For people who can't live without their iPhone, a new breed of baby monitor is emerging that makes the parent receiver obsolete. The iBaby Monitor (*Est. $200) was the first video monitor available in the US designed specifically to transmit its signal directly to iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch). The iBaby was shortly followed by the by the BabyPing Video Monitor (*Est. $250) and the Withings Smart Baby Monitor (*Est. $300) .
All of these monitors function similarly; with a high quality webcam style video unit that transmits its images to an iOS device. Each system includes a downloadable app that enables you to monitor sound and video, and operate the video unit from your phone. The key differences between these relatively similar monitors are: (1) how well the app functions and (2) how well the camera connects to the iOS device.
Both the iBaby and the BabyPing monitors get complaints about software that is full of bugs and glitches, long camera transmission lag times and signal interference over the Wi-Fi network. They both require access to a Wi-Fi network via an initial Ethernet (cord-based connection to the router) making it difficult to travel with them. While users should be able to connect to the monitors via the Internet from anywhere, parents report mixed success with making this happen.
The Withings Smart Baby, by contrast, receives few usability complaints and no connectivity complaints. Unlike its counterparts, the Withings can be connected via Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Bluetooth, or through the 3G/4G networks. This enables parents to set the monitor up quickly and easily wherever they are, making the Withings a standout for travel. The Withings system also offers a talk back to baby intercom feature, lullabies and nightlights -- all operable remotely. While it is the priciest monitor available, the Withings appears to do the most and be the most reliable.