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Wi-Fi baby monitor with bells and whistles

Anyone who has attempted choosing a baby monitor knows that it is often an exercise in accepting trade-offs.

Audio-only baby monitors are affordable but force you to tiptoe into the room to check on every little squeak; video baby monitors that run on radio frequency are stable and reliable, but can only be accessed from a single screen; and Wi-Fi monitors have a string of drawbacks that range from being unstable to having a video lag.

The M7 baby monitor from iBaby tries to minimise most of the issues with Wi-Fi monitors and, by and large, succeeds.

This is a monitor that combines many of the upsides of a Wi-Fi, cloud-connected baby monitor - you can check on your baby while you are at work and store videos in the cloud - with very few of the downsides.

This is still a Wi-Fi monitor after all, so if your router goes on the fritz or you lose Internet connection, the monitor will stop working. There is also a slight lag between something happening and it showing up on the screen but, in my experience, this has never been more than one second. I consider this perfectly decent having previouslytried one with a three-second lag.

The video quality is 1080p high definition with night vision, meaning it has been smooth enough and clear enough for me to see my child's chest rise and fall as he snores - even in a pitch black room.

There isn't any option to change the video resolution, so this will chew through your data plan if you intend to watch the baby a lot in places without Wi-Fi.

The M7 also fulfils my three other criteria for products like this: multiple users can view the footage at the same time; motion and sound alerts work reliably; and the camera can pan.

  • SPECS

  • PRICE: $399

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 2/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The M7 pans 360 degrees horizontally and 110 degrees vertically. It is also nearly completely quiet as it pans.

Of course, this device, being on the higher end of the baby monitor price range ($399) comes with a whole lot of other bells and whistles.

It has an air quality, temperature and humidity sensor; a light that projects stars onto the ceiling; two-way audio; a built-in white noise machine; and the ability to share videos directly to Facebook and Twitter.

The air quality sensor is also supposed to be able to send you an alert when it thinks your little one has gone number two. My experience with these things though tell me that the circumstances required to work reliably are so specific as to be nearly useless to most people.

As for the other functions, how much one really uses them depends very much on the individual parent. Personally, I struggle to think of a scenario where I would want to talk to my child using the two-way audio function.

If I have one complaint, it is its size. This is one of the larger baby monitors in the market. It looks like a BB-8 drone from the Star Wars movie franchise with a small sphere containing the camera lens attached to a larger sphere approximately the size of a small rock melon.

That means you either need to have a shelf overlooking your crib or get the $49 wall mount. Trekvue, which distributes the M7 here, will include this mount for free if you buy it from them.

• Verdict: It suffers a bit from size and feature bloat, but the M7 gets the basics right and that makes it one of the better Wi-Fi baby monitors out there.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Wi-Fi baby monitor with bells and whistles'. Print Edition | Subscribe