VTech Safe & Sound Owl Digital Video Baby Monitor review: Simplicity is the VTech Baby Monitor's strength and weakness

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MSRP: $199.99

The Good VTech's Safe & Sound Monitor performs the basics well. Its streaming connection is reliable, and its pan/tilt control is responsive. Plus, the owl design is a cute addition.

The Bad The monitor's feature list is short, and the camera's resolution is disappointingly low.

The Bottom Line Some odd design decisions, like the low-res camera and the owl's glowing red eyes, mar an otherwise solid device. Plus, the price seems a little high for the basic features, no matter how reliable they are.

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6.7 Overall
  • Features 5
  • Usability 8
  • Design 7
  • Performance 7

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For anyone browsing baby monitors, it quickly becomes evident that VTech is a mainstay of the market. The company has developed many of the smartest audio-only monitors, and more recently, it has introduced video monitors to the mix. The VTech Safe & Sound Owl Digital Video Baby Monitor, VTech's most feature-rich offering, sells for about $200 online and at retailers.

The Safe & Sound Monitor might fall in the middle of the market when it comes to price, but its feature list is one of the shortest around. While the basics of two-way audio, pan/tilt control, and night vision are there, there's no app connection. Without app connection, there's no push notifications or remote viewing on your phone. The device doesn't offer any lullabies or stories. In fact, there's no real special features that stand out at all.

The simplicity of the Safe & Sound Monitor is also a strength, though. While the bells and whistles of other monitors might not be part of this device, neither are the connection problems or latency issues. The streaming, although at a strange PlayStation Portable-level resolution of 480x272, is consistent. The pan/tilt control of the camera is responsive. All around, it's a solid device.

One other strange design choice is worth noting: The camera that looks like an owl is a fun design feature for kids, but when the lights turn off and night vision is activated, the owl's eyes turn red. My infant son was too young to really notice, but for older toddlers, having an creature with glowing red eyes watching them at night might not go over so well.

The VTech Safe & Sound is worth checking out if you know you'll primarily use the monitor for in-home monitoring, and only on the most basic level. In that context, it's reliable. But if you're looking for fun features for the kid, or remote monitoring, look elsewhere.

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