We've never really been all that satisfied with our baby monitor. When Noah was born, we bought a Motorola MBP33 and from pretty much the second week, it started giving us problems. First, it was a problematic power button that made it a real pain to turn the monitor on and off. Not a big deal, we'll just never turn it off. Then, the buttons would randomly remap themselves so that the volume down button might control the menu button and the brightness buttons might control the volume up and microphone buttons.
This was really problem as it meant that we would sometimes start playing lullaby music in Noah's room while he was asleep when what we really wanted was to turn the volume up and go to bed. Lucky for us, Noah is a pretty good sleeper.
The final problem we had was with the strength of the night vision/infrared LEDs. The night vision worked fine when we mounted the camera next to Noah's crib, but after we moved and decided that wires next to an active toddler wasn't a good idea, the night vision wasn't adequate. Noah's room is about 8 feet across, but when the lights were turned off, the monitor only showed a black screen.
Now that we're trying to transition Noah out of his crib, being able to see him at night is a pretty important feature of a monitor, so we decided it was time to look for a new monitor.
Here comes the contender, Infant Optics DXR-8. Yeah, it costs more and has more features, but they're all important upgrades. OK, the interchangeable lenses are a gimmick. It comes with the built-in lens and an additional telephoto lens.
The Infant Optics menus and controls are all really similar to the Motorola's. So similar that it makes believe that they're really just made from the same manufacturer and rebranded. I mean, the icons are the same, the layouts are the same, and the on screen colors are the same. Also similar is the range. Our apartment isn't all the big and the range going two rooms away through some sheetrock, isn't always stellar. You'll occasionally hear both monitors beep to let you know you're out of range. It's a bit disappointing, but I've found a few places in our bedroom that will get a good signal with the antenna up.
The infant optics has really good night vision with a bright center area that makes me believe that it could probably handle a range of 12-16 feet. I can now see when Noah is rolling around, if he's taken off his socks, and if he's torn down the tent that he likes to sleep under.
The other good thing about the monitor is the ability to pan and tilt. I was initially a huge skeptic of its usefulness. I actually didn't think you needed a monitor for your toddler and why would you need to be able to pan and tilt to look at a sleeping infant? Well, I'm convinced that it's not a gimmick. It has actually proven useful especially given Noah likes to go into his room and close the door to do thing forbidden things like put toys in his mouth or up his nose. Now I can just pan over to the door, see him do something bad, and tell him to stop using the microphone!
Anyway, if you're in the market for a baby monitor, I hope you can learn from my experience. Don't underestimate the powers of night vision and pan/tilt.