Hands-on Gear Review

Babysense 5s Review

Babysense 5s
Top Pick Award
Price:   $130.00 List | $119.99 at Amazon - 8% off
Pros:  Simple, reliable, easy to use
Cons:  No parent unit, not adjustable, may require crib mod
Bottom line:  Simple unit with single button on/off
Editors' Rating:   
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Recommended Age:  Up to 1 Year
Weight:  2 lb, 3.3oz
Size:  sensor pads round: 8 1/2" diameter. Depth 1/2". Cord length 27". Nursery unit:L 9 1/4", W 4", D 2"
Manufacturer:   Hisense

The Skinny

The Babysense 5s has been discontinued and replaced by the new Babysense 7. We are currently working on a review of the new version and will also be linking to the Babysense 7 in this review.

The Babysense 5s is the winner of our Top Pick Award for Simplicity and ease of use. It is an excellent, high quality, under the mattress movement monitor, with an easy to use one-button interface. Easy setup and a single button to set it and forget it make this monitor stand out from the rest. Babysense eschews bonus features and focuses on simple, reliable function. We love that all of the wires are hidden under the mattress, and the nursery unit is mounted to the exterior of the crib within easy reach when putting baby down for a rest or picking up for a midnight feeding. If you want basic, no-frills function, this is the monitor for you.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Movement Monitor Review

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Lindsay Smith and Curtis Smith

Last Updated:
Tuesday
March 4, 2014

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Hisense, the manufacturer of the Babysense 5s released the first version of the monitor in 1992. Over 20 years later, the look of the monitor has changed but the proven technology remains unchanged. Winner of our Top Pick for Simplicity and Ease of Use, it functions in the same manner as the Angelcare AC401 with an under-the-mattress sensor pad detecting movement. This unit is somewhat unique in the movement monitor marketplace, as it is a medically approved device in the European Union, Israel, Japan, Korea, and Australia. It is not, however, a medically approved device in United States. In order to achieve medical certification in the countries that it has, the 5s has had to undergo clinical trials. In a recent clinical trial that took place in Israel, the Babysense 5s was shown to be effective in detecting both apnea, and bradycardia with similar accuracy to an electrode based hospital monitor. (See the link below for more information on the clinical trial.) The Angelcare AC401 is more customizable and feature packed, but it is more difficult to use and less portable. If you are looking for simplicity and reliability, the 5s could be right for you.

Performance Comparison



Reliability


This monitor proved to be a reliable unit during testing. It scored slightly lower than the Angelcare AC401, because it only has one power source. During testing, we found that a floor vent close to the crib would create enough external vibration when the heater was on to activate the sensor and prevent it from alarming. After performing tests outlined in the user manual, we turned the sensitivity down on the sensor pad but were still getting interference. We had the same experience with the Angelcare AC401, but were able to tune the sensor to prevent interference. After moving the crib over 2 feet we were able to eliminate interference with the sensor set on the most sensitive setting. The 5s comes with two sensor pads, and the manufacturer recommends the use of 1 pad until the infant can roll over and move, and then adding on the second sensor. The loud audio alarm sounds when no movement is detected for 20 seconds, or movements are less than 10 per minute. We had no false alarms in either configuration once set up correctly.

Ease of Use


Here we have the parent unit.  The white button in the middle turns the unit on and off.
Here we have the parent unit. The white button in the middle turns the unit on and off.
This is where the 5s truly shines. Set up is easy in either the one or two sensor configuration. Just like the Angelcare AC401, a rigid surface is required for the sensor pad to work correctly, this may require you to cut a piece of plywood or masonite to fit your crib. The nursery unit is mounted to the exterior of the crib using the included bracket that relies on the weight of the mattress and the slats on the crib to hold it in place. All wires are concealed and out of reach under the mattress. Four AA batteries power the unit; battery life was excellent, lasting nearly 3 months of daily use for both nighttime sleeping and naps. When the batteries get low, a low battery indicator light illuminates on the nursery unit. There is only one button on the nursery unit, used to turn it on and off. This is the most simple operation of any monitor we tested. At 2:00 am when you are up for the 4th time, the level of simplicity will be much appreciated. When you turn the unit on, a blue light begins flashing indicating movement is being detected, and a red light will begin flashing with the audio alarm in the case that movement is not detected. We like the fact that the nursery unit is mounted to the exterior of the crib, which keeps it within easy reach when you are putting baby to bed or getting them out of the crib.

Portability


The nursery unit mounts to the exterior of the crib for easy access.
The nursery unit mounts to the exterior of the crib for easy access.
This unit scores higher in this area than the Angelcare AC401, but it is still not as portable as the Levana Oma or the Levana Oma+. With less cords and components than the Angelcare AC401, it is easier to pack up and take on the road. The hard surface requirement for the sensor pads limits its use in travel cribs and hotel cribs, so if you plan to use it on the road, you will need to check your travel crib for compatibility. Babysense states that it can be used in travel cribs if the bottom is rigid enough to provide a stable platform. In practice, we did not have much luck using it in the travel cribs at our disposal, due to wire routing issues and non-rigid platforms. Despite these drawbacks, it is still much easier to move around and set up than the Angelcare AC401, so if your child spends a significant time with family or caregivers, or has a crib in another location, it is still a good option.

Best Application


This monitor is best suited to stationary use in your home crib. It is however reasonably easy move, so it can be a good option if your baby moves between cribs at different locations. Please note, it does NOT have a parent unit, so it is a good option for those who already have a sound monitor, or video monitor and wish to add a bit more peace of mind with a monitor that also detects movement.

Value


The 5s is an excellent, high quality monitor with a price to match. At $130, it is more expensive than the Editors' Choice Angelcare AC401, plus, it lacks the wireless parent unit and sound and temperature monitoring features. You are paying more for this monitor due to its medical device certification (not certified in the USA) and the research and clinical trials that go along with it. It is possible that the internal components are of higher quality than Angelcare AC401, but it is impossible for us to make that determination based on our testing. In practice, the movement detecting function of the two units was indiscernible. So in short, the Angelcare AC401 is a better value.

Conclusion


This monitor is a great choice for those wanting a simple monitor that will get the job done. It was the winner of two awards in this review, being our Top Pick for Simplicity and Ease of Use. It functions in a similar fashion to our Editors' Choice Award winner the Angelcare AC401, using an under the mattress sensor pad system to detect movement. With excellent reliability, high quality and top scores for ease of use, it is a good choice for those that do not need the sound and temperature monitoring features of the Angelcare AC401.

Lindsay Smith and Curtis Smith


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Most recent review: March 4, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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