There are so many incredible Prime Day deals out there right now that we almost don’t know where to start. We suppose the best starting point is likely the deals that have been the most popular among our readers so far, and there are so many to choose from. Just a few highlights from Prime Day 2021 so far include deep discounts on pretty much every popular Apple device you can think of including AirPods Pro and Apple Watches, the insanely popular myQ smart garage door opener for a new all-time low of just $16.98 (plus a $40 Amazon credit with the Amazon Key promotion), the best Instant Pot deals of the year with prices starting at just $49.99, the crazy wireless camera that lets your smartphone see anywhere for an all-time low price of $28.79, the Fire TV Stick Lite for a new all-time low price of $17.99 and the Fire TV Stick 4K for an all-time low of $24.99 instead of $50, the $80 Echo Show 5 for the all-time low price of $44.99, an Echo Show 5 and Blink Mini Cam bundle for just $10 more, the best-selling Echo Dot for only $19.99, the new 4th-generation Echo Dot for half price at $24.99, the $50 Echo Auto that adds hands-free Alexa to your car for an all-time low of $14.99 or the $98 Echo Auto bundle with 6 months of Amazon Music Unlimited for the same crazy price of $14.99, Echo Buds true wireless earbuds starting at just $79.99 instead of $120, and so much more.
Can you believe that’s just the tip of the iceberg?! There’s something for everyone on that list, which is what makes it so impressive. And now, we’ve got one more fantastic bargain to add that’s going to be perfect for any tech-loving parents out there with a young baby. It’s called the Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor, and it’s the ultimate smart gadget for any savvy parents out there.
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There are so many smart gadgets out there for parents, and that’s especially true when it comes to baby monitors. If you’ve tried a few popular options, however, you know that the “smart” descriptor is definitely subjective. In the case of the Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor, there’s no denying that this is one of the smartest baby monitoring tools out there right now.
As a matter of fact, we’ve never come across anything with so much smart functionality packed into such a sleek package.
New Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor & Wall Mount: HD Video Baby Monitor with Camera & Audio, Real-T…
You Save: $75.00 (19%)
Like other smart baby monitors on the market, the Miku Pro is meant to be mounted above your crib to give you a birdseye view of your sleeping baby. And also like other smart monitors, it has a bunch of intelligent features that cover every base from smartphone integration and alerts to real-time breathing and sleep monitoring. Unlike other similar solutions out there, however, the Miku Pro is completely contact-free! That means there are no wearables or other cumbersome add-ons that you need to worry about. The Miku Pro uses sophisticated sensors and special software to offer precise breathing and sleep monitoring — plus it’s the most secure solution on the market thanks to end-to-end encryption and a special tamper-resistant Crypto Chip that is embedded in the device.
Anyone who has ever tried the Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor will tell you that it’s worth every penny at $399. Pick one up on Amazon during Prime Day, however, and you’ll pay an all-time low price of just $324!
New Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor & Wall Mount: HD Video Baby Monitor with Camera & Audio, Real-T…
You Save: $75.00 (19%)
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Goodbye Alexa, Hello Miku
Throw out your Amazon Echos and say goodbye to Alexa. It's time to say hello to Gatebox and Miku Hatsune!
Gatebox is a product from a Japanese startup, Vinclu that I'd checked out about two years ago. It looks like they've made an initial release at around a modest $3,000 USD. It doesn't appear widely available yet though and is currently completely sold out. The idea is basically a voice assistant (yep, another one) but with more characterisation and personality, namely, a projected anime character.
It looks like they have been promoting with the vocaloid, Miku Hatsune. Check out the video below.
To translate the initial scene with the guy sending a text message:
"I'm coming home now."
"Yay! Come home soon. I'm waiting!" replies Miku excitedly.
"That's cute, huh?"
That should give you a good taste of this wonderful piece of tech. I have a character or ten in mind to put in my own Gatebox.
You can find out more at https://gatebox.ai/. It's mostly in Japanese but some of the marketing is in English. There's no English version yet but it's probably in the works if they've shipped units over to the US.
