In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Motorola MBP36S Review

Disappointing images and sound on a hard to use parent unit
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Price:   $150 List | $112 at Amazon
Pros:  Longer range, true pan and tilt camera
Cons:  Fuzzy images, muffled sound, no sound activation
Manufacturer:   Motorola
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Aug 1, 2019
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 13
  • Range - 20% 8
  • Sound Clarity - 20% 4
  • Video Quality - 30% 3
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6
  • Battery life - 10% 4
  • Features - 5% 5

The Skinny

The Motorola MBP36S is a dedicated monitor earning a fairly low ranking position amongst the competition. While this monitor has one of the best indoor ranges with use up to 5 walls and 92 feet, it performed poorly in the other metrics negating its stellar range performance. This Motorola has an old-school parent unit with side buttons and convoluted menu options for standard features like volume. The screen size is big enough, but the images are disappointing. With no sound activation or even sound sensitivity adjustment possible, this monitor is essentially on all night and parents will be listening to background noise no matter what. The Motorola has muffled sound, fuzzy images, and lacks some of the features parents will want. Despite having 2-way talking and remote camera pan and tilt, the overall performance of the Motorola largely a disappointment.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Motorola MBP36S
Awards   Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Value Award 
Price $150.00 List
$112.01 at Amazon - 25% off
$299.00 List$199.00 List
$168.99 at Amazon - 15% off
$188.00 List
$179.95 at Amazon - 4% off
$56.00 List
$35.00 at Amazon - 38% off
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Longer range, true pan and tilt cameraAwesome images, face recognition, easy to use, lots of featuresInternet range, great images, versatile long term useWi-Fi range, lots of features, great images, easy to useWi-fi capable, budget-friendly, quality images
Cons Fuzzy images, muffled sound, no sound activationNot baby specific, expensive, poor sound, some features require subscriptionNo internet / no monitor, disappointing soundSub par sound, higher price, internet dependantRequires internet, disappointing sound
Bottom Line Disappointing images and sound on a hard to use parent unitFancy wi-fi with impressive video but the price may not be worth it for baby monitoringReally cool camera with lots of uses and great video for simple baby monitoringCool wi-fi option with all the bells and whistles that is easy to useStraightforward, wi-fi capable camera with good images and an impressive price
Rating Categories Motorola MBP36S Nest Cam IQ Indoor... Nest Cam Indoor... iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi
Range (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
Sound Clarity (20%)
10
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4
10
0
4
10
0
4
10
0
4
10
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4
Video Quality (30%)
10
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3
10
0
10
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0
10
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9
10
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10
Ease Of Use (15%)
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6
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9
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8
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9
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6
Battery Life (10%)
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4
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Features (5%)
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Specs Motorola MBP36S Nest Cam IQ Indoor... Nest Cam Indoor... iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi
Communication Technology 2.4GHz FHSS 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 802.11 a/b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n
Indoor Range Test 5 Walls
92 Feet
Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Open Field Range Test 900 Feet Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) 590 Feet Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Max Sound 85 db 86 db 86 db 82 db 85 db
Screen Size 3.5" n/a n/a n/a n/a
Max # of Cameras 4 10 Per Home with 3 Homes Per Nest App. Log In 10 Per Home with Unlimited Homes Not Listed (Unlimited?) Not Listed (Unlimited?)
Temperature Yes No No Yes No
Movement Detection No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sound Activation No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Talk-to-Baby Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pan/Tilt/ Zoom Pan/Tilt/Zoom Zoom, Close-up tracking Zoom Pan/Tilt/Zoom Pan/Tilt/Zoom
Battery Life 6.75 hrs n/a n/a n/a n/a
EMF @ 6 Feet from Camera 1.96 V/m 0.91 V/m 0.92 V/m 1.42 V/m 0.84 V/m
Warranty 1 Year 2 Year 2 Year 1 Year 1 Year

Our Analysis and Test Results

Motorola is a relatively well-known company that makes a variety of electronics including phones, video monitors, modems, and chargers. The company has been around for a long time and is recognized by most parents, making it an obvious go-to when looking for a baby monitor or similar item. Historically, this company is known for producing quality items at a reasonable price, and they produce both video and audio monitors for baby.

