Provides: Video/audio monitoring
Developer: WiFi Baby Video Monitors
Minimum Requirements: Mac OSX 10.4 Tiger, 800MHz PowerPC G4 or Intel Mac (see PC requirements), 128MB RAM, Firefox (Preferred), Safari or Chrome (most browsers supported), wireless network
Price: $279 (+$8.99 for WiFi Baby HD app)
Ah, the glamor of parenthood. How quickly your Mac and iDevice turn from entertainment and productivity to something like settling your nerves when your baby’s not in the same room as you. But really, why not? What’s the point in buying extra devices to make sure your child is secure and happy when you’ve already got nearly all the equipment you need as part of your digital hub?
One of the first places you’ll want to look is WiFi Baby. This wireless device connects to your Mac, iPhone and iPad via your wireless network, bypassing all the problem you usually get with analog/digital signals: interference, short range, etc. Your ability to read the video/audio feed is hampered only by the strength of your WiFi signal.
So, let’s take a look at how it all comes together. The standalone WiFi Baby camera itself comes in white or black, so there aren’t many options for matching your nursery’s decor. A flexible stand allows you adjust the position of the camera, and you can attach it to the wall via screw openings in the stand. Unfortunately, that’s really your only option for fixing it in a secure place. The CPSC says you should never have a camera or their cords within three fee of a baby’s crib anyway, so best to pick a spot in the room that can handle layout changes.
Before you do any of this, though, you’ll need to connect the camera to your computer via the provided ethernet cable. You’ll then run through the software setup to tell your computer where the device is and and to set up security (one of the benefits of WiFi, after all, is that it’s secure, so you don’t have to worry about anyone else connecting to your video stream).
This, however, is where WiFi Baby could use some help. I had trouble setting up the remote connection, and eventually had to get some phone support. The problem ended up being mine…something as embarrassingly basic as a password error, but better error messages and a cleaner user interface could’ve helped me realize that on my own. WiFi Baby has handy tutorial videos online, but the whole process still feels a bit too cryptic and PC-like.
Once everything is connected, though, the WiFi Baby camera is great. The signal is strong and clear, and the quality of the image was quite impressive at 640×480 resolution and 30 frames per second. The color is oddly off, but once you get used to that, it’s not a big deal…I’ll take it over the jerky, pixelated images like you get in the Paranormal Activities movies and whatnot.
Camera placement for video testing purposes only, obviously. You’ll want to hang yours up.
Also impressive is the infrared night vision. With little more than a nightlight in the room, we were still able to see our son quite clearly. When it’s quiet at night, audio is really all you need. But the addition of a clear video signal helped us determine when Max was simply shifting around and when he needed our attention.
The WiFi connection allows you to hook up multiple cameras that you can view at the same time, if necessary, and it also allows you to monitor the signal on your iPhone or iPad, not just your computer.
WiFi Baby HD is a universal app, so you’ll only have to pay for it once for your iPad and iPhone. However, considering the price of the WiFi Baby camera, you really shouldn’t have to pay for it at all. It’s kind of the whole point of the system, after all…to be able to monitor your child when moving about the house or while your iPhone is recharging on the bedside table at night.
But it’s really the camera itself that makes the WiFi Baby worth the price. $280 looks like a lot, but when you work it into the price of a nursery, the cost quickly gets absorbed. It’s a better investment if you’re on your first child, too, with more to come; you’ll only need to go through the set-up hassle once, and then it should serve you well until your kids are old enough to put themselves back to sleep.
It’s kind of weird that way…the sooner you can quit using the WiFi Baby, the happier you’ll be. But it’s good to know it’ll work just fine until then.
Buy the WiFi Baby