Gigaset are largely know for their DECT phones, but 2014 has seen them break new ground with two Android Tablets and a range of digital baby monitors. We tested their Gigaset PA330, which is their compact entry-level audio monitor priced at £39.99.
Design & build
What struck me most about the design of the PA330 is how small both the parent and baby unit are; they almost look like miniature smoke alarms. The baby unit is mains-powered only so there is no battery compartment, and is designed to be placed on a flat surface (there is no option to wall mount). There are two buttons on top (one for switching the unit on, and another for locating the parent unit), and LED that lights green when a connection has been made. The parent unit has controls to adjust the volume, a power button, and a button on the side (to switch VOX on/off); and in addition to the LED indicator (for connection, low battery, out of range); there are 3 more at the top which allow you to check the level of noise in baby’s room at a glance.
"The PA330 looks and feels nicer than higher priced baby monitors"
The build quality of both units is consistent with the high-quality we have come to expect from their phones, and overall I would say the PA330 looks and feels nicer than other higher priced baby monitors we’ve come across.
Installing the PA330 is more or less a simple case of plug and play; the baby unit needs to be plugged into a mains power socket and should be placed 1 to 1.5 metres from your child (with the microphone facing towards him or her). The parent unit can be powered via the included rechargeable batteries or from the mains. Once both are switched on a connection will be established provided they are within range of one another.
As a basic audio baby monitor the Gigaset PA330 doesn’t have much in the way of features. There is an alert for low battery (a sound and light), and an out of range warning (the parent unit will beep until the connection with the baby unit is re-established. Further practical features include the 3 LED, which give you a handy visual indication of the level of noise coming from baby’s room.
There is also a VOX function, which when switched on means that the baby unit is voice activated and will only transmit audio when baby makes a loud enough noise. There’s no way to adjust the sensitivity level so minor disturbances may go unnoticed but when we tested we found the threshold for activating it seemed reasonable.
I was curious to find out how the PA330 would fare when it came to audio quality, as this is an area in which Gigaset phones typically excel; and the sound quality was superb. There was no interference at all, and from about 1 metre from my daughter's crib the baby unit was able to pick up the sound of her breathing in her sleep without having to turn the volume up to its loudest setting.
Range & battery life
Gigaset utilise the same DECT technology used in their phones for the PA330 so the range is very similar. They claim an indoor range of 50 metres and up to 300 metres outdoors, and when testing at the office and at home we found that the performance was close to the stated range. Having thick concrete outer walls at home and at the office, the outdoor range was diminished but still offered a good 200+ metres before the warning light came on. And the battery life of the parent unit is excellent, lasting more than 12 hours of use on a single charge.
"The battery life of the parent unit is excellent"
Overall, this is a great audio baby monitor that won’t eat too much into your budget without sacrificing on quality. The clarity of sound as mentioned earlier is excellent, and the parent unit benefits from dependable range & battery life. It is low on features, and you can pick up similarly priced monitors with more to offer, but the build quality of the PA330 is good and it comes with a 2-year warranty. If anything it demonstrates Gigaset’s ability to diversify their product range, and employ their experience and expertise in DECT technology in making a baby monitor that is able to compete with those who have been making them for many years.