The Battle of the Baby Monitors: Summer Infant Vs Infant Optics

The battle for the title of Best Baby Monitor 2015 is a tough one. There are so many kinds of baby monitors out there that it’s really hard to choose one that would tick all the boxes in terms of features, reliability, cost, and other things that parents look for in a baby monitor.

Unlike most other infant baby monitor reviews, this review will not focus on just one product. Instead it will highlight the best and the worst of some of the most popular baby monitor brands and products out in the market today. This way, parents can choose which brand and baby monitor model is right for them.

The first brand this article will feature is Summer Infant. They have several products available in retail stores, specialty shops, and online marketplaces like Amazon, Target, and BabiesRUs. This brand has many baby-related products on its list, but it is best known for its video monitors that feature HD screens, as well as touch screen and split screen capabilities among many others.

To make things a little bit more interesting, this review will compare the line of Summer Infant video monitors with those of the Infant Optics brand. Infant Optics is a relatively new player in the video baby monitor market. They currently have two models available which customers can buy in specialty stores and most major retailers both in-store and online. As a whole, the Infant Optics DXR-5 review has been favorable, and the DXR-8 has received even more praise.

Both brands are known for great video monitors and in order to find out which one really is the best brand when it comes to producing high quality baby monitors that could give even the most high tech video monitors a run for their money. To begin, this article will talk about the Summer Infant video monitor line.

Summer Infant Video Monitor Reviews

In general, the Summer Infant brand is a solid one. Their products are up to date in terms of technology and they are reasonably priced. Not many Summer Infant baby monitor problems have come up in recent years and minor issues regarding their products are properly covered by the Summer Infant baby monitor warranty, which runs for a standard one year; also, Summer Infant baby monitor replacement parts are almost always in stock in case their customers need to buy them. People who are looking for ways to fix simple problems that arise when using Summer Infant products can do so by going on the company’s official website and searching for Summer Infant video monitor troubleshooting guides.

Things haven’t been all sunshine and roses for the company, however. The Summer brand baby video monitor experienced a setback a few years ago when reports started coming in that the batteries in a number of their baby monitor models sold sometime between 2010 and 2011 overheated and in some cases, caused minor property damage. The company was quick to respond and ordered a recall on the affected products. Aside from the Summer Infant monitor recall, they also called on consumers who have purchased certain models to contact them and have their batteries replaced with a different one. This setback was only a minor one as they came back stronger with better, safer products. Since then, most Summer Infant monitor reviews have been reflecting how well the company has improved their products in terms of features and reliability. The models affected by the Summer Infant video monitor recall are older ones and won’t be reviewed in this article.

Here are five of Summer Infant’s most popular products:

Summer Infant Baby Secure Pan, Scan, Zoom Video Monitor

Key Features:

  • 2.5-inch High Resolution LCD Screen
  • Night Vision for low light and dark rooms
  • System can expand to accommodate up to 4 cameras (sold separately)
  • Auto-scan between rooms when using more than one camera
  • Can control cameras (zoom, pan, and scan) remotely using handheld monitor.
  • Two-way audio
  • Interference-free signal with a 600-ft. range
  • Low battery and out of range indicator lights

This entry-level monitoring system does what it’s supposed to. Parents can easily install the camera in the nursery and keep tabs on their babies within 600 feet using a handheld monitor with an LCD screen that shows the high resolution video feed coming from the camera. Since there is no WiFi involved, the feed goes directly to the handheld monitor without experiencing any signal interference, unless the parent holding the handheld device strays away from the signal range. In this case, the Summer Infant monitor out of range indicator lights up, informing the parent that the monitor is no longer connected with the camera. This indicator is a great feature because users are made aware of why they’re not receiving a video feed instead of merely letting them assume that the monitor is broken. The same goes with the low battery indicator.

