I get a lot of requests for baby monitor recommendations and am often stumped!!
These questions include:
What’s the best baby monitor that can be viewed from both your phone and an app?
What’s the best portable / travel baby monitor?
I have 2 kids, is there a baby monitor that allows you to add a camera to see both kids at the same time on a single split screen?
What’s the most streamlined looking monitor?
Is there a monitor that can be used without being plugged in?
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked these questions and responded that I don’t know of any monitor that fits the bill. Recently, Kodak asked me to partner by trying and reviewing the Kodak Cherish C525IR Smart Baby Monitor. I looked up the specs, and thought this just may be that “unicorn” baby monitor. I’ve now used it for a few weeks and here is my review!
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Initial impressions of the Kodak Cherish C525IR Smart Baby Monitor
I opened the box and immediately noticed that the Kodak Cherish C525IR Smart Baby Monitor camera is so sleek and streamlined. The base features an ample 5” screen, yet is still compact. I downloaded the KODAK Smart Home App on my phone and followed the in-app prompts. Within five minutes, I had it fully set up and was accessing a crystal clear image on both the monitor base and the app on my phone.
My kids share a room, and I confirmed that I could easily pan, tilt and zoom to see both kids, even though they sleep on opposite sides of the room. I was able to see my kids clearly and even zoom in to see their faces up close.
The camera is really portable, making it ideal for trips and visits to relatives’ homes.
The camera and the base (aka “parent unit”) each come with a battery, allowing them to hold a charge for up to four hours. A chargeable base is convenient as it allows you to watch a movie on your sofa, run laundry or put another child to sleep, all without being tethered to an outlet. I don’t know of any other monitor with a chargeable camera, and imagine that it would make it easy to put your baby down for a nap quickly when you arrive at a destination — I’ve been through the frustration of trying to find a spot for the camera that is close to an outlet and worrying that I’d miss the nap “window.” It would also come in handy during a power outage (which recently occurred in parts of Manhattan).
Streamlined design. I appreciate that the camera is really streamlined and blends into our nursery.
Easy setup. I followed the prompts on the app and had mine set up in minutes.
Shelf or Wall/Ceiling Mount. You can set it up in seconds by placing it on a shelf. You also have the option of mounting it to the ceiling to get a bird’s eye view of your child.
Chargeable. The camera holds a charge, which allows you to set up in no time when you’re on the go.
Wide angle camera with impressive remote pan, tilt and zoom. The camera has an impressive wide angle camera (you might even be able to set it to keep two kids in view). It can also pan 330 degrees left and right and til 120 degrees up and down, providing a full 360 degree view. You can also get a more detailed view using the 3x digital zoom. I keep mine focused on my one year old, but at times pan over to my four year old sleeping on the opposite side of the room.
Remote access via base or app
Option of accessing video stream from included base or app. Most monitors only allow access from a base or from an app on your phone (or other device). The Cherish C525IR allows both, which is super convenient. The Smart Home app is available for both ANDROID and iOS.
I personally use the app most and leave the base in the kitchen. The benefits of having both include being able to access remotely when you have a sitter, giving a sitter access via the base without needing to set anything up on her phone, and being able to watch from home using the base (vs. from your phone, which can go into sleep mode or you may want to use for other purposes). I use the phone most of the time as I usually have it near me and only look at the monitor if I get a notification (see functions below). In my experience, the base has been more responsive than the app (particularly for panning and tilting), but this may be a function of my weak wifi signal.
The monitor base / display
Clear 5” screen. The base has a nice big 5” screen with a high resolution display.
Illuminated keypad. Years ago I bought a monitor from another brand and returned it because I couldn’t operate it in a dark room without memorizing the buttons. The illuminated keypad on this monitor is great and easy to operate in the dark.
One touch on/off screen. You can turn the screen off with the touch of a button (making it only an audio monitor, with the ability to quickly convert it back to video if need be).
While the monitor is chock full of functions, it’s still simple to use. You can ignore all the options and use it straight out of the box. Here are some of the standout features.
