The Good – Excellent image quality on a large 3.5″ LCD Screen; Secure FHSS Data Encryption; 2-way communications; excellent 6-10 hour battery life; Noise-activated; Supplied with Zoom lens and other lenses can be bought separately; Despite being packed full of features, it is very easy to use.
The Bad – The only complaint that I have heard about this monitor is that it emits a beeping noise when it goes into sleep mode. This is probably an unnecessary feature that might annoy some, but in the grand scheme of things, it is probably not an issue that will trouble too many people. It is certainly not a recurrent complaint and it wouldn’t prevent me from buying it.
The Bottom Line – The Infant Optics DXR-8 is an excellent top of the range video baby monitor. It is quite expensive, but if you can afford it I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed. I (and many others) consider it to be the “Best in Class” Video Baby Monitor.
My Personal Experience of Buying Baby Monitors
When I think back to that exciting day when my wife and I first brought our twin boys home from hospital, I can still vividly remember my overwhelming sense of excitement and joy.
However, once we had finally arrived home with our precious cargo that joy quickly turned to controlled panic. How on earth was I going to care for them and protect them from all of the dangers that I suddenly started to conjure up in my mind?
My mental state probably wasn’t helped by the fact that the boys had been born prematurely and had spent the previous 10 days being monitored by paediatricians. Yet, here they were now … at home with no monitors, no medical staff on standby, and no-one else to look after them apart from a pair of exhausted and completely inexperienced parents.
Although we had bought a great many things in preparation for the arrival of our new babies, we had deliberately decided not to buy a baby monitor before their birth. We were aware of the World Health Organisation’s advice that babies should sleep in the same room as their parents for the first 6 months and so we thought that we didn’t need one straight away and would have plenty of time to shop around during that 6-month period.
How wrong we were! If you take just one valuable piece of advice from my review, it should be this …
Whichever monitor you ultimately choose to buy and whether or not you think you can do without one for the first 6 months or so, please make sure you do your research and make that purchase before the big day comes around. You simply won’t have the time or the mental agility to make the best decision afterwards and will you probably end up with a wholly unsuitable monitor.
There is another very good reason why you will probably need a baby monitor from day 1. Babies don’t just go to bed at 8pm and wake up at 7am – it would be nice if they did, but they don’t. Instead, they tend to have naps throughout the day and rarely sleep more than a few hours at a time during the night.
You can’t spend 24 hours a day every day in the same room as your baby if you want to keep your sanity, and there will be times when you need to leave them asleep in another room while you do some chores or prepare a light snack etc. If you want to be even more ambitious, you might even like to try actually sit down and enjoy a proper meal with your partner or watch a movie together?
It is important that you try to get a little time to yourselves without the children (even if it’s only 30 minutes) – a good monitor will make this objective much easier to achieve since you will be able to relax much more if you are not straining to hear if your baby is crying or popping in to see if they are still breathing every 5 minutes! This is not a joke – it is a very common concern of first time parents and can be very stressful.
If you are anything like me, you will want some reassurance that they are OK during your absence and a good monitor is the only way to put your mind at ease.
Why Should You Buy a Video Monitor rather than an Audio Monitor?
As I have already hinted at, my wife and I bought a wholly inappropriate cheap audio baby monitor and it became the bane of our lives. We didn’t have the time or energy to shop around for the right product at the time and we naively thought that a basic audio monitor would be just fine.
I suppose it did its job in that we could use it to tell if our children were in distress or not and we learnt to live with the annoying hissing sound and the short battery life. However, it certainly did NOT make our lives any easier. The main problem is that without a video monitor screen it is very difficult to determine whether you need to go and attend to your baby or not. Babies often make noises during the night, but not every little noise requires a parental visit to their bedroom.
Trying to make do with an audio monitor meant that my wife and I had to make many unnecessary visits to the twins’ bedroom. With a Video Monitor, we could have simply turned over and looked to see if they were genuinely in need of assistance or able to just go back to sleep again on their own. It is actually not considered to be good for your baby’s sleep training to be constantly attending to them at every single noise – they need to learn to get themselves back off to sleep without your assistance.
