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Hands-on Gear Review
Vtech DM222 Review
Price: $60.00 List | $46.95 at Amazon - 22% off
Pros: Great sound clarity, lots of useful features
Cons: harder to use, short range, limited battery life
Bottom line: Despite impressive sound clarity, parents are better off with the higher scoring, lower priced Vtech DM221
The Vtech DM222 is a feature packed sound monitor with excellent sound clarity. No matter what feature you are looking for, there is a chance the DM222 has it and more including a cool ceiling glow nightlight and lullaby. Unfortunately, the DM222 struggled to match the less featured Vtech DM221 for ease of use, range, and battery life. Thanks to a shorter range, limited battery life, and a hard to use parent unit, the DM222 failed to impress testers and earned a lower overall score making it a monitor we don't think is as good as its less expensive brother.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Sound Baby Monitors of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Vtech began in Hong Kong in 1976, and currently operates in 10 different regions around the world. Their North American operation is one of the top 3 companies in cordless phone products. VTech's mission is creating budget friendly, innovative, quality consumer electronic products including baby monitors and cordless phones.
The comparison chart shown below includes the overall scores for each monitor tested in this review. The Vtech DM222 (in blue) did not rank high enough for award consideration.
The information in the sections below provide details on how the DM222 performed during testing. Metric results were used to determine the overall score with an emphasis on sound clarity and ease of use.
The DM222 earned a 10 of 10 for sound clarity tying with the Vtech DM221 its less expensive brother. The Vtech product in this review stole the show when it came to sound clarity with 2 of 3 models earning perfect 10s.
The DM222 has a maximum decibel level of 85.8db. At max volume, the sound is a little echoey but not bad compared to the competition. At 82.1db the sound is really clear with no distortion or sound loss. This product has a very full and rich sound for a baby monitor and is the best in the group. We didn't experience any distortion or static no matter what volume it was on.
Ease of Use
The DM222 earned a 4 of 10 for ease of use. The setup of this product is lu and play with no pairing required. However, it has a plethora of features that make it harder to use than simpler products with fewer options.
The DM222 divides the user buttons between the front and side of the parent unit which should make it easier to use in the middle of the night. The power and talk button on are the right side, while the menu, volume, back, and select are located on the front. The user interface requires using the menu button to navigate the features and setup options and while it isn't difficult to navigate we kept hitting the menu button when we meant to scroll instead of the up and down volume buttons. If the menu were less complicated, or if there were more buttons that didn't require menu navigation, it would have been much easier to use.
The DM222 earned a 4 of 10 for the range. This is the lowest score for the range in the group and much lower than the other Vtech options we tested. If the range is a concern and features are less important, the Vtech DM221 is a better choice with the same sound clarity but a range score of 6.
The manufacturer claims a line of sight range of 1000 ft. In our tests, the unit worked up to 1235 ft. The parent unit cut out three times before we hit 150 ft, and once sound returned the out of range beep started at 650 ft even though we could hear just fine. At 1150 ft, the sound started cutting in and out with gusto before completely losing signal at 1235 ft.
For indoor range, we maintained a connection through 4 walls and only 65 ft. The manufacturer claims an indoor range of 160ft. While indoor range will vary depending on your house and other appliances, there is a significant difference between our test results and those of the manufacturer leading us to wonder how they test the monitors.
The DM222 earned a 4 of 10 for battery life. The DM22 has rechargeable batteries and the manufacturer discusses run time in the manual as "The standby time varies depending on the sensitivity level you set, your actual use and the
age of the battery."
In our tests, the battery life lasts about 17 hours on average. While not the best in the group with several lasting longer than 21 hours, this life is adequate for day monitor roaming around your house and even overnight should you need to monitor away from the charger. The real downside is the Vtech DM 221 lasts up to 46 hours, making 17 pale in comparison.
The DM222 earned an 8 of 10 for features. This product has a lot of features parents will be looking for including the popular sound activation and adjustable mic sensitivity. These features help parents get a better night's sleep by keeping the monitor silent when the baby is sleeping so you don't hear all the background noise.
The DM222 also has the following features:
This VTech has an average EMF reading of 2.52 V/m at 6 ft from the baby unit. This is the third-highest reading in the review, as all of the Vtech options had more EMF than the competition.
While higher than you may want, you can decrease baby's exposure to EMF by placing the baby unit as far from the crib as you can and still hear baby through the parent unit. You can also unplug the monitor when not in use.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
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