Levana Astra Baby Monitor Review: Is It Really Worth It?

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Editor’s Rating

 

​Why Levana Astra Video Baby Monitor

  • You can play the preset lullabies to calm your child or use the two ways communication to soothe them with your voice.
  • The brand uses Clear Vu technology to enhance image quality to let see your little one clearly, even in complete darkness.
  • With an exceptional range of 750 feet, Astra gives you some wider signal coverage than Levana Lila, which only has an effective range of 500 feet.

About Levana Astra 3.5 PTZ Video Baby Monitor

With a Do More Knowing Your Child Is Safe tagline, and having been in the market for well over a decade, Levana builds some of the most decent video baby monitors that money can buy.

And although its units don’t perform better than the competition, the performance of each monitor in the Levana series is quite satisfactory.

Levana Astra baby monitor is apparently the most expensive unit in the series.

But with few features, many of which aren’t as powerful as what we’ve seen with the likes of Infant Optics DXR-8, I am not quite sure it’s really worth the asking price.

The image quality isn’t as bad as what Lila gives, but it isn’t as good as what you would get from the likes of Cocoon Cam Plus, AXVUE, and HelloBaby 3.1.

One of the best things that I really do appreciate about this baby monitor, though, is the security aspect.

As a parent, I can’t imagine a potential intruder potentially accessing my radio signals, not to mention talking to my baby.

The Clear Vu technology, built-in to boost image quality and protect the unit from intruders, does give you the confidence to use the unit without worrying about cyber bullies.

Levana Astra Video Baby Monitor Review

The De​sign

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There isn’t any big difference between Astra and Lila. The design concept of the two units is more or less the same.

It takes less than 10 minutes to set up the camera, pair it with the handheld unit, and test out the video. This is important, because you do not have the whole day to figure out how to pair the unit and get it to work.

Astra comes with only one camera. But the system is expandable, so you can add up to three extra cameras and monitor them at the same time. If you have just one child, one camera should be enough. But if you would like to monitor multiple rooms, then feel free to include the add-ons for flexibility and convenience.

To add to the convenience and flexibility of this baby unit, Levana allows you to pan, tilt, and zoom the camera remotely to get a better, all-around view of your child’s room. In practice, you can adjust the camera up to 300 degrees horizontally and up to 110 degrees vertically.

Whether or not tilting and panning the camera can create a whirling noise is something I can’t talk about here. Some people think it could be noisy, others argue that it works just fine. As such, it comes down to personal opinion.

Then there is the built-in 2X zoom feature. While you may not use it often, treat it as a good addition that can give you detailed view of the crib.

Performance

In my view, the Levana Astra is a slight improvement of the Lila, with a few advanced features not built into the former.

While this means better performance, the two monitors function more or less the same way.

From adding multiple camera and controlling them remotely to playing lullabies for baby and soothing them with own voice, Astra seems to have it all figured out.

Except not to a level where it would earn a top spot in video baby monitor series.

Range

While Levana Astra features a range of up 750 feet without barrier or signal obstruction, sometimes it struggles to keep up to this promise.

If the effective operation range were as consistent as advertised, this unit would have easily appeared in our list of the best long range baby monitors. 

In practice, the optimal range of this unit seems to be somewhere around 200 feet.

But if you aren’t dealing with too many solid obstructions along the way, you should get quite a decent coverage without losing the quality of the video feed or sound.

Another problem with this baby monitor is the lack of out of range alert. So it will be hard to know if you are within range or otherwise.

Display

Levana Astra’s video quality is impressive and far much better than what Lila displays.

The video feed on the 3.5 PTZ screen does not have sharp, vibrant colors during the day, but the images displayed are still very clear.

The speed at which the images are displayed on the handheld unit is satisfactory, so there’s almost no delay in rendering the videos.

The camera in the baby’s room has a built-in invisible infrared LED, which makes seeing you child at night possible, even in complete darkness.

Like many baby monitors out there, Astra does not give you colored images at night.

As night vision is based on low light technology, you will see your baby in black/gray (aka black and white).

You can even place the camera 12 feet away from the crib (recommended) and the night vision will work just fine.

Audio

levana astra audio

When you use a baby monitor to connect with your child in the event that you are away from their room, you want to be able to hear them well.

Also, you want them to hear your voice also without straining. As such, you cannot compromise on the audio quality of the device.

Astra’s audio system is quite efficient, so it should serve its purpose quite well.

In fact, the audio clarity of this unit is as good as other monitors. And as long as you do not go beyond the effective operation range, audio clarity should be stable.

The two-way communication is, in particular, one of the best features of this baby monitor. You will need it a lot, maybe even all the time as your baby grows. And the working concept here is quite simple.

When your baby cries, or makes a sound that seems to suggest that they need a parent in their room, you simply press the microphone on the parent unit and then talk to your baby.

The way I understand it is that the two-way talk feature create a sense of presence and assurance.

It makes your baby feel protected, because you are talking to them from wherever you are around the house, as though you were right there with them in their room.

Battery Life

The long battery life of Astra, to me, is the company’s strongest selling point.

You get up to 10 hours of battery use on a single charge for continuous video feed and audio coverage.

Some review sites suggest that Astra is a VOX baby monitor, but it is definitely not one. In fact, the manufacturer clearly states that the unit uses PEEP mode, which is a unique feature that helps to extend battery life.

PEEP, also known as Power Energy Efficient Pictures, is a voice-activated technology that automatically turns both the camera and monitor off when there is no sound coming from the crib.

If your baby cries, or even makes just about any slight noise like a sneeze, both the camera and the parent unit turn back on to do their job.

The best thing about the PEEP mode is that once it is activated, it can extend the battery life of Astra by up to 48 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Camera Run on Battery?

The camera has to be plugged-in to a power outlet for as long as you would like to use the monitor. It cannot run on battery.

Only the parent unit can run on battery, offering up to 48 hours of continuous video feed and audio alert on a single charge.

Does the Parent Unit Cycle Between Additional Cameras?

Levana Astra is designed in such a way that it easily cycles between one camera and the other at a given time interval.

Unfortunately, using more than one camera on this unit can and will drain the rechargeable battery.

So if you need a system that can work with multiple cameras but one monitor, it’s best to look at other options.

Can I Turn Off the Screen but Keep the Audio on?

Unfortunately, you cannot turn off the screen but keep the sound on, because the video and audio are designed to work hand in hand.

Both turn off when there is no sound coming from the baby’s room.

As soon as the child talks or cries, the video feed and audio alert automatically turns back on.

Can the Camera Monitor Temperature?

I wish it had a temperature sensor, but it doesn’t have one built into it unfortunately.

If you just need to watch your baby without worrying about the temperature in their environment, Astra makes a good choice to use.

But if you also want to monitor the temperature in your baby’s room, then you will have to check out the likes of Summer Infant In View, Project Nursery HD, and the Philip Avent SCD570 DECT.

Where Can I Download the Manual?

You can download a manual for Levana Astra video baby monitor from here.

 

Pros
  • Although the range isn’t sometimes stable, it is still good
  • Astra supports remote pan, tilt, and zoom of the camera
  • You can add 2 camera set if you want to monitor multiple rooms
  • The Lithium-ion battery gives you up to 10 hours of battery life.
  • You can easily extend the battery life to up to 48 hours on PEEP mode.

 

Cons
  • It is not possible to use the camera pan feature when zooming in
  • The AC cord is quite short. This is a big problem for people who would like to wall mount the camera higher on the wall.
  • Camera cannot run on battery, it has to be plugged in throughout use