Best forParents who want an easy-to-use video baby monitor to watch over one child
Top BenefitsLightweight parent unit you can clip to your clothes, Eco mode for longer battery life, temperature alerts
ConsiderationsLimited zoom and pan options (no tilt), lullabies sound a bit robotic
Bottom lineThe Philips Avent SCD630 Digital Video Baby Monitor offers good value, with several useful features and delivers good picture quality and sound
The Philips Avent SCD630 Video Baby Monitor is an easy-to-use wireless digital monitor that offers good picture quality on a 3.5-inch screen. The features it offers—including power-save and audio-only modes, temperature alerts and a clip to attach it to your clothes—are the features that will actually help new parents sleep better and make life with baby a little easier.
We were up and running with this monitor in under five minutes, and our parent testers also found it didn't take long to get set up. A few of our hands-on parent testers noted they would have preferred written instructions over the pictorial ones that are included, because it took a little imagination to figure out which features the various icons were referring to. In our lab tests, it did take some Googling to figure out what "Vox mode" is supposed to do (in this mode, the monitor responds to sound, but not motion).
Navigating the menu on the Philips Avent parent unit feels a bit low-tech but is mostly straightforward, and we'll take that any day over a poor-quality touchscreen that you have to press three or four times before it responds. Almost all of our at-home testers strongly agreed the menu buttons are intuitive, and they easily understood how to access and control all of the features that the monitor offers.
At 3.5 inches, the screen size on the Philips Avent monitor is the smallest we tested, but it's more than adequate for seeing what you need to. Colours are true to life, and the picture quality is good. Our hands-on parent testers said the infrared camera gave them a good view of their baby in a dark room, though they reported that the image was a bit on the fuzzy side.
The sound quality on the parent unit of the Philips Avent Video Baby Monitor is true-to-life: When we played a recording of a crying baby through this monitor, it sounded like a real baby. The sound wasn't quite as clear going the other way (when using the talk-back feature), but it was still one of the better-sounding monitors with this feature that we tested. (Whether this feature will calm your baby really depends on your child. It might be more useful with older kids.) The monitor also had one of the lowest white-noise readings of all the video monitors we tested when we measured it with a sound meter, so even if you're a light sleeper, the Philips Avent shouldn't keep you awake.
Most of our hands-on parent testers were able to set the camera up to get a good view of their child, either through setting it on a dresser or mounting it on the wall. The interchangeable power cords are nice and long, which makes it easier to get set up (although you'll want to keep them tucked away from little hands). It's important to start out with a good field of view with this monitor since there aren't many options to move the camera remotely. The zoom on the camera isn't the best we've seen, and you have to scroll through a menu to turn it on, but if you get your set-up right, it should more than do the trick. It's important to note that this monitor can't be expanded with additional cameras to watch over more than one child.
The Philips Avent SCD630 video monitor was the first to be fully charged after we plugged in all of the monitors we were testing. Our at-home testers also felt the battery charged quickly, and the charge lasted about as long as advertised. The Eco mode is a power-save option that turns the screen off until sound or motion is detected in your baby's room, helping to extend the battery charge in the parent unit.
Vibration alert: Because the parent unit on this monitor has a smaller screen size, you can easily clip it to your clothing and take advantage of the vibration alerts, which let you know that there's activity in the nursery—a handy feature when you have guests over and things get a bit noisy.
Audio mode: We really like that this monitor has an audio mode, so you can turn off the screen while you try to get some sleep.
Temperature sensor: The parent unit displays the readings from a temperature sensor on the camera unit. What we really like about this monitor is you can set a minimum and maximum temperature, and the monitor will alert you if the temperature in your child's room falls outside that range—useful on very hot or cold nights, especially if you don't have central air conditioning.
Lullabies: If you really feel strongly about a lullabies feature, you might not want to depend on the selections from this monitor. One of our parent testers described them as "less than soothing." But the truth is, almost none of the monitors we tested had lullabies we'd want to listen to on repeat, and there are more important things to get right.
Nightlight: The camera unit also features a nightlight, which can be helpful for sneaking in or out of the nursery, or soothing a child who likes a little light. It can be turned off for babes who need total darkness to sleep.
Our parent testers gave the Philips Avent SCD630 Digital Video Baby Monitor above-average ratings for quality, ease of use and value for money. They all felt the monitor was a better choice than others they'd tried in the past and said they would recommend it to other parents without hesitation. We were very happy with how it performed in our lab tests, and we think it offers truly useful features at a good price print.