I showed it to some Japanese friends in the past and more recently and they found it quite depressing. Well, that's tech, if there's a market and a need, expect someone to fulfill it.
The company's vision and I quote is, "to bring about a world where people can live with their beloved characters". What a world we live in! I might just have to pick one up for myself.
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Baby monitors used to be these little speakers you would use to monitor the sounds coming out of your infant's room. Today, these little speakers have morphed into smart baby monitors that have screens, motion sensors, night vision, two-way communication and technology that can monitor a baby's sleep and breathing. GearBrain recently had an opportunity to test one of the newer smart baby monitors, one made by Miku called the Miku Pro. Here's what we found by putting it to use around a newborn.
Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor and Wall Mount unboxed.GearBrain
What is the Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor?
Miku's new smart baby monitor, the Miku Pro, is a smart baby monitor which tracks a baby's sleep pattern and breathing, as well as the room temperature. Miku uses a technology it calls SensorFusion, which follows and then analyzes an infant's breathing and sleep patterns in real time — and without the use of a wearable. Miku uses five different sensors to track a baby's motion, breathing and sleeping, along with the room temperature. It can track these items even if a baby is in a swaddle or under a blanket, no matter the baby's age.
Similar to other smart baby monitors, the Miku Pro has a free app, and this one works on both Android (Google Play) and iOS (App Store) smartphones and tablets. You can set up custom alerts and notifications. There is also an alarm if something is happening in a baby's crib, such as crying, any noise that is picked up, or even if a baby falls asleep or wakes up. For each of these settings you can set a delay before a notification is sent.
Miku app tracks baby's sleep and breathing in app.GearBrain
Miku also works to push out content as well, including sounds like white noise or lullabies to help a baby fall asleep or calm down if needed. The device includes a camera, which livestreams and records 1080p HD video, which is stored locally. You can store unlimited videos initiated by motion, sound or noise events but they will only be stored on your camera for 30 days. If you want to keep them longer, you can easily download the videos from the Miku app to your smartphone. The camera has 256 bit encryption to keep your videos safe, and data is automatically erased if the camera senses someone is tampering with it.
The camera also has a field of view (FOV) of 140 degrees, and by pinching the screen, it can zoom in for a closer view of an infant as well. The 5MP camera also has an ambient light monitor feature, which when paired with an integrated digital sensor on the camera, can report if the light in an infant's room is impacting their sleep.
Buy Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor
The Miku Pro connects on either a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection, as well as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 4.1. If you have a dual band router, Miku recommends using the 5 GHz connection. It also supports two-way communication in stereo thanks to the dual Ole Wolff speakers and a two-way microphone array. Lastly, the camera has a Snapdragon 624 processor with 8 core, ARM Cortex A53, 64-bit, 1.8 GHz, Qualcomm Adreno 506 GPU and Qualcomm Hexagon 546 DSP.
How to install the Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor.
Installation of the Miku Pro is rather easy. In the box you have cable guides, measuring tape, a screwdriver, a power supply, cords, a wall mount, a level, wall anchors and screws. There is also an installation guide you can follow, but the Miku app has instructions which are easy to follow.
The longest part of the installation process will be adding the wall mount, the base which the Miku Pro is attached. Like other smart baby monitors, Miku does have a $99 free-standing mount you can purchase as an accessory. But with the wall mount, you'll need a wall next to the baby's crib which can provide a downward view into the crib. And the camera can easily rotate to help you get the perfect viewing angle. There are other smart baby monitors which offer wall mounts (i.e., Nanit) but they require you to secure the mount — and not the camera — to the wall.
You can use the Miku Pro on a shelf if it overlooks the crib and there is a good view for the camera. Tip: Make sure you use the tape measure (or your own) to get the right height for the camera, along with the level to make sure the camera is positioned correctly and out of reach of your baby once they start to stand up in the crib. When installing the cable guides, there is clear tape on the lower backside of each guide. Make sure you use this to secure the guide to the wall once it connects to the other guides. The tape is hard to see but is sticky enough to hold the guides in place. (See image below.)
