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on November 17, 2014
I have previously owned 2 older Levana monitors and loved everything about them. However, after many years of daily use causing one’s battery to no longer hold a charge unless plugged in, and the other being involved in an unfortunate incident that won’t let it charge at all, we were looking to upgrade with #3 on the way. I researched monitors for hours and hours and finally decided to just try the Astra based off of the features and price.

The main feature I absolutely loved about our original Levana monitor was the VOX feature. Basically, you can put both the camera AND audio to sleep when the child is quiet in the middle of the night. Most other brands of monitors let you turn off the video screen but it leaves the audio active with no way to silence it other than to turn it all of the way down. My 2 year old sleeps with music and an air purifier on and I don’t want to listen to that all night but if I turn the audio off, I won’t be able to hear her if she cries. It seems as though Levana’s new monitors no longer have VOX but instead have “PEEP,” however it was unclear if they were the same thing. Even an email to customer service, while returned in a timely manner, didn’t really answer my question.

If others are also confused by this, let me clarify that they are the exact same thing. With the Astra monitor, when you put the unit into “PEEP” mode, if the child is quiet then the screen is dark and the unit is COMPLETELY silent. You can put it right up to your ear and you will not hear even the faintest amount of static. In fact, one of my tiny complaints is that you have no way to know if the unit is actually turned on by just looking at it since it is silent and no lights are on. Other reviewers have mentioned a bright blue light that stays on in PEEP mode, but Levana must have listened to the customers and changed that since the lighted ring only lights up as a noise indicator when the child actually makes noise.

I will note that there is no way to keep the audio on while having the video off. I know some reviewers have said it’s possible, but I’ve played around with every setting (PEEP on/off, battery save on/off) and every time the screen goes off, whether automatically or manually, the audio also goes off and I see no way to change this. Since I have no desire to hear every little benign noise my child makes while they sleep, this was not an issue for me whatsoever. If I'm awake to need to listen to every little noise then the screen can be on. When in PEEP mode, if baby makes a one-time loud noise such as a cough, the audio/video turns on but will automatically put itself back to sleep after 60 seconds of the child being quiet.

More about the PEEP mode: You are able to change the sensitivity of how loud the child needs to be to trigger the audio and video to turn on. When I’m standing approximately 5’ away from the camera, the highest sensitivity will go off with very low talking, while the lowest sensitivity goes off with regular talking. Obviously the amount of noise needed to trigger the camera will vary by how far away you are from it, but across a 9 foot room the camera was always triggered with a cough or a louder noise such as a cry, even at the least sensitive setting.

Other features:

Handheld unit: Very sleek and lightweight. You’re able to lock the buttons to keep curious little fingers from picking up the unit and messing with the settings. There is an easy to use kickstand and the screen is a great size. I don’t see a need for a screen to be much bigger, especially if it means losing resolution.

Video quality: Excellent given the price of the camera. The day vision doesn’t have super vibrant colors but it’s very clear and easy to see what is going on in the room with almost no delay. The night vision is good as well even when the camera is placed on the other side of the room. I can easily see whether my daughter is laying down, sitting, or getting out of bed. When the camera is closer, I’m able to see if her chest rising and falling as she sleeps. I added a picture of the same view with the lights on and lights off (room completely dark), though a picture of an electronic screen doesn't quite do the video quality justice. It's much better in person.

Lullabies: They’re OK. They’re much harder to access on this unit compared to the older monitor which is a good thing…. You don’t want to accidentally turn them on when baby has just fallen asleep. There are 3 songs to choose from (Canon in D, Brahms, and Twinkle Twinkle) and it plays about 15 seconds of whichever song you select before repeating. There is no way to change the volume of the lullabies. It’s not super quiet, but it wouldn’t startle a child either. The quality of the music is decent. Not stellar, but I doubt a child would notice that it could be better.

Invisible LEDs: Truly invisible! There’s no bright red infrared light glaring into your child's face. There is a very small green light on the back of the camera to let you know it’s on, but it’s not bright or obtrusive at all.

Temperature monitor: There isn’t one. Do people really feel this is necessary?

Range: I’ve had zero issues with this monitor within our 1,900 sq ft, 3 story house (including finished basement). I’m able to take it outside to do yard work in our 0.5 acre yard and it only loses its connection at the very end of our property. I’m not sure why the reviews are so mixed on this… it must just be house dependent.

