The Levana BabyView20 Video Baby Monitor is a relatively inexpensive baby monitor with great features, including lullabies, a nightlight and night vision. Reviews are mixed -- for some it works like a charm, for others there are glitches. If you want a video monitor but don't want to spend an arm and a leg, the BabyView20 may be worth a look.
Shorter range and mixed reports on reliability. The Levana BabyView20 Video Baby Monitor works on the same 2.4 GHz frequency that Wi-Fi routers use and should provide a secure connection. However, this monitor may compete with a wireless signal. The monitor's range is advertised at up to 150 feet, though testers say it is closer to 100 feet. The monitor has 32 channels and automatically hops through the signals to find the best connection.
Many parents report that the monitor offers decent visual clarity and the reception is good within the relatively small range. At 2.36 inches, the screen is large enough to offer a fairly good picture. However, some parents say that the monitor color fails or falters early in the monitor's life.
Parents also say that the sound on the monitor is very sensitive, sometimes too sensitive. The monitor has a voice activation mode that turns off the video and sound until a louder noise wakes it up. Users say, however, that it does not take much to activate the monitor, and they may find their sleep interrupted by the monitor broadcasting the distant bark of a dog or a fan in baby's room.
Simple setup and use. The Levana BabyView20 Video Baby Monitor is described by expert and users as very easy to set up and use. It offers a few more features than the most basic video monitors, but these features don't interfere with or confuse the basic operation. The camera can be powered with four AAA batteries and placed easily using a magnetic base. Parents say that battery life is short and the cost of the nonrechargeable batteries adds up. The parent unit comes with rechargeable batteries, but most parents say they are not impressed by the length of battery life. There is a low battery indicator.
A few nice extras. The Levana BabyView20 Video Baby Monitor offers a selection of lullabies that can be operated from outside the baby's room. There is also a soft glow nightlight on the monitor.
Twenty-four hour access, but they may be hard to reach. The Levana BabyView20 Video Baby Monitor comes with an advertised lifetime of 24-hour product support. Levana offers live chat and there is a customer call line, but there are delays reported with this service, depending on call volume, something we experienced when researching this article.
1. Baby Bargains
Review Credibility: Excellent The Baby Bargains book and website offer buyer's guides and ratings on a comprehensive selection of baby gear. The authors say they conduct hands-on testing and interviews with parents, manufacturers and retailers before reaching conclusions. Parents posting to Amazon.com say this is the best baby-gear book available, with plenty of current info and lots of attitude, including sections aimed at steering consumers away from unnecessary features. Baby Bargains offers a roundup of top audio and video based baby monitors and provides coverage of specific baby monitors and overall brand performance.
Review: Chapter 7, Monitors, Denise and Alan Fields, Version 9.1, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The Levana BabyView20 Video Baby Monitor receives an overall rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars in more than 300 reviews. Feedback for the Levana BabyView20 is mainly positive, with users saying the reception is good, the video quality is decent for the price and that the system is easy to use. However, there are reports of product failure on Amazon.com that indicate that holding onto the receipt is a good idea. While parents report that customer service is difficult to reach and sometimes unhelpful, some reviews get a response from customer service, indicating that Levana is paying closer attention.
Review: Levana BABYVIEW20 Interference-Free Digital Wireless Video Baby Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good About a dozen reviewers at Viewpoints.com give the Levana BabyView20 Video Baby Monitor an overall rating of 83 out of 100. Parents say that the camera links securely with a clear signal, long range and little interference. On the negative side, owners note that voice activation can be oversensitive and choppy, and that the monitor can mess up wireless Internet.
Review: Levana Interference-Free Digital Wireless Video Baby Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Fair The Bestcovery.com reviewer is a mom of two who says she's dedicated hours of research into products geared toward children and parents. She does not indicate what methodology she has based her reviews on, but it seems to be research rather than real-world use. She commends the Levana BabyView20 Video Baby Monitor for its easy setup and says it works well in spaces where a long distance signal is not important. She says the 24 hour a day support means that you can get someone to help you fix it quickly. However, multiple users say it is difficult to reach Levana product support.
Review: Baby Monitors, Natasha Puryear, Not dated
Review Credibility: Fair This mom blogger selects five of her top baby monitors. Four of the five are video baby monitors. The Levana BabyView 20 is praised as best technology. It is unclear whether these products were independently tested. Also, this article hasn't been updated since 2010.
Review: Buying Guide: The Best Baby Monitors, Christine Fox, July 15, 2010