The Motorola MBP36XL Portable Video Baby Monitor gives users a wide viewing range that can be controlled at their fingertips, making this a monitor that can be used for a variety of reasons, and for a longer period of baby’s life. In addition, the child unit has the rare ability to run on battery power for up to three hours.
The MSRP for the unit is $180, but it can be found for as low as $95 on Amazon. Up to four cameras can be paired with this system.
Motorola’s parent units typically do not come with a full charge like others, so it’s best to follow the advice and give it a full 16 hour charge before unplugging to use the first time.
After charging for the appropriate time, the rest of the setup was extremely simple and straightforward. The camera has a nice sized base that can be placed near a crib, in addition to the Motorola Star Grip, which can be used to place the camera in a variety of odd places. You can turn it into a tripod-type stand to set on the shelf, wrap it around a pole, balance and tuck it on the back of a crib, or whatever you need. You can also just give it to your kiddo as a toy if you don’t want to use it – it can keep them entertained while you play with your new electronic toy.
Interestingly, the Motorola MBP36XL has a lot in common with the Motorola MBP845 Connect. (The model name might lead you to believe it’s more similar to the Motorola MBP36.) The MBP36XL parent unit is quite large and requires both hands to use. The 5″ full color screen is nice, but it may feel too big for some users.
The parent unit comes with a stand so that users can easily watch with the unit placed on a flat surface. The menu and controls are intuitive, with directional, menu, and “ok” buttons surrounding the screen, making the user guide almost unnecessary.
One of the best things about this system is that the camera can pan 360 degrees (though not in a continuous circle). The tilt range is also very expansive, giving users coverage from floor to ceiling. This makes this camera great not just for watching babies, but also for keeping an eye on pets, aging adults, and even room-to-room home security. The camera also has a very basic 2x zoom function.
The Motorola MBP36XL comes with a set of desirable features, including a temperature monitor, two-way communication, infrared night vision, and a selection of five lullabies. Volume can be monitored visually with a series of LED lights that range from green to orange to red if users need to turn down the volume on the parent unit. There is also a sleep timer (which can be set to 2, 4, or 6 hours) and an option for the video screen to automatically turn off after 5, 30, and 60 minutes.
The speaker and microphone on each unit are high quality, and sound is transmitted clearly. The lullabies play loudly enough that your child can hear them well without being too loud to disturb them (though there is no volume control on the child unit). Playing the lullabies also means that users will hear/see that coming through overwhelmingly and may miss noises from the child.
If users need to watch more than one child at once, this system offers a split screen option if more than one camera is hooked up. Up to four cameras can be used on this system.
Be sure to turn on your parent unit quickly after turning on the child unit, as it will start beeping fairly loudly if not. Thankfully, the child unit on this model only flashes a red light if it isn’t connected to the parent unit.
The product description claims a 1,000-foot range when there are no walls between the parent and child units. The product description doesn’t address the indoor range — and indoors is where monitors are used.
While testing the battery with the video screen constantly on the battery lasted more than 8 hours – the product description claims 9.5 hours (most likely with the video off). The child unit battery, a very unique and desirable feature among baby monitors, can last up to 3 hours, according to the Quick Start Guide.
A common complaint of the system on Amazon was that the camera often drops connection, which not only means the system isn’t working — it also means that the loud alert sound could potentially wake up your whole house. During testing I never had a problem with the connection between units. Another common complaint on Amazon was that the screen was laggy and not clear. Again, during testing I did not encounter this problem at all, but buyers should be aware of these issues.
The system uses wireless 2.4 GHz FHSS to connect to a secure network.
Who It Might Be A Good Fit For
- Users looking for a more established brand name
- Users who want to easily monitor their child both at home and while traveling, especially while camping
- Users who are looking for a lot of features
- Users who need to be able to control camera movement through the parent unit
Who It Might Not Be A Good Fit For
- Users whose children wake easily, just in case the signal drops
The Motorola MBP36XL Portable Video Baby Monitor is a good monitor, especially for the price, and particularly if you’re looking for a camera that can cover a large range. The rechargeable battery on the camera is a nice option to have, as well. We have a few concerns about the longterm viability of the product based on its Amazon customer reviews, but our testing period revealed no major flaws.