Best Wifi Baby Monitor 2020
BT Smart Baby Monitor review
The BT Smart Baby Monitor lets you check in on your baby remotely via Wi-Fi and ticks all the techy boxes with its easy-to-use app and voice control functions.
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Verdict in 10 seconds
- Wifi video monitor with clear audio and a long-lasting battery
- Its price tag may be off-putting, but with the ability to check in on your baby remotely, this monitor offers an extra level of reassurance
- Quick to set up
- Can be used with voice controls and the BT Smart Controls app
- Smart appearance and intuitive design
- Two-way talkback feature was sometimes glitchy
- Depending on the screen size you go for it can be pricey
- No touchscreen
- Wireless and portable
- Five-inch or 2.8-inch colour LCD display screen
- Night vision
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- Sound level display (LED lights) for reassurance
- Two-way talkback so you can communicate with your baby
- Five lullabies
- Temperature sensor and display
- Volume control with three levels
- Out-of-range indicator
- Sound-activated lights with 135-degree pan, digital zoom and tilt
- Wall-mountable camera
- Reminder alerts
- Works with iOS and Android devices
- 1080p HD video streaming – encrypted and protected with industry-recognised Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
- Free via Apple Store or Google Play Store
- Colour screen
- Night vision
- Pinch to zoom
- Ability to record snapshots and take videos
- Motion detection notifications
- Sound detection notifications
- Five different lullabies
- Temperature display
- Temperature alarm notifications
- Two-way talkback – touch to talk
- Motorised 135-degree pan and tilt
- Digital zoom
- Adjustable volume
What are the specs?
- Range: 250 metres (50 metres indoors)
- Screen size: Five inches (2.8-inch version also available)
- Warranty: Two years
- Dimensions (five-inch monitor): 15.2 × 16.4 × 8.5cm
- RRP: £149.98
What’s in the box?
- User guide
- Baby unit
- Parent unit
- Two power adapters
Mumsnet Exclusive: 2.8-inch BT Smart Monitor now £99.99 (was £129.99)
We have a BT video monitor. It's handy as you can talk to your baby through it. When DS has stirred I've been able to sing a few lines to him over the monitor and settle him rather than get up.
How easy is the BT Smart Baby Monitor to set up?
With easy-to-open packaging and simple quick-start paper instructions, it took our parent testers, Rachel and Bobby, around 10 minutes to get going. This included downloading the Smart Controls app on their iPhone and connecting it to the baby unit, which is pretty straightforward, albeit solely reliant on decent wifi.
A small niggle for our testers was needing to create a BT account using their email address and phone number in order to start using the app. Worth doing, though, as this adds an extra security layer if ever a log-in is seen from a new or unknown device.
As well as information about the monitor itself, the instructions also cover how to set up and use the free app and voice control feature, and BT provide some examples on what to say if you’re using either Alexa or Google Assistant. You'll also find troubleshooting FAQs and tips, and you can download the instruction manual from the BT website if you lose your paper copy.
There aren’t any videos on the BT website to aid set-up but, to be honest, we doubt you'd need one to get up and running. BT provide email support and a telephone helpdesk in case you do get stuck.
How good is the audio on the BT Smart Baby Monitor?
Audio quality was clear and interference-free during testing, if a little on the quiet side.
The monitor has three easily-adjustable volume settings and sound level lights so that you can see whether your baby needs you, even with the volume turned right down.
Our testers found the two-way talkback feature annoying at times as they experienced some lagging and cutting in and out, both via wifi and the push-to-talk button. If outstanding two-way talk is more essential to you than video or app compatibility, check out the Babymoov Premium Care instead, an audio-only baby monitor that scored very well in testing.
How about the signal?
Rachel and Bobby put BT’s strong signal claims (250 metres outdoors; 50 metres indoors) to the test and found the range to be excellent throughout the house and into the garden.
The signal didn’t seem to be affected by walls or ceilings, with the parent monitor working just as well inside their neighbour’s house two doors down as outside on the street. The parent monitor beeps when out of range, so you’ll know if it’s too far away to pick up any sound.
When you’ve got a good wifi connection, you can check in on your baby remotely, e.g. if you’re working late or, as Bobby tried out, from a local restaurant. This functionality means you don’t have to miss saying goodnight, wherever you may be, which will be a huge plus point for parents in need of a long-distance solution.
The picture quality was occasionally affected by the strength of Rachel and Bobby's wifi, which was frustrating at times, however it was generally very good.
If wifi strength is hit and miss where you are, you may prefer to opt for a video monitor without this functionality, such as the Summer Infant Baby Pixel, Mumsnet's Best Video Monitor 2020.
How long does the battery last?
While the initial charge time before first use seems extensive (a recommended 12 hours, no less), the overall battery performance was strong. It lasted eight hours with the video on, and 16 hours with just audio monitoring (and the screen timer enabled), which beats BT’s claims of a four-hour battery life.
To recharge the portable parent unit, you'll need to plug it into the mains. The baby unit needs to be connected to a plug socket at all times, which is something to bear in mind if you’re taking it on holiday.
The charging alert flashes red when the battery needs charging, but you can set the screen to turn off automatically to save battery life – it turns off when no button is pressed for one, three or five minutes.
How does it look?
Rachel and Bobby thought the baby unit looked attractive and clean-looking, and that the subtle purple and white colour scheme fitted well in their baby’s nursery.
You can pop the camera on your baby’s chest of drawers, as our testers did, or mount it on the wall depending on your nursery layout (they didn't try this out). They found it gave off a light glow, but not enough to disturb their eight-month-old baby’s sleep.
Out of the box, the parent unit does have a games console air about it. Similar in style to other video monitors on the market, such as the Summer Infant Panorama 2, the monitor itself has a simple, user-friendly design, some good features, and an intuitive menu with large easy-to-use buttons.
