VTech DM221 Safe & Sound Digital Audio Baby Monitor
Style: Monitor with One Parent UnitChange
Price:$29.95+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
318 of 344 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2012
As a new father, I wasn't sure what to expect. After trying a few older models by different brands, I ended up just getting something cost efficient by looked stable based on reviews. When I ordered these, I had pretty good hopes, but was very surprised. They are amazing. Before our baby came, I would be in the nursery setting up things and could communicate very easily to others throughout the house (was on a ladder). After a bad thunderstorm, we lost power, and they still worked just fine.
They now work great with baby in the nursery and we are so happy we got this brand/model!

Update: My original review was made a July, but I should have waited a little longer. It's now October, and just one night the units all started beeping at 3am and told me they were "Not Linked." There wasn't a power-outage or anything like that. When I finally got in touch with VTech they told me "oh yea, that happens some times. If you followed the instructions in the manual then they are broken and won't talk to each other anymore. Sorry... Oh, and you can't return them because you don't have the original box."

Another Update: After my complaint was heard on Amazon, VTech took my broken item back for a replacement. In May 2013 (not quite a year after purchasing the original, let alone receiving the above replacement), I had to contact VTech again due to the same issue when I moved to a new house. This time VTech seemed to be much more on the ball. As soon as I gave them the model number and said "they are not linking" the representative stopped me and started the process of sending out a new unit. Within 2 days I had a replacement. So I guess there is something to be said about VTech knowing about the issue and sending out new units to you if they break; but doesn't seem efficient to have to send multiple replacements in 1 year...

2015 Update: Some people have asked so I wanted to make the update; since my original review in 2012 it does appear VTech has changed their return policy. It no longer looks like they need the original box, as they did in 2012. One additional thing would be the unit they sent out in 2013 worked for a while, but about 6-8 months ago the LCD screens started to fade so I could no longer see the volume level and such, but the sound still worked. They all died completely about 2 months ago, so I guess I got 2 years out of the third unit...
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Sly-Dawgg, if you still have the monitor, call our support team @ 800-595-9511. We'll replace it. Thanks!
71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2012
We bought this based on the many reviews and I am sad to say that I am really disappointed. This couldnt handle being used at 40-50' in a single story home. It at times will link up and in the middle of the night start beeping because it lost its connection which makes for a rough nights sleep. Unreliable and wish I could return it and buy something else. Very disappointed.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2012
This product worked good for 5 months but then it lost its connection constantly. It continually beeps telleng us that it is not linked. We have two monitors and both of them are doing it. The distance webare away is probably less than 30 feet. I would not reccomend.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2013
We needed a new monitor when baby #2 came. I thought this would be an upgrade from our first basic Graco monitors. Psych! It's a pain to get back on if the power goes out. You have to take the battery out and let it completely drain before you plug it back in and it links up. So if your power goes out in the evening or night, you have no monitor for the rest of the night. Now, one year later, it will just decide to make the annoying 'not linked' noise even if its working right. And of course it only happens in the middle o the night. I'm so disappointed. This monitor just isn't worth it.
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131 of 158 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2012
I had this unit shipped overnight after our NTM-910YLW - Sony Baby Call Nursery Monitor unit started having constant issues with a ticking noise that would not have been very sleep-friendly for parents. Prior to this, we would get interference with cell phones and other electronic devices intermittently, but we perservered.

Let me note first that I have only just got the VTech today, but already I like it. I chose the model with two receivers so that we could have them permanently in the two rooms most frequented (bedroom and living room).

The parent units require an initial 11-18 hour charge before unplugging and using without the power cord. There are two different instructions. Therefore, I would suggest going with the longer charge to ensure the battery is well conditioned.

Aside from the hiccups that our Sony had, let me point out some major 'user-related' differences.

The Sony NTM 900 that we bought had only one parent unit. This particular VTech monitor came with two parent units. Sometimes when going to bed, I'd forget to grab the monitor, so it's one little hassle I don't have to consider now.

The Sony NTM 900 is analogue and while you can adjust channels, if you have a lot of electronics, or many neighbors, you will probably find this is not the model for you.

The VTech is digital and uses DECT Technology (the same stuff as is used with cordless telephones). I'm not sure that a police scanner won't pick up on your baby conversations, but they claim it's very secure. So far, I have no outside interference, funny noises etc (unless you count the baby babble).

