I hail from the olden days of audio-only baby monitors. It was good enough for my momma and it’s good enough for me!
Or so I thought. Until I used the high-def VAVA Baby Monitor for the first time. Then my whole world changed (cue the Aladdin song).
You can watch your baby, talk to them, move the camera to see them better, and even keep an eye on them at night. All in crisp, clear HD. From anywhere in the house. Or the yard. It even monitors the temperature. On the huge display screen.
Consider my mind blown.
I have been testing this out on my toddler and 1st grader, who are currently sharing a room. I have no doubt that this is going to be a lifesaver once baby #3 gets here in just a couple of weeks.
Here’s the full scoop on the VAVA Video Baby Monitor.
Disclosure: I received a free baby monitor in exchange for this honest review.
Let’s start with the monitor, since that’s the part that you are going to use every day.
Display and Picture
This is a good sized monitor, with a 5 inch display screen. It uses IPS, which is a fancy type of LED display. That, combined with the 720P video feed, means that the picture is crystal clear. During the day, it was like watching something in HD on my phone.
At night, it was a bit less clear. This is no fault of the screen itself, but I think it had more to do with the quality of the night vision. Most of the image was white washed out, and it was difficult to distinguish between pillows, blankets, and my kids’ little faces. It was adequate, but by no means HD for nighttime viewing.
The bright display screen shows you the signal strength, zoom level, night vision activation, the room temperature, the time, battery level, alarm, mute, talk back activation, and which camera you are viewing.
I didn’t really use the alarm function, because it was something I didn’t need. But, there’s the option to set a 2, 4, or 6 hour alarm. When it goes off, it will beep for 30 seconds unless you press okay. If you don’t press anything, it’ll beep for 30 seconds, stop for 1 min, then go off again. It’ll do this 3 times. That’s obnoxious, but effective.
Size and User Friendliness
The overall size of the monitor is slighty bigger than an iPhone 8 by a few inches, as you can see from the picture. It has a kickstand and antenna built-in. Plus, all the buttons are clearly labeled and easy to use. You can’t ask for much more in the way of ease of use.
I loved the battery life on this monitor! I plugged it in to play with it for a while, then used it for 2 nights in a row before I needed to charge it. Granted, it was in standby mode all night, but still! VAVA says that in standby mode, which is sound only, it will last for 15 to 18 hours. I can totally attest to that. When it’s in active mode, with both picture and sound running, you can still get a full night’s worth of battery power in with 8 hours of life.
Charging time is supposed to be 8 hours to get totally full, which is a looooong time to let it charge. But, thankfully, you can use it while it’s charging. So say you need to use it for a daytime nap, but it needed to charge from being on from the night before, you can still run it while it charges. This will lengthen the total charge time some, so be aware of that and add an extra hour or two on before you take it off the charger.
Now to the camera! Because what good is a best baby monitor if the camera is trash?
AC Power Source
The first thing I want to note is that the camera has to be plugged in because it is AC power only. No battery here. So you really have to plan ahead when you place it in your nursery or bedroom because you have to have it within a few feet of an outlet.
Wall Mounting and View
The camera has a hanging hole on the back for wall mounting. There are no screws included, but that’s not a big deal. Good anchors and screws aren’t terribly expensive.
Wherever you choose to hang or set the camera, it should be about 3 to 6 feet away from what you want to view. Now, if you want a full-blown room view, you can buy the very inexpensive VAVA wide-angle optical lens that will allow for wide-angle viewing.
Even without the special lens, you can pan and tilt 108 degrees vertically and 270 degrees horizontally, and zoom in either 2x or 4x.
You can also put it on auto-pilot circulating, which scans the whole room back and forth. This was cool, but I didn’t need the full view of my ceiling and messy closet and the wall behind the shelf. It was easier to pan from one child to the other manually.
It does all of the movements completely silently. I checked that because I have one very light sleeper and I wanted to make sure it didn’t make a whirring sound when moving.
Like I mentioned earlier, this camera has night vision. There are 12 high-intensity LED lights built in to help capture the images. These lights are noticeable at night, but not obvious or disruptive. What is obvious is the power light that stays green when the camera unit is on. My kids weren’t bothered by it because it was far enough away and they have a night light anyways, but I found it annoying in my totally dark room.
Another fab feature is the talkback. My 6-year-old son and I played with this and I listened in on both ends. I could hear him talk, and he could hear me talk. Now, it’s just like a walky-talky, so we couldn’t talk and hear each other at the same time. But most parents will use this to listen to their kids cry, then comfort them, then listen again, so it’s fine.
I already mentioned that the camera measures temperature, right? This will alert you if the temperature gets over 95 degrees or less than 32 degrees. I think that’s a strange range, considering that a baby in a 90 degree room is already overheated and a baby in a 40 degree room is already freezing cold. I think a smaller range for alerts would make a whole lot more sense, but it’s nice to still be able to monitor the temp.
I tried to think of a clever name for this category, but I just thought I’d throw all the other intel here and call it good. You’re welcome.
You can go up to 900 ft and still get connection between the camera and the monitor. Now, that’s counting on wide open space, which not all of us have. But in my house, which is old and solid and kind of a bunker in the basement, I was still able to connect and spy on my children upstairs despite the thick plaster walls.
As for quality and reliability, this baby monitor is top-notch.
My kids have knocked down the camera at least twice, and it’s handled it like a champ. No scratches or dents or breaking. And that’s falling from a 5 ft tall shelf, too.
The same goes for the monitor. It was dropped, kicked, covered in peanut butter, and dripped on by sippy cups. It even got lost under the bed for half the night. And it survived it all. Just a quick wipe with a damp cloth and it was ready to go again.
Summary: this is a durable unit! Not some cheap thing that will break the first chance it gets. Now, time will tell how the electronic elements hold up, but I have faith that they’ll be durable as well. But in the couple of weeks that I’ve used this, I’ve had nary a problem.
And a quick note on privacy: since none of the sound or picture goes online, you don’t have to worry about somebody hacking this system through WiFi. It uses digital technology, with a 2.4GHz FHSS connection.
Fun Feature Recap!
- 480 ft to 900 ft operating range
- 8 levels of volume control
- 8 levels of brightness control
- 90 degree rotatable antenna
- 4x zoom
- 2 way talk back
- Auto circulating view of whole room
- Up to 4 cameras pair with 1 monitor
- Pan and tilt
- Optional wide-angle lense
- Black and white night vision
- Night vision
- Great range
- Long battery life
- Can pair up to 4 cameras
- Great sound sensitivity
- Night vision is just so-so
- Has green light that’s visible in the dark
Final Thoughts: Should You Buy It?
If you are shopping for baby monitor that has all the bells and whistles that you absolutely need, don’t discount the VAVA Baby Monitor.
Sure, it’s not a well-known brand, but it can compete with the best of them.
This baby monitor is a keeper, especially if you need a multiple camera baby monitor. It is also ideal for parents who like audio-only monitors, but want the option of a great camera when they want it. That’s how the standby mode operates, and I loved it!
I loved the talkback and the sensitivity of the sound sensor. I heard everything I needed to hear and saw it all in HD on the large and clear monitor. I was a bit disappointed by the night vision, but then again, no camera is going to get a totally clear picture in a dark room.
It’s held up to my children for 2 weeks, which is more than a lot of toys and electronics can say. It’s well made, has easy instructions, and is priced just right for what you get.