What’s the monitor like to use day-to-day?
BT are perhaps more well-known for their broadband than their baby products, but their voice-controlled smart monitor (a UK first!) is great to use on a day-to-day basis.
Despite the BT Smart Monitor's technical wizardry, its simple design and responsive controls make using it – and its accompanying app – straightforward, even for people who may not be used to using smart devices.
Our testers found the video functionality pretty good on both the app and the monitor, with remote 135-degree pan, digital zoom and tilt making it easy for them to check in on their baby whenever they wanted to.
The automatic night vision mode performed well on both the app and regular monitor (better on the app thanks to integrated HD), with Rachel and Bobby being able to clearly see their child’s movements, and whether they looked happy or unsettled, in the dark.
Although easy to control, our testers found the range of up and down movements rather restricted on the app due to the range offered by the camera tilt mechanism. When using the app there is no up or down option, and the side-to-side range is more limited than on the regular monitor as it moves a set distance each time, making it difficult for users to fine-tune the movement.
The monitor streams live HD video to the BT Smart Controls App on your phone so you can take and save photos, record video footage and use voice controls with both Alexa and Google Assistant.
Rachel and Bobby found the app incredibly easy to use, preferring to use the monitor via the app rather than the actual parent unit. The app is stable (our testers didn’t record a single incident of it freezing), doesn’t send annoying notifications and didn’t eat into their phone battery too much either.
Our testers didn't have a home assistant during testing so couldn’t try this out themselves, however we were impressed by how the Smart Baby Monitor interacted with Google Assistant (we didn’t try with Alexa, so can’t vouch for that) and by the responsiveness of the voice controls when we tested them here at Mumsnet HQ, which is good considering it’s the monitor’s unique selling point.
It was really easy for the Mumsnet HQ team to link the two – it took less than a minute in total – and Google Assistant seemed accurate when responding to a couple of example questions. We asked it to play a lullaby and tell the temperature, which, once read back to us, prompted some excitement.
When it came to portability, our testers found the parent unit lightweight and easy to carry around in their pockets while their arms were full, and small enough to fit in an average-sized changing bag.
They tried the five-inch-screen version, but a smaller 2.8-inch-screen parent unit is also available to buy, which, unsurprisingly, is a more travel-friendly size.
Are there any extra features?
The BT Smart Baby Monitor is stacked with extra features. The camera works as a temperature sensor so you can check that your baby’s room isn’t too hot or too cold. It also plays five different lullabies, although Rachel and Bobby found these rather unsettling due to their computer-generated tone.
They did, however, like the reminder alerts function that lets you set an alarm to go off in two, four or six hours' time – for example, to let you know when your baby’s next feed is due.
A far cry from BT’s Audio 450 Lightshow, which is a decent (but budget) monitor in its own right, the Smart Monitor, if used via the Smart Controls app, allows parents to take photos and videos (these are saved within your phone's main photo gallery), view live HD video streams and record footage directly from their smartphone.
There’s also a motion detector feature which alerts you when movement is detected. This is particularly reassuring for first-time parents, although you may need to adjust the settings if you end up getting too many notifications.
Is the baby monitor safe?
The BT Smart Baby Monitor is a lightweight (224g) and robust bit of kit, apart from its camera mount which our testers thought could prove a little flimsy if a toddler got hold of it.
The monitor survived our drop test (i.e. being chucked down the stairs) and was also played with frequently by Rachel and Bobby's three-year-old toddler without getting damaged.
Clear safety instructions on installation, location and care are included, reminding you of the standard stuff, such as keeping the monitor away from water and out of reach of curious children.
BT also addresses key wifi security concerns:
- You need to press a link button on the baby monitor to initially connect it with your smartphone or home assistant
- You need to be logged into wifi to use the app and you’ll be automatically logged out if the wifi cuts out
- Two-factor authentication (phone and email) alerts you when somebody new connects to your device
- The app automatically logs you out every time you finish using it
- Notes online remind you to set a strong password and change it frequently, and advise you to set a PIN or fingerprint ID to access your phone
- BT also assure users that live stream recordings and events stored in the Cloud are secured by a personal username and password, and that your account is secured using a PIN. BT's video stream is also encrypted with AES 128-bit security
How easy is it to clean?
Rachel and Bobby noticed a few grooves that dirt might accumulate in, but they didn’t feel this would be a deal-breaker.
The monitor is made from plastic, which means that it can easily be cleaned with a dry cloth or duster.
Is the BT Smart Baby Monitor good value for money?
Although our testers weren’t wowed by the two-way talkback feature, they felt the monitor has everything you’d expect for its cost with good audio and signal, and a varied set of additional features, including lullabies and reminder alerts.
There is a slight difference in price between the five-inch monitor, which usually costs £149.98, and the 2.8-inch, which is slightly cheaper at £129.99.
The Smart Baby Monitor does come with a two-year warranty though and the fact that it can be used with the free app means, in the long-run, it could well be worth the investment.
Reliable, innovative and easy to use, what sets the BT Smart Baby Monitor apart from its competitors is its wifi functionality, voice control features and fantastic app with its clear night vision camera and its ability to record videos at any given moment.
About Mumsnet Reviews
All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents after weeks of research and testing – this includes recommendations from the Mumsnet Talk boards. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. However, we never allow this to influence our coverage. Read our how we test page to find out more.
For more information about what to look for when buying a baby monitor, check out our buyer's guide.
All prices correct at time of publication
How we test
If you're looking for a baby monitor to see you and your child through naps and nighttime, we've got you covered. Find out how we tested the top baby monitors on the market to discover the five best devices for 2020.Read more »
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