The screen on this monitor is smaller than the average smartphone screen, so users may have to zoom in on the infant to get a better view of the infant. This can easily be done using the remote control buttons on the handheld. These controls also allow parents to pan and scan remotely so that they can follow older children who are mobile and often move away from the camera’s view. Like most of Summer Infant’s video monitors, this system can handle up to four cameras (the extra cameras are sold separately) and users can jump from camera to camera using the same control panel on the handheld monitor.

Don’t expect too much in terms of added features, especially for a product in this price range. Unlike most of the video monitors made by Summer Infant, there is no temperature display on this monitor. This is perfect for parents who just want to have a monitor that will show them what their child is doing and allow them to communicate through a microphone and speaker installed on both the camera and the monitor.

Summer Infant Full View 5-inch Pan/Scan/Zoom Video Monitor

Key Features:

  • 5-inch High Resolution LCD Screen
  • Night Vision for low light and dark rooms
  • System can expand to accommodate up to 4 cameras (sold separately)
  • Auto-scan between rooms when using more than one camera
  • Can control cameras (zoom, pan, and scan) remotely using handheld monitor
  • Two-way audio
  • Handheld monitor displays the temperature inside the nursery
  • Interference-free signal with a 600-ft. range
  • Low battery and out of range indicator lights

This Full View baby monitor should not be confused with its predecessor which only had a 2.5-inch screen. It actually does more than the one that came before it as it has more features added onto it. Also, it seems to have solved the issues most customers found with the smaller screen version of this model. This in particular has an LCD display with a high enough resolution for a clear picture, even when the camera is on night vision mode. It does, however, pan, scan, and zoom quite well – hence the name. These added features allow the parents to see the rest of the room with its panning and scanning features. The digital zoom on the camera helps them see their children close up even if the camera is set at a distance. Like the most of the video monitors made by Summer Infant, this baby monitor can handle up to 4 cameras that can be placed in the same room or anywhere within the house and a two-way audio communication feature that allows parents to hear if their baby is crying; speaking to their child (through a microphone and speaker in both the camera and the monitor) is also possible.

In terms of pricing, the Full View model is significantly cheaper than the most of the video monitors in the market today, which is great for people who want a larger screen and more features in the monitor they use. Seeing that this model is quite similar to the Baby Secure, the discrepancy in the pricing isn’t that large. It’s actually a better deal because parents can see more of their child with the larger screen.

Summer Infant Baby Touch WiFi Video Monitor & Internet Viewing System

Key Features:

  • 3.5-inch High Resolution Color LCD Display
  • Touch screen interface that remotely controls the camera as well as the functions on the monitor
  • Night Vision for low light and dark rooms
  • System can expand to accommodate up to 4 cameras (sold separately)
  • Auto-scan between rooms when using more than one camera
  • Cameras can pan and scan around the room
  • 3x Zoom can give a closer view of the baby
  • Two-way audio
  • Interference-free signal with a 600-ft. range
  • Low battery and out of range indicator lights

Summer Infant takes their technology up a notch by adding touch screen capabilities to its monitor. The screen is smaller at only 3.5 inches, but it still produces clear, high resolution images to keep tabs on the little one while he or she is asleep. Like the previous monitors mentioned in this review, this system also has night vision, out of range and low battery indicators, and all of the other great features that seem to come standard with Summer Infant monitors. One feature that it lacks is the temperature display that lets parents know if it’s too hot or too cold inside the nursery. Many people don’t seem to mind not having this feature, but if this is something that parents find very important, they would be better off with the other Summer Infant baby monitor models.

Going back to its touchscreen capabilities, this baby monitor model makes controlling the camera much easier as the user can just tap or swipe on the screen to zoom in and out, as well as pan and tilt the camera to adjust it. The added ability to adjust the camera at the touch of the screen makes it a little more expensive than the average video monitor, but it is still reasonably priced.

