AngelCare AC401 Movement and Sound Baby Monitor

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AngelCare AC401 Movement and Sound Baby Monitor

With two frequencies, the NEW Angelcare Movement & Sound Baby Monitor reduces the chance of interference with other appliances operating at 2.4GHz. Al...

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97% positive

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Review of "AngelCare AC401 Movement and Sound Baby Monitor"

published 17/12/2010 | sandemp
Member since : 21/10/2002
Reviews : 770
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About me :
Mum to four adult children and two little monsters. A very special and different six year old and cleverclogs of a two year old. Starting a series of weight loss themed reviews.
Pro Great sound quaility, nightlight, effective movement monitor
Cons Can't switch movement monitor function off, can rely on it too much
very helpful
How mobile is the parents unit?
Volume Control
Value for Money
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"Peace of mind?"

Although a baby monitor wasn’t exactly an essential purchase, it was one that was quite high on my list. When looking at all the different models I knew I wanted one with a movement monitor (I had a very personal reason for this) but didn’t want to spend a small fortune. After spending some time searching the web, looking at specifications and reading reviews I chose the Angelcare AC401, which cost me £59.99, and I’ve now been using this monitor for eight months.

Out Of The Box

Setting up the AC401 was a fairly simple affair, I did read through the clear instruction booklet, but when I moved Freddy from Moses basket to cot I didn’t bother to re-consult it. The first thing that needs to be done, is to place the sensor pad under the mattress. Now the instructions state that this needs to be placed on a solid surface and suggests using a piece of plywood. But I just used a sheet of cardboard that came in the box and haven’t had a single problem. The sensor pad then needs to be connected to the main monitor unit using the incredibly long wire. Although I don’t know exactly how long that wire is, it is a good length which means the monitor doesn’t need to be placed right next to the cot. Although the monitor is mains powered there is also a battery compartment as a back-up, but these AAA batteries are not supplied. The parent unit is even easier to set-up, you simply need to insert the supplied rechargeable batteries, plug it in and then let the batteries charge overnight. Once the batteries are charged both units can be switched on (the monitor unit can be used independently) and they automatically find each other.

The Monitor In Use

For the first few months our baby slept in a moses basket in our room, and we lived in a very small one bed roomed flat, so we only used the actual monitor unit and not the parent unit. The sensor mat fitted easily into the moses basket, under the mattress and then I threaded the wire under the lining material. The movement monitor has five levels of sensitivity, and although it’s really a bit of trial and error to get the right level. I have found that the movement monitor is very sensitive, to be begin with I found it hard to believe that what looks like a solid piece of plastic would really be able to pick up the tiny movements a newborn makes while breathing. But once set to the correct sensitivity it really does work. As each movement is picked up a little green light flashes on the unit, which is a very reassuring sight. There’s no more disturbing baby by resting my hand on his chest to feel it fall and rise, just seeing the light flash put my mind at ease.

Although I must say the alarm has never actually gone off while my baby was in the moses basket, it is loud enough to invade your sleep and wake you. The alarm will give a single warning beep after twenty seconds without movement and then go into full out beeping mode after forty seconds. As I said, the alarm has never gone off while my baby is asleep, but there have been occasions when either my partner or myself have picked the baby up and forgotten to turn the monitor off and then scared the life out of the other one of us. It is possible, however, to stop this alarm using the parent unit (if it’s switched on). The monitor also features a night light, although this isn’t very bright it does emit just enough light to be able to see what baby is up to, even if the light is a somewhat ghostly blue. Although you can insert batteries in case of a power cut, this monitor does really eat them. I put a set of Duracell in, and when we did have a power cut the batteries died in a single night, although I must admit I did have the night light on.

Once we moved to our new flat, with a garden, we started using the parent unit occasionally, even though the baby was still sleeping in the same room as us. I found that the units pair up in under a minute and then there are a plethora of different menu options. As an actual monitor it works perfectly well, it picks up every sound that baby makes and there is very little interference. It also has quite a large range, I can go downstairs and into my garden and it will still work.

Although I haven’t tested the battery to it’s limits, it’s lasted for over two hours losing only one bar of power. Without playing with any of the settings, the sound from the parent unit is loud enough to be heard over the TV, but even at it’s loudest it won’t be heard over music at a party. So it’s a good thing that there’s also a visual display with a scale of lights, the more lights that are lit, then the noisier baby is being. The volume control is easily accessible and the volume ranges from muted to very loud, but at higher levels the parent unit does emit a strange whooshing noise that quickly becomes annoying. The parent unit can also be set to continuous monitoring or sound activated, personally I’ve always stuck to the sound activated. Although the parent unit features a belt clip, I can’t say that I’ve really used it, not wearing belts and all that.

