The Foscam FBM3501 is one of the best-selling video baby monitors. As parents know, babies can be noisy sleepers, and having a camera in the bedroom enables the parent to see if the baby is actually awake and needing attention, or just babbling in his sleep. The camera features a pan/tilt/zoom facility meaning that it can be repositioned without entering the room, allowing the parent to track a restlessly moving baby with ease.
It features a 3.5 inch colour LCD display on the parent’s monitor and non-visible, infra-red, night vision technology in the baby’s room to enable the parent to see the baby even in a darkened nursery without disturbing the baby’s sleep. Customers have been impressed with the quality and clarity of the picture on this monitor, especially for the fairly modest price. The monitor uses Automatic Frequency Hopping System for a clear digital signal, up to a range of 500 feet outdoors or 65 feet through walls, though this varies with area and amount of other digital technology in use.
To save battery life, the Foscam powers down the screen when there is no sound in the baby’s room, but is activated again by any kind of sound from the baby’s bedroom which lights up the screen on the parent’s unit. The parent’s unit is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery or can be mains-operated.
As well as the video function, this unit has a two-way audio connection so the parent can talk to the baby from another room, as well as hear sound from the baby. This extends the life of the monitor as it can be used as an easy communication device with an older child who likes a bit of reassurance, for frail elderly relatives, or even for pets. Some customers have not found the audio signal to be as clear as they had hoped, with some likening it to the background white noise heard on walkie-talkie links. Inevitably, experiences of the range and clarity of signal have been mixed, though generally positive.
This model has been advertised as being able to add on extra cameras to monitor several children at the same time, but it appears that this feature does not actually work in the UK version of the monitor, though some customers do not feel this was made sufficiently clear at the time of purchase.
The FBM3501 also features a room temperature checker and feeding timer.
Good quality video screen
Good quality infra-red “pan and tilt” camera
Easy to set up and use
Two-way audio link
Good value for money
The battery on the parent's unit only lasts 5-6 hours before needing to be plugged in to the mains or recharged
No motion sensor
Does not feature the ability to link in to a phone or tablet