Summer Infant Sharp View HD Video Monitor

Key Features:

  • Cameras capture HD video
  • 5-inch LCD display (HD)
  • Night Vision for low light and dark rooms
  • System can expand to accommodate up to 4 cameras (sold separately)
  • Can control cameras (zoom, pan, and scan) remotely using handheld monitor
  • Two-way audio
  • Handheld monitor displays the temperature inside the nursery.
  • Interference-free signal with a 600-ft. range

This particular summer child monitor is quite popular thanks to the Ellen Show where it was featured. Aside from the publicity it got from the show, what makes this summer infant video monitor a bestseller is the large (5 -inch) HD flat screen display that gives parents a bigger, clearer view of their child. The HD camera can zoom in and out (or pan across the room) with ease using the handheld monitor as a remote control. Parents who want to see the room at all angles can purchase a Summer Infant video monitor extra camera separately and install three additional cameras in different parts of the room. This brings the total number of cameras within the system to four. The extra cameras can also be installed in playrooms or other children’s bedrooms instead of just cramming them all in the nursery.

The Sharp View also does well in terms of audio. It picks up sounds in the nursery or kids’ bedroom clearly and audibly. It also allows for two-way communication, meaning parents can talk to their babies and soothe them when they are crying even if they’re not in the same room. The system works within a 600-feet range, so there’s no need for guesswork to determine whether the handheld monitor is within range or not. The Summer Infant monitor out of range indicator would let parents know if they’re straying too far from the coverage area. Since the camera and monitor should be paired with each other (much like a Bluetooth connection), other gadgets and household appliances won’t interfere with the signal.

All in all, the Sharp View monitor is a great buy for parents who want to keep an eye on their children while they are in a different room. It has a whole lot of features that would make any parent feel secure when their children are alone in their nurseries or bedrooms. The camera and monitor do not use WiFi to connect, eliminating issues with signal interference; however, this prevents users from connecting the camera to a mobile device. As far as home monitors go, this is the best option; however, if the parents are looking for a monitor that could double as a nanny cam which they could use when they’re away from home, this isn’t the product for them.

Summer Infant Side by Side Split-Screen Video Monitor Set

Key Features:

  • 5-inch High Resolution LCD Screen
  • Night Vision for low light and dark rooms
  • Package comes with two cameras
  • System can expand to accommodate up to 4 cameras (extra cameras sold separately)
  • Split-screen viewing up to 4-way view
  • Auto-scan between rooms
  • Can control cameras (zoom, pan, and scan) remotely using handheld monitor
  • Two-way audio
  • Handheld monitor displays the temperature inside the nursery
  • Interference-free signal with a 600-ft. range
  • Low battery and out of range indicator lights

Having two cameras in one package is already something to look forward to when one intends to purchase the Side by Side model, but the added feature of being able to see video feed from both (or up to four) cameras simultaneously is a great reason to buy this baby monitoring system. Parents who wish to check on their newborns in the nursery while keeping an eye on their toddlers in their bedrooms will find this model particularly interesting as it is cheaper than getting a single-camera system and purchasing an extra camera for another room.

Aside from that, there’s nothing that really makes this model stand out in the Summer Infant’s line of video monitors. It works the same way as the Full View and if the consumer does not have a need for a second (or third, or fourth) camera, then he or she is better off with a single-camera system, especially with the price. In case they are needed in the future (having more kids or installing another camera in the playroom), additional cameras can be purchased separately, along with other Summer infant video monitor replacement parts.

Summer Infant Baby Touch WiFi Video Monitor & Internet Viewing System

Key Features:

  • 3.5-inch High Resolution Color LCD Display
  • Touch screen interface that remotely controls the camera as well as the functions on the monitor
  • WiFi camera that detects and connects to home network automatically
  • Can be used in low-light and dark rooms through infrared LEDs installed in the camera
  • Summer Link WiFi App that allows parents to view video feed from iOS and Android mobile devices
  • System can expand to accommodate up to 2 cameras (extra camera sold separately)
  • Auto-scan between rooms when using more than one camera
  • Login required to view secure encrypted video
  • Viewing access can be shared with select friends and family members
  • Cameras can pan and scan around the room with motion trackers that can follow the baby’s movements
  • Two-way audio
  • Temperature display in both Celsius and Fahrenheit
  • Split-screen available when viewing on mobile device
  • Mobile App has a snapshot feature that can save image captures on the mobile device
  • Premium (paid) service subscription for app users provides activity alerts
  • Connectivity indicator shows internet signal strength

