Motorola MBP36XL Portable Video Baby Monitor

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Motorola sells two types of baby monitors: regular monitors with camera and parent unit and “connected” units. The latter monitors can either be viewed via a parent unit or via smartphone, thanks to signal streaming over WiFi.

That dual use is unique to Motorola and explains the price premium these monitors command—$200+, depending on the unit.

In general, Motorola has succeeded with baby monitors where others (Levana, D-Link, Foscam) have failed—and the main reason is a wide variety of monitors and price points.

You can buy a single fix camera with a small 2″ parent viewer for just  $46.99, the MBP481.

Motorola’s most expensive monitor is the Halo+, which is similar to the Nanit with sleep analytics.

At the top end is Motorola’s Halo+ Over-The-Crib monitor for $295.95. The Halo+ is Motorola’s answer to Nanit with sleep analytics, development tips and the like. What makes the Halo+ different than Nanit? First, it comes with a 4.3″ dedicated parent unit. Also the camera detaches from the over-the-crib stand to become a portable camera to check in on older toddlers, etc.

The Motorola MBP36XL is one of the brand’s most popular models.

The most popular model in the Motorola line-up is the MBP33S ($69.00). This model has one point-tilt-zoom camera and a 2.8″ parent monitor. A slightly newer version of this model (MBP36XL, $129.95) which has a parent unit that is twice the screen size (5″).

Extra cameras are $75 to monitor multiple rooms—the display can switch between the two cameras or show both on the screen with picture-in-picture.

In the past year, Motorola debuted what it dubbed as “smart connected baby monitors”—units that stream both to a parent unit and a smartphone via WiFi. Available in both fixed and PTZ models, the flagship model among this group is the Motorola MBP853CONNECT (yes, that is the model number). Price: $170. 

Motorola MBP854CONNECT Dual Mode Baby Monitor
Motorola MBP854CONNECT Dual Mode Baby Monitor

This monitor uses a smartphone app to stream HD (720p) video to your smartphone, along with notifications of motion, sound or room temperature. Also offered: a cloud video storage service in partnership with Hubble Connected (hubbleconnected.com). This runs $2.99 per month for 24 hours of video storage, $9.99 per month for seven days storage and $29.99 for 30 days storage. You can have multiple cameras storing video to one account.

And that’s where the Motorola story starts to come off the rails. The iTunes ratings for the Hubble app are an abysmal 1.5 stars, with numerous reports of crashes and general failure of the app to do what it promises.

The reviews for Motorola’s connected monitors have been similarly dreary—parents complain of poor video quality, dropped signals and terrible battery life. If you want a streaming monitor, the Nest Cam is a better bet.

What about the regular Motorola video monitors? In a previous edition, we recommended these monitors as the feedback was mostly positive. However, in the past year, parent feedback on Motorola’s basic video monitors has turned largely negative, with numerous reports of monitors that simply stopped working after a few months. Sometimes the sound just quits. Or the video konks out. Or the battery won’t charge after a few months of use.

We’re not sure what happened here—Motorola needs to fix its quality control ASAP. Rating: F