitor them when they were at the studio working, when they went out in the evenings and when they were at home. They pointed out how much they liked the Blink1 when it operated as intended, and that within the home environment it was most reliable as the network was fast. This allowed them to monitor their bedroom temperature, what they were up to and what their baby sitter/nanny was up to when in their room.
Discrete and hidden placement is definitely recommended when using this as a nanny cam and it's very fit for the purpose, we don't blame any parent for surveying a nanny to see if they're actually any good at performing their role. We can definitely see how this would present peace of mind when mounted to a ceiling above a baby's crib too, because it definitely beats getting up to check on them to see if they're OK when they haven't made any noise or made any movements detected by a sound monitor. The frame rate and detail achieved when on a fast home network is ideal to check if the baby is breathing and content.
One thing that is worth noting before we rap up this review are the privacy terms within the Monitor Everywhere service. They basically require that you allow them to view and use the captured content from the Blink1. This may make some understandably uneasy about using this device, and we're simply informing so you're aware.
The Motorola Blink1 Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor Camera itself is a super piece of kit to monitor a baby or child. It is mildly let down by its software, meaning on instance it just didn't act the way we wanted it to. Hopefully this will improve as the Monitor Everywhere service matures.