Summer Infant takes baby monitoring one step further with their WiFi enabled video monitor. Instead of pairing the camera with the mobile device, the camera connects to the home network and streams the video to the handheld monitor and any iOS or Android mobile device with the Summer Link App installed. The system uses a secure bank-level encryption so that only those who know what the Summer Infant monitor login is can access the video.

This type of baby monitor is what parents who often hire nannies and babysitters need to have peace of mind when they’re away from their children. The ability to easily switch from monitor to mobile device makes the whole process easier. The Baby Touch monitoring system also has a touch screen interface making it easy to pan, scan, and zoom the camera when needed, but one of the best things about this model is the motion sensor installed in the camera. This enables the camera to follow the child as he or she moves around in the crib or around the room, giving parents a hands-free viewing experience.

The only downside to this system is that it allows only one additional camera to be installed, unlike the other non-WiFi monitors that allow up to four cameras in the system. Also, WiFi enabled baby monitors have been known to experience issues with getting a good signal because other gadgets may be interfering with the connection. There have been complaints regarding Summer Infant monitor no signal issues, but they are usually easily resolved by following some troubleshooting steps that can be found in Summer Infant’s official website.

There are a lot of WiFi-enabled baby monitors out there with features that are similar to the Baby Touch system, but one thing that is very attractive about this particular product is its pricing. For a monitor that doubles as a nanny cam and has a high level of security that keeps other people from tapping into the video feed, the price is actually more than reasonable – it’s a steal.

Summer Infant monitor reviews: Summary

As far as their products go, Summer Infant has got everything covered. They have a monitor system to match their customers’ needs whatever they may be. In fact, the monitoring systems featured in this review are just a preview of what Summer Infant has to offer. Consumers no longer have to pay for features they don’t need, or wish that their monitors had certain features. There’s a video monitor system for everybody. All they have to do is choose the right one for them. One of the best selling points Summer Infant video monitors have is the two way audio. Compared to many other baby monitors from entry level to high tech, Summer Infant monitors pick up sounds very well as the sound doesn’t have to be loud for parents to hear it on the handheld monitor and the camera speakers.

Aside from the occasional complaints regarding Summer Infant video monitor out range and questions on how to fix this issue, there aren’t too many negative comments about the monitors and their features. There are, of course, those who find these systems hard to install even after going through the Summer Infant monitor manual, but these incidents are isolated. It’s also quite easy to get one’s hands on a variety of Summer Infant Monitor replacement parts on the company’s website which would come in handy especially after the standard one-year warranty runs out. The Summer Infant video monitor manual that comes with the package not only gives step by step instructions on how to install the system, it also reminds the users about the safety precautions they need to take and provides easy to follow troubleshooting steps in case the users encounter issues like Summer Infant video monitor out of range.

Overall, Summer Infant video baby monitor systems may not be the perfect all-in-one monitoring system one would love to have, but they do a great job of giving parents what they want – peace of mind. Those who are looking for a good deal on these baby monitors, the Summer Infant video monitor Amazon retailer sells many of their systems at a great price.

Infant Optics Baby Monitor Reviews

Infant Optics only has two monitoring systems in their arsenal. This makes choosing which Infant Optics monitor to buy a whole lot easier; however, when compared to other brands that have more to offer in terms of choices, these systems may be at a slight disadvantage. This doesn’t stop the company from producing great baby monitoring systems, though. There may be only two of them, but both of them pack a punch feature-wise. This isn’t a surprise considering that the company focuses on creating high quality video baby monitors and have no other products in other segments of the market. The response to the products released by Infant Optics is generally good. Their baby monitors does what it should without too many fancy features that people don’t really need, but the DXR series, especially the newer model, has a feature that no other baby monitor manufacturer has thought of – more on that later.

