VTech BM3500 Safe & Sound Pan & Tilt Video & Audio Baby Monitor
I've been using this monitor for about two weeks now and have given it a real work out - I have to say I'm really happy with it, there is only one thing that I don't like about it, but I'll get to that later. Here are the pros
- Great visibility on my baby - the camera for the unit has a zoom function, pans, tilts etc. which means really good visibility at all angles which is fantastic. Monitor is in colour when in daylight or with the lights on. I found it really useful to have the camea on her play area as our kitchen/lounge is divded and I could make dinner but watch her and our animals at the same time to see that everything was ok.
- Night vision works well - I've found this feature really helpful for locating a dislodged dummy before going into the room. This cuts down on fussing time with my baby, just grab the dummy, pop it in quickly and out I go and she settles again much quicker. It's also good for a quick check on bub if things are a bit quiet. It also means I'm not going in when it's not necessary. Sometimes my baby will squeal out in a dream but then self settle a few minutes later.
- Temperature monitor - VERY useful - our property only has wood heaters and can often get down to 1 degree overnight so I found this very reassuring.
- The parental unit has good battery life. The manual actually does it no justice by stating it doesn't have a long battery life. If you have the monitor on sound/movement activation the parental unit works without power for over 6 hours (that's the longest I've gone with it unplugged) I think that's really good!
- Talk function - I have been outside on our property in the garden while baby woke a little - I gave the 'talk' function a go and shooshed her remotely and it worked!
- Date and Time - pretty standard - helps me keep an eye how long she has been napping for.
- Option for multiple (4) cameras - I think this is a great feature and I will be investing in another camera for her play area. You can look between cameras or have multiple cameras showing at once.
- 5 Lullabys to choose from to help settle baby - great when they work (see below) and go for about 20 mins with little nature sounds in the background too.
The lullaby feature doesn't always work which can be frustrating when you have your baby 95% settled and just want a quick lullaby. I've found several times I've had to reboot the whole unit to get it working which is a lot of faffing about when you're trying to settle a baby.
No option for batteries for camera - meaning it needs to be near power. Not so much a problem for the cot but will be for the play area or other parts of the house later on.
Extra cameras are around $90 which is not far off the price of the whole unit when it's on sale, so a bit pricey in comparison.
Overall - I would definitely recommend this monitor - it's great value for money with some really handy features. The RRP is affordable considering the functions it offers. I'd give it 5 stars if the lullabys worked all the time!
Before receiving the VTech BM3500 we were using a stationary video monitor from a different brand. It worked well until my daughter started moving around in her sleep and then we were in trouble as she constantly moved out of shot. The VTech BM3500's ability to pan and tilt is fantastic! When dd moves around her cot I can easily adjust the camera so I can still see her. The range the camera can cover is actually enough that I can see her entire room if need be, which would be very useful if you ever had two babies sleeping in the one room. Importantly the camera moving is silent so there's no risk adjusting will wake your baby. I was also very impressed with the zoom capability which provides a closeup view of bub while maintaining great picture clarity.
The monitor is surprisingly easy to use considering the number of features it includes. Not all of them were useful to me at this point, for instance the talkback feature confused rather than comforted my little 9 month old, but I can see as my baby gets older they will be helpful. One feature which I do love is the temperature sensor and alarm. We live in a colder climate and it can be difficult to judge whether the baby's room is warm enough. The monitor displays the current temperature in the room and can easily be set to alarm if the room becomes too cold or too hot.
Overall this is a fabulous monitor. My only negative would be that after two weeks use I still haven't managed to get the antenna to release. However this hasn't affected the function of the monitor at all.
On unboxing the first thing I noticed was that there wasn’t a charging dock like there is with my previous monitors. My husband said he liked the docking station, however I prefer the Vtech not having one. It takes up a lot less space on my side table at night, as it is just the cord to plug in.
The monitor is a decent size and the picture quality is very clear regardless of whether it was on during the day or night and it was always very easy to see my son. It was much clearer than my previous monitor. The zoom is really good and also very clear.
