Shenzhen Foscam Intelligent Technology Co. Ltd (let’s call them Foscam from now on…) were founded in late 2007. They manufacture a range of electronic devices. Their main focus is Internet Protocol (IP) cameras. They also make image recording devices, and baby monitors. They are relatively new to the baby monitor arena. However, the baby monitors they produce are receiving good reviews, so let’s take a look at the Foscam FBM3501 Digital Video Monitor.
Foscam FBM3501 Review
The Foscam FBM3501 wireless baby monitor is an easy to use device. It has a range of features that higher priced baby monitors usually have. You can remotely control the camera from the parent unit. The camera can pan, tilt and zoom. It uses non-visible infrared LEDs for night vision pictures. It also has a temperature sensor and display, auto-power off with VOX activation.
The baby monitor uses wireless 2.4 GHz connection, and has a 3.5 inch (9cm) rechargeable battery operated portable monitor unit. Phew!! So, quite a lot of features. Please read on for more detail of each and the pros and cons for this Foscam baby monitor.
Colour LCD display and VOX
The receiving (parent) unit has a good sized 3.5 inch (9cm) LCD colour display screen. The screen lets you view the all-important picture. It also allows you to see the temperature display, time and feeding timer (if you need this).
You can add an additional three cameras if needed. You can view the different image feeds on the parent unit as split screen or on rotation. So you could have a mini CCTV network keeping an eye on the smaller members of your family. Joking aside, this is also useful if you are using this to monitor pets, elderly relatives etc.
There is also a night vision mode. The Foscam FBM3501 monitor uses non-visible LEDs for night vision. The infra-red LEDs do not give off a red glow. So no scary ‘red eyes’ in your child’s room. The LEDs also turn on and off automatically when it’s dark or light.
This baby monitor comes with built in voice activated sound monitoring (VOX). The VOX facility helps save battery power. If no sound is detected after a short while the parent unit will automatically switch off sound transmission.
When sound is detected the monitor will switch sound transmission back on. You won’t miss anything, as the unit is never truly off when VOX is activated. Even low-level noises such as coughs will trigger the unit to wake up.
The unit uses the standard 2.4 GHz frequency band. It uses Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum technology (FHSS). That rolls of the tongue! FHSS technology gives a more stable wireless signal compared to baby monitors that don’t have FHSS. It has a better range, less prone to interference and signal drop out.
The Foscam baby monitor can send signals up to 300 metres. Although this is dependent on size and structure of your home. Who has a 300 metre home?! If the sending and receiving unit lose their connection, an alarm will sound. If you take the monitor into the garden, or you have a home across three floors, you will know if the signal is lost.
You can remotely pan, tilt and zoom the camera unit from the parent unit. Quite a few higher priced baby monitors don’t have this option. This is very handy. It can save you a trudge up the stairs or down the hall to find out why your little cherub is awake or crying.
Another feature than can save you legwork is the two-way talk facility. This allows you to talk to your baby or toddler through parent unit. Simple really. Again, this is useful where you don’t need to go into your baby’s room to soothe them.
What are the downsides?
There aren’t too many issues to report. A few have said the battery life for the parent unit lasts around four to five hours. This isn’t that bad. However, some baby monitors can last up to around eight hours before recharging is required.
Others have said the power cables could be a little longer. And finally a few purchasers have said the sensitivity of the VOX sound activation facility is quite sensitive. Note the VOX sensitivity can be turned down.
Foscam FBM3501 main features
- 3.5 inch (9cm) colour LCD display
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery for parent unit
- 2.4Ghz FHSS signal
- Pan, tilt, and digital zoom – remotely controlled
- Two-way audio facility
- VOX sound activation
- Non-visible Infrared night vision mode
- Up to 300 metre (985 feet) signal range
- Out of range signal
- Expands up to four cameras
The Foscam baby monitor is easy to set up and simple to use. It has good sound and picture quality. There are no reports of signal interference problems. The signal range is good as well. The voice activated function is helpful. Particularly when you don’t need to hear every little sound. It also helps save battery power for the parent unit.
The remote control pan, tilt and zoom works well. The picture coverage is good as well. It covers a fair section of a normal sized room. The ability to extend to four cameras is a bonus. The price of this baby monitor, compared to more expensive models, is very competitive. Particularly for the range of features it comes with.
As I said above, there isn’t many problems to report. The negative feedback focuses on three areas. The short(ish) battery life for the re-chargeable parent unit. Short cables and the VOX facility being a bit sensitive.
One or two have also said there’s no tripod for the camera unit. I don’t see this advertised as part of package. So this is nit-picking. You can sit the camera unit on a chest of drawers near the cot. Or you can wall mount it using screws provided. So, nothing really to put you off considering purchasing this baby monitor.
The Foscam FBM3501 is a good digital video baby monitor. It is pretty easy to set up. Easy to use. And it has features that are required, rather than unnecessary. Being able to remotely control the camera from the parent unit is an advantage. The signal range and quality is strong. The picture and sound quality is good. The night vision mode works well.
There are a few niggles. But four to five hours battery life for the parent unit is nothing to worry about really. Foscam have not been making baby monitors for long. But, this baby digital video monitor ticks all the boxes. For the price, range of features and great feedback, this Foscam baby monitor is highly recommended.
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