VTech DM221 Baby Monitor – A Honest Review

Baby Monitor

The VTech DM221 Baby Monitor is an audio monitor that is easy to use and even easier to set up. It has the best sound clarity amongst many other baby monitors in the market. It can be activated by sounds in the baby room and you can be alerted to any disturbance. The monitor also has an important talkback feature which you can use to soothe your baby and talk to them.

Detailed Review of VTech DM221 Baby Monitor

Key features and specs

Audio: The VTech DM221 Baby Monitor has DECT (digital enhanced cordless telecommunications) 6.0 digital technology which can completely eliminate any background noises. There will be no interference in the audio feed that you receive on your parent unit. This technology ensures that the only sound that you hear on the monitor is your baby’s. The sound of this VTech DM221 is the loudest amongst many other baby monitors. If you are a deep sleeper, you don’t have to worry about not being able to listen to the sounds from the baby unit.

With the vibrating sound-alert system, you can ensure that even when the parent unit is on silent, you will not miss any alert when there is any sound in the baby’s room. Most baby monitors have a loud alert system that can be disturbing at times and it can also wake your baby up.

If you want to mute the audio output on the parent unit, no need to worry. You can monitor the noise level in the baby’s room visually. The parent unit has a 5-level sound indicator. The bars represent the level of sound graphically on the display panel of the parent unit.

In terms of other interference, it cannot be affected by Wi-Fi but there can be interference because of other cordless phones in your home. There is no static from other wireless devices.

VOX Sensitivity Level

You can adjust the microphone sensitivity of the baby unit by using the parent unit. You can choose to select that you want to hear every single sound from the baby’s room or you can choose to filter out some levels of sound. This way, you will only hear sounds that exceed a certain specific level. Highest sensitivity means that you can hear all the sounds which will include some background noises too. At the lowest sensitivity, the parent unit will only turn on for baby crying loudly or other screeching sounds. With soft sounds like shuffling around, the parent unit will not turn on and will remain silent.

Night Light

The VTech DM221 can also be used as a night light for your baby’s room. The loop on the baby unit is a small light that can be used to illuminate the baby’s room. It can be controlled using the parent unit.

Parent Unit

The parent unit of the monitor has a small backlit display which shows the battery levels, noise levels, etc. The LED display on the parent unit also displays more information about when the night light is turned on, volume status, and connection status. The display also shows certain specific messages to show the status of parent units and baby unit. All the buttons are placed on the front of the device and there is a risk that you might press the wrong button during the night which can disturb your baby. It also has a belt clip on the back of the unit so you can simply attach the monitor to your belt for a handsfree experience. You don’t have to carry it in your hand all the time while you are moving around the house. This way, you can carry on with your work without worry that you left your unit in one room and now you are in the other room.

Transmission

The operating range of the VTech DM221 Baby Monitor is about 1000 feet when there is no obstruction in the line of sight. Realistically, in a normal house, it gives an operating range of about 160 feet. This can be further affected by other environmental conditions. It operates on the standard 1.9GHz frequency as used by the DECT system. The transmission of the signal by the DECT technology is secure. The signal transmitted is encrypted so you don’t have to worry about somebody else listening in to your baby monitor. Only you can hear the sounds from your baby. With the range this unit provides, you could be working in your yard with the parent unit clipped to your belt and you will still be able to hear your baby from the monitor speakers.

Battery

The parent unit has a Ni-metal battery that is rechargeable. It has a 750mAh rating at 2.4V. According to the manufacturer, the battery has a run time of about 18 hours. That is a long period of time when you don’t have to worry about recharging the unit. Instead of rechargeable batteries, you can also use two AAA batteries in the parent unit. You can also connect the parent unit to direct AC power if you want to use it in one place. The baby unit is directly plugged into a power outlet and does not use any battery. This way, you do not have to worry about the baby unit being discharged. You will always be connected with the baby unit until it is powered on.

Additional Features

The VTech DM221 Baby Monitor features a two-way talk function. You can use the parent unit to talk to your baby. Sometimes, when the baby is moving around being fussy, you can just comfort them by your voice. You don’t have to go to the baby room for that. The parent unit has a microphone that can be activated by pressing a button on the side. If you have two parent units, then the sound will be broadcasted on both. Also, both units can be used in parallel to talk to your baby. You can even use the talkback function to play some lullabies or soothing music on your phone so that your baby can hear them from the speaker on the baby unit. When your baby is a little older, you can even converse with them.

This VTech DM221 Baby Monitor system is expandable to use up to two-parent units that can be paired with the same baby unit. Both units can be used to talk to your baby even when you and your partner are in two different rooms. The parent units cannot communicate with each other. If there are two babies in the house, this system is designed so well that it does not interfere with each other. You can have two sets of DM221 baby monitors and they will work without.

Set-Up

It has the simplest set up in all the available baby monitors. You have to insert a battery in the parent unit and connect the baby unit to a power outlet. Now all you have to do is switch on both the units and the system is good to go. You can adjust VOX sensitivity as needed and the default setting is pre-set to highest. The unit is highly portable. You can carry the parent and baby units to wherever you are going for a holiday. You can simply plug the baby unit to a power outlet in the room and you can simply monitor your baby.

Design and Build

VTech DM221 Baby Monitor has a basic style design. The two units have a similar design with the main difference being that the parent unit has a two-inch LED screen that is backlit. It is used for displaying signal strength, vibration status, sound status, and battery status. There are speakers and buttons in the front. The talkback button is placed on the side of the unit. There is a small light bar that is placed above the screen. It changes color based on the level of sound coming from the baby unit. If the levels are low, it remains green and turns to orange and red when the level of sound coming increases. The baby unit does not have an LED display but it has a night light loop on the top of the unit.

Pros
  • Long-range of coverage
  • Value for money
  • Simple setup
Cons
  • The night light is very dim
  • Pairing between the parent unit and baby unit is sometimes glitchy

Recommendation/verdict

VTech is a brand that is well known for its kid’s toys and other electronics. The DM221 baby monitor is a reliable product from VTech. Although most of the baby monitors in the market are camera-based, focussed on using Wi-Fi and mobile phones, the reliability which you can get from an audio monitor can’t be beaten.

The VTech DM221 Baby Monitor is a cheap and super effective option if you are not focused on seeing your baby all the time. It has a great range, excellent battery life, and it is still packed with the important features to make it a good baby monitor. This is a highly recommended baby monitor as it is simple, reliable, and most importantly affordable.

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