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Video baby monitors allow you to see and hear your baby, even in darkness

The Motorola MBP36 Digital Video Baby Monitor (Est. $240) offers a formidable combination of features and performance, reviewers say. Experts hail the clear image and sound and the monitor's impressive range. They say it really shines with its whisper-quiet remote pan, tilt and zoom. Extras include lullabies and a temperature sensor. On the downside, battery life is short, and the menu can be hard to navigate -- especially at night. Some parents also complain of durability issues, and experts say the lack of a sound-activation feature can make the monitor too sensitive to white noise.

If you're a fan of touch screens and want the same functionality in a video monitor, parents say the Summer Infant Baby Touch Digital Color Video Monitor (Est. $220) is easy and intuitive to use. The 3.5-inch LCD screen lets users pan, tilt and zoom the nursery camera remotely, and most reviewers say the sound and image are clear, but perhaps a notch below that of the Motorola MBP36. Extra features include an intercom and magnetic charging base, but no night-light or lullabies. Like the Motorola, the Baby Touch also lacks a sound-activation feature. Several reviewers also complain of short battery life, while others say the monitor failed after only a few months.

Parents who want a video monitor but are willing to forgo extra features to keep the price down should consider the Infant Optics DXR-5 (Est. $100). Reviewers praise the monitor for impressive performance where it counts: clear video and sound. It's also easy to set up and use, and more lightweight and portable than many competing monitors, they say. But interference with wireless networks can be a problem, as can short battery life, reviewers complain. Others say they received duds that didn't work from the get-go.

Video monitors are a great way to keep an eye on things while saving yourself from making multiple trips to the nursery to interpret noises, and the Motorola MBP36 will give you the clearest look at your baby.

Infant Optics DXR-5 2.4 GHz Digital Video Baby Monitor with Night Vision
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