Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit KX-HN6001EW Review

This Wi-Fi-connected baby monitor works as part of a wider smart home ecosystem

Verdict

The Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit KX-HN6001EW system is app-controlled only; the lack of standalone monitor makes this weaker compared to the competition.

Pros

  • App controlled
  • Works with Panasonic Home Network
  • Motion and sound activated

Cons

  • No standalone monitor
  • No pan or tilt

Key Features

  • Review Price: £150
  • Wi-Fi connected for app controls
  • Sound and motion activated
  • Night vision
  • Two-way talk
  • Works with wider ecosystem of smart gadgets
  • Lullabies

What is the Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit?

Panasonic has decided to create a baby monitor that fits nicely into its wider smart gadget system. The result is the ridiculously named – deep breath – Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit KX-HN6001EW. What makes this device different from the competition, apart from the length of that name, is the lack of a standalone monitor in favour of an app.

So does a phone-controlled baby monitor, which saves you money due to the lack of a monitor, offer a similarly helpful user experience to rival devices? And will people who don’t want other Panasonic smart home gadgets benefit from investing in this kit? Read on to find out.

Related: It’s 2018 so of course hacking baby monitors is a thing

Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit – Design

The kit certainly looks modern, if modern translates to “shiny”. On closer inspection, though, there is a bit of a plastic feel to the finish. However, that black colour and curved edges do make the baby monitor look decent, despite the reflective finish.

The camera is compact enough to be placed in most locations and will easily sit on a cot, should you want to prop it up rather than install it in one place permanently. T

Then there’s the hub, which is a square-shaped flat unit that plugs into mains power and connects to the Wi-Fi or via an Ethernet cable. This is effectively a bridge between the Wi-Fi and the camera.

Why Panasonic couldn’t have built that into the camera isn’t clear – perhaps to save on size, or simply to ensure all gadgets get this hub to run them through. The Nest Camera is compact and high-enough-quality with a relatively low price yet connects to Wi-Fi directly.

The Panasonic camera is a fixed unit that can be moved to angle it, but there are no remote pan or tilt options, so you need to make sure it’s sat just right in order for it to work.

Related: Best security cameras 2018: 10 great smart home monitors

Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit – Features

The primary feature of the camera part of this kit is its ability to detect motion and sound. This means that it can activate and alert you when your child is moving around or crying, usually because they’re awake rather than simply rolling over while sleeping.

It also has a night vision mode, a two-way talk function and a selection of five lullabies, which can be played out from the camera from anywhere using the app. These help to take this device beyond the security camera competition as a dedicated baby focused unit.

Everything runs through the Panasonic app. This is a good thing, since it has allowed the company to issue numerous updates to help improve and refine the experience. Since this is part of the Panasonic Home Network you can expect to receive continued support of this kind, meaning this monitor should be pretty well future-proof.

The Panasonic Hub means you can add more cameras, smart plugs, sensors and the like, all controlled via the app. The camera can also be used as a security device with a microSD slot in the hub for recording directly from the unit.

The app allows you to install it on multiple devices, so mum and dad can both have the monitor feeding into their phones wherever they are. In fact, this works with up to four phones feeding in from up to eight Panasonic Home Network devices.

Related: Amazon Echo Show review

Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit – Performance

Thankfully, setup only needs to be done once – as it’s a real process. From app installation to updates to pairing, it all takes well over half an hour at a minimum to get the system running, on just one connected phone. So make sure you have the time set aside for this.

Image quality isn’t great with a 0.3-megapixel sensor of the type you might have found in a phone ten years ago. It does the job of showing movement and basic night vision, but it isn’t anywhere near as good as the competition from the likes of BT, for example.

Once up and running the range is decent at 50 metres indoors, since the hub runs on your home network. The camera and hub don’t need to be in close proximity of one another for the setup to work. You can check in on your little one using the app, meaning as long as you’re connected to a network it will work. You can even check in when you’re out and the babysitter is at home with bubba.

There is a motion sensor as well as a noise sensor, but they’re set at a fixed level of sensitivity. So while you won’t pick up on sounds that a baby is rolling over, you should, hopefully, detect bigger movements such as a toddler attempting to climb out of the cot. As such, for monitoring newborns for instance, where there is a need for greater sensitivity, the Smart Home Baby Monitoring Kit isn’t ideal.

The two-way function is a welcome option, but you might just find that your voice emanating from the camera draws bubba’s attention and results in the camera being pulled down – or, worse, scaring the child.

Design-wise, the app itself is a little ugly and looks like something that’s been knocked up by a kid on a Windows 95 machine. It isn’t straightforward to get to where you want fast. In addition, alerts aren’t editable so you can end up receiving so many that you just ignore it sometimes – which defeats the purpose of having such a device.

Related: Withings Home Review

Why buy the Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit?

If you want to invest in a smart home network of gadgets such as cameras, plugs and sensors that you can control via an app on your phone, the Panasonic Home Network is an option. The baby monitor might not have a dedicated monitor but it can do the job, saves you money and allows you to check-in on your child from anywhere. The relatively poor app lets the side down; the BT Video Baby Monitor 6000 is a better choice for most people.

Verdict

The Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit KX-HN6001EW system is app-controlled only, plus the lack of standalone monitor makes this weaker compared to the competition.

Score