DCS-800L-Review

Dlink DCS 800l Baby Monitor

Hardware7.3
Video Storage5
Hands-on Authority and User Reviews6.7
Software6
6.3
Reader Rating: (4 Rates)7.2

DCS-800L-ReviewFor 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.

GOOD

  • Works at Home and Away
  • Night Vision Mode
  • Sound and Motion Alerts

BAD

  • 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.

EyeOn Baby Monitor Day-vs-Night

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
DCS-820L
DCS-825L
$100.00$129.99$179.99
EyeOn™ Baby Monitor JuniorEyeOn™ Baby Monitor Junior PlusHD Wi-Fi Baby Camera
No Temperature SensorNo Temperature SensorTemperature Sensor
0.3 Megapixel0.3 Megapixel1 Megapixel
640 x 480640 x 4801280 x 720
Night vision with IRNight vision with IRNight vision with IR
Night vision range: 5mNight vision range: 5mNight vision range: 5m
No Pan and TiltNo Pan and TiltNo Pan and Tilt
4X Digital Zoom4X Digital Zoom4X Digital Zoom
Two-Way AudioTwo-Way AudioTwo-Way Audio
No SD Card SlotSD Card SlotSD Card Slot
Motion DetectionMotion DetectionMotion Detection
Sound DetectionSound DetectionSound Detection
MJPEG Video FormatH.264 Video FormatH.264 Video Format
No Event RecordingEvent RecordingEvent 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

I simulated a power failure multiple times. I did not receive a notification that the camera lost power which was troubling. Would you just assume that your baby was okay if you didn't hear anything via the monitor? I would. Once power was reconnected, the camera did not need any manual assistance but the app did. I had to restart the app each time power was lost. While this isn't a terrible result, it's not ideal.

Feature Tested: Video Storage

The specs say that the camera does not have video storage as it lacks an SD card. This isn't entirely true. What  it lacks is the ability to record automatically when an event is detected. However, the camera does have limited storage using your phone's gallery. When in live streaming mode, you can save a snap shot or a video to your phone's gallery. This is the same method I used to create the pictures above of the test environment.

Feature Tested: Two-Way Audio

When I think two-way audio, I think of the ability to talk at will. This isn't entirely true with this camera. For some reason, you can only talk or listen but not both at the same time. For example, pressing the button to talk to your baby will mute out sound coming from your baby. And when you are listening to your baby you cannot talk. Make sense?

Feature Tested: Lullabies

The lack of a SD card means that you can't add your own music but the camera comes with 5 pre-recorded lullabies for you to play to baby. They work great and you can let them play through or set an automated timer to limit the amount of time a lullaby plays.

Feature Tested: Motion and Sound Detection

This feature worked okay. You really have to adjust the sensitivity settings to just so but I still received some false alarms and the camera missed some simulated motion events. Overall I would not recommend relying on this feature. I would recommend letting the app run in the background of your phone and turning the volume up to listen for your baby.

Feature Tested: Phone Battery Drain

When you are not using the monitor, close out of the app. Leaving it running in the background will quickly drain your phone's battery. I let the app run in the background for 4 hours and my phone survived but if your baby takes longer naps you may need a charged phone or access to a charger.

App Performance

DCS-800L-Back-of-Baby-MonitorThe 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.

Final Thoughts

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!