The functions and menu options are very user friendly and there is no guesswork involved. I am not one for spending a lot of time reading instruction manuals, I would rather get in there and have a go to see if I can figure it out which was easy enough to do with this monitor. My husband read the manual though, and found it easy to follow.
The sound is very clear and there isn’t much lag in the sound like there was with other monitors. With my previous monitor I could usually hear bub calling out for a few seconds before I would hear it on the monitor. With the Vtech I hear him almost instantly. On my last monitor if my son was making a noise when I turned the monitor off, the noise would continue briefly when I turned it back on, which can be quite annoying when it is nice and quiet and bub is actually asleep. The last picture would also display momentarily which could be disconcerting if there was someone leaning over the cot when it was turned off. Neither of these issues occurred with the Vtech and the picture and sound was always in real time.
The monitor was easy to set up however when mounted above the cot right side up using the bracket the camera was not able to tilt low enough (due to range of motion and the camera base) to see into the cot. We ended up mounting the monitor on the wall using the bracket upside down which gives us a great view of the cot, but makes the pan and tilt controls slightly less intuitive. Others may have a similar issue with this as well unless they mount the camera on a wall further away from the cot. Otherwise if the base of the camera was smaller or cut out and the camera was able to pan lower this may not be an issue. However we are happy enough with it mounted upside down.
I like it how the monitor beeps loudly to warn you when the battery is getting low. My husband insists that our previous monitor beeped also but softly and not for long, but I never heard any warning tones before being caught out with a flat battery. There have been no surprises with the Vtech.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the plug cover for the AC adaptor when not being charged, as it is very difficult to get it to close properly and more often than not is poking out the side of the monitor. This doesn’t bother me too much and doesn’t affect the operation of the monitor but is not aesthetically pleasing on an otherwise very good looking monitor.
When the monitor is on my side table at night I find the power and charge indicator lights to be very bright. I covered the green and red lights with blutack as I was finding it hard to sleep next to it, however it still seems to glow from out of the screen anyway. Like all parents I value my sleep so would prefer duller or adjustable lights on the monitor.
The battery life seems to be really good, my son usually has two sleeps during the day and I wouldn’t charge it during the daytime but it was still going strong by the time I am ready for bed at night
I like the temperature indicator and found it to be very accurate. I also like the function of having the time on the monitor, this would be very handy to record wake up times for baby or feeding times.
The microphone worked really well. My husband and I tested it a few times and I could hear him very well. I found the lullabies fairly soft, however this isn’t a function that I would use anyway so it didn’t really bother me at all.
I liked that the monitor has a stand that just flicks out and can be put back if not required. The antenna I found quite difficult to get out but didn’t need to as the range covered our whole house (single floor 4 bedroom) unless we roamed too far outside.
One function I was really interested in trying out was the split screen capability, however as it was just the single camera none of the menu options were available. I am considering buying a second camera to test out this function. Our previous monitor scanned between cameras rather than offering split screen, but when both cameras were active the sound couldn’t be shut off like the picture without turning the volume off which was painful at night when trying to sleep with the monitor beside the bed. It will be interesting to see how the Vtech handles this.
The pan, tilt and zoom functions are the highlight of this monitor that really help to set it apart from the competition. They are very intuitive and easy to use. Movement is smooth and instantly reactive to input.
Overall I am really pleased with this monitor and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking at purchasing a monitor for that extra peace of mind.
If I had to describe the V-Tech BM3500 Baby Monitor in just 3 words it would be:
LOVE THIS PRODUCT!!!!
We've recently moved to a high set house with our 8 month old daughter and had been looking at monitors to purchase so I couldn't wait to get this "baby" in my hot little hands to try!!
Assembling the product couldn't be simpler. The User Manual explains everything in an easy to understand format whilst being thorough in detail.
The monitor has loads of features such as:
- Monitoring modes (single if only one baby unit, but split/patrol if multiple units in use),
- Date/time display
- Alert tones that activate when battery is low or if the link between Parent/Baby Unit is lost
- Temperature option that can be set at a min/max temp if so desired or alternitvely, it will display the current room temperature.
