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.
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.