As far as complaints go, there aren’t that many. This doesn’t mean that the product is perfect, though. The company upgraded its firmware on its DXR-5 model several times to address issues such as beeping before the handheld monitor goes into sleep mode, the lack of a low-battery alert tone, and the extension of its battery life by up to 35%. Those who purchased the monitoring system prior to each firmware upgrade were not able to enjoy the new and improved features. The great thing about Infant Optics is that they have a great customer service team that takes care of customer complaints in a timely and efficient manner.

Here are the reviews on the Infant Optics baby monitors:

Infant Optics DXR-5

Key Features:

  • 2.4-inch TFT screen
  • High-sensitivity microphone built-in to the camera
  • Can be activated manually or by voice
  • System can expand to accommodate up to 4 cameras (extra cameras sold separately)
  • LED indicator lights for power, battery, signal coverage, reception, and battery charging
  • Interference-free connection with up to 800 feet of coverage in open, unobstructed areas (150 feet in enclosed spaces)
  • Infrared Night Vision
  • Made out of lightweight plastic composite
  • Energy efficient power adapters
  • Secure encrypted video transmission via FHSS (Automatic Frequency Hopping System)

The DXR-5 is the entry level monitor manufactured by Infant Optics, and for something so basic, this product has a lot of features. Yes, it’s a cute and lightweight baby monitor, but that’s not all. One of the selling points of this product is the Infant Optics DXR-5 VOX feature. This voice activation feature saves the monitoring device’s batteries by shutting down when all is quiet in the room where the camera is installed. When any sound over 65dB is detected, this feature will turn the handheld device back on. The Auto-Mute function works the same way, except that it turns the audio off when the sound volume in the room goes below 65dB and turns back on again when it picks up any sound above that decibel level. The camera is running the entire time, so it’s only the monitor and the audio that shuts down, allowing parents to rest better at night without worrying about white noise or the battery dying out while they sleep. The other features like night vision, wide coverage range, and expandable systems are all pretty standard for newer baby monitor models. Installation is also very easy. The instructions in the Infant Optics DXR-5 manual are quite simple to follow, making it easy for people who are not too tech savvy. That’s not the best part, though. Parents can get their hands on this baby monitor for less than $100.

Now, for the bad news.

The screen is tiny, but it is good enough to get a clear picture even when it’s on Night Vision Mode. It also fits into the whole small and lightweight aesthetic of the DXR-5. Speaking of aesthetics, the lightweight material that the monitor is made of makes it easy to break or crack when it falls even if it is from a low height. Unfortunately, one has to buy the whole set as only extra cameras are sold separately. There is no option to buy Infant Optics DXR-5 monitor only. Now, on to the more serious issues. One of the most common complaint that customers have voiced out has something to do with Infant Optics DXR-5 WiFi interference. Many claim that the FHSS technology that’s supposed to secure the stream from the camera to the monitor actually interferes with their home WiFi signal. Both signals utilize 2.4GHz frequencies in different ways and setting the WiFi router to a channel not used by the camera usually solves the problem with other baby monitor camera brands. Unfortunately, with FHSS, the camera hops from one channel to the other in order to secure the feed and when these two devices end up using the same channel, the camera wins and the internet connection slows down. Many people may be complaining to their internet providers without realizing that the problem lies in the camera that they’re using. Other reported issues such as Infant Optics DXR-5 losing signal or Infant Optics DXR-5 out of signal coverage are usually easily remedied by disabling the VOX feature and re-pairing the camera with the monitor respectively.

The bottom line of this Infant Optics DXR-5 review is that it’s a pretty decent product, especially for the price it goes out for. People don’t expect much out of an entry level gadget, but the DXR-5 has exceeded the expectations of most of the people who have bought and used it.

