Baby Monitor

The Baby Monitor - this of all things should be the easiest purchase for a techie nerdy person.  Right out of the gate, I learned there are two types of potential Baby Monitor cameras: a camera that has "Baby" branded on the box, or a surveillance camera that accomplishes the same thing with a lot more options but costs about half as much. The background research: Most Baby Monitors we researched came with a single screen for baby viewing - a single screen?!, c'mon, this isn't 2003.  I need a Baby Monitor that we can view on any number of screens whether that be our phones or computer; at home within our network, or viewing it externally from work - since we live in Portland, Oregon, I wanted the ability to extend it to securely to an external network so grandparents can view baby V as well.  The options we wanted meant paying $250 for a 'Baby Monitor' camera that had clunky interfaces for extending the video feed outside your network (say for a parent to watch while they're at work).  But if you expand your search to include surveillance cameras, you have so many more viable options to choose from.  And really, a baby camera is just a surveillance camera with upcharge-able branding on the box.  We chose two cameras from Foscam to determine which would have the coveted job of monitoring our lil' bundle of joy.  The part of swaddled newborn was played by Daddy. The challengers: Foscam FI8910W:  I'll cut right to the chase, this camera is fantastic, the only downside is the video is 640x480 - not high def.  Viewing on your phone, the image is pretty clear since the screen is so small; on a web browser, it's a little more grainy.

Foscam FI8910W

Foscam FI8921W: The newer version that supports 720p HD video.  The video feed is much crisper and the detail is exactly what I was looking for.  The deal breaker: you can really only view it from a PC.  The product says it can be used on Apple products (Macs, iPhones, etc.) - on a Mac, technically "yes"; on an iPhone - nope, can't do it.

Foscam FI8921W

The winner: Despite the better image on the newer version, we went with the FI8910W - this monitor just works right out of the box like it's supposed to - whether it's a web browser on your computer/phone/iPad, or through one of the many apps available - the camera is easy to set up and configure. You can pan 360 degrees, and tilt up and down (I think close to 270 degrees).  The Infrared night vision works great.  No, you can't zoom in on the camera - but with it being a baby monitor, you're only really going to be focused on a specific 60"x32" sized area.  And you can view and completely control the camera wirelessly over a web browser or your phone/tablet. On the wi-fi network, there's about a 0.5 second delay in lag.  Over a 3G network, it only went up to about a 1.0 second lag.  I didn't hardwire the camera because we don't have a router in the baby room, so I didn't bother testing that. You can also configure it view and control the video feed outside your wi-fi network; Google is your best friend if you've never set up 'port forwarding'.  The camera can connect securely to your wireless network (I hope everyone has secured their wireless network) and you can create various accounts to control what people have access to: whether it's only viewing the live video stream or also being able to control the camera.  Grandma Ryan was able to easily view and control the camera from her computer and there was only about a 1 second lag in the live video stream. Conclusion: Despite updating it to the latest firmware, the newer model should still be in a beta testing stage - it's just not market ready.  If or when the x21W camera does work with Apple products, I would most certainly upgrade (all you would really need to do is connect the monitor to the network and replace the 'port forwarding' MAC address of the older model with the newer monitor and your previous settings should all still work).  Until then, it's the x10W model for us. Hope you enjoyed the first of the gear reviews.  And a special "Thank you!" to Grandpa John for the surveillance baby monitor!

Leave a Reply