Motorola MBP36XL 5" Portable Video Baby Monitor

Product Reviews Approval Seal

Best for Parents who want a reliable video baby monitor with a large screen
Top benefits Excellent picture and sound quality, very good range, rechargeable camera battery
Considerations No sleep mode
Bottom line The Motorola MBP36XL video baby monitor is a high-quality monitor that performs well in the areas that matter most
Buy
bestbuy.ca CAD $249.99 amazon.com USD $179.99

Features

  • Wireless technology: 2.4 GHz FHSS
  • Two-way communication so you can talk to your baby
  • Expandable up to four cameras
  • Temperature sensor
  • Five calming sounds you can turn on remotely
  • Out-of-range alert

Tech Specs

Camera
  • 5-inch diagonal LCD colour screen
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Pan, tilt and zoom remotely using the parent unit
Parent unit
  • Infrared night vision
  • Split-screen viewing (requires additional camera, sold seperately)
  • LED sound level indicator
  • Low-battery alert

Review

The Motorola MBP36XL 5″ Portable Video Baby Monitor is a wireless digital monitor that offers great picture quality on its large, five-inch screen. Its infrared/night vision camera delivers a very sharp and clear image—good news since nighttime is usually when you need it most. The range on this monitor impressed us in our tests. The parent unit has a rechargeable battery, and there’s also a battery in the camera, which could come in handy during power outages.

There’s a lot to like about the Motorola MBP36XL baby monitor, from a clear picture and audio to simple set-up and above average range. Here’s what we found in our testing.

Set-up

Set-up for this monitor couldn’t be easier: we had it plugged in and working in under five minutes, and our hands-on parent testers overwhelmingly agreed that the Motorola MBP36XL monitor was easy to set up and start using in their own homes very quickly. The interchangeable power cords are a good length, which makes it that much easier to capture your baby at her best angle. The menu buttons on the parent unit are intuitive and not unnecessarily complicated.

Screen

The picture on the parent unit’s screen is clear and sharp, so much so that our hands-on parent testers could see whether their child’s eyes were open or closed. The on-screen colours are true to life, and we felt it had one of the better picture qualities of all the video monitors we tested. All of our testers liked the size of the screen and felt the level of brightness was good. A nice feature is the ability to turn off the picture and just use the audio—ideal whether you want to be able to listen in while doing other tasks or when you’re trying to get some shuteye.

Sound

The monitor’s sound is generally very clear. We played a recording of a baby crying through the monitor, and the sound was one of the truest. Our hands-on parent testers all said it was easy to adjust the volume, and they were able to get it to a level they were happy with. And when we measured for white noise with a sound meter, it had one of the quietest readings of all monitors we tested.

In our lab tests of the talk-back feature, the voice heard through the camera was clear, but our hands-on parent testers had mixed results when it came to whether their kids were calmed when using this feature. (We’re not surprised that a disembodied voice coming out of a camera isn’t exactly as soothing as someone coming into the room to soothe baby.) This feature might be more useful with older kids, so you can easily remind them that it’s time to go to sleep.

If you’re concerned about privacy (as in, strangers hacking into your baby monitor’s audio or video feed), digital monitors are a more secure choice when compared with monitors that need to connect to your home’s Wi-Fi signal.
Camera

Our testers were generally happy with the pan, tilt and zoom features on the MBP36XL, although some found it didn’t pan down enough from the top of a dresser to get a good view of their baby. Taking the time to mount it on a wall or shelf would be a good idea in that case. The camera angle can be adjusted remotely using the parent unit, which is great if you’ve got a baby who likes to explore all corners of his crib.

“My twins sleep in a crib together and it was easy to move the camera to check on them. I was able to get both of them in the same shot at times.” —Harmony, mom of two
Range

We tested the range of the monitor in a four-storey house, with the camera in an attic room in the front half of the house. It stayed in range on every floor, with just two small blind spots that were both at the very back of the house. Of all the digital monitors we tested, this was among the top performers for range. Also, the warning sound when you are out of range is unmistakeable, so you won’t miss it.

“This monitor has better range than other monitors I have used. I also like the soothing sounds feature since it replaces the need for a white noise machine.” —Lisa, mom of one
Battery

The Motorola MBP36XL wasn’t the fastest-charging battery we tested, but it was reasonable. Most of our hands-on parent testers were happy with the battery life on the parent unit, and they were able to fully recharge it in under five hours. We really like that this monitor also has a rechargeable battery on the camera, which can be used for up to three hours—the more flexibility you have at nap time, the better. One feature this monitor doesn’t have that a few of our parent testers would have appreciated is a sleep or power-save mode.

Final word

Our parent testers gave two enthusiastic thumbs up when rating the quality and ease of use of the Motorola MBP36XL. More than half said it was better than monitors they had tried in the past, but they were a bit lukewarm on the value. However, there are several video monitors on the market at considerably higher price points. Overall, we feel that the Motorola MBP36XL is a simple-to-use and reliable video baby monitor you can trust to work when you need it to, and that’s invaluable in our books.