Product Type: Tomy safety products
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Tomy Walkabout Classic Advance Monitor
Member Name: historywitch
Tomy Walkabout Classic Advance Monitor
Date: 20/09/10, updated on 20/09/10 (113 review reads)
Advantages: Works, reliable, cry reactive lights, sensitive, quite cheap
Disadvantages: Static, lots of little niggles, apparently hard on batteries, quite expensive
With my first child we were given a set of baby monitors. Given that at the time we were living in an tiny ex-council maisonette with paper walls we looked at them and laughed. We only used them once or twice when visiting relatives but by then she was sleeping through reliably and it was rare that we heard even a peep out of her. Once she was walking and we thought she would be an only child we happily passed them on in almost pristine condition. Roll on baby number two and it became clear that a three bedroom house was a different kettle of fish to a tiny maisonette, and four weeks in my husband was dispatched to buy this monitor.
***So what do you get?***
You get two units, a Parent Unit and a Baby unit as pictured above. Both can be plugged in to the mains or you can choose to unscrew the back and insert AA batteries instead. The units are tuned in via the channel select button on the back and then you can choose the volume level required. At the back of both units is a small plastic rest that pulls out so the unit will stand by itself, as well as a small hole which would allow you to fix it to the wall if you so wish. Both units have a power button and a small green light shows you whether the unit is working; you can also press the power button again and this activates a soft blue light around the black disk in the centre of the unit. This allows you to see your child and locate a dummy etc without having a harsher light on and disturbing them further. Also on the black disk are a sequence of lights that react according to the level of noise put out by your small person, green for light noise and red for when they really get going with the noise. Useful for when you don't want to have the noise of your child turning over or gently chuntering themselves to sleep disturbing you; instead you can use the lights as a guide to your child's needs....as long as you have your eyes open of course!
The Parent Unit has one additional button on the top- a Talk button. When pressed the unit no longer receives sound from your child's room, instead you can use it to talk to your child and calm them down (or tell them sharply to get into bed!).
We have been using this monitor system for over a year now and whilst it does the job it is supposed to do, it is certainly not perfect by any means. For a start you get a lot of static noise coming from the unit which can be immensely annoying. Thankfully this only comes through the Parent Unit but it worsens when the light on the Baby Unit is turned on; it becomes much harsher and more insistent and if you have inquisitive children (or a forgetful husband) its easy to make at least one trip a night to go and turn the light off again. According to the instructions you can turn the light off (and on) from the Parent Unit, but this function on ours has never worked which is a little disappointing. I suppose I am at least getting some exercise and improving my spy skills by sneaking into a lightly sleeping baby's room every night.
Another small problem we have had with this monitor is that you have to turn the monitors on within a minute of each other, which means a dash up and down a flight of stairs to accomplish. Annoyingly if you don't achieve this then you have to do it all over again. Also if one unit is turned on and the other isn't then it beeps....loudly and insistently until you turn it off, on again and then the other one on. Not brilliant if you have unplugged the Parent Unit to plug something else in without unplugging the Baby Unit. The units also don't automatically come on again after a powercut, something that didn't occur to us until our youngest had worked himself up into a suitably indignant fit, complete with hysterical sobbing.
Lastly the units don't tell you what volume setting they have been set at, so it is somewhat pot luck about whether you are going to be deafened or even hear the baby. Ours randomly reset themselves too which is loads of fun when you are doing the washing up in another room. I have also heard that they run through batteries very quickly and have an annoying beep to tell you when they are running out of power; however I cannot be sure of this as we have them plugged in the same position all the time!
So, lots of problems, any positives? Well, apart from the niggles above they have worked well all year, despite being constantly on. We have no problems with the range, despite the baby's bedroom being through a wall, staircase and several doors. The monitors are sensitive enough to pick up the baby's breathing and snoring, plus all the other little movements he makes as he sleeps, which would be helpful for a more concerned parent. My daughter and her friends love to use them as walkie-talkies between floors and I can hear anything untoward going on upstairs. I can hear if my eldest gets out of bed and can monitor her behaviour towards her brother if she gets to him after a nap before I do. In fact the monitors have captured just how sweet she can be towards him, which is lovely to hear as they spend a lot of their time pummelling and pushing each other. An unexpected bonus is that I can chivvy my eldest into getting dressed for school a bit faster without having to shout up the stairs.
These monitors retail at around £39.99 which puts them towards the lower price range of monitors. You can buy cheaper ones with the same features and also spend a fortune on whizz-bang exciting ones with all the extra features, such as video and breathing monitors. I know there are better basic monitors on the market and in retrospect would have preferred to pay less for something that has a short shelf life, but this works, it does the job and after a while you learn to live with the little niggles. It certainly is not a five star product, but it does the job it is supposed to do and has been very reliable for us so it loses one star for the annoyances! I don't know if I would recommend it though, I'd feel very bad if someone else was driven mad by the static and other little issues which we have learned to live with. Its also quite expensive compared with other basic models which can start at around £25.
Summary: Mediocre product, mediocre performance.
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