Talk to Baby intercom: After reading the reviews I was prepared for this to be absolutely awful. While not an amazing quality, it’s not *that* bad. It sounds how you might hear someone who is talking through a low static walkie talkie. It might not be perfect to soothe a small baby back to sleep, but it works well for my purposes of telling my daughter to get back into bed when I see her sneaking out.

Pan/Tilt/Zoom: It’s virtually silent so would not wake or disturb a child at all. It’s quite very responsive and the range is excellent too. If you do pan to its end range the screen will blink, but I only noticed that when I was testing just how far it could go. The zoom is simply a digital zoom so not that great, but that’s common for monitors at this price point.

Cost: I had been watching the prices of all of Levana’s products for months so I knew when the Astra dropped to $102 on Amazon to jump on it. Be patient and keep your eye on the price as it fluctuates heavily, but for just over $100, this is worth every penny and then some. I'd even pay $145 for it.

Other factors: You can add up to 4 cameras to one unit however for a few reasons my husband and I decided to buy 2 separate Astra units (one for the 2 year old, one for the new baby). First of all, I found out that if you have 2+ cameras on one unit, you can only pick one camera to put into PEEP mode while the other camera(s) would need to be manually checked on. So basically, you have to guess which child is going to be the one to wake up since the monitor isn’t set to pick up on anything in the other child’s room. I did confirm this with a customer service rep and believe it is how all of their multi-camera units operate. This was a huge issue for me personally since the 2 year often wakes us to go potty so we need to hear her as well as the baby. In addition, we typically share nighttime duties where my husband tends to the 2 year old while I tend to the new baby, so it was much more convenient to have two separate monitors to put on our respective night stands. Also, if the handheld unit should break, you are now out a monitor for all cameras. The price of an additional camera wasn’t much less than a whole new set so it just worked better for us to buy two, especially at $100 each. I do like the idea of potentially adding a camera in our basement play room at some point since that wouldn't need to be monitored at night.

All in all, this is an excellent monitor with great features for the price as long as you’re not the type of parent who wants to hear their child’s every movement in the middle of the night. In fact, you’ll definitely get spoiled by sleeping in a quiet room and not listening to idle static all night long!
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91 helpful votes
92 helpful votes
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on August 24, 2014
I purchased this Levana unit and the Infant Optics DXR-5 because I wasn't sure which one I wanted. Even though the Levana is up to 50 dollars more I think the Infant Optics model is a better buy for the following reasons.

1) The range on the Levana unit is abysmal and seems to have a lot of interference issues. I had the monitor about 50 feet from the camera and it constantly had connection issues.

2) The screen quality is very poor and extremely laggy. Similar to when the original web cams came out in the 90's and there was a one to two second delay with every movement. The Infant Optics unit is perfectly smooth and the screen quality is better despite being 1" smaller.

The key benefits of the Levana unit is that it has pan/tilt, two way audio and lullabies built in. These are all great features but if the key function of the camera doesn't work well then what's the point?
9 helpful votes
10 helpful votes
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on April 23, 2015
This monitor is just not worth the money - end of story. We have the Levana Safe N See that we used with our first child but were looking for something new since we're expecting again. I thought this monitor would be a great step up - let me tell you - it is NOT. It's always cutting off with interference from wireless devices (even worse than our Safe N See!). The range was advertised to be 250 ft longer than our current monitor - it reached to the exact same point on our patio as the old monitor. Another problem is the volume adjust - there are only a few settings and the lowest one is SO LOUD. We use a sound machine and when we tried to watch TV in the evening while our daughter was sleeping, I had to mute it. The night vision is TERRIBLE. Our old Safe N See had a much better picture. And no Temperature reading! We sent it back and spent a little more to get the Infant Optics one and it is sooooo much better. Better range and clearer night vision for sure. Another plus is that you can buy all of the parts separately as needed. You can't do this with Levana. The infant optics has 8 or 9 volume options as well so you're able to adjust it as you need it. I ordered the Astra hoping to save money vs. the infant optics but it is in NO WAY worth the extra savings - which really isn't much anyways.
4 helpful votes
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on June 15, 2017
Overall, we really like this monitor. We used it with our first and got another when our new baby was born because both cameras can be linked to one monitor. The picture and sound are good, I like that you can move the camera and zoom in from the monitor. I only have two complaints: the range for he monitor is adequate but I would prefer if it were better. My house isn't huge and I'm not sure how it would work if I wanted to go out in the yard or something. And occasionally it's hard to see what's on the monitor when it's neither bright now dark in the room. Otherwise, we like it a lot and it's great for the price!
1 helpful vote
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on June 2, 2017
I have owned 2 of these exact baby monitors. The first one worked beautifully, even after being dropped in a tub full of water and on hard surfaces for 2 years. However, the second one I bought, this review, is worthy of 1 star for the picture going black at least once a day, the reception cutting out multiple times a night and the video quality making my child barely visible. I gave 3 stars because the 1st monitor was a 5, but the second was a 1, so I split the difference. The reason I had to buy a second monitor was because the piece inside the monitor, where I would plug the adapter into the monitor, broke off.
1 helpful vote
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on June 26, 2017
UPDATE 9.19.17: So instead of buying a whole new system, we purchased a new camera. I have returned to report on the quality of then handheld monitor. The kickstand busted off, the antenna is hanging out by the wire, and it not longer holds a charge for more than 20 minutes. It's garbage. I'm going to try to hold onto it for a while because Levana doesn't offer to sell you a separate monitor. You have to buy a new monitor and camera set. Isn't that nice?

