The idea behind the BT Smart Audio Monitor is to use your home Wi-Fi and your iPhone or iPad as a baby monitor. Therefore, unlike conventional baby monitors this comes with only one part, and instead of a parent unit a free downloadable app. We out it to the test to find out if whether this good idea in theory worked out well in practice:
Design & Build
The baby unit is simple design, almost egg-shaped but with the top sliced off at an angle. At the top is a black surface with a ring and microphone icon that light-up green when the unit is in use. Above the BT logo is the in-built microphone, and on the bottom is the socket to connect the unit to the mains and a reset button. It feels fairly well made, the plastics it is constructed from don’t feel cheap and nasty and there is a nice weight to it.
To set it up, you need to plug in the monitor, download the BT BabyAudio App, go into settings, then Wi-Fi, and select “BT-Baby...”. Once you’ve completed these steps, you are supposed to launch the app, follow the on-screen instructions and the app should pair with the monitor. Note the word should... The first few times I followed these steps – nothing. Ok, maybe there’s a problem with the test unit I was given. Could just have been bad luck and been given a faulty unit. Tried a different one. Nothing. After much perseverance and for no discernible or logical reason, the unit finally decided to pair with the app.
The app is OK – I’ve come across exponentially worse and exceptionally better. You can add your baby’s name and picture to the interface so it feels a bit more personalised, and the noise bar gives you an indication of the sound in baby’s room. You can set-up the app to notify you by text or email when baby cries, and is supposed to work in the background. Some of the additional features are available as in-app purchases, which seems rather unfair. Dropped connections occur often and do not always trigger an alert, whilst other applications have switched off the BabyAudio App without warning.
When it works, the audio quality is at best adequate, and at worst pretty poor. The integrated noise cancelling technology essentially sets the minimum noise level required before audio is transmitted to your phone or tablet, which can have the adverse effect of the sound cutting in and out as you listen. I would have expected much better sound quality from an audio only monitor.
I would have expected much better sound quality from an audio only monitor
I like the idea of the BT Baby Smart Audio Monitor but the performance falls far short of what I would expect. The biggest problem, as mentioned previously, is its reliability. If you can’t depend on it working when it’s supposed to then it means your checking to make sure the connection hasn’t dropped which kind of defeats the purpose of a baby monitor. It’s supposed to offer you peace of mind. This does not, and you'd be better off with a run-of-the-mill audio monitor that functions well.
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