Keenly priced, but the Motorola MBP26’s digital pan and tilt function may be a hindrance
Screen size: 2.4in, Audio display meter: Yes, Talkback microphone: Yes, Temperature Sensor: No, Mat motion sensor: No, Dimensions (camera and parent units): 102x74x54mm and 63x111x25mm
I’d be tempted to describe the Motorola MBP26 as a no-frills video baby monitor, if it weren’t for the Motorola MBP18 with its even fewer frills. The MBP26 seems positively decadent in comparison with its larger 2.4in screen and talkback microphone so you can advise your baby to be quiet and go back to sleep from the comfort of the sofa. More realistically, this feature is useful for older children who might sometimes need a reminder that they’re on camera so they should play nicely.
The camera unit has the words Digital Pan & Tilt emblazoned across its front. What this means in practice is that there’s a 2x digital crop function applied to the camera’s output, and it’s possible to pan around the image using the controls on the parent unit. It’s a nice concept, but various other video baby monitors offer this as a digital zoom option, whereas with the MBP26 it can’t be turned off to see the whole picture. The cropped image has a relatively narrow field of view, which is good news if the camera is located a couple of meters from the cot but less helpful if it’s mounted just above. It may also prove to be too narrow a view when you want to use the monitor to keep an eye on toddlers playing in their room.
Otherwise, the MBP26 performed well. The video feed turns off four minutes after a button was pressed, which helped to deliver a respectable battery life of just over eight hours. It’s a bit odd that there’s no way to turn the video feed off manually but I can’t see this being a problem in practice. Wireless range was excellent, giving flawless reception throughout my three-storey house and continuing to work outside the house for a little further than most other baby monitors tested under the same conditions.
The camera unit is plain but functional, with a pivoting base that’s easy to angle and holes for wall mounting. Video quality showed a slight fizz of noise but it’s fine for the purpose, and there’s a bank of infrared lights for night vision mode. Sound quality is pretty feeble by any normal standards but it’s perfectly adequate.
There’s a row of LEDs on the parent unit to show the audio volume, alerting you to crying babies even when the video is off and the sound is turned down — or perhaps if it’s being drowned out by the TV or music system. These LEDs aren’t very bright, though, so while they’ll probably catch your eye in a darkened home cinema you may not notice them under normal household light.
The parent unit supports up to four cameras but additional cameras don’t appear to be available to buy in the UK. There’s a dual camera kit available for £125 from Amazon, though. Meanwhile, the MBP26 Babysense Bundle costs £140 and pairs the video baby monitor with a Binatone Babysense 5 — a motion sensor that sits under the mattress sounds an alarm if it can’t detect breathing. The two products work independently but they make an effective partnership for monitoring your baby. I’d recommend going for the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature if you require a motion sensor, but the MBP26 is a decent choice on its own.
|Infrared night mode
|Remote pan/tilt control
|Fixed at 2x
|Audio meter display
|Mat motion sensor
|Camera motion sensor
|Video battery life
|Audio only battery life
|Camera dimensions (WHD)
|Parent unit dimensions (WHD)
|Camera power cable length
|Camera mounting options
|One year RTB