When you’re expecting your second child, many thoughts run through your mind containing both excitement and worry. Levana’s Willow Video Baby Monitor 2 camera set aims to make sure that once baby #2 arrives, you can at least feel like you can be in two places at once with its clear video and two-way audio.
I’d like to think that my wife and I are baby monitor professionals after going through about 5 or 6 baby monitor trials when we had our first child. We were like Goldilocks when trying to choose the perfect monitor; one monitor had weak signal, another monitor had terrible battery life, another monitor needed to stay on all night in order to alert us to whether our baby was making noise in the middle of the night. When we found the Levana Stella baby monitor about two years ago, it was “just right.” That’s why we were so excited to have to opportunity to review Levana’s new high-end offering, the Willow.
Starting at $279.99, the Willow Video Baby Monitor 2 camera set comes with the two cameras as well as the 5” Touchscreen monitor. The monitor itself is ultra-thin at 15mm wide and has a high-quality metal kickstand that allows you to position the monitor at whatever viewing angle you’re looking for at the time. The video resolution on the monitor is 800×480, and while the view isn’t exactly as clear as your Netflix binge, it’s good enough to keep track of your sleeping child.
The Willow uses the 2.4GHz frequency band to transmit the signals from the cameras to the video monitor. Levana claims that the signal should reach over 500 feet under ideal conditions. We had zero issues in our home, which is a multi-level split with a length of approximately 150’ from end to end. The Willow was able to transmit through multiple walls without any visible interference. Speaking of the signal, now’s a good time to mention that this type of baby monitor uses a secure signal that is not dependent on WiFi. This ensures that outside parties will not be able to hack into your wireless network and view your camera(s).
The monitor is charged using a microUSB cable, so it’s super convenient to charge using the included cable or with your own microUSB cable. The battery is stated to last around 12 hours in Power Save mode, but we’ve experienced battery life closer to 15 hours. The battery life is good compared to many monitors, but we had to charge the Willow every other night. Our previous Levana Stella monitor only had to be charged about every third night.
Power Save mode is a convenient feature that allows the video and audio to be turned off while your baby is sleeping, but as soon as the baby starts making noise, the audio and video turn on again. This allows you to keep the monitor on your bedside table overnight without the light from the video screen keeping you awake. While we appreciate this feature greatly, we found the camera to be a bit too sensitive and it would “wake up” the monitor every time our daughter moved around in bed or breathed a little too heavily. The sound machine also proved to be too noisy to keep the monitor asleep. We found a quick and dirty solution to this, which was to place a bit of masking tape over the microphone, which de-sensitized the Power Save mode perfectly.
When using two cameras, the monitor has the ability to switch between cameras with ease, however the cherry on top is the fact that you can use a split screen view to see both cameras at once! To switch between audio and room temperature, however, you’ll need to tap on the feed you’d like to monitor. This is a killer feature and is extremely important to parents with more than one child, because no one wants to carry around two baby monitors! And if you have four kids, the Willow video monitor supports up to four cameras and has the ability to do a quad-view of all four cameras at once.
The cameras themselves are state of the art, featuring remote pan/tilt/zoom functionality from the monitor. Simply tap the touchscreen monitor to bring up directional arrows on the screen, and tap again to pan, tilt, or zoom up to 2x. The image sensor inside the cameras is a CMOS with a resolution of 640×480 and a viewing angle of 50 degrees. There are 8 built-in IR LEDs, which give the Willow’s cameras excellent night vision up to 12 feet away. Each camera includes a microphone, speaker, and temperature sensor and can be easily mounted to the wall.
Using the camera’s speakers, you’re able to transmit lullabies, nature sounds, white noise and even your voice to your child’s room through the monitor. The two-way audio is a convenient feature that allows you to speak with your child if you’re unable to go into their room or to help calm them if they’re upset.
Levana’s Willow Touchscreen Video Baby Monitor is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a high-quality video baby monitor with all of the features you need. Many people, my family included, prefer a private digital signal baby monitor to a WiFi connected monitor for security reasons, and Levana makes some of the best. We previously used a Levana Stella, now discontinued, for over 2 years and we had absolutely zero issues with it. Because of our long experience with Levana, I’m comfortable recommending the Levana brand to anyone looking for a new baby monitor.
You can purchase the Levana Willow Video Baby Monitor directly from mylevana.com.
Source: The Willow Video Baby Monitor 2 Camera Set was a manufacturer provided review sample.
What I Like: Reliable signal; Great Features; Excellent build quality; Clear audio and video; Private signal.
What Needs Improvement: Power Save mode was way too sensitive, though easily fixed; Battery life; Minor glare on the screen in sunny conditions.