Like most guys, I bloody love gadgets. And so, as a tech-loving expectant dad, there was no doubt in my mind that, when choosing a baby monitor for our firstborn baby (due this September), the outdated audio-only versions simply wouldn’t do.
So when I was offered the chance to review the new Nest Cam HD-quality indoor wifi camera , I quite literally jumped at the chance.
The Nest Cam (retailing at £159) is a brilliant new device for modern parents that lets you stay connected to the things you care about most, whether that be your baby, pets, partner or your home itself. Streaming 1080p HD video in wide screen, you can watch its live feed on the go (or at home) directly from your smart phone or tablet via their easy to use Nest App. And the whole thing takes no more than five minutes to set up, which is an encouraging sign of quality in my book.
As well as being a great security camera when you are out and about, the Nest Cam makes an awesome alternative to the traditional baby monitor, which is exactly how I plan to use it.
Unfortunately, as readers of my blog will know, I don’t currently have a baby to monitor quite yet, as we’re still 16 weeks away from our due date. But I wasn’t going to let a small roadblock like that hold me back…
Last week we had builders in, as well as our lovely cleaner, so I took the chance to set up my new toy in our kitchen to keep an eye on them while at work; the perfect opportunity to test out the Nest Cam’s wide range of features ahead of our baby’s imminent arrival.
And let me tell you, I’ve been seriously impressed by what it has to offer. Here are some of my favourite baby monitor features that I’ve discovered so far…
Motion activation – every time the camera senses any movement, the Nest Cam sends an alert to your phone to inform you of the fact. In just two taps of the App, you can immediately access the live streaming video to see (and hear) what’s going on at home.
As well as being a brilliant security feature in the event that you had an intruder, I can also see this coming into its own when the baby arrives, to save us from having to check the baby every 10 seconds and potentially disrupt its sleeping schedule.
Built-in microphone and speaker – this is such a cool feature of the Nest Cam, which allows you to not only hear what’s going on but also communicate via the camera to whoever is in the room (think of it as a really high-tech walkie-talkie). My wife and I have had a lot of fun with this already (“I’m watching you”, “Wave if you can hear me”, “Don’t forget your lunch!”), and I imagine it will be a really useful for the new baby too, as a means of soothing them without having to physically be in the room.
Camera quality and zoom – I’ve been seriously impressed by the quality of the live streaming video, which even allows you to zoom in to get a closer look, while enhancing the quality of the video at the same time. So even if you tuck the camera away on a high shelf in the corner of the room, you can still keep a close eye on your sleeping baby (or a builder in my case), without having to position the camera directly above the cot.
Night vision – no baby monitor camera would be complete without an efficient night vision setting and this feature on the Nest Cam doesn’t disappoint. The streaming video quality remains top notch throughout, and the camera switches automatically to nigh vision mode when the light in the room dips below a certain level. This is going to be such a useful tool when the baby arrives, as well as further down the line when it’s a bit older too.
In the interests of impartiality, I must also mention a couple of very minor niggles with the product that we’ve noticed so far; namely that, when watching the live stream remotely, the App can cause your phone to work quite hard, resulting in the temperature of your device getting quite hot to touch. Meanwhile my wife slightly balked at the cool black design, saying she wished that it came in white instead. But hey, you can’t please everyone!
All in all though, the Nest Cam has brought the traditional baby monitor into the 21st century, and is going to be an invaluable parenting tool for us for years to come. Plus, from the perspective of a working dad who is going to be in the office for most of our baby’s first formative months, I love the thought that I can still be connected to home in some way during that precious time.
Just 16 weeks to go!
Have you taken the plunge and bought a camera instead of a traditional audio-only baby monitor? Can you think of any additional benefits of the live streaming that I haven’t noticed yet? As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so do share your insights and opinions via the comments section below.