Performance Comparison


The Motorola MBP36S is a hard to use monitor with soft images and muffled sound.
The Motorola MBP36S is a hard to use monitor with soft images and muffled sound.

Range


The Motorola MBP36S has better range than most of the dedicated competition. This monitor worked up to 92 feet and through 5 walls while indoors. In the outdoor line of sight tests, the Motorola kept a connection up to 850 feet and managed a visual (no sound) connection up to almost 1000 ft. The manufacturer claims a range of 590, so it far exceeded our expectations.

Even using the 2 times zoom  the Motorola MBP36S images are unclear and lack focus. Notice the lack of detail on the eye chart and bed sheet.
Even using the 2 times zoom, the Motorola MBP36S images are unclear and lack focus. Notice the lack of detail on the eye chart and bed sheet.

Audio / Visual


The Motorola has below average sound clarity with a max sound of up to 85 db and poor sound quality overall. The sound level is lower than most of the competition, and louder audio sounds muffled. This monitor does not have sound activation or sensitivity adjustment, which means there is no way to make it silent when the baby is quiet.

The Motorola MBP36S night images are more disappointing than the day images  with a spotlight type focus and images so blurry they look out of focus. Should baby scoot out of circle of "light" you will need to use the pan and tilt features to seem him or her.
The Motorola MBP36S night images are more disappointing than the day images, with a spotlight type focus and images so blurry they look out of focus. Should baby scoot out of circle of "light" you will need to use the pan and tilt features to seem him or her.

The Motorola video quality is far below the average for the group, which is a disappointment for a video monitor. Daytime visuals have better clarity than some of the competition, but overall the image has a fuzzy, soft feel that is disappointing when most parents are used to high-quality visuals using other equipment like their smartphone. The night images are worse with very fuzzy edges and an overall dark appearance that makes baby details difficult to see. Everything has a slightly soft and out of focus look.

Most of the Motorola MBP36S features will require first pressing the menu button (top right). Commonly used features like Volume are not included on the face of the unit.
Most of the Motorola MBP36S features will require first pressing the menu button (top right). Commonly used features like Volume are not included on the face of the unit.

Ease of Use


The Motorola is a plug and play dedicated monitor that pairs the parent unit and camera by itself, which is nice for technically challenged parents.

The Motorola isn't difficult to use, but the menu could be more intuitive or offer additional buttons so you don't have to scroll into a menu to find common features like the volume. The general layout of the parent unit and feature buttons feels outdated and lacks a design that parents will find useful in the middle of the night. Buttons are just a series of arrows and icons that are not intuitive and will take time and practice to master. Most of the features require pushing the menu button and then arrows once in the menu to find the feature you want to use. We think volume and zoom, the most common buttons used by parents, would be better placed outside of a menu.

Battery Life


The Motorola received one of the lowest scores in the review for battery life. This rechargeable NiMH battery lasted only 6.75 hrs in our tests. This runtime is the lowest of the dedicated monitors we tested. The manufacturer claims it will take up to 12 hours to charge, so it is probably best to leave it plugged in as the charging time is so long and the runtime so limited.

The camera for the Motorola MBP36S can move remotely using the parent unit  but the field of view is smaller than the competition.
The camera for the Motorola MBP36S can move remotely using the parent unit, but the field of view is smaller than the competition.

Features


The Motorola comes with a single parent unit with a 3.5-inch screen size and camera that can pan and tilt. The parent unit connects to 4 cameras at a time.

This monitor doesn't bring many features to the table. Nothing for convenience or fun like lullabies or recording. While not a necessity for monitor use, many parents will be looking for these features. It does have a temperature sensor on the camera, but the temperature reported during testing was 3.5 degrees cooler than the room's actual temperature. This can be a problem if you are trying to maintain a room temperature consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for avoiding SIDS. This discrepancy makes the sensor virtually useless.

This monitor also features:
  • Two-way talk
  • Automatic screen sleep (but not wake)
  • 2X zoom
  • True camera pan and tilt with a smaller field of view than most
  • Night vision

Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Levels


The Motorola has an average EMF reading of 2.24 when placed 6 ft from the reader. This reading is one of the highest for the dedicated monitors. The parent unit, which is usually closer to parents by their bed at night, had an average reading of around 3 when placed 3 ft from the reader/parent's head.


Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz