on December 26, 2012
I'm a technical guy who designs wireless networks, and I have had the hardest time getting this product to connect to my network.
I bought this for my wife for Christmas, and she tried following the instructions to set it up. After she failed, I figured I'd just take care of it for her. I spent two hours working on it, and it still hasn't functioned.
My home network is currently an Apple Airport Extreme with two Airport Express routers that extend the network. The WeMo found all three of them (instead of seeing just the one) and wouldn't connect to any of them. Eventually, it would connect and the 'Start Listening' button would be there. Once I clicked it, the app would crash, and I had to reset the WeMo back to factory defaults and start the entire process over again.
I thought that maybe the Airport Express units were messing up the setup, so I unplugged all but the main router. Did not change anything.
I thought that maybe since I was using both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands that maybe that maybe that was messing up the WeMo, so I disabled 5GHz band and just used 2.4. Still no luck. Eventually, I gave up because I couldn't get this thing to work.
I can't imagine that if it's this unreliable to setup and run that it's reliable enough for me to trust my baby with.
I might just end up returning it. I was hoping for more for my $90.
FINAL FINAL UPDATE! Oh, the agony of defeat. Back down to one star! Why? It won't pair at all with our new Verizon router. Everything else works just fine, but this guy refuses to join it. I tried everything, reset the thing back to factory settings and started from scratch. No dice. I've got a PhD from MIT in electrical engineering. Electrical bloody engineering! And I can't get this ^&*^%&*% thing to work right. Perhaps this information causes you to lose respect for both Belkin and MIT. That's fine. Either way, you're saving at least $87.
I'd write more, but I'm really doubting anybody is even bothering to read individual reviews at this point given the horrendous overall rating this thing must have by now.
FINAL UPDATE: Through firmware updates, the reliability has improved. The online services still are overpriced and underwhelming, however, so I'm only going to up this to three stars.
UPDATE: I'm lowing my review from three to one stars. Once you leave the device plugged in for a while, you will find that it can be very unreliable. I'm often not able to connect to it, even when on the local WiFi, let alone remotely over the internet. A baby monitor that works even 80% of the time is useless, and I would say this is less than that. This is a nice idea with nice industrial design, but it just doesn't work.
While I understand other people have had a lot of trouble with this, they must've recently upgraded the firmware, because I found the setup was extremely easy and well-designed. You turn on the device and it initially creates its own network. After downloading the iPhone or iPad app, you then connect you iPhone to the Belkin WiFi network that was created, and run the app. This gives you access to a screen where you can select your existing home WiFi network for the Belkin to join thereafter, including typing in a password in needed. I run a network with WPA2 encryption, and the Belkin handled it fine. After the initial setup, the Belkin will automatically connect to your home WiFi network whenever you plug it in.
When your iPhone is on the same WiFi as the Belkin, it works quite well, and is a nice baby monitor. It's great being able to hear your little guy without having to lug around yet another device, or worry about another thing to keep charged. And let's be honest: you won't find a baby monitor receiver that looks as nice or is as light as a cell phone. So, there's actually no compromise and quite a few advantages to this approach.
The reason I'm not giving it more than three stars, is that the online services are not great. They offer the ability, for the fee of $50 a year, to be notified when your baby cries, and to keep logs of when he/she does. This could be really useful, because it would be a unique way to gauge your baby's sleep cycles, and perhaps figure out when she needs to start taking fewer naps, or perhaps determine a better bed time. The ability to get a push notification when the baby cries would also be great, in case you are in a part of the house where you can't hear and don't want to leave the monitor on all the time.
Unfortunately, these features don't work well. They claim to use a sophisticated algorithm for determining when the baby cries, but I see no evidence of that sophistication: after one day I turned off the cry notifications because they would happen all the time. Furthermore, there was no way to tell it to only send them during certain hours, and I would get cry notifications, dozens of them, all day long, even when the baby was nowhere near his room. Clearly, all sorts of noises would be confused as crying, and the inability to only get them during certain times is very frustrating. This, of course, then renders the logging useless.