- Sound/sensitivity activation
- Vibration Alert
- Alarm Clock
- Display settings
- Inbuilt Lullabies
- Night Vision
- Talk to baby unit function,
- Multiple language and volume settings
- Ability to link addiitional Baby Units to the Parent Unit at any time
The monitor has a range of 300m's outside and 50m indoors. I put this to the test on a daily basis when doing tasks outdoors such as doing the laundry under the house, hanging the washing out in the yard and gardening.
I walked the entire perimiter of the property outside (well over 700sqm) and even went as far as walking right out to the end of the driveway and onto the road. The monitor performed extremely well and did the distances with ease.
Even when walking under the house to the garage, laundry and the storage room we have that's located in the corner furtherest away from the entrance, I never once lost connection/sound to the baby unit upstairs.
I also loved being able to speak to my daughter via the "Talk" function on the Parent Unit when, for eg, she was upstairs playing in the loungeroom and I was downstairs doing various chores.
The monitor performed just as well inside too. I tested it in every room with doors both open/shut and again, never lost connection/sound. The only time I experienced a break in transmission was the area between the top of our back stairs and our back door which is covered. It seems to be a bit of blackspot though in saying that, I only lost the link to the Baby Unit for no more than a couple of seconds.
The screen on the Parent Unit is a good size and the picture quality is fantastic!! Images are transmitted in colour except for when the automatic infra red night vision activates, then it's in black and white which makes little difference to the clarity of the picture.
Sound is clear with no static to the point I could hear the music playing on my daughters cd player that's in our room during nap time. The Lullaby feature came in handy the few times my daughter woke up mid nap. She went back to sleep and I avoided having to go back into the room to resettle her.
The screen is also a good size and the ability to adjust the camera angle in all directions provides a much wider scope for viewing. I could also "zoom" in on my daughter for closer look or "zoom out" for a wider perspective.
The Baby Unit can be set down on a table top or wall mounted and the Parent Unit has a rechargable battery inside as well as the power adaptor/cord.
The Pro's of the Monitor for me were:
- Range of the Unit
- Picture/sound quality both day/night
- LED automatic night vision
- Pan/Tilt and Zoom operation
- Talkback funtion
- Lullaby Function
- Real time temperature display
- Date/time display
- Wide camera view
- Ability to take the Parent Unit wherever you needed to thanks to the rechargable battery in it.
- Baby unit doesn't have a rechargable battery, so always needs to be plugged into AC power which makes it a little annoying having to unplug it/plug back in when moving from room to room
- Parent Unit needs to be plugged into AC power to be recharged unlike other monitors that just slide into a dock
- The rechargable battery in the Parent Unit only lasted a few hours before needing to be recharged
However, these few issues were nothing more than minor annoyances that were trivial in comparison to all the benefits the monitor provide. The issue regarding the Baby Unit is easily rectified with an additional Baby Unit purchased.
Overall, the monitor is an excellent performer, with great functions that's versatile, reliable, easy to use and fantastic value for money.
The peace of mind I now have knowing I can see/hear and speak to my daughter at all times whenever I'm unable to physically be in the same room with her, not to mention the confidence I feel knowing I can rely on the monitor to do the job I need it to do is absolutely priceless to me.
This extermely grateful first time Mum thanks both V Tech and Bubhub once again for the opportunity of reviewing such a fantastic product!!!
I always dreamt of having a video monitor but I always ended up going with the sound only monitor due to cost and the fear that the novelty will wear off.
After having the chance to trial a vtech tilt pan video monitor I am annoyed I held off and spent so many hours creeping into my babies room to make sure they are alright and creeping back out.
Right away the first thing I was impressed with was how easy it was to set up. I was scared I was going to have to sync the devices and find signals but all I needed to do was literally plug both monitors in and i was ready to go. simple.
The box included a wall mount option however as we rent I couldnt screw it into my wall. I feel that if I was able to mount it, the picture would have been better.The picture is pretty good but its not great.
