From the first ultrasound to the car seat installation before you leave the hospital, planning for parenthood is one of the most anxious times. Researching an endless sea of parenting products with bated breath can be tenuous at best. Perhaps that’s where you find yourself at this particular moment. Asking yourself, "what do I NEED?"
When my wife and I first went through the process of sorting the product “needs,” baby monitors were passed over. 'He's going to be in the next room, we'll hear him no problem,' we discussed. Less than a month after our family had grown by one, we found ourselves digging through reviews.
- Pan, Tilt, and Zoom
- Large LCD Surface
- Connectivity Issues
- Samsung's Poor Customer Service
Do You Really Need a Baby Monitor?
Honestly, it didn’t come down to a matter of life-and-death need for our son, but it became a quality of life need for us. As you may have heard, babies sleep. A lot. And at sporadic times throughout the day. Both of our kids seemed to take a two-hour nap every four hours or so. In the first month of parenthood, my wife and I took rotations of “staying close” so we could hear. This wasn’t planned from the beginning but it didn’t take long to learn that not every nap is equal and it’s hard to hear a hungry, waking baby from the billowing smoke of your Weber grill.
The ability to view your baby in the crib or at play with video-fed baby monitors adds an even greater element — safety. The risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and other SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) has decreased steadily since the 1990s, but according to the Center of Disease Control, there are still about 3,500 SUID deaths each year.
Dr. Michael Austin wrote in Psychology Today that well-being is the primary goal of parenthood. In my estimation “well-being” puts safety and protection among the ultimate tasks of fatherhood.
Protection, in this case, doesn't refer to ‘helicopter’ methods on the playground — shadowing your child on the jungle gym while they are learning strengths and building confidence. It implies taking measures to keep your child out of avoidable risk. Stated simply, and more directly, it means keeping them alive.
Most SIDS cases are the result of impaired breathing — either by object or by sleeping position. The American Academy of Pediatrics found in 1992 that infants sleeping on their backs are substantially less likely to die in their sleep due to difficulty breathing.
Video baby monitors allow the ability to see how your child is sleeping. When we prepared for our second child, a baby monitor was immediately on the list of needs — for safety and, simply, for peace of mind.
Samsung Baby Monitors Compared
Video monitors now have the ability to control the image (pan and tilt features), night vision (I guess they’d be of marginal worth without), but my favorite newer feature for baby monitors is two-way talk. Hey, dads can coo and lullaby, too. Nothing replaces the personal touch of holding your baby to sing him or her back to sleep, but the easy access of communication might be just enough comfort to avoid an all-out, screaming and kicking, can’t-sleep baby at 3 in the morning.
Samsung has four models of video-fed monitors with screen resolution, pan/tilt/zoom functionality and range of transmission as the primary differences. All support up to four cameras (additional units sold separately). The upper class of products is the top-end BrilliantVIEW, which transmits up to 900 feet, depending on obstacles with remote pan, tilt and zoom capabilities on the screen, which looks and feels more like a small gaming device or tablet. The next step down is SimpleVIEW which transmits to 800 feet. Both models have monitors displaying at 480x272 resolution on 4.3” LCD screens. The SafeVIEW and BabyVIEW models are a little less costly while projecting similar qualities as the top two with smaller monitors and a slightly smaller field of view (56 degrees). Like BrilliantVIEW, SafeVIEW transmits up to 900 feet with pan, tilt and zoom capabilities. Meanwhile BabyVIEW is comparable to SimpleVIEW in that it transmits at 800 feet without pan, tilt and zoom. These models have 3.5” screens with resolution of 320x240.
Brilliantview vs Simpleview vs Safeview vs Babyview
|Range||up to 900’||up to 800'||up to 900’||up to 800'|
BrillantVIEW vs SafeVIEW Baby Monitoring System
Of the systems mentioned above, the two we recommend are the BrilliantVIEW or the SafeVIEW. Both of these systems include two-way audio and the ability to remotely pan, tilt, and zoom.
It's important to have a camera that can pan, tilt, and zoom because it provides more comprehensive coverage. Using a camera with this functionality will allow you to monitor an entire room and not just the baby's crib. Both cameras can pan 300⁰ left and right, or tilt 110⁰ up or down. Two-way talk isn't as important and sometimes the feature doesn't work well. However, it is nice to be able to communicate with your child, especially as they get older. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to parent an older child who still naps! At times a simple, "I'm Here" or "You're Okay" is all it takes.
The ONLY difference between these two systems is the LCD monitor. The BrilliantVIEW monitor is larger and offers a better resolution and clearer picture.
Keep in mind that these are not cloud cameras or IP cameras. These cameras can not be monitored outside of your home. You can control the cameras remotely using the LCD controller while in your home but there is no way of communicating remotely outside of your home.
The Samsung Baby monitors are known for providing a beautiful display with an interface that is pretty easy to use. The most common complaint about this line of baby monitors is that the camera and controller often lose connection.
Between Brilliant and SafeVIEW, we recommend the SafeVIEW monitor. It sells for $50-$60 less than the BrilliantVIEW but the BrilliantVIEW is not worth the extra cost. The screen on both systems is so small that the chances that you will benefit from a slightly better resolution are slim. Overall, I think there are better systems than any of the Samsung options but out of these four, SafeVIEW is the winner.