Introducing the Owlet sock 2 and video monitor.
First time parent or not, I think all of us obsess about our babies. According to a new survey by Owlet, just over half of respondents reported feeling more tired and 4 in 10 more anxious than they had expected before becoming a parent.
Most newborns slumber more than they are awake. Panicked we ask, are they sleeping too much, or too little and wonder how we can ensure healthy sleep practices. Are they on their back, are they too hot, should they be swaddled, are side sleepers safe!?
According to the NHS, for the first 6 months your baby should be in the same room as you when they are asleep, but it is not just during those early days that parents look for reassurance. In the hours past midnight many of us will have obsessively hovered by cribs to listen for the sounds of gentle breathing and perfect infant snores. I still do it at times with my nine-year-old. My partner and I worried more with our second, likely the effect of Google and raised awareness of SIDS. There was also added complication that Norah has febrile convulsions so when she went into her own room especially, we wanted a reliable video monitor.
With so much technology and so many monitors on the market, choosing the right device is important, especially as every parent will have a different preference in what they want out of a product. Owlet’s camera was the answer to our parental apprehension about how are baby (now toddler) was overnight and during nap time.
The Owlet Duo allows you to check on your baby at any time, without waking them.
#The Owlet brand– monitoring what matters most.
Have you heard of Owlet before? A leading baby monitoring supplier, they are on a mission to equip and empower parents with sleep insights to help bring them peace of mind – 94% report better sleep themselves because of the Smart Sock. Put down the coffee. Offering two products – the Smart Sock and Camera, the Owlet Monitor Duo is the first baby monitor system to track your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels with notifications while streaming video and audio to your phone to give you live readings.
Hear, see and know your baby is okay from anywhere!
#What you get with the Owlet Monitor Duo.
Unboxing – I loved the quality clean, simplistic yet sophisticated packaging. The products were organized and easily accessible – with magnetic close boxes, clear instructions, and no messy mass of cables and plastic that takes 6 hours to get into!
- Smart Sock Sensor. It slides in and out of the sock, so it is easy to go up a size or wash the sock when you need to.
- 3 Fabric Socks (fits 1-18 months and feedback is that they are true to size.)
- Base Station. It plugs into the wall, connects to your WiFi, and lets you know what’s going on either by the light on the base itself or through the app.
- Owlet Camera and Magnetic Base.
- Wall Mounting Kit with Cable Guards.
- Power Adapters.
- USB Power Cables (one with Temperature Sensor).
- Download the Owlet App (which works with Android 5.0 or higher/ iOS 12 or higher). HotSpot WiFi is NOT recommended.
The Owlet Monitor Duo retails at £379.00 as a single upfront cost. Buyers save £39 with the Duo as compared to buying the Owlet Smart Sock & Cam separately.
Price wise it is expensive, but Owlet offers a high-end innovative product that is difficult to find comparison to. Similar products offer to track baby’s movements using under-the-mattress sensor pads, such as the Angelcare Baby Movement Monitor which retails at £199.99 but don’t offer the same assurance of an integrated sensor like the Smart Sock (that stays next to baby’s foot all night long). Most reputable video monitors sell for between £100- £200 so all that considered the price is reasonable for what is being offered. Plus, you don’t have to purchase any extra equipment—everything you need comes in the box.
Owlet also offers a 45-day Peace of Mind Guarantee. So, if there is anything you do not like about the product in the first 45 days after purchasing it, you can return it — plenty of time to understand if it meets your needs. They also provide a 2-year warranty from the date of app set up. Two common issues seen that are not covered under warranty are sensors damaged by pets or getting accidentally put through a washing machine.
#The Owlet Smart Sock.
The soft fabric is more reminiscent of a wrap bandage than a fitted sock, which holds the sensor in place against babies’ skin. Whether or not this placement will be challenging depends on you and your little one.
USER TIP: Watch the video guide to putting on the sock first in the app!
The Owlet uses pulse oximetry, which is clinically proven to effectively track sleep, oxygen levels, and heart rate. Norah is two, so the sock part of our review is from our experience with Daisy dolly and opinions from other parents. You choose the right size for your baby and use Velcro to put it in place, so it’s not uncomfortably tight. There is minimal assembly required. The sensor needs to be placed into the sock which slides in through a slit in the fabric.
For any worried parents, the sensor is the size of 2 pence with an inch-long tail which even curious 18-month-old fingers could not remove and become a choking hazard.