Clear adhesive is on the backside of each cable guideGearBrain
Once the mount is secure, just follow the rest of the instructions in the app or guide. Miku does have very good installation videos online, and overall, the installation time should take 15 to 20 minutes.
Smart Home Integrations
Miku Pro is not compatible with Amazon Alexa- or Google Assistant-enabled devices. You cannot use an Amazon Echo Show, Google Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max to access Miku Pro camera livestream. Per the company website, "We are in the process of developing Amazon Alexa and Google Home integrations." GearBrain will report back once these integrations are live and we had a chance to test them.
The Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor with the Wall Mount Kit costs $399 and is available on the company website as well as Amazon,Best Buy, Target and eBay. The company also sells Miku Pro accessories on its site. You can purchase a floor stand for $99 or an extra power supply for Miku Pro for $15. They also sell the wall mount kit for the Miku Pro for $15.
Buy Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor
We tested mounting our Miku Pro on the wall and on a shelf over the baby's crib. Both provided good overhead views of the crib, although we would recommend using the wall mount if you can or buy the floor stand. This provides a better view for the camera.
After testing this smart baby monitor for several weeks, we noticed several key features which we haven't seen in other smart baby monitors. First, the choice of sounds and lullabies that can be played. While many smart baby monitors comes with a few lullabies or sounds for you to use, Miku Pro offers the biggest selection we have seen from white noise to "Old McDonald Had a Farm," played on a piano. Our favorite was "Danny Boy."
List of soujnds and lullabies in Miku app is very robust.GearBrain
Another nice feature was the ability to store up to 30 days of videos initiated by noise, sound or motion. Miku Pro is the first smart baby monitor we have seen to allow this. You can download videos to your smartphone, share them with friends and family, and there is a camera icon on the screen which allows you to take a picture and save it to photos on your smartphone.
The camera has exceptional video resolution, night vision and the sound is clean and clear. And this was the first baby monitor we're seen with a security feature designed to protect videos when someone steals or tampers with the camera. But the overall unique feature for Miku Pro is the technology that allows the device to monitor a child's breathing without a wearable (sensor) on the child.
Night vision picture in Miku app is in black and white an clearn.GearBrain
Day Vision in Miku App is in color.GearBrain
As we mentioned, Mike calls this its SensorFusion technology, which pairs with an algorithm to see a baby breathing. This is viewable through a scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen in the app which runs as the baby is sleeping, and there's a timer that records as well. Both Owlet and Nanit have similar technology but require a wearable be on the baby, whether that's a sock or swaddle. Be aware though that the Miku Pro is not a medical device, and if your child is having a medical issue, contact your doctor.
We did run into an issue setting up the device, when we had to reset the Miku Pro to connect the camera to our home Wi-Fi. A tip when installing? Make sure you stand next to your router when pairing the camera to your home Wi-Fi network first. And also, make sure that the location in your home where you are installing the camera has a good Wi-Fi signal. Our room had a low Wi-Fi signal (one bar) but the camera worked well. If you have any issues, contact support via the app. We did and response time was quick.
Live breathing of your baby while they sleep scrolls along the bottom of the screen in app.GearBrain
Buy Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor
The Miku Pro is a powerful, smart baby monitor. You can easily monitor and talk with your child from your smartphone or tablet. You can also keep watch while they sleep, monitoring a child's sleeping patterns as well as their breathing, without having to put a wearable on your child. The camera has exceptional video resolution and night vision, and the device has a number of sounds and lullabies for you to choose. But this all comes at a cost.
Competitors Nanit and Cubo AI smart baby monitors work both with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled smart displays, like the Echo Show 8. Miku Pro does not. And this is an option some parents may want to have for a baby sitter or someone you may not want to add into the app as part of your shared user list.
Also, you're going to pay more upfront for Miku Pro than its competitors — around $100 or so more. However, Nanit Pro and Cubo AI smart baby monitors do charge for storing videos and data after that first year. And that's something to keep in mind if you plan to use any of them for more than 12 months.
