One of the many problems with modern technology is that we’re constantly being pushed to spend our money on the latest and greatest gadgets. A prime example of this is the apparent ‘need’ to upgrade our smartphones every 2 years. Rather than simply shelving them, there are lots of great ways to reuse your old smartphone, such as handing it down to someone else, selling it on the giffgaff marketplace, or simply finding a new use for it.
To develop that last point, one such use of an old smartphone is a DIY baby monitor with some very advanced features! A smartphone baby monitor has many advantages over a traditional baby monitor, for example, it has video support. You can even use a smartphone baby monitor over a 4G / 3G network, meaning it still works when you’re away from home or out of WiFi range. The best part is that there are several apps which provide this service for free!
Dormi: a great choice for old Android smartphones
Dormi is, in my opinion, a great choice if you are using Android smartphones. The app has been specially crafted with support for Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which was first released in 2010, so your old Android smartphone is almost definitely compatible (to an extent). Dormi worked flawlessly with my old Moto G, and the pairing process was very straightforward.
In terms of features, Dormi has covered all the basics. The app offers two-way audio with automatic microphone sensitivity and video streaming which can be triggered by noise. Dormi can also run in the background to save power, notifying the parent device if noise is detected on the child device.
By default, Dormi offers 4 hours of free monitoring per month, which should be ample to help you decide whether it’s worth purchasing. If you need more than 4 hours per month, which most parents would, then it’s 59p per month or £2.99 per year for unlimited usage - that’s pretty good value if you ask me. If you dislike the subscription model, you can buy the lifetime unlimited package for £5.99, which is still far cheaper than a dedicated baby monitor!
If your old smartphone runs a different operating system to your current smartphone, for example, your old smartphone runs Android but your new smartphone runs iOS, then Baby Monitor 3G could be just the ticket. You’ll need smartphones running at least Android 4.1 or iOS 9.0 (iPhone 4S or newer).
Having downloaded and played around with the trial version, I’m impressed by the quality of this app. The pairing process is extremely easy and the interface is very clean. In terms of functionality, Baby Monitor 3G works just as I expected, offering two-way audio, video streaming and alerts on the parent device when noise is detected. What took me by surprise was the addition of an activity log which displays a record of any outbursts during the night.
Unlike Dormi, Baby Monitor 3G has a more restrictive trial of just 30 minutes on Android. To my knowledge, no trial is offered for iOS devices. The full app costs £3.99 on iOS and £3.59 on Android. If the parent and child device are both on the same platform logged into the same app store account, then you’ll only need to buy the app once, otherwise, you’ll have to spend double.
Click here to download Baby Monitor 3G for Android.
Are there any privacy concerns with using baby monitor apps?
In theory, there is the possibility that a hacker could gain access to your child’s monitoring device, but in practice, this is highly improbable, not least because there is little incentive to do so. Both Dormi and Baby Monitor 3G implement industry standard SSL encryption, the same encryption that protects passwords and bank details over the internet, so breaking into the monitor would be practically impossible.
In comparison, traditional baby monitors transmit unencrypted signals over the air, which means you simply have to be within range to intercept signals. At the end of the day, encrypted baby monitor apps are just as secure as traditional baby monitors, if not more so.
In conclusion, if you need a baby monitor and you have an old smartphone lying around, why not try out a baby monitor app. Have you ever used a baby monitor app? Do you have any other creative uses for old smartphones? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
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