The First Years Talk & Soothe Video Monitor is our first video monitor, and we are very happy with it. Our son wakes up frequently through the night, and the video monitor is fantastic for looking in and seeing if he’s actually getting upset or if he will settle himself back down and go back to sleep. We used to be of the opinion that video monitors were a bit of overkill and just for appeasing overly anxious parents, but after trying one, we were quickly converted.
The Talk & Soothe monitor was very intuitive to set up right out of the box. The diagrams and step-by-step instructions were quite clear and concise, but honestly, we hardly had to reference them. Simply plug the camera power cable into the camera and the wall, pop the included rechargeable battery pack into the parent unit, turn both on, and it’s good to go! The icons on the parent unit are also very intuitive, with indicators for wireless signal, sound activation on/off, lullaby, night-light and battery level. The menus are easy to navigate, too, making setup and operation a breeze, but there are many advanced features as well.
The main feature, as opposed to a standard audio monitor, is of course the video display. The picture is certainly not HD quality, but it’s more than adequate for the purposes of a monitor. Even in the dark you can clearly see anything that is going on in the child’s room. There is a built-in night-light on the base of the camera that can be operated either from a button on the base or from the parent unit. The camera itself can be set on a table or mounted to the wall. (We actually used a Velcro adhesive strip so we could take the camera down if we wanted to use it somewhere else, then just stick it back to the wall overlooking the crib at night.) The camera will also play music controlled from the parent unit, although we did not make much use of that feature. One very nice function is the sound activated video, which will automatically turn the video screen on the parent unit on if there is a noise above a set threshold. The monitor will also permit two-way communication via the parent unit. This feature hasn’t been very useful for us up to this point, as our son is at an age where just talking to him doesn’t do much good once he’s awake and upset, but we could certainly see it coming in handy with older kids.
With the focus on the video on this unit, we have noticed that the sound quality does not seem to be quite as good as some of the higher end audio-only monitors we’ve used in the past. Also, it may be unique to interference at our house, there seem to be a noticeable buzz or hum from the unit at higher volumes. Otherwise, we’ve had no issues at all, and the utility of the video has certainly made up for any audio quality shortcomings.
The First Years Talk & Soothe Video Monitor is an excellent product and at a suggested price of $100 is very reasonable, especially considering some other monitors are upwards of $200. Other products from the The First Years tend to be very well received, and this monitor is no different. We have definitely seen firsthand the value of a great video monitor.
To buy: thefirstyears.com