Infant Optics DXR-8 video baby

Infant Optics is a good example of how online shopping has reshaped the baby gear world. This small company (part of San Francisco-based importer Genexus) has landed two baby monitors on the top of Amazon’s best-seller chart in that category. Yes, tiny Infant Optics is out-selling baby gear heavyweights like Summer and tech giants like Samsung in this category—with little more than a web site, two products  . . .  and the reach of Amazon.

Infant Optics offers two models: the DXR-5, a fixed camera monitor (pictured below) and the DXR-8 (at right), a model with point-tilt-zoom.

The DXR-8 is a top seller online, so we’ll talk a bit about it first. This $168 unit has pan/tilt/zoom and interchangeable lenses (a normal and zoom lens come in the box; the wide angle lens is sold separately for $12). Additional cameras are also available for $100.

The DXR-8 also has an intercom feature and temperature sensor. The screen is larger (3.5) and you can link up to four cameras to a single display, which will then cycle through the additional cameras every 12 seconds. We’re not sure we see the point of the interchangeable lenses, which would easily just get lost in our house, but feedback on this model has been very positive. The biggest complaint was the beep it makes before it goes into sleep mode.

Infant Optics DXR-5 video baby monitor

The DXR-5 camera doesn’t have point/tilt/zoom, but is a great deal at only $83.

Infant Optics’ lower priced DXR-5 camera is a great deal at only $83, but you won’t get the point/tilt/zoom feature at this price. This camera’s specs include: digital and secure transmission with 800-foot outdoor range (2.4 GHz with FHSS technology to avoid interference), 2.4″ display, voice-triggered (VOX) or manual operation, auto night vision, camera that can be wall mounted, and four hours of battery life. And the unit is expandable with up to four additional cameras ($60). Feedback on this monitor has been largely positive: folks like the clear audio (no static), simple set-up and VOX mode. For $83, the DXR-5 is a great value.

As with any video monitor, interference with your other electronic gadgets in your home can cause issues with Infant Optics monitors. But the company’s customer service wins kudos. And Infant Optics has frequently updated the software on the cameras, fixing bugs and complaint issues.

The biggest drawback to these monitors: there is no wifi streaming feature. Hence, this monitor is a closed system—you can only view the video from the parent unit, not your smartphone. However, not everyone needs to remotely monitor their nursery, so the DXR-8 should do the trick for most folks.

Bottom line: Infant Optics DXR-5 and DXR-8 are excellent video monitors for the price.

Rating: A