Lastly, these other smart baby monitors do require the baby either wear something, such as a wearable or a trackable swaddle, to monitor breathing and movement. That's something for new parents to think about, as well as grandparents, who might want to have a spare smart baby monitor for their grandchild who occasionally sleeps over for the night.
- Exceptional video resolution
- SensorFusion technology – monitors breathing and sleep patterns without a wearable
- 30 days free video and data storage
- Large selection of built-in sounds and lullabies
- No smart display integrations with Alexa or Google Assistant
- Connectivity issues
- Videos only record for 30 seconds
Best baby monitor in 2021: Top-rated baby cams
The best baby monitors have gotten smart — really smart. Search for a monitor these days, and you'll find ones with sensors that track everything from temperature and humidity in the nursery to your child's breathing. We appreciate those kinds of smarts, but at the end of the day, we value any monitor that can reliably beam video from the nursery to wherever you are in the house.
That's what we consider paramount when testing and rating the best baby monitor. Our top picks look for the baby monitors that deliver sharp pictures along with the greatest peace of mind.
Over the years, we've tested a wide variety of devices to find the best baby monitors for worried parents. Whether you want high-resolution images sent straight to your phone, special features like humidity and temperature sensors, or just a device that delivers a reliable picture for the lowest possible price, there's a video baby monitor out there that can fit your needs. Here's a closer look at your many options for checking in on a sleeping child and which one ranks as the best baby monitor.
What are the best baby monitors?
We've looked at more than half-a-dozen mounted cameras that beam live video from a nursery, and the best baby monitor we've tested is the Arlo Baby. It packs a number of must-have features such as clear 1080p video, two-way audio and a host of sensors. Everything's easily accessible from a well-organized mobile app that puts the Arlo Baby's controls at your fingertips.
People looking for a bargain may prefer the iBaby M6T. Though it's an older baby cam that records video in in 720p resolution, it's still a capable device offering night vision, two-way audio and helpful pan-and-tilt capabilities. On the other end of the price spectrum, the $299 Nanit Plus Baby Monitor provides a very good camera for checking in on your nursery, but it's the sleep-tracking features that will appeal to parents the most as they'll help you figure out ways to get your child to sleep through the night.
The best baby monitors you can buy today
1. Arlo Baby
Best baby monitor with video
Camera Range: 110-to-130-degree field of view | Camera Resolution: 1080p | Handheld Monitor: No | Monitor Size/Weight: N/A | Mobile App: Android, iOS | Temperature/Humidity Sensors: Yes/Yes | Video Recording: Yes
Setup's a breeze
Some lag between notifications and launching the app
Don't be fooled by its cute looks and adorable green bunny ears: Arlo Baby is a very capable baby monitor that delivers sharp video of your nursery to your smartphone. The Arlo Baby includes features such as night vision, temperature and air quality sensors, a color-changing nightlight and a speaker that can play lullabies. All of this is very easy to manage thanks to a well-designed mobile app.
Cuteness aside, the Arlo Baby is compact enough to fit into even the most crowded nursery; a wall mount is included if you prefer that option. While you plug the camera in to power it, you can also detach the camera and move it into any room where an impromptu nap occurs, though we only saw three hours of battery life when we tried this out.
By default, Arlo Baby records in 720p resolution, though you can switch to 1080p if you prefer. You can also adjust the field of view and fine-tune notifications on what triggers an alert. You do have to position the camera manually, however, and the gap between getting a notification on our phone and actually being able to jump to live video was a little laggy for our tastes. Still, the video delivered by the Arlo Baby was crystal clear, even at night.
A whole host of sensors — temperature, humidity and air quality — can alert you to any change in your kid's room. The versatile app can send you notifications however you want, and we were particularly impressed by an Always Listening mode that streamed audio to our smartphone.
About our only complaint with the Arlo Baby is that it's hard to find these days. But if you can track down a retailer selling the device for $199 or less — or if you buy directly from Arlo — the Arlo Baby delivers just about everything a nervous new parent could want in a package that's easy to manage, making it our pick for best baby monitor.
