We received the Angelcare AC1300 Video, Movement and Sound Monitor to review right about the time our second baby came into our lives. We had used a different video monitor for our first kid, so we were excited to try out a different device to see what we had been missing out on!
At first glance, the AC1300 looks like a really nice monitor. The packaging is cleanly designed, and the device is easy to setup. The instructions include step-by-step pictures that make installation of the camera a breeze. Our only challenge with setup was installation of the senor pad. It requires a solid surface to sit on, such as a wooden board (about 13 inches by 13 inches), and we had to track one down. It takes 3 AA batteries and must charge 9 hours prior to first use. We ran into some trouble with the length of the cord that plugs the sensor pad into the monitor. It was a little short for our setup. We made it work, but it would be nice to have some additional length. We really liked that the sensor pad cord comes with a built-in cord cover. We had cats that have chewed through a cord or two on other devices!
Once we had the unit setup, it was really fun to see all the neat features built in. We really love the quality of the picture (day and night). It is much better than our previous monitor. We also really love that the monitor shows the temperature in the baby’s room. It is very reassuring to know that information. The device can also be set to notify you if the temperature rises above or falls below a programmable level. Very nice!
The monitor is equipped with a feature called “vox” that allows you to have the monitor remain mute unless sounds gets above a variable level. This allows you to ignore the grunts and groans that babies often make during the night, but still hear the cries. We tried this out and found it to work quite well. The downside to us was that we use a sound machine. As such, the monitor would be completely quiet and then when the monitor sound kicked on, we’d hear the sound of the sound machine. This sharp contrast ended up being pretty alarming even when our little guy wasn’t making that much noise. So, we didn’t use the feature, but we can see it being very useful in the right situation.
Other features on the unit we really liked include a built-in night-light, a “page” button to help you find the parent unit, zoom function on the camera, and a variety of adjustable attributes. The camera is angled generally down by default (to see into a crib from above) and can be adjusted up and down slightly via a dial on the back of the camera.
A main feature of the monitor is of course the sensor pad. We didn’t have one of these on our previous monitor, so we were excited to give it a try. The idea behind the pad is it sits under the crib mattress and monitors for movement from the baby. If it doesn’t feel movement for 20 seconds, it sounds an alarm. The alarm is pretty loud and sounds on the parent unit and the camera unit. The idea is to alert the parents if the baby isn’t moving normally, which could indicate a problem. As overly sensitive parents, we were excited about this feature. The function of the sensor pad took a little getting used to, so we’d suggest trying it out before the putting a baby to sleep on top of it! There is also a very important “pause” feature on the parent unit that disables the senor pad. That is critical for late-night feedings. We can assure you that you don’t want to forget to “pause” the monitor and have that alarm go off at 2 a.m.! There is a low beep every 30 seconds to let you know that senor pad is still on hold.
Our testing found that the senor pad works as advertised. We got the occasional false alarm, but found it to be a reassuring tool to have. It is recommended for kids up to 24 months. If you decide you don’t want to use it, you can disable the pad altogether. We should also note that the pad won’t work if you add any additional layers between the baby and the pad besides a bare mattress.
We did find that the unit is very focused on newborns and infants. You’ll likely need to buy another unit for an older kid that isn’t in a crib due to the camera angle. Also, an additional camera can’t be hooked up to parent unit like some other monitors. So if you are like us with two kids who have monitors, you’ll have to have two separate units. (We also found that the monitors interfere with one another, so you have to keep the parent units apart.)
Overall, we found the Angelcare AC1300 to be a very fine monitor. If you are looking for a unit with the features this device provides, you will likely really enjoy this monitor. It isn’t a device that works kids of all ages, but it isn’t designed to be. It has features specifically designed to work for newborns and infants. We found those features to be really good!
To buy: amazon.com