Chicco Top Digital Audio Baby Monitor Review
You’re probably here because you are a new parent-to-be, or you already have children and are looking to replace an existing broken baby monitor? In my Chicco Top Digital Audio Baby Monitor review, you will find an honest mother’s review of the baby monitor that I have personally been using for the last 23 months. Well there’s a good start, right? It’s lasted 23 months already!
Chicco Top Digital Audio Baby Monitor Review
These days it seems to be quite difficult to find reviews of baby monitors that do not come with video. Everybody seems to want video, but if you already read my article What is the Best Baby Monitor? you will have noted that I’m personally not a fan, and you will see my reasons as to why.
Before I go any further, I’m just going to state the obvious – this monitor does not have video monitoring as a feature. It is an audio only baby monitor.
- DECT Digital audio – less interference
- Both units are portable and rechargeable (battery included for parent unit only)
- Room thermometer on baby unit
- 330m optimal range
- Two way communication
- Visual indicator
- Vibrate mode
- Headphone connector on parent unit
- Clock and alarm on parent unit
- Nightlight on baby unit
- Preset lullabies on baby unit
- MP3 connector on baby unit
- Feels a bit plasticky
- Not especially sturdy
DECT Digital Audio
The monitors come with DECT digital audio transmission, which means zero interference. I can verify that the units are not subject to interference of any kind, and the only time the signal wavers is when it is dropping out of range. The units are also exclusively linked, so you won’t have any crossed signals with other baby monitors nearby your house.
Portable and rechargeable units
Both the baby and parent units are portable as they can be run from a battery. Both can be used with rechargeable batteries too. There is a slight negative in that only one lithium battery is supplied in the box, so if you want to use both units are portable, you will need to purchase an additional one separately. We have never felt the need to do so, since the baby unit is always just plugged into the room in which our son is sleeping, and we then can charge and carry the parent unit around with us.
As with all rechargeable batteries, you need to try and ensure that the battery is fully run down and then fully recharged each use, to maintain the health of the battery. When doing so, I would say that the battery lasts a good 8-10 hours in between charges, which is more than enough.
We find the thermometer to be accurate when comparing to other thermometers. I would class this as one of my favourite features of this monitor, I rely on this thermometer to decide what to dress my son in each night and which thickness of sleeping bag to put him in!
Don’t believe the range on your baby monitor’s box. These are all ranges in optimal conditions – which let’s face it, doesn’t include layers of brick and plaster like the walls of your home! What I can say is that the monitor had sufficient range for our averagely large detached house and 25m garden length. Our son’s room is located at the front of the house, and the monitor works all the way down to the back of the rear garden. If you have a much bigger home and garden, you may struggle to find any monitor with a suitable range!
Two way communication
This is a feature that we haven’t used with our son, but we do know it works. You simply press in a button on the side of the parent unit and begin talking, much like an old school walkie talkie device, over and out! There have been times when my husband and I have chatted through the monitor through pure laziness of not wanting to walk upstairs to have a conversation!
Visual indicator / vibrate mode / headphone connector
There can be all kinds of reasons why you don’t want to turn the monitor up to full volume, and having these three features gives you plenty of options on how to be able to keep check on your sleeping child. The visual indicator is that the unit has LEDs which light up when your baby cries. You can choose to have the unit vibrate too. The headphone connector is self-explanatory and the monitor does come with some free headphones included in the box too.
Clock and alarm
The time and date is displayed on the 2 inch display at all times when the monitor is switched on and are easy to set. As long as you don’t allow the battery to run dead, the clock will stay set when the monitor is switched off. The alarm function can be set to save up to 5 different alarms, and you can choose an image to remind you it’s an alarm for feeding, nappy changing, medication or sleep time. I can’t say we’ve ever put the alarms to use, but it’s a nice but simple additional function.
There is a nightlight that can be activated on the baby unit, however it is rather dim even on the maximum brightness setting, of which there are 3. We don’t use this function, but I think that if you were wanting a nightlight to be able to see your way to the bathroom in the night, this would not be bright enough. As a gentle reassuring light for a child who is afraid of the dark though, it’s perfect as it’s a night soft glow with no blue tones in it (blue tones have been proven to inhibit sleep and should be avoided).
Lullabies / mp3 connector
The baby unit comes with a preset handful of 5 lullabies which you can use, or you can connect your own music device (mp3 player, ipod etc) by using the supplied audio cable. However, whilst music is playing from either lullaby or mp3 mode, you cannot use the baby monitor as a baby monitor, which in my mind renders this feature almost entirely useless!
The device is extremely lightweight and small, not much thicker than a mobile phone. It will fit into your pocket easily for portability. However I do think that this makes it feel rather plasticky and not too sturdy.
As you can see from the picture, we’ve had a couple of incidents of dropping the parent unit on our tiled floor, and the unit didn’t fare too well – a nice split down the side of the casing where it joins. Nothing that a bit of tape won’t hold together, and I have to say that the monitor still functions perfectly well, but it’s just something to bear in mind if you have lots of hard flooring and this may happen to you.
Value for money: 4/5 (but keep an eye out for reduced prices in the sales)
Buy from: Amazon.com
This baby monitor was an absolute bargain when we bought it (during an Amazon Black Friday sale), but even at full price, it’s still great value for money. It has just about every feature that you can imagine for a non-video baby monitor, and the sound quality is superb. The slight drawback for me is that it is a bit cheap looking and not as sturdy as may be required when you have little people running around.
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