Older Review: We had one monitor paired to two cameras, which would alternate on the screen. I woke up in the middle of the night because I could no longer hear my son's room over the monitor. It was still paired to my daughters, but was giving me a lost signal error for my son's camera. I made sure the camera was plugged in and on. I've tried repairing the camera and monitor. Nothing. It just doesn't work anymore.

This system wasn't my favorite to begin with... and now I'm just pissed that I wasted my money on something that broke right out of warranty.
1 helpful vote
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on May 14, 2017
We bought this after scouring reviews of various monitors and this one had received high praise from several sites. We were generally pretty happy with the monitor although the range was a bit weaker than our eventual replacement. We one day about 12 months after the purchase noticed it was no longer holding a charge throughout the night. As it turned out, the inner metal connector on the handset that attached to the AC adapter had broken off inside the AC adapter's male connector. Thus, rendering the handset useless.

In a scramble we bought the Infant Optics DX8, which for the money has a much better camera and from what we can tell a better range in our house. Additionally, it has a temperature monitor, which the Levana didn't have.
1 helpful vote
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on May 4, 2017
We have been using this monitor for 4 months now with our 9 month old. The video quality is pretty good and I like that I can move the angle of the camera from the handheld device. We have not had any issues with distance from the camera or losing signal as other reviews have said.

However, the night mode is terrible. The room has to be pitch black for it to turn on. If it is dusk and the room isn't completely dark, night mode won't turn on and you can't see anything in the monitor until it does. Also, if it's a dreary day and she is napping in the middle of the day I can't see in the monitor. It would be great if you could manually turn on night mode.

Another thing I can't stand is the buzzing noise the monitor makes when the screen is on. It is incredibly obnoxious, sometimes I mute the volume and just look for the red, yellow or green light to turn on so I know if she is making noise. Also, you have to manually turn the screen off. It will not turn off after inactivity so the buzzing noise won't go away until you shut the screen down. Did I mention how incredibly obnoxious the noise is?!?
1 helpful vote
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on May 31, 2017
It's definitely not worth the money. I wish I would have just spent the money on a second camera for my existing monitor that I had for my 2 year old but I saw this one and thought it would be better but it wasn't at all. The video is very distorted and sometimes it shows just a black screen so I can't even see my infant and can only hear her. I've tried turning it off and back on but that doesn't fix the problem. It was a waste of money and I'm upset at myself for not returning it in time.
1 helpful vote
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on October 17, 2016
I love this baby monitor. The image is clear, sound is good, and so far, the reception is good.

The features are great! I love that I can talk to my daughter through it so she hears mommy's voice even when I can't race right in. The fact that I can adjust the camera view from wherever I am is just....nifty....its nifty! And convienent. What a great feature! The lullabies are okay....nothing amazing.

I read that a lot of the 1 star reviews complain about reception. I've had it go out for a moment here or there, but generally have had no issues. That said, I'm using it in an apartment, not a full house so my experience may be very different from that others.
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