For the past 30 days I've lived with the EyeOn™ Baby Monitor Junior (DCS-800L). The DCS-800L is the entry level baby monitor offered by D-Link though most wouldn't call it "entry level" at all. Compared to other baby monitors it is rather high-tech. The DCS-800L is monitored using your smartphone as the receiver and it's jam packed with features.
The camera itself is small and round. It is predominately white though it comes with switchable accent rings in yellow, pink and baby blue. Design wise it's an attractive camera but you could have figured that out using Google. Instead of the obvious, I'm going to share with you what I found out during testing. There's a lot to love about the DCS-800L and a few things you should know before you invest in the DCS-800L.
- Works at Home and Away
- Night Vision Mode
- Sound and Motion Alerts
- Poor App Design
- Low Resolution
- No Notifications For Lost Power
DCS-800L Quality: Sound and Picture
We tested the DCS-800L both at home and away. That's right. The DCS-800L will allow you to monitor your sweet baby even when you're not at home ... even when you are not at home and you have no internet connection. Magical right?
When monitoring from home, the camera worked well 98% of the time. There were times when the app would freeze on me and I couldn't access live streaming and there were other times when the app confused the hell out of me but in general the problems I faced were easy to resolve.
From a picture quality stand point the camera records in 640 x 480 using a 68 degree angle of view. Those with weaker internet connections might find that the resolution dumbs down to 320 x 240. Neither resolution is HD but the picture quality is fairly clear IF you are within 5 feet of the camera. Keep in mind that for safety reasons the camera needs to be at least 3 feet away from your baby so you will face a balancing act between safety and quality...pick safety. Is the picture quality as clear as the happy baby D-Link features on their website? No.
We decided to wait until a rainy day to show you the picture quality at 4 feet. We closed all the blinds and shut off the lights to simulate a daytime napping environment. Even during the day, the camera will recognize a low light environment and can automatically swap to night vision mode. On the left is what the camera image looks like from a 4 foot distance using night vision. As you can see, the image of the book's cover has become somewhat hazy but it is still visible. Next I turned the lights on, opened the blinds and replicated the same picture. You can now see more detail on the book's cover but the happy baby on D-link's website is a gross misrepresentation of image quality.
In general, the darker the environment, the more the picture quality degrades. On a sunny day the picture quality is much better but who monitors their baby in the sun? Sun and sleep don't go together and you want your baby to sleep!
The DCS-800L Compared to Other D-Link Baby Monitors
|DCS-800L|| Recommended |
|EyeOn™ Baby Monitor Junior||EyeOn™ Baby Monitor Junior Plus||HD Wi-Fi Baby Camera|
|No Temperature Sensor||No Temperature Sensor||Temperature Sensor|
|0.3 Megapixel||0.3 Megapixel||1 Megapixel|
|640 x 480||640 x 480||1280 x 720|
|Night vision with IR||Night vision with IR||Night vision with IR|
|Night vision range: 5m||Night vision range: 5m||Night vision range: 5m|
|No Pan and Tilt||No Pan and Tilt||No Pan and Tilt|
|4X Digital Zoom||4X Digital Zoom||4X Digital Zoom|
|Two-Way Audio||Two-Way Audio||Two-Way Audio|
|No SD Card Slot||SD Card Slot||SD Card Slot|
|Motion Detection||Motion Detection||Motion Detection|
|Sound Detection||Sound Detection||Sound Detection|
|MJPEG Video Format||H.264 Video Format||H.264 Video Format|
|No Event Recording||Event Recording||Event Recording|
|Buy On Amazon|
At this time I recommend the 820L over the tested 800L because it is on sale for $80 which is $20 less than the current sale price of the 800L. In addition to saving money you also get an SD card slot which can be used for storage or for adding custom music. Also, it uses H.264 video compression which is faster than the method used by the 820L. Live streaming from remote locations should improve using the 820 over the 800L.
Do the features of the EyeOn™ Baby Monitor Junior work as promised?
There are a lot of features packed into the DCS-800L. One thing I've learned by testing dozens of cameras is that the left hand doesn't always talk to the right hand when it comes to a company's marketing department vs reality. This is somewhat the case with the DCS-800L. Perhaps the biggest "buyer beware" advice I can offer is to realize that both Amazon and D-Link's websites lump reviews of all the D-Link baby monitors into one section. So when you are reading about cool features on Amazon or on D-Link's site, just realize that they may be talking about a higher end camera. With that said, here are some of the features we tested vs how they performed.
The DCS-800L will allow you to monitor baby even when you're not at home ... even when you are not at home and you have no internet connection. Magical right?
Feature Tested: Power Failure
Feature Tested: Video Storage
Feature Tested: Two-Way Audio
Feature Tested: Lullabies
Feature Tested: Motion and Sound Detection
Feature Tested: Phone Battery Drain
The DCS-800L comes with a free mobile app for Android and one for iOS. In fact you can choose between the mydlink app or the D-link baby app. And you can also choose between your smartphone or your tablet for monitoring. The app is used to control pretty much every feature. It is what you use to monitor your baby, setup alerts, view live footage, and use the two-way talk feature. Unfortunately, I would argue that the app is the most disappointing feature of the camera.
The app works okay but it took me a couple of days just to figure out how to navigate the app. The app is not intuitive and that's not a good thing. The camera is easy to setup but the app is not easy to use. This could really frustrate a lot of people who do not have patience for technology.
When using the app I felt unsure. I wasn’t sure what button did what and I felt nervous about the app. Was it running in the background when I wanted it closed? (I found the best way to handle this is to just close the app out.) Was it closed when I wanted it to run? Also, I found it somewhat confusing to swap between home and away. The actual process the first time is easy but to swap back to home after being away is more challenging. I found that the best way to handle the reverse swap is to hold the Direct Connect button on the back of the camera. This process resets the away feature so that you can go back to home mode.
To summarize this article I would say that DCS-800L is a solid baby monitor. It can be monitored from home or even while you are away from home. If you are away from home an internet connection is not required at your location to monitor the baby monitor though your home must have internet connection at all times as the camera is power and internet dependent. The DCS-800L can use wall power or a battery pack.
Some of the features of the DCS-800L work well like live streaming, remote viewing, and night vision. Some of the features don't work the way you think that they would like two-way talk and motion detection. If you understand the pros and cons of this camera before buying, I think you will be happy. PS - ignore the happy baby picture on D-Link's site. The video quality is NOT that good. Happy monitor hunting and congrats on your baby!