First Look Review (Sponsored by BT)

BT Smart Baby Monitor review

When it comes to video baby monitors, the choices are endless. Here are our first impressions of BT’s newest creation, the Smart Baby Monitor.

Buy now £149.98 from BT

While BT are perhaps more well-known for their broadband than their baby products, when they told us they were launching the UK’s first voice-controlled smart monitor we instantly took notice.

Having tried out the new Smart Baby Monitor, our enthusiastic Reviews team at MNHQ share their initial thoughts.

Who's it for?

In a bid to ‘keep customers connected to the things that matter most’, the Smart Baby Monitor is a product designed mostly for parents who are more familiar with Alexa than they are with walkie talkies.

A far cry from BT’s Audio 450 Lightshow, which is a decent (but budget) monitor in its own right, the Smart Baby Monitor allows parents to take photos, watch live HD video streaming, use voice control with Alexa or Google Assistant and record footage directly from their smartphone via the BT Smart Controls app, which can be downloaded on both Android and iOS.

While this may all sound fancy (and the app is pretty cool, we have to admit), the good thing about this BT baby monitor is that it’s not just for the tech-savvy.

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 a parent unit with an intuitive menu and a manageable amount of buttons.

We tried the 5-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.

At first glance

Out of the box, the Smart Baby Monitor looks attractive (the design is a subtle mixture of white and purple), but the parent unit does have a games console air about it.

It comes with a minimal amount of parts though – four in total, including a parent unit, baby unit and two chargers – and feels both sturdy and lightweight (at 224g) with thick screens and in-built stands. All parts are also small enough to carry around in an average-sized handbag or changing bag.

bt baby monitor

Getting started

With easy-to-follow paper instructions, which also come with handy tips on how to use the voice control feature (think example questions – particularly useful to those of us who are less than familiar with virtual assistants), it took the MNHQ team around 15 minutes to get going. This included downloading the baby monitor app and connecting it to the baby unit, which was fairly simple all-in-all, albeit solely reliant on decent Wifi.

We did struggle to view the camera on the app to start with before realising that you needed to click on the camera icon in order to see anything, which could have been a bit more obvious, but that was soon rectified.

In order to use the app, you will need to create an account using your email address and phone number, which may initially be off-putting, but, according to BT, this adds an extra security layer if ever a log-in is seen from a new or unknown device. The app also automatically logs you out every time you finish using it.

While the initial charge time before first use seems extensive (a recommended 12 hours, no less), the charge on the monitor typically last for four hours unless it’s plugged in at the mains. The baby unit needs to be connected to a plug socket at all times.

When it comes to signal strength, BT claim that the maximum range between parent and baby unit is up to 250 metres outdoors and 50 metres indoors, but we have yet to try this out.

Stand-out features

While the monitor itself isn’t exactly ground-breaking – the interface seems a little dated and the screen and audio quality on the parent unit is okay at best (grainy with a tiny bit of lag at times, despite good volume levels) – it’s the functionality alongside the app and voice assistant that really sets this monitor apart from its competition.

Standard features, like the colour video screen, two-way talkback, lullabies, two-setting zoom and temperature sensor, can be used via the parent unit and app, but the app has way more features overall. As such, it’s much more exciting to use (particularly for those of us who use our smartphones for everything), it’s easier to navigate, and tends to perform a lot better too.

We love the app’s astoundingly clear night vision camera (which is down to integrated HD), it’s ability to record videos at any given moment, and the 135-degree pan, which is particularly useful for parents who want to see all corners of a room.

The app also lets you take photos as well as automatic motion sensor snapshots for extra reassurance, which is something a lot of parents will appreciate. There are also a good number of setting choices.

Lastly, we were particularly impressed with how the Smart Baby Monitor interacted with Google Assistant (we didn’t try with Alexa, so can’t vouch for that), which is good considering it’s the monitor’s unique selling point. It was really easy 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.

What are the main features?

Parent unit

  • Wireless and portable
  • Colour screen – no HD
  • Night vision
  • Sound level display (LED lights) for reassurance
  • Two-way talkback so you can communicate with your little one when away from home
  • 135-degree pan
  • Digital zoom and tilt
  • Reminder alerts
  • Two screen sizes – 2.8 or 5 inches
  • Five different lullabies
  • Temperature sensor and display
  • Adjustable volume
  • Sound-activated lights
  • Wall-mountable camera
  • No touch screen

App

  • 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 tilt
  • Digital zoom and tilt
  • Adjustable volume
baby monitor reviews

Let's talk money

The 5-inch monitor costs £149.98, while the 2.8-inch is slightly cheaper at £129.99, which is pretty standard for a video baby monitor.

But considering we preferred using the monitor via the app, as opposed to the actual parent unit, and considering a monitor may not be treated as an essential by some parents, the price does seem a little steep.

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 its weight in gold.

The verdict (for now)

BT’s Smart Baby Monitor may not be budget-friendly for some, but it does its job well.

Yes, we weren’t that impressed with the stand-alone parent and baby unit to start with, but the app and voice-controlled feature swiftly turned things around.

What others think, though, is yet to be decided.

What is a First Look?

First Look pages are sponsored content. They provide an early glimpse of new products, showcasing releases from both exciting new startups and well-loved brands.

In First Look content we give products a thorough once-over, checking that the features are as good as they say and that the product functions as it's supposed to. This isn't an exhaustive test of the product or how well it performs – look to our Mumsnet Best winners and our in-depth reviews for extensive testing in real-life situations. Rather, our First Look features are informed previews, providing a basic overview and getting a feel for the products most exciting features.

Want to find the best products on the market? Read our baby monitor reviews.

All prices on this page correct at time of writing

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