Hands-on Gear Review
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Price: $230 list | Available for $185 from Amazon
Pros: Gobs of features, excellent sound quality, movement sensor
Cons: Small screen and only OK image quality, no pan/tilt, no wall-mount option, no additional camera support
Bottom line: We love the Angelcare Deluxe sound monitor, but this video monitor seems to overreach and delivers much less range than the Angelcare Deluxe, and lackluster video capability relative to competitors
The Angelcare AC1100 is a classic example of an all-in-one product that lumps together all the features you might desire in one offering. The problem with the AC1100 is that the functions offered actually work much better in products with more focus. For example, we love the Angelcare Deluxe, winner of our Editors' Choice award for best overall baby monitor. The Angelcare AC1100 includes the sound monitoring and motion detection features of the Deluxe, but with only a fraction of the range. The video capability has some innovations, like a vertical format that is better aligned for a crib view, but overall the video capability performs poorly relative to competing video monitors. In the end, we consider the AC1100 to overreach, underperforming relative to competitors, and recommend caution before buying.
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BabyGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
On paper, it sounds great: "What if we add video monitoring to the award winning Angelcare Deluxe's sound and movement sensor capabilities?"
In practice though, the Angelcare Deluxe is a much better option for sound and movement sensing based on our tests, with dramatically superior range, two parent units, and much better battery life. (You can read more in our full review of the Angelcare Deluxe and its award winning capabilities.)
And, compared to competing video monitors, the video capability of the AC1100 is lackluster.
Although novel, the Angelcare AC1100 impresses us as a $250 all-in-one that under delivers compared to products with a more dedicated focus. As a potential buyer, you are left with something of a compromised offering.
Unlike other video monitors, the Angelcare AC1100 video is presented in a vertical orientation. We find this to be a nice optimization since the view from the end of a crib is better displayed in this manner.
Sound quality is very good, and we found the touch-screen controlled menu system is much easier to use than the menus of the Angelcare Deluxe.
Range is relatively poor, especially when contrasted to the superb range of the Angelcare Deluxe, but also relative to competing video monitors.
Set-up is much more complicated than other video monitors due to the need to fabricate a firm board to go under the crib for the movement sensor, and the need to test and tune the movement sensor to assure it alarms properly and does not false alarm. On the other hand, you will end up with a unique movement sensing capability that no other video monitor provides.
The camera itself has some significant drawbacks relative to competing video monitors. There is no option for wall mounting, and that makes it difficult to set it up properly to look down into a crib (especially when baby is older and you lower the mattress in the crib). In addition, there is no ability to pan/tilt the camera (if you zoom in you can pan/tilt, but it doesn't change the view window compared to the normal view). Lastly, you can't add additional cameras to the system. While the other video monitors can be used well after baby is older, into toddler, pre-school years, and beyond, the Angelcare will not have the same long-term investment utility.
While we like the Angelcare Deluxe a lot, and were also impressed with the Angelcare Sound monitor, we're left feeling that this model overreaches and comes up short on too many metrics. If you want both the movement sensing capability and video, we think you'd come out ahead by buying the Angelcare Deluxe and a separate video monitor. While your total costs will be higher than just the AC1100, you'll have a much better monitoring solution for sound, movement, and video.
— RJ Spurrier
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Most recent user review: March 29, 2012
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