- Smart baby monitors are increasingly becoming a must-have item for parents of young children.
- I, however, do not have any children, so I usually disregard pitches I get claiming that some monitor is disrupting the industry.
- But I realized after a while I do have a use for a smart baby monitor: my pet hedgehog, Lola, is nocturnal. I decided to try the Summer Baby Pixel Zoom HD 5-inch Video Monitor to see if it worked for pet-tracking.
- It was a great way to keep an eye on her at night, when she's most active.
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Not long after starting at Business Insider, I noticed that I was getting a weirdly high number of pitches about covering baby monitors. Did I accidentally get put on the wrong list? Were they confusing me with someone else? I don't know, but I thought I knew of at least one use for a baby monitor, if my editors would go for it.
My hedgehog, Lola, is like a baby in the sense that she is often cranky, and we maintain different sleep schedules. I don't strictly need to have a camera trained on her at night, but it had a strong possibility of being cute, so I went for it.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so I wanted a baby monitor capable of taking high-quality images in low light. This is especially important because Lola won't really wake up and do all her nighttime activities until it's almost pitch-black in my room. Once it is dark enough for her, she gets up almost immediately. Most nights, I close my curtains and turn off the lights, and hear her crunching on her food within minutes. Then, the rest of the night she alternates between running on her wheel (a hilarious sight), eating, drinking, and sleeping — the good life, basically.
It's surprisingly hard to get look at Lola on her wheel — as soon as there's even a little bit of light, or she hears you come by her cage, she freezes or runs to hide in her igloo.
To keep an eye on Lola at night, I requested a review model of the Summer Baby Pixel Zoom HD, and mounted it to the side of her cage. This model comes with some pretty cool features that I was excited to try:
- Remote steering, up to 300 degrees left and right and 125 degrees up and down
- SleepZone virtual boundary — you can set a boundary around a certain area and get an alert if your baby (hedgehog) moves outside the area
- Two-way talk back and lullabies, meaning I can start talking to her and watch her freeze on her wheel
- Moonlite night vision, which can temporarily illuminate the camera.
Here are the results.
The baby monitor Summer sent me comes with a camera and 5-inch monitor.
From the monitor, you can remotely move the camera, and zoom in.
The camera comes a wall mount, but for my purposes I didn't want my views obstructed by the sides of the cage, so I moved the camera onto her igloo.
The cage has a wheel, igloo, t-shirt, and a heat lamp, plus food and water dishes. She usually sleeps in the shirt or igloo, and runs on her wheel at night. I wanted the camera trained on the wheel for the best pictures.
Here's another view of the setup.
Here was the view I had when I set up the camera.
The monitor gives some information useful to both human parents and hedgehog owners. I like that I can see the temperature inside the cage, although the camera was really close to the heat lamp, so its probably a little higher than the actual temperature.
I turned the lights off and went into another room. Soon, she came out of her igloo to eat.
Then, she went over to her wheel for some running.
Every so often, she stopped, and it almost seemed like she was looking directly at the camera.
I definitely don't need a baby monitor, but I really liked this one. The night vision worked well, with a clear view in a totally dark room.
Remote steering was also useful, and I was able to pan around and see whatever she was doing. Other features, like talking into the microphone and playing lullabies, weren't right for my purposes, but I could see them being great for any actual baby.
Overall, I'm a fan! If you're in the market for a baby monitor, it's worth taking a chance on a "smart" one.