Best Baby Movement Monitor – Plus Sound!

We bought the Angelcare AC401 for our second baby, as we still used the original AC300 Angelcare monitor we had for our first child. We chose Angelcare, firstly because we were given the AC300 the first time round a couple of years ago. More recently for our second child we looked at other monitors available and simply preferred the quality and appearance of Angelcare products.

Each brand has pros and cons which suit different people so this model is not the be all and end all but it is one that we have found reliable, easy to use and of high quality, compared to many others in today’s market. This baby monitor and others are available here.

Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the features this monitor includes.

Likes:

  • looks nice with a quality feel
  • all options and displays are on the parent unit
  • value for money (you get what you pay for)
  • good sound quality
  • packed with features
  • re-chargeable

Dislikes:

  • a little complicated to use at first
  • the movement alarm can get annoying (easy to deactivate though)
  • when baby starts moving around their cot at night you can get false alarms
  • the display screen can be a little bright at night

Movement Sensor Mat

This is really the selling point of the product; it doesn’t have to be used and can be disconnected but it is a main function of this monitor. To use the monitor without the sensor mat, simply unplug it from the monitor. Or you can scroll through the options on the parent unit to disable the sensor at any time so you can leave it plugged in.

THE SENSOR MAT IN THIS PICTURE IS THE WRONG WAY UP – It made a much better photo to have the blue side facing up, so you can see it! As it is written on the mat, the blue side goes face down.

The sensor mat lays flat under baby’s mattress and a thin wire needs to be routed back to the baby unit nearby. The mat itself is about 10” x 10” and just ¼” thick. The sensitivity of the sensor can be adjusted on the rear of the baby unit so you don’t get false alarms.

Talking of alarms, when the sensor matt detects that there is no movement because something is wrong or you baby has been removed from their mattress, an alarm sounds to alert the parent. It gives you 20 seconds before beeping once then after a further 5 seconds it beeps continuously until to acknowledge it by either turning off the unit or pressing a button on the parent unit.

The sensor mat can be left plugged into the baby unit and remain under the baby’s mattress as it can be turned on or off via the parent unit with a simple press of a couple of buttons. Once under the mattress and the wire is safely routed out of baby’s reach you wouldn’t even know it was there. When using the sensor mat the alarm can be annoying at times. For example, when removing baby from their bed in order to gently settle them. If you forget to turn off the monitor the alarm will sound after 20 seconds and wakes them up.

There is a handy feature that temporarily disables the sensor alarm for this very reason, if you remember! Like everything else this can be set from the parent unit. The alarm the sensor uses can be changed to a vibrating alarm instead but I find it much more reassuring to hear a noticeable noise.

Something else I find slightly tedious is the alarm you get on the parent unit when the baby unit has been switched off. It’s obviously a safety feature but it can get annoying if you forget to switch the parent unit off first.

Full Color LCD Display

Other than turning the monitor on and using the nightlight, all the AC401’s controls are managed remotely from the parent unit. This is an improvement from the previous model in the range, which means you no longer have to go into your child’s room to change settings or view the ambient temperature. The temperature is now displayed clearly in large numbers on the LCD display.

All the functions available for use are displayed on the LCD. You will be able to see an animated pendulum that lets you know the units are still talking to each other and that you will not miss anything through signal or battery failure. This can be accompanied by an audible sound every few seconds for extra reassurance.

A range icon shows the parent unit is in range of the baby unit. The range is documented as 100m indoors and 250m outdoors. We live in an old house with thick walls and I was able to hear my baby gently cooing to herself from the bottom of the garden. That gives me confidence in the product.

Your chosen monitoring options are highlighted as well – movement, sound and audible cue or any combination of the three. To be honest I find the constant ticktock telling me all is OK gets annoying so I don’t bother with it.

There is a volume bar on the left hand side that lets you know there is noise being transmitted from baby’s room. There is a battery level indicator that tells you when it’s time to use the charging cradle.

Temperature Min – Max Settings

This is a good idea but a little unnecessary in my opinion. It allows you to set a minimum and maximum temperature at which the monitor alerts you. You then know if your baby is likely to be too hot or cold. The annoying bit about this feature is that whilst you would like to know if the temperature drops, when it does you get a constant beeping every 3 or 4 seconds. You can reset it but each time the baby unit senses the temperature still hasn’t risen, the alarm just keeps coming back on. I believe you can disable this feature, however.

Night Light

The nightlight is activated by the switch on the right side of the baby unit. The plastic ring on top of the unit emits a gentle blue glow that is enough to dimly light the room for a parent to see without disturbing baby. If your child is a little anxious in the dark it is a useful feature for them too.

