We are on our second baby video monitor. Both have been purchased from Costco. The first one was by a company named Lorax and it did pretty much everything we needed. The issue was the connector was very poorly placed. It was essentially a micro USB connector that stuck up out of the base. This meant that you had to wiggle it on and place it exactly onto the base. My wife noted right after we got it in February 2011 that it was ‘weird’.
Sure enough, the design caused the receptacle in the actual monitor unit to come loose and eventually break off within the unit.
Costco has a great return policy where most items can be returned indefinitely. So, we took it back even though it had been 18 months. They took it back no questions asked.
They don’t sell the monitors in the store, only online, so we went looking for a replacement. Our biggest requirement is that it have two video cameras so that we can monitor both kids.
They no longer sell the Lorax, but the closest that they had with our price point was the Levana Safe N’ See monitor.
We ordered it and it came a few days later.
It’s definitely different. Here are a few things we like and don’t like:
- Temperature gauge – It actually shows the temperature in each room which is a nice feature.
- Big screen – The screen is 3.5” diagonal which is pretty big. The Lorax was probably 2”
- Remote intercom – The Lorax had this as well but this also has the ability for us to ‘speak’ to our children from the monitor
- Lights and music – You can also turn on a nightlight and start a lullaby to play in your babies room from the monitor unit
- Price – It was the most economical unit available which included two cameras.
- Pairing the second camera – The second camera must be paired to the base unit, as it is a closed circuit unit. We followed the directions and it didn’t work. One of the steps was to cover the light sensor of the camera, which tells it to start transmitting the pairing signal. Even though I covered this completely, it wouldn’t work because I did it in the afternoon and some ambient light must have been getting through. When I tried it again in the evening, it worked like a charm. They should tell you to do this in a darkened room.
- The video can’t be fully turned off – Both monitors have a feature where it will flip back and forth between the two cameras. This doesn’t work though if you want the video off (and who doesn’t during the middle of the night?). The only way to turn the video off is to set the ‘VOX’ which monitors the sound level and only turns on when it detects noise. Unfortunately, when you activate VOX, it locks on one camera. Luckily we have a sound-only monitor so we can use this in one kids room, and set the other for the second kids room, but it seems silly.
- Harder to hear – Most monitors we’ve seen are a little too good at picking up noise. My in-laws have one that can pick up someone having a conversation across the street….through a closed window! Ours are about 12’ from the kids beds and it is pretty muffled.
- Out of the box battery issue – The monitor can be unplugged, so it has a rechargeable battery. It looks as if ours is defective, as the charging light never turns green, even though it’s plugged in all night. I have to call them and see if they will send me a replacement.
All in all, it’s a pretty average unit, but for the price you can’t beat it. A comparable two video system will cost you at least $100 more. There’s nothing wrong with the Levana unit, it just has some features (and non-features) that you could tell were not engineered by parents that actually used the thing. Considering our oldest is over three, I don’t expect that we’ll need the video for all that long, so I didn’t want to put much more into it. And, since it was purchased at Costco, we have a warranty for as long as we need it.
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