All in all, the extra features of this aren't worth paying the $50 a year, and because of that, I'm not sure this is worth the money. Without the online services, this is just an expensive monitor that works through a phone. For less than half the price of this, you can get a perfectly good monitor that isn't connected via WiFi. While that means you won't get to have your phone double as the monitor, it also means it will be much more reliable and easy to use. So, as much as I want to like this, I have to admit that it's probably not worth buying unless you really like gadgets and really want to avoid having to carry a receiver around.
on January 24, 2013
Set this monitor up on Monday January 21st 2013. Plugged it in and allowed it to connect to my router, then downloaded and started up the app on my iPhone 4 (Verizon) that I've had for just about 2 years. Followed the prompts through the app and connected the phone no problem, first directly to the WeMo itself, then through the WiFi router (Linksys 802.11 B/G/N). Following that, the app notified me that the WeMo unit would download new firmware and restart, which it did successfully over the span of about a minute. After restart, I was able to hook right up to it again.
It's Thursday January 17th, and WeMo has been running flawlessly since Monday. I can listen from work over Verizon's 3G network; takes about 10 seconds to buffer and connect. WeMo is situated upstairs and at the opposite end of my house from my WiFi router. It was able to quickly connect and has stayed connected from this location, so it's working through the floor and about 100 feet away. I've also installed the app and successfully connected / listened over WiFi from our iPad 2 and my daughter's current generation iPod touch.
I can honestly say I've had none of the problems others have had, perhaps due to the new firmware WeMo downloaded and installed when I first started it up? Also, the selectable noise suppression in the app is a nice touch, reminds me of "squelch" on my old CB and scanner.
Setup was brutal. It looked like it connected to the router, but the 'Start Listening' button wouldn't do anything afterward. After hard resets of all the routers (Airport Extreme Dual Band and an Airport Express for range extension), I finally unplugged the Airport Express and just let it try and connect to the Extreme. This seemed to be better, and setup sped up a bit. But, once I got there, the app simply kept crashing.
Belkin is having a hard time with their apps, in my opinion. I also have their NetCam and the app is not optimized for iPhone 5, which doesn't end up mattering since it never connects to the camera. Same deal with the WeMo app... it occasionally finds the the thing and works, but at least 50% of the time is just searches and then crashes.
All-in-all, this product is not stable enough to consider using. If Belkin was smart, they'd pull this thing off the shelves, apologize to customers, and start from scratch. I can't recommend this thing on any level.
on June 2, 2014
First I must say the device is really well built and beautifully designed. The electronics work very well, audio sensitivity is outstanding, and I didn't lose wireless connection at all. (Granted I have only had it plugged in for 5 days) There was very little to no delay in the audio when listening with my iPhone on wifi.
My complaints begin with the app and the requirement to pay monthly for email notifications for sound activity. The alerts aren't even push notifications. With today's technology, push should be something easily done. My Dropcam sends me push notifications motion activity.
This would be an outstanding product if Belkin included free push notifications for sound activity and also allowed a WEMO cam to be accessed in the same baby app. Seems like that would be a perfect, winning combination. I would have also considered paying for the EVOZ analysis of sleep/crying patterns, if the push notifications were free.
And lastly, since the firmware and app were last updated over a year ago, I don't have much faith in any future updates or product support.
This is the second recent Belkin product that I've had to unfavorably review. This monitor comes with almost no written instructions, I tried to set it up on 2 different wi-fi networks and couldn't get it to connect to the app. The app's link to further instructions was broken at the time of this review, and there was no online documentation, faq's or any type of support. The product would flash green, then flash amber, and guess what? I had no idea what that meant or whether it was good or bad because of no documentation! There is really no excuse for not setting up adequate documentation and help and debugging an app prior to releasing a product, Belkin.
on February 25, 2013
UPDATE: Belkin is clearly not happy with the reviews here and has takem to commenting about some updates. The updates Belkin mentions does improve the product reliability, and I upped the review to 4 stars. The service prices are still excessive.
I like the idea of this product, but it isn't a replacement for a dedicated monitor. Others will say there are cheaper ways to set up a monitor on an iPhone, but this should be a simplified interface and system even those who are not technically proficient will like. Luckily we are also using a Philips DECT model for dedicated listening in the master bedroom and family room.
It's fairly reliable, but sometimes it takes effort to get it going. It also has to buffer for quite a while on a fast wireless network with very nearby access point. This is a bit irritating.
The product has potential with the Premium service that will text you when the baby is crying. This is not a service I need, but tracking the crying/sleep data would be nice and is part of the $5/mo or $50/year service.
I'd they can work out the bugs in this new product and lower the price, it could be a great product.