Wide angle camera with impressive remote pan, tilt ,zoom and night vision. See “The camera” above.
Notifications and sensitivity settings. The monitor offers sound, motion and temperature notifications and you can set the sensitivity level for each. I take a less is more approach by keeping the volume off and getting alerts for sound. Read on for specifics.
Motion detection / notification. You have the option to turn motion detection off, on or limit it to hours of your choice. You can also set the motion sensitivity to low, medium or high (so you would get an alert if your toddler stood up, but might not if they only stirred). You can even define the motion detection zone (e.g., only on one child).
Sound detection / notification. You have the option to turn sound detection off, on or limit it to hours of your choice. You can set the sound sensitivity on a spectrum of low to high. I like to leave mine just below medium, otherwise it picks up sounds outside the room.
Temperature monitoring/ notification. The temperature will always show on your monitor screen. You can, however, opt to be notified if the temperature falls outside a set range. According to the brand, temperature is accurate +/- 2 degrees Celsius.
Humidity monitoring. The humidity level will always show on your monitor screen. According to the brand, humidity level is accurate +/- 5%.
Two-way communication. You can speak to your child remotely through either the app or base. On the morning that I shot the photos for this article, I was trying to put on makeup while my one year old was supposed to be napping. I noticed that she was standing up in the crib. I channeled the Wizard of Oz and instructed her to “sit down and rest your head” (exactly what I always say to her in person when she resists rest). For a second her eyes bugged out of her head while she stared at the camera, but she complied!!
Melody / white noise. The camera plays five different melodies or sounds. You turn them on via the app or base. They are labeled “Melody 1,” “Melody 2,” etc. I wish they had at least differentiated the labels of the melodies and sounds, but it’s not a huge deal. I’ve used the melody function to soothe my daughter. It turns off after 30 minutes or you can stop it remotely.
Night vision. The night vision is great and you have the option to set it to auto, on or off. I keep it on auto so it adjusts from day to night automatically.
Noise reduction. You can set the noise level threshold. I have my reduction set to high to filter out the white noise machine that is also running in the room.
Indoor / outdoor picture mode. I assume this adjusts for brightness of the sun when you toggle to outdoor photo mode.
Saving images and video to phone / cloud / card. On the function wheel on the app you can hit the camera icon to save a still photo to your phone. The app automatically saves saves significant events like your child crying or moving to your Kodak cloud storage (24 hour is free, anything beyond that requires a subscription). You can also insert an SD card in the camera (sold separately, see below) to record these events. I haven’t played with this functionality, but it’s important to many people.
Adding additional cameras
You can add up to 4 additional cameras (sold separately, details below) to the same baby monitor (parent unit) or up to 10 with the KODAK Smart Home App.
I’m using only one camera, but Kodak verified the following information.
If you do purchase and connect a second camera, you can view the video feed from both cameras simultaneously on parent unit screen. If using the app, you will need to scroll to see the feed of the second camera.
Ideal travel monitor
The monitor and base are both really compact and portable. They can also both be used for up to four hours without being plugged in, which makes them ideal for quick setup when you arrive at your travel destination (or even for an afternoon at the grandparents). Like at home, it’s convenient to have both a base and app access when you travel — a sitter can use the base and you can check in when you go out.
Kodak states that its Smart Home cloud based apps and software utilize the highest levels of encryption security to give you confidence that your data is secured.
Price, where to buy and discount
At the time that I’m writing this, the C525 is available for $20 less but does not have infrared night vision and is being discontinued. I recommend splurging for the better night vision.
If you want to save images locally, add a FAT32 Format MicroSD memory card up to 32GB, Class 10.
The Kodak Cherish C525IR Smart Baby Monitor is reasonably and packed with useful functions. The two most remarkable aspects (at least for me) are the ability to remotely access via both the parent base unit and an app, the clear day and night vision, and that both the base and camera hold up to four hours of charge. It’s a high quality product with lots of impressive functions, but still simple enough to be set up and put to use within minutes using integrated in app support. It’s a great option for families who live in large or small homes, and even for travel!