Even though we have a sound machine in baby's bedroom and the lullaby is always going, the Vtech monitor is barely picking it up, but it will respond when baby starts to make a noise. I like this, because I'm starting to go a little crazy with Rock-A-By Baby and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

The Vtech has different options for being alerted to baby noises. You can set it to vibrate, have a sound alert, or actually hearing the baby. It also has the ability to talk from the parent unit to the baby unit so that if you wish to soothe baby without going in and disturbing him/her, you can. The Sony NTM 900 was one-way only.

This was the first time I had chosen one day shipping and am very pleased with Amazon (and UPS's) service. It was worth it. I can sleep in my bed again tonight and not in the nursery.

Update 09/23/2012: Roaming distance outside is at least 250-300 yards (at a guess because I'm not good with guessing distance) and product is still working perfectly without interference. I'd definitely recommend a digital monitor over an analogue one.

Update 05/04/2013: Product worked great, but after the baby unit was disconnected from the wall recently (by mistake), we have been unable to resynchronize the parent units to the baby unit, which renders them pretty useless. So, while I rated this as a good product, it could be something we're doing wrong, so I'm a bit loathe to downgrade my initial review just yet. Just note that I'm not the only person to have had this issue.
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259 of 318 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2013
UPDATE 6/4/13 - I'm keeping the Vtech rating at 4 stars. This is due to battery life. I can get about maybe 6-8 hours out of a charge, which is not very much. I'm guessing they really cheaped out on the battery. It does beep to alert you when the battery is running low. As long as you remember to plug it in every evening, it's not a problem. Otherwise, it's a fabulous unit and has been working excellent for our family. Still the best choice of the 3 I reviewed below.

UPDATED 3/28/13
I've owned the below 3 units over the course of the last 2 years. I recommend the VTech for now (I've only had it a few weeks, but it is by far the winner in performance AND value). For features, I only listed the features that I felt would be important to the average buyer. Some of the units had other features that I didn't list because I didn't think there were critical in my decision making process.

Also, it might be important to note that we live in a 2 story house and we have Wi Fi.

Philips AVENT Basic Baby Monitor with DECT Technology
1 star
Price I paid: $95

Features:
talk back - yes
night light - yes
battery backup on Baby Unit - yes
Temperature - no (but available on upgraded units)
Visual sound indicator - yes, LED

Ease of use and customization of features (ie: setting the sensitivity level, etc): easy, intuitive.

Signal: excellent, DECT, crystal clear

Other thoughts: Loved this monitor until....... after about 6 months of use the parent unit would randomly turn itself off with no warning, no beeping, nothing. I started waking up in the morning to an "off" parent unit. This happened even if it was plugged into the charger. When I pressed "on", it would power up just fine and work well for a few days. Then it would shut off again. After a few weeks, it started shutting itself of more and more frequently. Thought it was a faulty unit, so I called Avent and they promptly sent out a replacement for free (nice customer service!). After few months of use the second unit started doing the same thing. Therefore, cannot recommend this product - it's dangerous if it turns off while you're sleeping. If you run a search on the reviews for this product for "turns off" you will see that it has happened to others.

Angelcare Baby Sound Monitor, White
2 stars
Price I paid: $59

Features:
talk back - no
night light - yes
battery backup on Baby Unit - yes
Temperature - yes
Visual sound indicator - yes. But it's not LED (which is very bright), it's part of the digital display, so you probably wouldn't notice the bars lighting up. So, yes, there is a visual sound indicator but it's poorly designed rendering it not useful.

Ease of use and customization of features: HORRIBLE, clumsy, not intuitive. You WILL need to bust out the manuel everytime you want to changes something. Channel selection is done at the Baby Unit, not the Parent Unit. That means if you have a bad connection, you have to go into the nursery to change the channel and possibly run the risk of disturbing a sleeping baby. You have to go through a series of random steps, pushing buttons in a certain sequence on both the nursery unit and parent unit. Also, it doesn't scan the channels to seek the best connection. You have the manually go through and listen to each channel and decide which one sounds the best to you. Sensitivity adjustment is also done on the Nursery Unit. Temp display is bizarre. If you turn the Parent Unit on AFTER the Nursery Unit (which is about 99% of the time, since I, like most people I know, just leave the Nursery Unit on 24/7) the display shows the channel. And will stay on the channel until the temp changes. So, the only way you can see what the temp is if the temp changes. It would have made a lot more sense to have the channel appear on the display first and then time out and default back to the temp setting since I think that as long as you're getting a good signal, you don't really care what the channel number is. But you probably do care about the temp.

Signal: 8 channel 927 MHz frequency. Started off good but after several months of use, the reception isn't as clear. I've tried all the different channels, but I still get intermittent static. It's annoying because it wakes me up.