While the monitor unit simply flashes when it detects movement, the parent unit emit’s a beep. While this was reassuring to begin with, it quickly became annoying and it took me ages to work out how to turn it off. Even with the continuous beep turned off, the alarm will still sound from the parent unit if movement isn’t detected, and it’s easy to switch the alarm on the monitor unit by holding down a button on the parent unit. The parent unit will also beep if it loses connection with the monitor unit which is all well and good, but if one parent gets up to the baby and forgets to turn the parent unit off, then the other parent is woken by the insistent beeping.

The parent unit also features a temperature display, so that the temperature of baby’s room can be kept an eye on, and can also be set to alarm if the temperature doesn’t fall between set parameters. Now, personally I really can’t see the point in this, but there again I don’t see any point in any nursery thermometers. I’m a great believer in using common sense when it comes to keeping baby warm (or cool) enough, and always stuck to the principle that baby generally needs one more layer than me. I’m also not convinced as to how accurate the thermometer function actually is, there has been the odd occasion when I’ve glanced at it and thought “there’s no way it’s that hot.

My baby is now eight months old and gets himself into all sorts of different positions in his cot, so it surprises me that the movement monitor still manages to pick up his breathing. I’d actually prefer to use the monitor as just a normal monitor now, without the movement part. But if there’s a way of doing this, I haven’t found it. I thought simply disconnecting the sensor would work, but it didn’t.

Some medically, serious bits

I’m sure I really don’t need to say this, but as with all monitors the AC401 does not replace adequate parental supervision. I have read that the medical proffesion does not really recommend this type of monitor except in very particular circumstances and I can see where they’re coming from. Yes, they do give peace of mind, but they can also become a crutch, especially for the over-anxious parent. I quite readily admit that I fall into that category, but for good reason. When one of my older children was very small he suffered from a cardio-respiratory arrest and if I hadn’t been there at the time, well there by the grace of God. I was told that if it had happened during the night then he wouldn’t have survived. So, if it wasn’t for this monitor I would probably have been continually checking that my baby was still breathing. But, this monitor does not prevent cot death, what it does do is alert you to the fact that baby hasn’t breathed for 20 seconds, so that you have time to administer first aid (I would advise all parents to take a first aid course). It did take me a long time to stop relying on the monitor, and I would find it hard to sleep without checking it was on, which in turn made me even more paranoid.

Price & Availability

I bought my AC401 about nine months ago from Amazon for £59.99 and it is still available there for £56.99 including free delivery. This seems to be the cheapest price that it is available for.

Final Words

The Angelcare AC401 is a fairly good sound and movement monitor that is available at a reasonable price. It’s not the fullest featured monitor available, (it’s not two-way and there’s no video), but it does pack in a fair number of features for the price. Being digital, the actual monitor function is good, with little interference whether the parent if indoors or out, the night light gives a gentle glow and the temperature display may be useful to some. The movement sensor seems to work extremely well both in a moses basket and cot, but I would still prefer being able to turn this off and still use the monitor. All-in-all I think I would recommend this monitor and am giving it four stars out of five.

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Comments on this review

  • LiveMusicLoverLyn published 15/05/2017
  • snow_drops published 05/03/2017
    Excellent review. I'm looking mine out tomorrow, after using it with my daughter and with a new baby due any day now. Your review was a great reminder of how to use the product :)
  • reddanni published 18/12/2010
    Excellent, well covered review.
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Product Information : AngelCare AC401 Movement and Sound Baby Monitor

Manufacturer's product description

With two frequencies, the NEW Angelcare Movement & Sound Baby Monitor reduces the chance of interference with other appliances operating at 2.4GHz. All of the main functions on the Nursery Unit can be chosen and managed from the Parent Unit which is now rechargeable for added peace of mind. Parents can choose sound activation or continuous transmission and select their desired sound level. The number of available channels has increased from 3 to 8, which is sufficient to avoid interference with another baby monitor. The new monitor comes in an aqua colour and has a full colour LCD screen and a night light that works regardless of whether the baby monitor is on or off. Parent Unit + Charger 8 channels (manual selection) for best performance Full colour LCD display Baby's room temperature indicator + programmable alarm Sound indicator icon Movement indicator icon Tic indicator icon Out of range indicator Alarm sound and vibration options Integrated belt clip Adjustable sound volume Rechargeable (batteries included) Access to main functions on Nursery Unit Range up to 100m indoors and 250m outdoors Nursery Unit 8 channels (manual selection) Sound activated or continuous sound transmission 4 Functions: - Movement + Sound with tic - Movement + Sound without tic - Movement only - Sound only Night light (illuminated halo) Adjustable sound activated microphone sensitivity (4 levels) Low battery indicator (warning light) Alarm indicator (warning light)

Product Details

Long Name: AC401 Movement and Sound Baby Monitor

Type: Baby Movement Monitor

Manufacturer: AngelCare

EAN: 666594040107


Listed on Ciao since: 08/08/2008