Infant Optics DXR-8

Key Features:

  • 3.5-inch Color LCD screen
  • Interchangeable camera lenses (normal and 2x optical zoom lenses included; wide angle lens sold separately)
  • Two-way audio
  • System can expand to accommodate up to 4 cameras (extra cameras sold separately)
  • Scan through each of the cameras in a loop (when more than one camera is installed
  • Room temperature is displayed on the monitor.
  • Interference-free connection with up to 700 feet of coverage in open, unobstructed areas (150 feet in enclosed spaces)
  • Infrared Night Vision and low light sensor
  • USB chargers (with adapter) that enables charging from an AC outlet and from a computer
  • Long battery life
  • Secure encrypted video transmission via FHSS (Automatic Frequency Hopping System)

If there was an Infant Optics DXR-5 vs DXR-8 battle, the DXR-8 would win by a landslide. This isn’t just because the screen is slightly larger or two-way communication is now possible. The biggest selling point the DXR-8 has is the revolutionary and innovative interchangeable lens feature. First off, the 2x optical zoom lens beats out the standard 3x or 4x digital zoom other baby monitor cameras have. Optical zoom makes images larger without making it too grainy unlike cameras that utilize digital zoom. Also, the wide angle lens shows more of the nursery or playroom than any normal lens can. Although only one of these lenses (2x optical zoom lens) come with the package, the additional lens is very affordable, so it’s advisable to purchase this along with the basic package. The Infant Optics DXR-8 camera can also be controlled remotely – something the DXR-5 doesn’t have or need because the camera for that monitor stays still. The Infant Optics DXR-8 pan and tilt camera can move with just a push of a button on the handheld monitoring device.

Another feature that the DXR-8 has that is not available with the DXR-5 is the temperature display which tells parents what the temperature is in the nursery, playroom, or wherever the camera is installed. Installation of the DXR-8 is a breeze. The instructions are written clearly and in detail in the Infant Optics DXR-8 manual which includes instructions on how to properly install the Infant Optics DXR-8 battery into the monitor to avoid issues with charging.

People don’t complain too much about the DXR-8, except for a common issue that is more of an annoyance rather than a problem. The Infant Optics DXR-8 beep sound the monitor makes when it goes into sleep mode is something that many users aren’t thrilled about as it may wake light sleepers up. It is easily remedied, of course, as there is an option for it never to beep when entering sleep mode. The DXR-8 is often compared to one of the most popular baby monitors in the market – the Withings Smart Baby Monitor. Unfortunately, it still falls a bit short in terms of features, but that doesn’t mean that the DXR-8 isn’t a great baby monitor. It can actually give other popular baby monitor brands a run for their money. It’s a huge step up from the DXR-5 and it can go head to head with some of the more sophisticated baby monitors from other brands, but at less than $200 per set, it’s no wonder this baby monitor is a bestseller.

Infant Optics Review: Summary

The products that Infant Optics has produced are definitely best sellers. The price point these products are sold at are already enticing in itself. There’s really no need for too much persuasion when comparing them to similar products. Aside from the pricing, people can outright see the value they get with their purchase. There really aren’t any surprises with the DXR-5 and the DXR-8. What you see is what you get. These products may be lacking certain features many people are looking for, but they’re getting there.

The WINNER

In the battle of the video baby monitors between Summer Infant and Infant Optics, the clear winner is Summer Infant – particularly the Smart View and the Baby Touch WiFi systems. These models really capture what consumers want in a video monitor – a large enough screen, clear high resolution or high definition video, and portable monitoring to give them the peace of mind they’ve been looking for. Maybe it’s because they’ve been at it longer, but they do offer more for the price people pay for their products; while it’s true that their offerings are a bit pricier than the competition, there’s no denying that with all things considered, they’re arguably affordable.

With that being said, Infant Optics, with their DXR-5 and DXR-8, is not far behind. The issue with the FHSS and interference with the internet router can really be a bother especially for families who use the internet often. Other than that, the DXR-5 and DXR-8 are also great products that are worth a try – especially for those on a budget, or simply don’t wish to go with the mainstream crowd.