The Kodak Baby Monitoring System is one of the most thoughtfully designed baby monitors I’ve used. It’s aesthetically pleasing, blending in with any décor, and has a slew of high-tech features including a 180-degree camera with HD video quality, 2-way audio talkback, night vision, a touchless night light, and an intuitive mobile app from Tend. The CFH-BVA10 retails for $199.99.
What first struck me about the Kodak Baby Monitoring System was the packaging. It came in a plain faux-wood grain box with a sleeve over it that included all of the product information, features, etc. When you open the box, you’ll find the Baby Monitoring System itself, the base station with camera, and the parent unit, nicely arranged inside. Kodak must have taken a cue from Apple’s unboxing experience.
The camera itself provides a 180-degree horizontal view of the room, without fisheye distortion, allowing you to see everything that’s going on inside your baby’s room. There’s also a secondary viewing option called Region of Interest (RoI), which crops an area of the video to provide greater detail and full HD resolution in the area you want to view. As is standard with baby monitors these days, the Kodak Baby Monitoring System comes equipped with infrared LEDs to provide night vision, which it does very well.
The camera also has Wide Dynamic Range available to allow viewers to better distinguish features and shapes in scenes with extreme lighting conditions. The feature that most surprised me about the Kodak Baby Monitoring System’s camera, however, was the fact that it’s removable. That’s right, the camera is attached to the base unit via a USB jack and can be removed and taken with you when needed. When you’re traveling, you can simply take the camera with you along with a USB battery pack and your mobile device for an easy on-the-go baby monitoring solution.
The parent unit is fairly simple, although it provides some excellent audio features. It has a rechargeable battery, 900 MHz extended range, excellent sound quality, and a sound activity meter that lights up to let you know how loud the noise in the baby’s room is, even if the volume is low. The parent unit also features automatic gain control so the system adjusts to the sound in the room, which lets you still hear the noises you are listening for even if the dog is barking.
You can also use the parent unit to talk back to your baby and let him or her know that you’re coming or, as in our case, to “lay back down and go back to sleep, it’s 3am.” My biggest complaint about the parent unit is that the battery only lasted about 12 hours in my testing. This means that if you want to use it during the night, you’d better make sure it’s plugged in before you go to sleep. I’m used to a baby monitor that has at least a 24-hour charge so we can plug it in every other night or so when the battery is running low.
The Tend Baby App curates your experience by allowing you to view live video on your smartphone or tablet, communicate via audio talkback, log your baby’s sleep patterns (coming soon), set alerts or take notes, turn on the night light or white noise, or capture photos and video of your baby. It’s a very intuitive app that parents can use collaboratively to help remember the last time the baby was fed or changed, set reminders, or simply take notes. This is a feature that my wife and I often discussed when we were new parents and had to feed and change our daughter at regular intervals. We used the Itzbeen Pocket Nanny for a while until we got into the parenting groove, but it was never a perfect solution since you had to hand off the physical device. With the Tend Baby app, you can both access the app from your individual phones as long as you’re logged in using the same account.
My experience with the Kodak Baby Monitoring System was great, although I had some minor complaints that I’ll get into shortly. Setup was simple; after plugging in the base station, you follow simple instructions in the Tend Baby app to pair your base station to your Tend account. After that, you’re golden. As I mentioned earlier, the audio-only parent unit lights up at different levels when there’s noise in the baby’s room, depending on how loud the noise is. This gives you a visual indication of what’s going on if you don’t want the volume up too high.
The Tend Baby app is great; it’s not over-complicated with too many features, but just enough to give you all the basics you need, plus some extra features that add to the value of the system. Plus, you can access your baby’s live feed from anywhere in the world with your mobile phone or tablet. The video quality was good whether it was day or night. You could easily tell what was happening in the room either through video or audio, and being able to turn on the night-light or white noise remotely is a neat feature that many baby monitoring systems don’t have.
My complaints are minor and some are due to personal preference. First, I can’t count how many times I’ve activated the touchless night light by accident. It’s located next to our changing table so we are constantly reaching over it for diapers or other supplies, so you’ll want to make sure you locate the base unit out of the way.
Second, to have constant audio streaming, you’ll need to use the parent unit. As I previously mentioned, the parent unit’s battery life isn’t stellar, and sometimes you don’t want to carry something else around the house. If the Tend app allowed you to listen in while your phone was locked, that could allow you to leave the parent unit at your night table where you typically use it and not require you to carry it around the house.
Third, and finally, my personal preference is a non-internet connected dedicated baby monitoring system where the parent unit has a video screen as well as audio. This has its downsides of course, like not being able to access the video/audio feed remotely, but it also means that you can just hand off the parent unit to a babysitter rather than giving them your account login info for the app, showing them how to use it, and potentially giving them access to your account when you don’t want them to have it if you don’t remember to change your password. Also, a dedicated video monitoring system requires good WiFi signal. Some houses, like my in-laws house, do not have good WiFi coverage throughout the house, which is a pain when you’re not able to access the video feed due to connection problems.
Personal preferences aside, if you’re looking for an internet-connected baby monitoring system that allows remote access, has great whole-room view HD video, night vision, and 2-way audio talkback, the Kodak Baby Monitoring System curated by the Tend Baby app is an excellent choice. It’s nicely designed, has excellent video quality, travels easily, and has a powerful yet intuitive app. I highly recommend the Kodak Baby Monitoring System to new parents looking to keep an eye and ear on their young ones.
You can purchase the Kodak Baby Monitoring System (CFH-BVA10) online from Target.
Source: The Kodak Baby Monitoring System was a manufacturer supplied review unit.
What I Like: Simple setup; Great camera with HD video; Nicely designed for any room; Additional features not found in most baby monitors.
What Needs Improvement: Battery life on audio-only parent unit is not stellar; touchless night light is a little too sensitive; WiFi units are always susceptible to crappy WiFi networks.