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Lifewire / Gannon Burgett
Poor video quality
No pan/tilt function
If having a video baby monitor is a priority and you want a model that won’t break the bank, the HelloBaby HB32 Video Baby Monitor is a good choice with its affordable price, solid range, and night vision.
Whether your little one is sleeping in their crib or playing with their toys, it’s always nice to keep an eye on them when you’re in the other room. While there are plenty of audio baby monitors on the market, the added benefit of having a video stream can make a huge difference in giving you that extra little peace of mind. There are dozens of fantastic options to choose from, but the budget-friendly HelloBaby HB32 Video Baby Monitor stands out for its solid range and night vision capability. We spent over six weeks testing the device and despite lackluster video quality, we found it to be a reliable unit.
As with all standalone video baby monitor systems, the HelloBaby Video Monitor features a small infant unit (with the camera) and a parent unit (with the screen). The two devices feature a fairly standard design and both feature smooth edges and a contoured design.
Overall, you’ll have a hard time finding a video baby monitor with the specs of the HelloBaby at this price point, so if it checks all the boxes, it’s well worth going for.
The infant unit consists of a base (which the camera pivots on), a camera module, an infrared LED array, a plugin in the back to power the device, and a small antenna at the top to increase range. As you might expect for a more budget-style system, the infant unit doesn’t offer any physical pan/tilt functionality, meaning any time you want to change the composition of the image you’ll need to manually pivot the infant unit’s camera on the base. We found this a bit inconvenient, but if you position it right the first time and don’t have too large of a room to work with it’s not too much of an issue.
Getting started with the HelloBaby Video Monitor is as easy as taking the components out of the box, plugging in the battery to the parent unit, plugging in the infant unit, and turning the devices on. Pairing via the onboard menu took roughly 30-seconds and once connected we were ready to roll.
The HelloBaby Video Monitor is a bit on the cheaper side for video quality. We tested the unit in nearly every lighting condition and no matter how much light there was in the room, the video quality never seemed to be as good as the display. HelloBaby doesn’t share the exact resolution or specifications, so we don’t know if it’s a limitation of the camera on the baby unit or the monitor, but the image always seemed a bit pixellated. That said, the image was clear enough to keep tabs on where our little one was in the room and know what he was getting into throughout the day.
The HelloBaby Video Monitor is a bit on the cheaper side for a video monitor and video quality is where it’s more frugal nature shows.
At night, the video quality was even worse, compounded by the infrared LED lights on the infant unit that seemed to be far too harsh and focused. The image was either too bright or too dark and getting it just right required meticulous placement of the infant unit. Again, once we found the sweet spot, the camera was more than adequate for watching our little one at night, but getting there wasn’t easy.
Sound on the HelloBaby Video Monitor caught us off-guard. Despite the video quality being subpar, sound was quite impressive. The audio was clear, the speaker projected the sound well, and overall it worked about as well as our dedicated audio baby monitor. Two-way communication suffered, as tends to be the case with most monitor units, but we didn’t need to speak to our child often, so it wasn’t too much of an issue.
Unlike many other manufacturers, HelloBaby doesn’t share an estimated battery life of the parent unit or even share the milliamp rating of the battery inside the parent unit. However, we took meticulous notes throughout testing and eventually came to the answer. After more than a month of testing, the average battery life of the parent unit was 8.5 hours when using full video mode and 12 hours if only keeping tabs on the audio.
This seems about right compared to other monitors on the market at this price point, but we would’ve liked to see at least another hour or two, as we found the parent unit tended to die out a little bit sooner than we would’ve liked in the evening. HelloBaby does sell extra batteries, which you could swap out, but swapping out and charging batteries every day is going to be a hassle as a busy parent.
After more than a month of testing, the average battery life of the parent unit was 8.5 hours when using full video mode and 12 hours if only keeping tabs on the audio.
At $79.99 (MSRP), the HelloBaby Video Monitor is one of the most affordable all-in-one video monitoring systems on the market. It doesn’t have a large feature set or the greatest video quality, but the large screen on the parent unit is a welcomed addition. Overall, you’ll have a hard time finding a video baby monitor with the specs of the HelloBaby at this price point, so if it checks all the boxes, it’s well worth going for.
The most obvious competition for the HelloBaby Video Monitor is the Babysense Video Monitor. The Babysense Video Monitor features nearly identical specs, retails for $10 less, and features a very similar design.
Like the HelloBaby monitor, the Babysense Video Monitor features a 3.5-inch LCD display on the parent unit with LED audio indicators at the top and a selection of buttons to the right of the screen. No resolution information is given for either the camera on the infant unit or screen on the parent unit, but based on the information we can find, the two appear to be identical. The BabySense unit does come with an extra add-on wide-angle lens though, which should address some of the issues we had with placing the HelloBaby infant unit. At the same $79.99 MSRP, the two appear to be almost interchangeable, so we don’t think you could go wrong with either choice.
Solid bang for your buck.
HelloBaby doesn’t present the HB32 baby monitor as a fancy do-it-all device. It’s a barebones video baby monitor with a generous parent unit and adequate video quality. For the price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option out there. Yes, some improvements could be made, but it gets the job done, offers a reliable connection, and should give you peace of mind that any parent will appreciate.