Why is the Infant Optics DXR-8 So Good?
The Infant Optics DXR-8 has every feature that you could ever wish for in a video baby monitor, which explains why it is one of the most popular models on the market today.
The key technical features are listed below and explained in the review video, but what does it all mean and how will these features make your lives (and the lives of your child) any better?
The excellent battery life and crystal clear 2-way communication system are great features that make the DXR-8 stand out from the crowd, but the image quality and remote control mechanism are probably its main selling points.
Image quality is obviously one of the most important things to look for in a video monitor. It also helps to have a large screen when you are trying to check on your child through bleary eyes at 3am! The Infant Optics DXR-8 has a very large and very clear 3.5″ LCD screen. Its main competitor is the Motorola MBP36 and their prices are similar. However, the image quality of the DXR-8 is significantly better than both the Infant Optics DXR-5 and the Motorola MBP36. It is not just a little sharper, it actually appears to be of a much higher resolution than the other 2. This better image quality is particularly important during the night when you will be using the DXR-8’s infrared night vision.
The Remote pan, tilt and digital zoom is another great selling point of the DXR-8.
The unit is supplied with 2 different interchangeable lenses (normal & zoom) and you can also buy an extra wide-angled lens separately. You probably won’t need this initially since your baby will not be moving around much, but it can be useful as they get older and start to move around their playroom or bedroom more.
The tilt and pan mechanism is not just a gimmick. It has some practical uses too. The most obvious benefit is that it allows you more flexibility when deciding where to position the camera unit in your baby’s room. Monitors without this function can be very difficult to position in such a way that you can always get a good centralised image of your baby. With the DXR-8, if baby moves around in the cot, you can remotely adjust the tilt and zoom to re-centre them.
- Very sharp image quality (day and night), thanks to its 3.5″ colour LCD screen.
- Secure FHSS Data Encryption to prevent nosey neighbours from spying on you and your baby
- 2-way communication system (extremely useful for parents wishing to discuss their next move without having to keep going up and down the stairs!) and the ability to manipulate the direction of the camera from the control unit. You can also zoom in and out remotely (remember its NOT a toy Dad!).
- The unit is supplied with an optical zoom lens, but there is also a wide-angled lens that can be purchased separately.
- The battery life of 6 – 10 hours is excellent and is undoubtedly helped by the fact that the video screen is noise-activated so the unit is not constantly drawing maximum battery juice.
Watch the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Review:
Value for Money & Customer Service
$190 is a lot of money to spend on a baby monitor. If you are going to spend this amount of money, you are entitled to expect a high standard of customer service on the rare occasions that something goes wrong. This is one area in which the Infant Optics company seems to excel. I have heard extremely positive reports in relation to both the speed and helpfulness of their responses to the sort of problems that occasionally occur with products. It is always pleasing to deal with a company that sends out a replacement unit before asking you to return the faulty one first. Some other companies will expect you to return the unit first so that they can check it over before (possibly) sending out a replacement. This can be a big problem since you will have to then make do without a monitor for a couple of weeks or so.
This is an expensive unit that will be beyond the budget of many people. However, if you can afford the DXR-8 monitor I’m sure that you will not be disappointed. It is a well-built monitor and has some great unique features (eg. the interchangeable lenses). Most importantly, the manufacturer has not sacrificed the monitor’s basic functionality when incorporating these additional features. It is surprisingly easy to use considering the large number of impressive features.
The DXR-8 is considered by many to be the Best Video Monitor on the market – and I can’t find any reason to disagree with them.
If your budget cannot stretch this far, the Infant Optics DXR-5 might be worth considering. The main difference being the quality of the plastic case, an inferior screen, no zoom and no interchangeable lenses.
Where to Buy the Infant Optics DXR-8
Read User Reviews
If you are still undecided, you can read some more user reviews.
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