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Motorola MBP18

Motorola MBP18 review: A good baby monitor at a good price

Ben Pitt
29 Jul 2016
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
55
inc VAT

Simple and effective, the Motorola MBP18 is a no-frills baby monitor at a reasonable price

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Specifications

Screen size: 1.8in, Audio display meter: Yes, Talkback microphone: No, Temperature Sensor: No, Mat motion sensor: No, Dimensions (camera and parent units): 102x74x54mm and 63x111x25mm

Some video baby monitors are packed with features and cost over £100, but if you just want to keep an eye and ear on your baby, there’s no need to spend that much. The Motorola MBP18 strips things down to the bare essentials, but at £55 it’s the most affordable video baby monitor I’ve seen from a well-known brand.

Design & features

The baby unit looks a bit cheap but it’s easy to angle using its pivot base. The base can be wall-mounted with a couple of screws, although bear in mind that the mains cable won’t look pretty and could be a strangulation hazard - unless you take the time to pin it to wall neatly - a sticker on the cord advises positioning it more than one metre from the cot.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best baby monitors you can buy

The camera is surrounded by eight infrared LEDs for night vision. There’s a light sensor on the top of the camera to detect ambient light, automatically turning the infrared light on when required. It didn’t always work so well, though. If the cot is dark but some light is falling on the camera, it shows an extremely gloomy scene.


Motorola MBP18

The camera itself is reasonable quality, although it’s hard to tell by looking at the 1.8in screen on the parent unit. The specifications reveal that the camera has a 0.3 megapixel resolution — that’s 640x480 pixels — but the screen appears to be in the region of 160x120 pixels. Does it matter? Not desperately. If you want to gaze lovingly at your children as they sleep, just sneak into the room. If you want to check that they haven’t kicked the covers off or fallen out of bed, this camera and screen provide enough detail. There’s a 2x zoom function, whereupon you can pan around the cropped image, which could be handy if you’re unable to position the camera close to the cot or bed.

Fitting the parent unit battery is a bit of a palaver and requires a miniature screwdriver, but at least there’s little risk of small children prizing it open and sticking the battery in their mouths. The controls are minimal to match the available features, with a screen on-off button, zoom and volume controls, plus a menu button to access screen brightness and options to pair three additional cameras.

There’s no talkback microphone, nightlight, temperature sensor or music function, but there is a dedicated strip of LEDs to show audio levels even when the sound is turned down and the screen is off. The video feed switches off automatically after four minutes so I don’t have a battery life figure for constant video, but audio-only mode lasted for 8 hours and 14 minutes.

The packaging claims a wireless range of up to 300m. However, there’s a note inside the box that warns that other 2.4GHz wireless products may cause interference, including Wi-Fi routers, Bluetooth systems and microwave ovens, and it suggests keeping the monitor at least 5 feet away or switching them off to avoid interference. It’s not the most helpful advice. Thankfully, the wireless range was pretty good, with flawless performance inside our three-bedroom house (with the Wi-Fi router enabled), only starting to break up 25m away from the house.

Verdict

There’s not much to get excited by here, but the MBP18 handles the basics well. At this price that’s good enough for me – and I suspect most people won't mind the low-quality video feed. Although, if you can afford it, you should also consider the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature.

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Hardware
Screen size1.8in
TouchscreenNo
Infrared night modeYes
Remote pan/tilt controlNo
Features
Digital zoomNo
Web-based accessNo
Sound-activated videoNo
Audio meter displayDedicated
Talkback microphoneNo
Music playbackNo
Night lightNo
Light showNo
Mat motion sensorNo
Camera motion sensorNo
Temperature sensorNo
Temperature alarmNo
Video battery lifen/a
Audio only battery life8hr 14m
Physical
Camera dimensions (WHD)102x74x54mm
Parent unit dimensions (WHD)63x111x25mm
Charger connectorProprietary
Camera power cable length2.7m
Camera mounting optionsScrew mounts
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Detailswww.motorola.co.uk