Road test

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 April, 2012, 12:00am


I'm split on baby video monitors. I can see their worth when you're worried about what's happening in the room but can't muster the strength to slide out of bed to check. Yet, I don't want to see every eyelid flicker and twitch.

I'm typing this review at a table near the front door of our flat, not more than 10 metres from where my baby is having her morning nap.

The colour image on the Hestia H100 video monitor, which I'm testing, is surprisingly clear despite the dimly lit room. I can see her lying there, her pacifier firmly in place. But I'm getting tense. Don't wake up, I silently beg. She stirs. Oh, no. See what I mean? I'd rather not know.

Night is an altogether different prospect, especially with a new baby. You're worried when they're making noise, and even more so when they're not. Should I check?

The Hestia video monitor is lightweight and compact. It comes in two parts: the camera, which is surrounded by eight infra-red LEDs, and the monitor.

The LEDs turn on automatically to compensate for low light, although you can turn that feature off for daytime use. There are hooks at the back so you can mount it on a wall, and the lens tilts.

Even in pitch black, the image on the monitor is clear without casting excessive light. And after three minutes of inactivity, it switches off to save power. You can either press a button to wake it up again, or turn on the remote sound activation which shakes the monitor to life at the first hint of noise.

I tried the monitor at night and ended up switching it off in the early hours because it kept me awake. But that was before I found the volume button and also turned down the screen brightness to the lowest possible level.

While I might hesitate when it comes to using a monitor to watch my baby's every move, some mothers wouldn't be without one. One friend credits hers with helping to sleep train her baby from the day they came home from hospital. She didn't rush in to comfort her crying child without first checking the monitor. If there was no apparent problem, she didn't go in, and her baby easily self-settled. Then again, she does have a souped-up monitor, with remote panning, allowing her to check for missing pacifiers.

The Hestia 100 may not be as advanced, but it does come with the ability to connect to four cameras. The data is encrypted so there are no privacy issues, and the signal range is 250 metres, the company claims. While the camera needs to be plugged in, there's a lithium battery inside the monitor so that, if you need to, you can carry it from room to room.

Verdict: a compact little monitor that does the job, even without the added perks of remote panning in more sophisticated - and expensive - models.

The Hestia 100 is available for HK$1,488 from