The Motorola MBP845 Connect offers more than most baby monitors. It provides both a closed system parent unit and a Wi-Fi connected app to allow parents to monitor their child in multiple ways.
The MSRP for the unit is $200, but it can easily be found for as low as $112 on Amazon. Up to four cameras can be paired with this system.
There is an insert that instructs users to charge the parent unit for 16 hours before using. When I turned it on to check the battery level, it only had one battery bar, so I went ahead and followed instructions and plugged it in.
After charging for the appropriate time, the rest of the setup was extremely simple and straightforward, though the Quick Start Guide did not mention the very odd, grey contraption that I found in the box with the pieces. (Logic made it clear that this was an optional malleable stand for the camera.) This stand is actually a lot of fun and makes the camera able to be mounted just about anywhere.
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 set it up in a number of ways. You can also just give it to your kiddo as a toy if you don’t want to use it — it’s pretty weird and fun and can keep them entertained while you set up the monitor.
The parent unit is quite large and requires both hands to use. The 5″ full color screen is nice, but it’s not really necessary to have it be quite so big. The unit comes with a built-in stand, and the menu and controls are very intuitive, with directional, menu, and “ok” buttons surrounding the screen, making the user guide almost unnecessary.
The camera is almost completely manual when it comes to movement. The parent unit controls one level of digital zoom on the camera, so that users can focus it more, but there is no pan or tilt function at all. The zoom is quickly and easily accessed as the first option in the menu.
The Motorola MBP845 Connect comes with a set of desirable features, including 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. There is also a sleep timer (2-, 4-, and 6-hour) 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 very 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 the lullaby feature is a big selling point, users might consider using the app instead of the parent unit, and turning on the movement alert feature.
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.
The child and parent unit use different types of charging cables, which I often find a bit annoying and frustrating – keeping up with even more cables is not my favorite hobby, but this certainly isn’t any sort of deal breaker.
One incredibly frustrating feature of this set is that you have to turn each unit on at basically the same time. If you don’t, whichever one is on will emit a loud noise. Just be sure that you have the parent unit turned down if you’re turning them on together, as that loud feedback can be just as annoying (and potentially wakeful to baby). It also takes a few seconds for the two units to connect, which can also be a bit frustrating.
The product description claims a 1000-foot range when there are no walls between the parent and child units. Indoors — where you’ll actually be using this monitor — that range drops significantly to up to 165 feet. While testing the battery with the video screen constantly on the battery lasted more than 8 hours, though the product description claims 9.5 hours of battery life (most likely with the video off).
Unlike traditional baby monitors, the Motorola MBP845 Connect also uses an app to view your baby. You can use this to get a live video feed of your baby when in the house, or away, perhaps if a sitter of family member is watching the child. It also allows the camera to be used as a sort of indoor security camera.
Setting up the app was pretty straightforward to start. The Hubble app can be found in the iTunes or Google Play stores for free. Once it’s installed, the registration process is quick and simple. Inside the app, you’ll just go to the camera section and add your camera. To add the camera, just hit the pairing button on the side and follow instructions to add it to your Wi-Fi network.
After the pairing, your first order of business in the app should be to set up the sensitivity levels of the movement and sound monitors (or to turn them off altogether), so that it can perform at the level you like. I originally set my sensitivities to the highest levels, and I was receiving constant notifications – it is very sensitive. These notifications are particularly helpful if you need to use your device for other reasons, but are fearful of exiting out of the app.
In addition, the notifications trigger a camera capture that is then turned into a timeline of “Events.” This is particularly helpful for monitoring baby’s wake cycles, eating times, and more. Users will need to go in and turn the app off, or set it to Do Not Disturb when using the parent unit, as the notifications for sound and movement will still alert.
One of the best features of the app is that users can capture photos and video while monitoring baby. Because sometimes you really, really need a photo of your cute, sleeping baby. The photo and video files save in the app, but users also have the option of adding on a cloud storage account (a free trial can be initiated at any time).
I tested the app while 75 miles from my home using another Wi-Fi network, and it connected right away to the camera back at home with no problems. I also connected through cellular data closer to home (with two bars) and though there was a definite lag, it connected successfully.
The app is very clean, simple, and user friendly. My only complaint is that there is no control for the volume in the app — the only way to control it is to change the volume of the device itself.
When using the standard parent unit, the system is on a 2.4 GHz band. Because the system can connect through the internet, users are potentially exposed to security issues, especially if using an unsecured wireless 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 on the go
- Users who want to be able to have more than one parent unit to monitor their child
- Users who are looking for a lot of features with a great value
Who It Might Not Be A Good Fit For
- Users who are concerned with possible security issues via internet use
- Users who do not have strong Wi-Fi connections
- Users who need to be able to control camera movement through the parent unit
Though the Motorola MBP845 Connect has a couple of minor annoyances like a manual movement camera, these are balanced out by extra features and a very affordable price. Most importantly it allows users to watch baby via a parent unit and an app, which is a very nice feature to have. But some users may prefer to have a dedicated baby monitor without any online access.