The second most expensive swing we tested, the 4moms mamaRoo is a stylish baby swing that takes a high-tech approach to the soothing market. At home sitting next to your newly released iPhone, it bears a striking resemblance to Asimo, the humanoid robot from Honda. Sleek and modern in appearance, we initiated the review process with high hopes for this looker. When in action, the mamaRoo does 5 different robotic dances that are sure to impress your friends and family. But, the old adage "you can't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind after reflecting on our testing experience. Unfortunately, this baby swing misses the mark in terms of soothing ability. Thus, though this expensive piece of equipment is nicely geared toward parental sensibilities, your crying baby may be less than enthused with it.
The colorful infant insert is attractive and machine washable. The mobile ball inserts can be flipped from black and white to color.
The mamaRoo scored a 5 of 10 in soothing which accounts for 70% of overall score. Like the Graco DuetSoothe the 4moms mamRoo has a shallow seat which seemed to consistently leave our infant testers feeling unsettled. The cute and reversible accessory insert when used as intended for a small infant was too thick and cumbersome for the seat.
Although 4moms uses the tag line that the mamaRoo moves like you do, our feeling is that it is designed too heavily on controlled, mechanized movement to feel comforting to an infant. There are 5 movement settings: car ride, kangaroo, tree swing, rock-a-bye, and wave as well as 5 speed settings. Instead of a swinging momentum as with traditional baby swings, the mamaRoo's motion evolves directly from the base in varying directional rhythms that tend to appear more jarring than relaxing.
We like the MP3 docking station at the base so that parents can choose their own white noise or music for baby. The speaker actually sounds pretty good although a bit canned. And, as mentioned above, the new 2015 version of the mamaRoo can control both sound and motion from a smart phone and speed is claimed to be 50% faster than the previous version which we tested.
A highlight of the 4moms Mamaroo is the fancy, squishy mobile which can sides can be flipped for either black and white or color contrast to accommodate baby's visual development. For smaller infants, a machine washable insert is available. Among many things on our Mamaroo wish list, is a 5-point harness and deeper seat.
Ease of Use
We scored the mamaRoo a 6 of 10 in ease of use. The best thing about it is its small footprint of 400 square inches, by far the smallest of all swings we tested in our review by a wide margin. And, second lightest at 15.3 pounds, it is pretty easy to move about the house. It operates only via AC adapter which is nice as batteries aren't necessary. But operating it away from an electrical outlet is not possible unless you have a long extension cord. The 3-point harness is easy to use and of good quality and the static mobile can be moved to the side when placing baby inside.
We did not find the controls, LCD screen, and MP3 hook up at the base of the swing to be very user friendly, however. With the new 2015 version, if you should decide to operate both motion and sound via a bluetooth device, this issue can be circumvented.
The mobile shifts out of the way, making placing baby into the swing an easier task.
The mamaRoo scored a 7 of 10 in quality with nice fabrics as well as sturdy fit and finish overall. With clean lines, a small footprint, modern design, it is a looker. Although we did not encounter an issue with the LCD screen, 5% of Amazon user reviews report an obstruction error appearing on the screen with complete device failure. This is with the old version, so time will tell if the 2015 version has fixed this issue or if the new LCD screen is merely a new packaging on a still problematic issue. User reviews also report problems with 4moms customer service being substandard for such an expensive swing. Again, the jury is out on the new version.
We gave the 4moms a 6 of 10 in safety. The three-point harness is sufficient for small babies as the adjustable reclining seat ranges from 26-47 degrees from horizontal. However, the seat is quite shallow so watching baby closely is important (as with all swings) to make sure they do not scoot downwards within the seat. As soon as baby can sit upright unassisted, use of the the mamaRoo needs to be discontinued.
At a list of $220 and $20 more for the 2015 version, we do not feel that the mamaRoo is a good value as in our experience, it just didn't sooth as well as traditional swings.
Other Versions and Accessories
4moms also has the more simplistic 4moms rockaRoo at a list of $160 which features a front-to-back motion similar to a swing with one big difference, the arc of the swing is unnatural convex motion of up and over rather than the concave dipping motion that traditional swing employ. Honestly, this doesn't appear any more soothing than the mamaRoo.
Accessories 4moms Newborn Insert $30 and 4moms Extra Mamaroo Seat Fabric $40 are available. The newborn insert is reversible and machine washable and fits both the mamaRoo and rockaRoo. If you are purchasing extra seat fabric, make sure you are getting it for the correct model year.
For a family looking for a stylish baby swing, at first glance, the mamaRoo seems like a good option. However, our little testers did not find it to be soothing. Neither are we convinced that a 50% increase in speed with the new 2015 model will fix this issue; our opinion is that its core lies at the mechanical nature of its 5 various movements. Our recommendation is to spend less and go for a traditional baby swing. Sure, they will take up more space, but in the end, if a fussy baby is soothed, the value of this is truly priceless.