The Hellobaby HB178 is an easy-to-use sound monitor that offers better range distance than most of the sound monitor competition. This unit is easy to set up and has a user interface most can manage without cracking the user manual. The battery life in the parent unit is about 13.5 hours in our tests, which is long enough for naps and most overnight needs. Unfortunately, this monitor has poor sound compared to most of the competition. It is hard to decipher with muffled and fuzzy background tones that make what a parent hears from the baby room a poor representation of what is occurring. It also lacks most of the features we think are helpful, and while it sports a reasonable price, that is still too high for what you get. Overall, we believe there are better quality monitors, no matter your monitoring goals.Editor's Note: The Hello Baby review received an update on March 25, 2022, with new information on our favorite audio monitors.
HelloBaby HB178 Review
Pros: Easy to use, good range distance
Cons: Expensive for what it is, poor sound quality, short battery life
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$40 List||$40 List|
$38.95 at Amazon
$54.99 at Amazon
$89.99 at Amazon
$21.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Easy to use, good range distance||Excellent sound clarity, lots of features, long battery life, price||Good sound clarity, easy to use, budget-friendly||Multiple functions, app-enabled, better range, easy to use for the tech-savvy||Easy to use, nice range, inexpensive|
|Cons||Expensive for what it is, poor sound quality, short battery life||Harder to use, shorter range||Limited features, average range||Shorter battery life, not the best sound quality, few features for sound||Limited features, short battery life|
|Bottom Line||This easy to use option has poor sound quality and disappointing features and battery life||An inexpensive, yet great sounding, monitor with loads of features that is an excellent choice for most families||A great option if you favor ease-of-use and good sound over features, at a relatively good price||An app-enabled, multi-purpose monitor that is easy to use, but it has a shorter battery life and sub-par sound||An affordable monitor set that gets the job done without any fuss|
|Rating Categories||HelloBaby HB178||VTech DM221||Philips Avent DECT...||Hatch Rest+||VTech DM111|
|Sound Clarity (30%)|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Battery life (15%)|
|Specs||HelloBaby HB178||VTech DM221||Philips Avent DECT...||Hatch Rest+||VTech DM111|
|Indoor Range Test (walls & feet)||7 Walls
169 Feet (WiFi)
|Open Field Range Test||1330 Feet||1325 Feet||1320 Feet||155 Feet (WiFi)||1350 Feet|
|Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!)||1000 Feet||1000 Feet||984 Feet||NA||Not Listed|
|Communication Technology||DECT 6.0 Digital Technology||DECT 6.0 Digital Technology||DECT Technology||WiFi||DECT 6.0 Digital Technology|
|Adjustable Mic Sensitivity||Yes||No||No||No|
|Sound Filtering Test Results||Very Poor||Excellent||Poor||Very Good||Very Poor|
|Max Sound||92.3||103.4 db||101 db||96.3||103.6 db|
|Battery Life||13.5 Hours Hrs||46 Hours Hrs||19 Hours Hrs||13 Hours Hrs||13 Hours Hrs|
|Nursery Unit Battery Backup||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|EMF @ 6 Feet Nursery Unit||0.43 V/m||3.11 V/m||0.95 V/m||0.43 V/m||2.63 V/m|
|Out Of Range Alert||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||2 Years||1 Year||1 Year|
Our Analysis and Test Results
HelloBaby brand is a sub-brand under VideoTimes.co, Ltd. VideoTimes was founded in April of 2006 and is a certified manufacturer of a variety of products sold in over 30 areas and regions worldwide. HelloBaby sells various kinds of baby monitoring devices, though it does not appear as though VideoTimes or Hellobaby is manufacturing these.
The sound quality and clarity for the HelloBaby are some of the worst we've seen testing sound monitors. This unit has a very muffled sound that left us wondering if someone was talking, crying, or just making gurgling noises on the other end. Overall, it had a fuzzy overlay to the sound and was not a good representation of what was happening in the nursery. The maximum sound level for this product is 92 dB in our tests. This product also lacks features designed to make the sound better, like sound activation and microphone sensitivity, which means you could be listening to a staticky/white noise sound all night long with the Hellobaby.
Ease of Use
The HelloBaby earned a high ease of use score in our tests mainly because it has no features to learn or set. This unit is a plug-and-play design that self-pairs and needs no real setup beyond playing each unit where you'd like to use it. There are on/off and volume buttons and a mute button on the parent unit, but there is nothing else to learn or do with this monitor. While this might make it a good choice for grandparents or those who lack technical savvy, we still think there are better options with higher scores in most metrics to choose from that are also easy to use.
The HelloBaby has a better range distance than most of the competition, with a distance of 123 ft and 7 walls. The manufacturer claims a distance of 1000 feet, an open line of sight range, and not a good indicator of what you can expect inside a home with walls and other products that could interfere with the transmission between the two units. We wish manufacturers would at least make an effort to provide more accurate range distances so parents might be able to discern if the product will work for their needs. Our line of sight tests worked up to 1300 ft, which at least indicates the manufacturer is accurate for this test, but we suspect most people will not be using their monitor to leave a baby in an open field.
The HelloBaby battery life is long enough but nothing to crow about at just 13 hours for the parent device. We started getting a low battery warning at close to 12 hours. We didn't test the battery life on the nursery unit as this component is typically left plugged in. However, it is worth noting that this monitor can be run with nursery and parent devices on batteries making it one of the few we've seen with this capability.
The HelloBaby has almost no features beyond transmitting sound from the nursery unit to the parent device. The bright spot is probably the ability to use each unit with batteries making it one of the few in our lineup you could use camping or where electricity might be spotty.
The HelloBaby also has the following features:
- Visual sound indicator on the parent unit
- Low battery light
When placed 6 ft from the baby unit for testing purposes, the EMF reader got an average reading of 0.43 V/m with the Hellobaby. This is one of the lowest in the group and a leading plus of this monitor. However, at least one other option had a similar reading and a higher overall score, making it a better choice if finding a monitor with the lowest possible EMF is important to you.
If EMF levels are concerning to you, you can lower the EMF exposure by placing the nursery unit as far from the baby's crib as possible while still functioning. This could be up to 15 ft or more, though you'll test your monitor and nursery to find the best placement for your situation.
Should You Buy the HelloBaby?
No, we don't this so. This monitor has some of the most disappointing scores in the review and the lowest sound clarity score we'd ever experienced since our testing or monitors began. No matter your monitoring goals, we think there are better options to be had across monitoring categories.
What Other Sound Monitor Should You Consider?
There are other nicely priced monitors in this review. The highest scoring option in the review is the same price as the HelloBaby and provides better performance in almost every performance metric. The VTech DM221 has the best sound clarity and long battery life. It has all the features you need for great monitoring, and we think most families will be really pleased with its performance. The VTech DM111 could be a good fit if your budget is tighter. The price is super low for this category, and while it doesn't have many features, it absolutely can get the job done with no muss no fuss.
— Wendy Schmitz and the BabyGearLab Review Team
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BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.Learn More