Multi-Channel Selection

Just like my wireless router this monitor could be affected by other wireless devices. Therefore, having an option to change the transmitting frequency means this is less likely to happen. Is also protects against a neighbour listening in on your baby and you monitoring theirs instead.

Volume control

I like this bit. When you baby does making a noise you can simply press a button to turn the speaker off or use the volume control to adjust the level to suit your ears. Many baby monitors don’t allow you to turn the volume up and down at will.

Sound quality

The sound quality of the AC401 is the best we have experienced so far. It may not be the best but out of the few baby monitors we have tried the quality is much better. There is no background hum, no crackling and sound is only activated by noise when it happens.

Remote or Cradled

The parent unit can be used remotely with either rechargable AAA batteries (supplied) or in the powered cradle that is also included. The cradle plugs into a power supply and charges the batteries when required. The unit can then be moved around freely without the cradle for as long as the batteries last.

The baby unit also uses batteries if required to be fully portable. It too has a power socket that enables a plug to be connected to provide power or to recharge the batteries. This is on the rear of the unit right next to the sensor mat input. Between both of these is a small dial, which can be a bit fiddly. It is the sensitivity adjustment for the movement sensor in the mat.

The parent unit has a handy clip that is discretely secured to the rear. It can be worn on a belt or clipped to something thin if you are on the move around the house and garden. It appears to be sturdy and well-made but ours has not been used yet so I am unsure. Looks nice though!

Appearance

The Angelcare AC401 has a modern look and feel about it. It is obviously supposed to look like an angel but it is not trying to be too modern and unnecessarily funky with bold colors and unusual shapes. The casing is made of plastic that is durable and hard-wearing. The buttons and translucent trim in blue/ turquoise are easy on the eye and please most tastes. It would be nice if there were different colors to choose from that suit both boys and girls though.

Overall

The Angelcare AC401 baby monitor is well worth the little bit of extra money it costs over the more basic alternatives. The brand is well-known for quality baby products and this monitor was awarded Mother and Baby Silver Award 2008/09 for Best Monitor in the UK. The AC401 has also achieved a customer rating of 9.3 on Reevoo.

This model is packed with useful features such as the movement sensing pad, minimum and maximum temperature alerts and a nightlight; providing complete confidence and reassurance for parents.

Some of the alarm features can be a little annoying at times but they are all there as safety features, which is a good thing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the common questions users have about the Angelcare AC401.

Can the Angelcare AC401 be used without the sensor mat?  Can you remove the movement sensor?

Yes you can use the Angelcare without the movement sensor. In fact, when your baby gets a lot bigger they will start to move around their cot at night. This will set off false alarms because they move away from the sensor mat, which can no longer detect their movement. Simply unplug the wire from the movement sensor mat that goes into the back of the parent unit.

Can you use the monitor without the parent unit?

Yes, you can but you won’t be able to hear your baby’s noises from where you are. The baby unit will still set off an audible alarm if it detects no movement after the specified time and you would have to rely on whether you could hear that from your location.

Why does the parent unit beep continually? Why does the parent unit make annoying beeps when the monitor is off?

The parent unit can beep continually for a number of reasons.

  • Firstly, check the batteries are charged. Low batteries could sound an alert so you know to change them.
  • Check the temperature settings on the parent unit. The Angelcare AC401 allows you to set the minimum and maximum temperatures in your baby’s room at which you will be alerted. If it falls too low or goes too high the unit will beep to let you know. This is annoying if the temperature in your baby’s room is only just on the limit; as it fluctuates the alarm may sound a few times.
  • If the baby unit is turned off or out of range the parent unit will beep to alert you to the fact it is not receiving a signal. This is an important safety feature but can be annoying if you have intentionally turned off the baby unit.

Which way up should the Angelcare pad go – blue side up or down?

The movement sensor mat is blue on one side and white on the other. The blue side must go face-down and the white side must be face-up in contact with the mattress. It may vary from region to region but there are clear instructions on the mat that tell you which way around it goes. Ignore the photo above! ;o)

How do I turn the tick tock noise on my Angelcare monitor?

The tick tock noise on the Angelcare is easily turned on and off by scrolling through the options on the parent unit screen. By pressing ‘Menu’ on the parent unit you can activate the different options, then by using the up and down arrows you can select the option you want, i.e. just sound, sound and movement and so on. One of the options is the tick tock noise. This audible queue lets you know that the parent unit and the baby unit are communicating with each other successfully and reliably; it saves you having to check every so often. It can get annoying though!

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