Other thoughts: display on the parent unit is BRIGHT. Some may find it annoyingly bright if you like a really dark room. I originally thought this was a good value (at the time of purchse, my point of reference was the $95 Avent), but now after owning the $29 Vtech, I think the Angelcare is totally overpriced, especially considering how difficult it is to program the features. Not acceptable.

VTech Communications Safe & Sound Digital Audio Monitor
4 stars (if it holds up, I will change to 5 stars)
Price I paid: $29 (Value!!!)

Features:
talk back - yes
night light - yes (nightlight also has "auto on" feature which is kinda cool)
battery backup on Baby Unit - no
Temperature - no
Visual sound indicator - yes, LED

Ease of use and customization of features: easy, intuitive.

Signal: excellent. DECT technology, same as Avent. Now, I've only had this unit for a few weeks, so hopefully the quality doesn't start to go downhill after a few months. If so, I will post an update.

Other thoughts: this monitor also has a "vibrate" feature, which I thought was interesting. On the parent unit, you would not be able to tell it's on if the room is dark because the display screen is not backlit unless you are actively pushing a button on the unit (I assume to save battery power, it goes into a "sleep mode"). I wish there was a small LED indicator for this. After my Avent experience above I have trust issues ;). With this parent unit, I have to reach for it and push a button so the screen lights up to confirm it's actually on. It's minor, but I think worth mentioning. The Avent monitor had a small LED that was lit when it was on.

For the price, the clarity, the features, and ease of use, VTech wins hands down. It has all the same features and clarity that the Avent had (actually, the Vtech has even more features with the sound alert and vibrate alert), but it was 1/3 of the cost. So, unless it starts shutting itself off, this is a FANTASTIC monitor at a FANTASTIC price.
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213 of 266 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2012
My main decision to buy this monitor was my great experiences with Vtech phones & reviews. I read many reviews where most people were very happy with this monitor. They may be unaware what they're missing. I have a wired night/day video cam where this monitor is used. The 2nd night of use I could see my child sitting up in bed crying. The monitor is only inches away & was not picking it up. It said it was linked. Sensitivity & volume options were up all the way. I walked up to the room & could hear her calling for mommy & daddy. Her room is about 20 ft away. There's an air conditioner on in our room so we couldnt hear the cries up the hall. I feel this is unacceptable & gives false sense that your child is sound asleep & safe. The volume is low for a high setting even when talking directly into it. This monitor was bought to replace an older Summer brand baby monitor. The previous monitor had more white noise, but picked up child moving around & crying even at 1/2 max volume.
If you decide to purchase, test the monitor where it will be used so you know what to expect for volume levels & what sounds it does pick up.
The Vtech has many great functions including talkback feature not common in most monitors. All of this I feel cant compensate for not hearing your child.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2012
Ordered these monitors based on the good amazon reviews. Was very disappointed in the quality. Regardless of whether the monitor was several rooms away, or right next to the baby's room, the monitoring cut in and out. They were also super staticy compared to other monitors I've tried, so much so that I am returning them.
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85 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2012
This monitor was our third try at getting a decent monitor for a decent price. The first one was good but broke within a couple months. The second was used for 1 day before we sent it back. We have been using this monitor for a couple weeks now and only have one complaint. They are too sensitive. We run a sound machine that generates white noise in the toddler's room. We always thought it generated a smooth white noise, but it doesn't. This monitor picks up and amplifies all the inconsistencies in the noise. However, we put a washcloth over the monitor unit in the toddler's room and were able to use the feature that allows for adjusting the sensitivity of the receiver (each receive can be set at a different sensitivity level) to completely eliminate the white noise from coming through the receiver. We still hear our daughter but don't hear any of her sound machine.

We have both been very impressed with the well thought out engineering that went into these monitors. I was impressed when I first opened the box. The packaging was plastic clamshell but it came in two pieces -- a top and a bottom. I just slid off the top piece and 2 seconds later had the monitor out on the table. We both like the rechargeable batteries that came with both receivers. Just unplug and go.

We don't have a very hostile environment where the monitor runs. We live in a house by ourselves with the monitor and receiver on the same floor two rooms (30 feet) apart. We don't have a wireless phone system, just two cell phones (one of which charges 2 inches from the receiver without interfering with it). We have a wireless internet router that does not interfere with it either.

Overall a very good product that was intelligently engineered. Will post a followup later to see how it holds up.
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
Mom is the caregiver for my partially paralyzed Dad. She had to go into the hospital for a week, which meant someone else had to help in their home. This monitor was PERFECT for communicating between his room and the guest room where the caregiver slept. It's not just for babies. Easy to use and very clear.
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