In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Angelcare AC403 Review

The complicated parent device has distorted sound and a limited range
The AC403 includes a sensor pad and one to two parent devices.
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Price:   $110 List | $110 at Amazon
Pros:  Movement sensor, useful features, good battery life
Cons:  Distorted sound, complicated menu/setup, short range
Manufacturer:   Angelcare
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Jun 27, 2018
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 9
  • Sound Clarity - 30% 6
  • Ease of Use - 25% 3
  • Range - 20% 3
  • Battery life - 15% 8
  • Features - 10% 7

The Skinny

The Angelcare AC403 is a sound and movement monitor that replaces the AC401. This monitor comes with a movement sensor pad, nursery unit, and parent device. It has sensor sensitivity adjustment, voice activation for a silent parent device if the baby isn't crying, and temperature monitoring with a nightlight. Unfortunately, it has distorted sound that didn't always transmit. The range is fairly short compared to the competition, so it won't work for larger homes or spaces with more than 3-4 walls between rooms. While we like the movement component of this product, it is harder to use, sounds terrible, and fails to offer a user-friendly parent interface which can and will frustrate parents in the beginning.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Angelcare launched in 1997 by a Canadian dad, Maurice Pinsonnault. Maurice was inspired by his daughter, who he wanted to monitor while she was sleeping for the ultimate peace of mind. Twenty years later, the company sells worldwide with various types of monitors and new products for bathing.

The AC403 can be purchased with a single or double parent unit. We think having two parent units can be very helpful and provides additional monitoring opportunities.
The AC403 can be purchased with a single or double parent unit. We think having two parent units can be very helpful and provides additional monitoring opportunities.

Performance Comparison


This chart is a comparison of the overall score for the AC403 (blue) and the competition


The information below details the performance of the AC403 in our tests.

The nursery unit on the AC403 connects to the sensor pad under the mattress and relays information to the parent unit like lack of movement and sound. It also has a nightlight and low EMF.
The nursery unit on the AC403 connects to the sensor pad under the mattress and relays information to the parent unit like lack of movement and sound. It also has a nightlight and low EMF.

Sound Clarity


The AC403 offers an uninspired sound which is disappointing for a sound monitor but potentially tolerable if your goal is more movement oriented. With a 6 of 10, it is below average for the group with a maximum decibel level of 100.3db. The AC403 can be turned up loud, but the sound is distorted and hard to determine what you are really listening to. Also, it didn't always transmit sound to the parent device, almost as if it shuts down or becomes overwhelmed by its own offensive noise.

This product has a sound filtering feature with four possible levels. The feature seems to work well and reduces the amount of ambient noise being transmitted to the parent unit. This helps create a quieter unit when your baby isn't crying so you can potentially get better sleep. However, given the tendency of the unit to fail to send any sound, we aren't sure how comforting this feature will be in the long run.

The initial setup of the AC403 can be challenging  but the everyday use of the parent unit is far simpler. However  it can take time and the manual to figure things out.
The initial setup of the AC403 can be challenging, but the everyday use of the parent unit is far simpler. However, it can take time and the manual to figure things out.

Ease of Use


Much like its predecessor, the AC401, the AC403 is hard to use with a 3 of 10 for ease of use. Because this unit is also a movement monitor there is a lot going on and several features and function that you'll need to set or choose before you can use the device. This is the lowest score for ease of use in the group, but Angelcare does offer some videos for guidance if you can't get the user interface dialed in on your own.

The AC403 setup is easier if you don't use the movement components but when your little one is small the sensor pad really is the best part of this monitor so it would be a shame to skip using it. If you don't use the pads the parent unit will alert immediately when you turn it on and you'll need to find the setting to turn it off in the menu. Either way, this product is more difficult to set up thanks to additional features and settings you'll need to address. We were unable to sort it out without using the manual. While you should be able to learn the functions and buttons of this unit over time and it is much easier to use after the initial setup, it is a struggle in the beginning and not a good choice for families who aren't tech savvy or who may rely on Grandma for childcare.

