Nanit Plus baby-monitoring system review: This pricey tech will soothe anxious parents

The whole purpose of baby monitors is to observe our little ones and confirm they’re all right. High-resolution cameras are useful for seeing if they’re awake or still sleeping, and to make sure they haven’t rolled over or have a loose blanket over their face. But the typical baby monitor isn’t so great at reassuring a newborn’s parents, such as me, that their sleeping infant is breathing normally. The Nanit Complete Monitoring system includes a camera, of course, but it also features a patterned swaddle and a band that the baby wears. This sleepwear works with the camera to track baby’s every breath, sending an alert to the parents’ smartphones if anything is amiss.

Nanit Breathing Wear swaddle Daniel Masaoka

My son Leo wearing the Nanit Plus Breathing Wear. The camera analyzes the movement of the patterns on the swaddle (or the band if the swaddle isn’t being used) to monitor his breathing. The camera should send an alert to the app on my smartphone if anything is amiss.

The Nanit Plus Complete Monitoring System consists of three parts: The Nanit Plus camera unit, which records video in resolution of 960p and provides two-way audio, a night light, and sound and motion sensors; the aforementioned Breathing Wear, which consists of the patterned swaddle and a patterned band for monitoring the baby’s respiration; and the Nanit mobile app (available for Android and iOS), which you’ll use to monitor the camera’s video stream. The app will also alert you to potential problems. Unlike some other baby monitors we’ve reviewed, Nanit does not have a dedicated video monitor.

The wall-mount version of the Nanit Plus costs $299, while the floor-standing version reviewed here costs $379. But those prices do not include any of the Breathing Wear (Nanit says babies who are able to roll over on their own should wear only the patterned band and not the swaddle). You can buy a bundle that includes one swaddle, one band, and the wall-mount camera for $379. The same package with the floor-standing camera costs $499. Each bundle also includes one tabletop Multi-Stand that enables you to take the Nanit Plus Camera on the road, or you can use it to convert the camera into a nanny cam that monitors the room instead of the crib. Additional stands cost $49 each.

All camera purchases include a one-year subscription to Nanit Insights, which provides sleep tracking, breathing monitoring, video storage, highlight and timelapse reels, and personalized parenting tips. When the subscription expires, you can view a live stream from the camera, but you won’t get the other features. One year should be enough for most parents, but there are three service tiers available to anyone who wants it beyond that: Seven days of stats and video storage costs $5 per month ($50 if paid annually), 30 days of storage costs $10 per month ($100 if paid annually), and there’s an unlimited plan that costs $30 per month ($300 if paid annually).

Nanit Plus baby monitor package Daniel Masaoka / IDG

What’s in the box (the floor-standing SKU is shown here)..

Setup

Installation was pleasantly simple and quick, following either the included booklet or the app. I chose the floor-standing model since my three-month-old son sleeps in both the bassinet in our bedroom and in the crib in his nursery. I thought the camera would be easy to move back and forth between the two rooms, but I quickly discovered that it’s not (I’ll explain why in a bit). The stand consists of multiple pre-wired sections, so everything just needs to be either snapped or twisted together. For the child’s safety, the remaining length of power cord runs along the floor in a rigid plastic channel. Attaching a third leg lets the camera stand on its own, or you can remove the leg to lean the camera snug against a wall. Dealing with the cable-management channel and removing and replacing the third leg of the stand each time I moved the camera ended up being such a hassle that we decided to use the camera only in the nursery.

Nanit Plus Daniel Masaoka / IDG

Remove the Nanit Plus Camera stand’s third leg, and you can place the camera tight against a wall.

Pairing the camera with my smartphone was simple once I installed the app.The initial connection is made via Bluetooth, and you then provide the password for your home Wi-Fi network. This allows you to access the camera from anywhere you have broadband access, and I found myself accessing this feed frequently to check on my son while I was at work.

The app provides a slider tool that you’ll use to draw a virtual boundary around the baby’s crib. This enables the system to distinguish between the baby’s movement and when an adult leans into the crib to tend to the baby or pick it up. The app will ask for a few details about your child, including its name, birth date and gender. It will use this information to offer personalized parenting tips, but you can skip this step if you prefer.

Use and Performance

A live feed from the camera occupies most of the Nanit Insights main screen. Video from the camera was impressively sharp, clear, and color accurate. Many of my friends and family members commented on how good the image looked. Infrared illumination provided more than adequate night vision, as you can see in the right-hand screenshot below.