Read our full Arlo Baby review.
2. iBaby Monitor M6T
The best baby monitor value
Camera Range: 360-degree pan, 110-degree tilt | Camera Resolution: 720p | Handheld Monitor: No | Monitor Size/Weight: N/A | Mobile App: Android, iOS | Temperature/Humidity Sensors: Yes / Yes | Video Recording: Yes
Full 360-degree camera pan
User-friendly streaming app
MP3-quality music options
Bulbous camera housing a tad large
No browser-based streaming option
Even three years after we first tested it, the iBaby Monitor M6T still offers an impressive array of features at a manageable price. And it's a great choice if you can find this baby cam for less than $150.
iBaby's camera offers the sort of capabilities you'd expect — push-to-talk features to soothe a crying child, motion-triggered photo and video capture, and a 720p HD camera. (A newer version, the M6S, ups the resolution to 1080p.) The M6T also boasts a full-360-degree rotating pan.
The M6T streams to an app on your smartphone, and we found the Wi-Fi-enabled video streaming to be clear, even in low light. The two-way speaker offered above-average audio in all conditions, and we like how we could play lullabies preinstalled on the iBaby mobile app to lull a child to sleep.
Read our full iBaby Monitor M6T review.
3. Nanit Plus Baby Monitor
The smartest baby monitor
Camera Range: 95-degree field of view | Camera Resolution: 960p | Handheld Monitor: No | Monitor Size/Weight: N/A | Mobile App: Android, iOS | Temperature/Humidity Sensors: Yes/Yes | Video Recording: Yes
High quality camera
Excellent app and features
Sleep tracking insights based on your baby's sleep patterns
Must be plugged in to use
Bleary-eyed parents who just want their baby to sleep soundly through the night will appreciate the insights that come from the Nanit Plus Baby Monitor. In addition to letting in you check in on your sleeping child from the comfort of your smartphone, Nanit's camera also monitors activities so that it can provide you with detailed analysis of your child’s sleeping patterns and quality of sleep.
Over time, the Nanit Plus recognizes your baby's sleep habits and uses that information to summon up articles and advice for you on ways to improve your baby's sleep. That's a subscription service and the first year is included with your Nanit Plus purchase; afterward, it's $50 a year. Since our review, Nanit has added compatibility with the Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot to let you see the video stream through an Alexa display.
As for the camera itself, you can expect videos in 960p resolution with an aspect ratio optimized to fit in your baby's crib. We found the images clear and the camera pretty easy to set up. You'll have to pay up for the Nanit Plus and its sleep tracking features, especially compared to other top baby cams, but for parents who just want a good night's sleep, the extra cost may be worth it.
Read our full Nanit Plus Baby Monitor review.
4. Safety 1st HD WiFi Baby Monitor
Best baby monitor with a handheld option
Camera Range: 130-degree viewing angle | Camera Resolution: 720p | Handheld Monitor: Yes (audio) | Monitor Size/Weight: 3.5 x 3.5 x 1.5 inches/2.5 ounces | Mobile App: Android, iOS | Temperature/Humidity Sensors: No/No | Video Recording: Yes
Great video quality
Very little delay for sound to stream to the two-way audio unit
Delays in uploading video
No humidity or temperature sensors
You'll get great video quality and an easy-to-setup system with the Safety 1st HD WiFi Baby Monitor. But the real reason to consider this device is a helpful portable audio unit you can carry with you that lets you hear what's going on in the nursery without having to notice and respond to push notifications on your phone.
Another convenient thing about Safety 1st's portable audio unit — you don't have to activate the camera to check in on your child. That makes it even easier to make sure everything's all right in the nursery. There's little delay when you use the two-way audio feature, and the portable unit will even flash when the camera detects motion for a helpful visual cue to launch the companion app.
As for the camera itself, we were impressed with the 720p video, though there was an occasional delay uploading video. Parents who want features like temperature and humidity sensors with their baby monitor should consider other options.
Read our full Safety 1st HD WiFi Baby Monitor review.
5. Project Nursery Smart Speaker with Alexa
Best baby monitor with Alexa
Camera Range: 270-degree pan, 120-degree tilt | Camera Resolution: 720p | Handheld Monitor: No | Monitor Size/Weight: N/A | Mobile App: Android, iOS | Temperature/Humidity Sensors: Yes/No | Video Recording: Yes
Includes an Echo-like smart speaker
Integrated Alexa support
Pan and tilt controls on camera
Some false positives when detecting motion
System requires multiple apps
If you find yourself turning to Amazon's Alexa assistant for other household tasks, you can also put Alexa to work checking in on your baby with the help of Project Nursery's baby monitor. The Project Nursery Smart Speaker with Alexa includes a 5.7 x 3.8 x 3.8-inch HD video camera and an Amazon Echo speaker for monitoring naps and sleeping. (If you've already got a speaker, you can just buy the camera.)
Why use Alexa? Because you can control the camera with voice commands in any room with a speaker. That lets you check images streaming to your smartphone without having to fiddle with the camera's controls yourself. This will require to manage multiple apps — Project Nursery's companion apps along with the regular Alexa app.
Still, Project Nursery's baby monitor is a good one, with clear HD images, good night vision, pan and tilt controls, and decent motion detection. It's a good option if you're comfortable using Alexa in other aspects of managing your smart home.
Read our full Project Nursery Smart Speaker with Alexa review.
6. Miku Smart Baby Monitor
A full-featured but pricey baby monitor
Camera Range: 130 degrees | Camera Resolution: 720p | Handheld Monitor: No | Monitor Size/Weight: N/A | Mobile App: Android, iOS | Temperature/Humidity Sensors: Yes/Yes | Video Recording: Yes
Tracks breathing well
Flexibility in placement
No monthly fees for video storage
Must be plugged in to use
No zoom feature on camera
The Miku Smart Baby Monitor can track your child's breathing while also letting you peak in on a sleeping baby via an HD video stream sent to your phone. And while the breathing monitor feature works well, Miku's setup is quite expensive, especially when compared with some of other best baby monitors.
Miku's design is simple and pretty easily to install, thanks to a sleek, compact design that fits just about anywhere. We also like the video quality delivered by the Miku's camera, though we wish the device offered the ability to zoom in on a sleeping baby. Built-in sensors for humidity and temperature are also nice to have, though unless you want the specialized breathing monitoring Miku offers, you'd be well-advised to consider a less expensive option.
Read our full Miku Smart Baby Monitor review.
How to choose the best baby monitor for you
Keep these criteria in mind will help you find the best baby monitor for your needs.
- Included Monitor: Find out whether your baby cam comes with a handheld monitor or if it relies on your phone to give you look-ins on your child. A monitor is another piece of hardware to keep track off and recharge, while you're likely to have your phone on you at all times. Cameras with handheld monitors also tend to be more expensive.
- Range: Look up the specs for how far the camera's signal extends, and make sure it can reach every area of your home.
- Camera: Check on the resolution that the camera records in. Also pay attention to the camera's pan and tilt features and just how wide a view it provides of your child's room.
- Video quality: Read reviews of the best baby monitors to see if they deliver clear images. (After all, the whole point of having a video monitor is to be able to see your child.) Baby cams that offer night vision are especially helpful as you'll be doing a lot of check-ins in the dark.
- Audio: See if the monitor has push-to-talk features so you can soothe your baby remotely. Other audio features to look for include the ability to play lullabies.
- Battery Life: The cameras we tested come with power adapters and should be plugged in to a wall. But the handheld viewers that come with some monitors run on removable, rechargeable batteries. Get a feeling for how long those batteries can go without a recharge.
- Special Features: Some monitors come with humidity and temperature sensors, which can help you check on other conditions in your child's room.
- Price: The best baby monitors offering video — the ones that come with all the latest bells and whistle — can cost around $200. That price can spike up if the monitor offers more advanced features like tracking your child's breathing, which is appearing on a growing number of baby monitors. However, you can find solid baby monitors between $100 to $150, though you'll sacrifice on video resolution and some features. Cloud storage can add to the cost of a baby monitor in the form of an ongoing subscription, though that feature is usually optional.
When setting up a baby cam, always change any default password, just like you should for any connected device you buy. (Here's a closer look at good password practices, in the wake of recent reports of hacked cameras, including one that was used as a baby monitor.)
Whatever baby monitor you end up going with, be sure to familiarize yourself with the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations for infant sleep safety, which include making sure your baby sleeps on his or her back.
We recommend going with a dedicated baby monitor over a repurposed security camera. While the best home security cameras cost about the same as the best baby monitors with video, the latter have features better suited to checking in on your baby. We reached this conclusion after trying out a Nest Indoor Cam as a baby monitor, but we'd feel the same way if we tested other top-rated home security cameras like the Arlo Q or Wyze Cam 1080p.
How we test baby monitors
When we test a baby cam we situate each monitor at an elevated position in a child's room. Units with dedicated handheld viewers were tested from 12, 20 and 35 feet away. For baby monitors that offered Wi-Fi connectivity, we connect them to a home Wi-Fi network. We test all built-in features such as pan and zoom, motion and sound detection, temperature and humidity sensors, and sleep timers. We also take note of how easy the interfaces were on both handheld viewers and streaming apps.
Ease of setup and installation factors heavily into our ratings, including whether an account needs to be created and if there were any extra subscription fees necessary. Each unit we've reviewed has cords protruding out of its back, so design wasn't much of a factor in my choice, though parents should take care to keep dangling cords and wires away from their children's reach when setting up a monitor.
When assigning ratings, we consider special features that a baby monitor might offer and also take its price into account.
A holographic virtual girlfriend lives inside Japan’s answer to the Amazon Echo
Instead of a simple, cylindrical speaker design, Gatebox has a screen and a projector, which brings Hikari — her name, appropriately, means “light” — to life inside the gadget. On the outside are microphones, cameras, and sensors to detect temperature and motion, so she can interact with you on a more personal level, rather than being a voice on your phone.
The result is a fully interactive virtual girl, who at her most basic can control your smart home equipment. The sensors mean she can recognize your face and your voice, and is designed to be a companion who can wake you up in the morning, fill you in on your day’s activities, remind you of things to remember, and even welcome you back when you return home from work. There’s Bluetooth and a permanent connection to the internet, and the Gatebox can be linked up to a TV using an HDMI connection.
Conversing in Japanese only, Hikari understands many things, but she is still learning and her language skills are growing. In time, she will be able to hold verbal conversations, but in the meantime you can communicate with her via messages in the controlling app throughout the day. The app is compatible with both Android and iOS.
Designed by Taro Minoboshi, who is known for working on Konami’s Love Plus dating sim game series, the Azuma Hikari character is 20 years-old, according to her own website, and enjoys watching anime and eating donuts, but isn’t a fan of insects. Her dream is to become a heroine for anyone working hard. Keeping people company, in any fashion at all, is where Hikari will be best put to work. A recent report showed at 32 percent, single-person households are the largest housing segment in Japan, so artificially intelligent characters like this can make sense.
There is only one character available with the Gatebox at the moment, but others are certain to come in the future. For example, Vinclu, the technology company behind the Gatebox, demonstrated a version with Vocaloid virtual singer Hatsune Miku as the main character recently. Elsewhere, popular anime characters have been brought to life as virtual assistants already, such as Yuuki Asuna from Sword Art Online, in the Sony Music-produced Wake Me Up Asuna app. Similar partnerships with Vinclu and the Gatebox, whether it’s with Hatsune Miku or otherwise, seem almost inevitable if the product is a success.
The Gatebox can be pre-ordered at the moment, and will work in the U.S., but the first production run is limited to 300 units that cost around $2,600 each. We don’t expect supplies to last long though, even at this price. Before you rush off to get one, remember Hikari can only speak Japanese at the moment.
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