Range


The AC403 disappointed during testing for indoor range earning only 3 of 10 compared to the competition. This is significantly lower than the range score for the AC401, which made the results even more disappointing since we know Angelcare can do better.

The manufacturer has a listed open line of sight range of 820 feet, but our test results were closer to 700 feet in an open field. Angelcare doesn't state the inside range but buyers should use caution when they read ranges because they are often open field ranges and don't reflect real-world use at all. During testing, this product worked through 3-4 walls and was still trying after the 5th wall but the signal wasn't unreliable. It only managed to stay connected up to about 65 feet.

If you have a larger home or need your monitor to work through more than 3 walls, then the AC403 is not going to work for you. If you choose this option for the movement monitor capabilities, we recommend testing the unit as soon as you get it, to ensure the range works for your home.

The AC403 parent unit plugs in and has backup batteries  so you'll have coverage no matter what happens as long as you are within range.
The AC403 parent unit plugs in and has backup batteries, so you'll have coverage no matter what happens as long as you are within range.

Battery Life


The AC403 has the second longest battery life for the parent device compared to the competition earning it an 8 of 10 for this metric. The AC403 uses rechargeable AAA batteries that the manufacturer claims can last up to 15 hours for average use. on average, in our tests, the batteries lasted over 36. The unit set for sound and vibrate was 36 hours of use time, while the device that had sound only lasted closer to 39. Of course, use will vary on the number of times the unit relays noise and whether or not you use the movement sensor pad.

The AC403 has adjustable sensitivity on the back of the nursery unit to help parents avoid false alarms.
The AC403 has adjustable sensitivity on the back of the nursery unit to help parents avoid false alarms.


Features


The AC403 is packed with features parents may be looking for though it lacks one that many parents want. This plethora of features helped it earn a 7 of 8 for this metric, with two competitors earning higher scores. This Angelcare doesn't have the 2-way talk to baby feature. While this isn't a deal breaker to us, as most parents find this feature to be a novelty they stop using over time, it is something to consider if you find this to be a must-have.

Mattress World
The Ac403 is a mattress sensor pad movement monitor. To work correctly you need the right mattress with a firm surface underneath it. This monitor will not work with a hollow core or memory foam mattresses. f your crib doesn't have a hard surface underneath you can cut plywood to fit or invest in the Angelcare Wooden Board for Monitors.

The nightlight for the Ac403 has an on/off switch on the nursery unit so you need to be in baby's bedroom to operate it.
The tic feature on the AC403 gives you peace of mind that the unit is working and the parent and nursery devices are connected.

Angelcare AC403 has the following features:
  • Nightlight — dim lights on the nursery unit help light the room (above left)
  • Digital display — easy to read and colorful
  • Temperature display — safe sleeping includes a comfortable but cool room temperature
  • Mute --silence the parent device and keep tabs on your baby with lights alone or vibration alerts
  • Tic feature — Worried your device isn't working? This feature tics to let you know all is A-okay (above right)
  • Out of range indicator — know instantly if you move too far away from the nursery unit for good coverage
  • Movement sensor pad — Keep tabs on your baby's movements to ensure no disruption in breathing during deep sleep
  • Voice-activated transmission — keeps the parent device silent when your baby is silent
  • Sensor pad sensitivity adjustment — decrease the potential for false alarms with this cool feature
  • Belt clip — For hands-free transport while you do chores around the house

EMF


The Angelcare AC403 has an average EMF reading of only 0.46-0.50 Volts/meter (V/m) at 6 ft from the meter. This is the same as the ambient EMF in our test room which means it basically has a null effect on the room. This is the best EMF reading in the group. This is extra cool when you figure in the sensor pads that have virtually no EMF either. In our opinion, limiting or eliminating your little one's exposure to EMF is smart whenever possible, given that their systems are more developing and more sensitive to EMF.

Manufactuer Video




Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz