The advantages of a video monitor are many: beyond breathing checks, they allow you to peek on your sleeping baby without a squeaky door giving you away; they enable you to determine that the crying you hear is due to tantrum and not injury; and with the magic of mute, can actually help you get a better night’s sleep while still monitoring your baby.
The Sassy Web Watch iC is new and the first wireless infant video monitor with both in-home and internet capability.
Let’s start with the monitor itself. The video monitor comes with one camera and one parent unit. The parent unit has an oversized 2.4” LCD screen that is larger than many other handheld video monitors on the market. To get this bigger LCD screen, you are going to have a larger handheld parent unit though. Measuring about 5 inches by 3 ½ inches, it fits comfortably in our hand or sits securely on a table or desk, but we do wish it had a belt clip for on the go.
The handheld parent unit can run with the included ac power cord or with 4 AA batteries. Almost all baby monitor parent units run on batteries, which is great, because mom is usually on the go around the house. We love this feature but unfortunately on the Sassy Web Watch, the parent unit eats through batteries. Batteries only last 5 hours max – and that is only if you turn off the LCD screen when not in use! And, unlike other monitors, the parent unit doesn’t come with a rechargeable battery that recharges when it’s plugged in. It just eats through the AA batteries and leaves you with a dead monitor if you don’t happen to be sitting next to an outlet. We recommend investing in a couple good sets of rechargeable batteries so that you always have a set charged and ready to go.
We love the volume control that allows us to set the perfect volume for the situation. On the front of the parent unit are three buttons. 1) A video screen power saver that allows you to turn off the LCD screen yet keep the sound active. 2) A dual channel button to help eliminate interference and find the best clarity or to use to support an additional channel. 3) A motion/sound alarm that allows you to turn on or off the motion or sound alarm.
The camera unit can be set on a tabletop or mounted on a wall. We love that the camera unit includes a wide-angle lens to help you see more of baby and her surroundings. This allows us to see the entire inside of the crib with our busy toddlers instead of just a corner. We also love that the camera lens has a rotating camera eye so that you can adjust the angle of the picture without moving the entire camera. The camera also automatically switches to night-vision mode when no light is available. A great feature (one that you won’t find in many video monitors) is that the camera can not only be plugged in with the AC adapter but runs on batteries as well. We love that the camera takes batteries for those times that an outlet is not convenient, but again, the camera is also going to suck batteries dry very quickly (less than 5 hours).
One of the most important features of a video monitor is reception. If you can’t see your baby, what’s the point? We are happy to report that the reception is good on the Sassy Web Watch. Even though we would run into static from time to time, it normally provides a very clear picture!
This monitor also has good range. Sassy advertises that it has a 1000 foot range. What that means to moms: we were able to make it to our neighbor’s almost two houses away before we lost signal.
Now to the monitor’s claim to fame, the part that makes it “web watch”! The stand-out feature on the Sassy Web Watch iC, and why it is a bit pricier than most baby video monitors, is the web camera capability. It is designed to broadcast live video via the internet to loved ones around the world or right next door. We were very excited about this feature! The Web Watch IC sends clear video and audio via a free Skype account or MSN Messenger to your mobile phone, or any computer with Web access. This feature allows you to check up on baby’s status from work or share baby’s special moments with loved ones over the internet in real time. Baby taking her first steps and don’t want grandma to miss it? No need to hook up another web cam because your baby monitor will be set up and ready to go.
Now, our one major complaint about the Sassy Web Watch iC is the set up of the “web cam” feature. Now, we are smart moms! We are web savvy! But setting up the Web Watch iC gave us quite a run for our money. It was not easy! Before we tell you what problem we ran into, let us say loud and clear, that if you can’t get it running in 5 minutes – before you get frustrated – call the technical support! Don’t waste any time – just pick up the phone and call them! We are not kidding! Web Watch iC is powered by Super Circuits, which provides lifetime technical support via a toll-free phone number. We thought we could do it ourselves and tried everything and wasted a lot of time. Finally, we called and the tech support guys knew the exact problem and I was off the phone in literally 10 minutes! They were great!
So, what was the problem, you ask? It had nothing to do with the monitor or camera itself but the software that it uses. The Web Watch iC comes with installation software and drivers included. The instructions are not to bad to follow and claim that with the included software, all you need to do is plug in the receiver with the included cables and you’re up and running. Okay, that might be true most of the time. But in our case, and I’m sure in others, there was a problem with the USB drivers. What happens is that when the software is installing and Windows goes to the update site to search for drivers, it grabs the wrong driver. That results in a Microsoft driver incompatibility.
Too much geek-talk for you? What does that mean to the non-technical mom? The glorious web watch feature where your loved ones can see the baby, just won’t work! And you won’t know why! Sassy and Super Circuits assured me that they are working on the driver issue and fixing it on the Microsoft side. If you call tech support, they will be able to fix the problem for you and have you up and running in no time! Once they fixed it, we had no more problems.
Once everything was up and running, the camera and web watch feature worked great! Grandma loved being able to log on to see the kids whether they were putting on a show or taking a peaceful nap! And yes, for safety, you can restrict who can log in and take a peek at your child!
The Sassy Web Watch iC retails for $279, which is pricey, but could be worth it if a baby monitor combined with a web cam is what you are looking for. Our minor complaints: we’d like to see the set-up be quick and easy for everyone plus we’d think it should include a rechargeable battery that lasts longer and recharges the parent unit when plugged in. Besides these couple complaints, we think the Sassy Web Watch iC Monitor is a good video monitor choice with a fabulous picture, great range, the ability to add up to two separate cameras, a camera/handset that runs on batteries and the fabulous internet viewing option.