There is a way to turn down the sensitivity which I needed to do because the first night it turned on every time a car drove past the house. The movement function allowing you to turn the camera from the parent unit was really helpful as my kids tended to move the camera on the table during the day and mg daughter also moves around the cot all night. I did find the right pan on my unit got a bit stuck and didnt move immediately when I pressed it like it would in other directions but im not sure if that was a glitch or my positioning on the table.
Other than this I think this is a great product and reccomend it to anyone thinking of investing in a video monitor.
The Vtech BM3500 has some great features that i put to use, including full tilt and pan of the baby unit, allowing me to zoom in onto my daughters cot. I also made full use of the wall bracket that was supplied. The unit is a lovely metallic grey colour and looks smart and classy.
The parent unit is quite large but not too heavy. All of the buttons on it are user friendly and the menu is easy to navigate. The colour monitor works well, and the infra red night vision is fabulous. The unit picks up sounds very well, and alerts me to my baby waking, and also to other peripheral noise outside. This can be altered using the volume button.
This monitor has a time and temperature function.
The lullaby function and talking function work well.
The monitor seems to have a little bit of disturbance when my ceiling fan is on.
The power button is a bit fiddly as you need to hold it down for it to actually turn on or off. Sometimes it takes me 2 or 3 goes to get it to do what i want.
So all up, the monitor does its primary job satisfactorally, however there are a few improvements that need to be made to make this product stand out from the rest.
Having used a basic sound-only monitor for so long, I was really looking forward to getting my hands on a video monitor. The main issue we had with our old monitor was that we couldn't tell if our baby was making noise because they were upset or if they were just chatting away to themselves or settling themselves off to sleep. Since our son was born 9 months ago he has had numerous respiratory illnesses causing him to cough, gag, and sometimes vomit. As a result, a video monitor became more of a necessity.
We had the VTech monitor installed within minutes of getting it out of the box - it's very easy to set up without any fiddly assembly so we were able to start using it straight away. I was a little worried at first as the camera looks a bit creepy in a dark room with the 2 little red lights flicking on when it detects a sound. I thought it might be scary for little ones, especially if you're introducing it to a toddler's room. Then again, babies probably haven't seen Terminator so maybe it won't freak them out.
The image quality on the parent unit screen is quite good and the zoom is really handy to get a close look at baby's face (or obsessively watch their breathing like I do). There is only one level of magnifaction on the zoom so you're just jumping from normal view to a single zoomed view but it does the job. It seems to struggle a little when the afternoon light is fading and it flicks between normal vision and night vision as it adjusts to the changing lighting. Both normal and night vision are clear.
The pan & tilt function is definitely the best part of this monitor. Not only does this mean that the installation location is less critical (and therefore easier to plonk into place), I can also watch my son as he undertakes an acrobatic journey around his cot or do a remote reconnaissance mission for suspected lost dummies. The range of vision with the pan & tilt is quite impressive and allows me to see almost all of his room. This is great for spotting rogue toddlers sneaking into the baby's room to "rescue him" - maybe she's seen Terminator??
We tried out the lullaby function last night fully expecting it to be a completely useless function and to be honest I was pretty skeptical when the music started playing - it didnt sound great through the parent unit. However, he did seem to settle with the music playing and was asleep by the time it turned itself off.
The battery life seems to be great, we usually have it plugged into mains but have tried leaving it unplugged for a few hours to see how it went and the battery still had plenty of charge.
While you can get multiple cameras feeding back to a single parent unit, it would be handy if you could get a second parent unit for the same camera. For us that would mean we could keep one parent unit downstairs and one up in our bedroom for nights. For people in larger homes I would imagine more than one parent unit would be useful. This may be possible but I can't find any info that says it is, and they seem to only sell additional cameras rather than extra parent units.
A very minor annoyance is the way the parent unit plugs in to mains. I would prefer a docking station as the little flap thing that goes over the mains plug on the unit keeps getting in the way when I'm trying to plug it in and sometimes it doesn't go in properly, meaning it doesnt charge.
All in all I'm really happy with the monitor, it ticks all the boxes for us and has been such a huge improvment from our old one.