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D-Link DCS-825L baby monitor review: A strong camera with lots of features

Michelle Mastin | Jan. 20, 2015
Our homes are getting smarter than ever, so why not our nurseries? Check out the monitor aisle at popular baby stores and you'll see a bunch of audio-only monitors or video monitors that require carrying a bulky chunk of a receiver with a screen in the 3-inch range. This just feels dumb when I'm already carrying a 5-inch 720p screen in my back pocket and generally within grabbing distance of a laptop and an iPad during nap times.

The camera switches automatically between day and night modes, but there's an audible click when the IR filter moves in front of the lens. It wasn't enough to wake a sleeping baby, but it was enough to trigger level-2 (on a scale of 5) noise alerts. I wondered why I was getting alerts in the afternoon when no one was in the room until I figured out that the light was right at the threshold and kept triggering the filter on and off. I set my noise alert back up to level 3 and the random noise alerts stopped. Level 3 was still plenty sensitive to get a timely notification when the baby was making noise.

Since my baby is not mobile yet and only flops his legs and rolls his head back and forth when he wakes, I needed a sensitive motion detector and the D-Link delivered. I kept it set to the second most sensitive level of five and got alerts when he kicked his legs (likely meaning he was waking) without it being overly sensitive to head rolling (likely meaning he would go back to sleep).

The viewing angle is not very wide, but the goal is to watch the crib not the whole room, and the whole crib easily fits in the shot. Even on the lower quality video setting, both day and night mode were clear enough to see if my baby's eyes were open. That way, I could tell if he was flopping around and then going back to sleep, or flopping around then lying awake waiting for someone to come get him.

Battery life on my phone didn't seem to be adversely affected by streaming audio and video during naps. The app will continue to run in the background, giving you alerts and playing audio, if you want to use your phone or tablet for other things while monitoring nap time.

I ran into occasional disconnects, but the video stream always came right back. It took some trial and error to find the best times to watch in local mode versus remote.

Is it a good buy, baby?

The D-Link Wi-Fi baby monitor does exactly what it needs to do: It monitors my baby when I'm out of the room, and it does it easily and reliably from any one of the many screens I'm already carrying around.

But, D-Link already has a connected home platform, and while you can view your video stream from the Home app, you can't really manage this camera along with all of the other D-Link connected home devices. This seems like a huge omission for what could have been an integral part of your whole connected home.

If you just want to watch a baby, this is a good camera. But if you want to watch your baby as a part of your smart, connected, automated home set up, keep looking.


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