Pros: Very sensitive motion sensor
Cons: Lots of "quirks", requires frequent tending
My wife and I registered for the AngelCare monitor prior to our baby shower, and we received it as a gift. It was pricy (C$139), but the movement sensor is what really sold us. Luckily, we got it early, because our son decided to join us four weeks ahead of schedule!
The monitor was easy to set up, but had no shortage of wires. We had to use a piece of plywood under the mattress, as required in the instructions, to ensure that the movement sensor would work properly. Everything was fine for the first week or so.
Then, one day while I was sitting in the living room, the parental unit started beeping. I (along with my dog) sprinted upstairs to find my son sleeping peacefully. This began happening CONSTANTLY. It go to the point where we almost stopped using it. Then, we realized that this machine has its own language...
You will hear three types of beeps on the AngelCare: One beep, repeated quickly and constantly; one beep, repeated every ten seconds or so; and two beeps, repeated constantly. You need to know what each means to avoid unneccesary stair-sprints.
The one beep, repeated constantly, is an alarm. It means that the motion sensor has not detected any movement for 15 seconds. If you hear this, run to the crib. The only time we heard this signal was during the late night feedings, when we'd take him out of his crib without turning the sensor off. Fifteen seconds turned out to be just enough time to take him out of the crib, walk over to the chair and settle in. The alarm would always go off just as I was about to start feeding him. It was good to know it worked, though.
The one beep, repeated every ten seconds, means that the battery on the parental unit is low. This is one of my complaints with this system: the battery drains very quickly. When you hear this, you need to plug in the charger. The manual says to leave it plugged in for 13 straight hours, but we've never been able to leave it in the same room for 13 hours at a stretch.
The two beeps is the one we were hearing all the time, and is the main complaint I have. This signals that the parental unit has lost contact, at least temporarily, with the nursery unit. While this sounds like a good feature, the truth is that the signal can and will be lost often. Interference from other appliances or just being on different floors of the house can cause the "In Range" feature to engage. Thankfully, this feature can be disabled (which makes me think the manufacturers knew it would be a problem when they built it). Another problem, though, is when you have the In Range turned off and the battery signal-beep comes on. Plugging the parental unit into the charger will "reset" the unit, which means you have to go to the nursery unit and turn the In Range off again. More than once, this unexpected return trip to the nursery has awakened our baby. It will also reset if you unplug the charger and move it to another location while charging.
The unit comes with three different channels, in case one has a lot of static on it. We have tried all three, and get static on all of them from time to time.
Overall, as the title of this review says, the AngelCare does its job, but not easily. If you are willing to put up with its idiosyncracies, I think the movement sensor is worth having. Granted, we have never used any other type of monitor, so I have nothing to compare the AngelCare to, but I would guess the others don't have quite so many quirks.
In response to some questions about other features of the monitor, I am happy to report the following: In addition to the various beeps, the monitor also broadcasts sounds from the baby's room. You can hear crying or other noises the baby makes. There is a series of lights that illuminate in proportion to the level of sound; more sound = more lights. Quiet noises don't come through, though, and it takes a second for the monitor to start broadcasting (say, for example, you were standing in the room and your spouse had the parental unit elsewhere in the house. If you started counting aloud, your spouse might only hear you from "two" onward). As for range, I've never taken the parental unit off the property, but I have had it in the backyard, at least 100 feet away, and it's worked well. There IS a belt clip, which is handy. The nursery unit has a battery backup in case of power failures, but thankfully we haven't had to rely on it yet. The set we have features one nursery unit and one parental unit, but I believe you can purchase a set with two parental units if you wish. You can also get a set with a second motion detector for the crib. If you have twins, you will want to put a sensor pad under each one. The unit also has a thermometer to let you keep track of the temperature of the baby's room.