Correct Sock Fit:
- The Smart Sock can be worn on either foot!
- When used on the right foot, the sensor dome should be on the top of the foot.
- If used on the left foot, the sensor dome should be on the bottom of the foot.
- The sock notch should be 1inch below the pinky toe.
Smart Sock setup.
Setting up the Safe Sock is straightforward, but it does take a little time. You download the iOS or Android app to your phone or tablet, which guides you through the setup process and connecting the Owlet Base Station to your home WiFi network. The Owlet sensor connects to the Base Station via Bluetooth and has a range of about 100 feet. The app turns on the sock, as does pressing the Base Station.
*USER TIP: You can still use the Smart Sock without WiFi but it won’t connect to your phone to give live readings, but the Base Station will still work in case of an internet connectivity issue.
The Owlet app is easy to navigate, even for a sleep-deprived parent, with lots of information and tutorials. During setup, you answer a few basic questions about your child, then parents can set high and low zones for heart rate and oxygen levels. The app will show you live tracking of your baby’s heart rate and oxygen level with easy read meters for each, and it shows the range they should be in.
The green area for oxygen levels is 80–100%, and the heart rate should stay between 60–220 BPM. Tracking measurements update every few seconds, and you will become familiar with your babies BPM average.
When your baby’s oxygen and heart rate stay within these zones, the Base Station glows with a green light. If the levels leave this range, the Base Station (red) and your phone notify you. There are five different light notifications (see guidebook). To test the red notification, press down on the Base Station for 15 seconds. If the light from the Base Station is keeping you up it can be dimmed! Simply press and hold the Base down on a hard, flat surface for a few seconds. Blue and Yellow notifications simply notify you if there are issues in range or connectivity. If you’d like to adjust the sensitivity of these notifications, simply go to Settings > Base Station Preferences in the app. When it does make noise, the Owlet Base Station plays a chime/gentle lullaby, so it is a very child focused design. No parent wants high pitched sirens because the battery is running low.
*USER TIP: Turn the sock off before removing it off the baby’s foot if they are still asleep otherwise the alert will play and potentially wake them!
The Smart Sock plugs into the Base Station and can be popped on charge during the day ready for naptime/bedtime. The battery in the sock lasts for 18 hours. Yay, for not needing 1000 AAA’s. You can check the battery life in the app. Just go to settings and at the bottom-left corner of the page.
*USER TIP: Practically, if any accidents happen handwash the sock in lukewarm water and mild non bio detergent, then air dry. Don’t forget to remove the sensor it is not waterproof!
The Owlet Smart Sock doesn’t offer video or audio monitoring so enter…
#The Owlet Cam.
In 2019 Owlet released the Owlet Cam, a camera designed to work seamlessly with the Owlet Smart Sock. You use the same app for both products.
Retailing for £149.00 it boasts a high-quality camera that streams HD 1080p video, has clear night vision with a high-resolution picture, 130° wide angle lens, two-way audio and adjustable magnetic base that can be set to any angle. The live picture is then streamed with secure, encrypted WiFi through the Owlet app allowing parents to see all the data in one place – including room temperature with excellent accuracy.
*USER TIP: This will help you decide what Tog sleepbag is best for baby to wear at night!
Aesthetically the design is modern and minimalistic. The camera is lightweight and not overly conspicuous size wise – measuring L x10.4cm and H x 5.5cm. The camera does not have a battery and must be plugged in to operate which for me means it is more of a static room video monitor rather than a portable one. The owlet cam does not rotate like some competitors but does offer a 4x digital zoom. You cannot pan the camera, but it can be placed in a multitude of positions on its secure base.
*USER TIP: For toddler parents I would suggest wall mounting it at a vantage point where you can position the camera to view the whole room.
The Owlet cam comes with a UK and travel adaptor, the cord itself is housed in a sturdy plastic (child safe) case that has an adhesive back for different mounting options and unlike a lot of USB cords offers ample 9ft length (approx.). The paper installation safety guide for the camera offers distance and height suggestions which is very thorough.
What did we think of the features?
The steps to set up using camera using the app are remarkably simple. You create an account, and pair the camera to your Wi-Fi by scanning a code and entering your password.
USER TIP: After two error codes I realised that you will not be able to connect the camera to a dual-band SSID (2.4GHz and 5GHz with the same name) WiFi connection, it only works with a dedicated 2.4GHz which a 5 minute call and talk through with my internet provider fixed with no negative affect on my speed etc!
You have to add your child to the app, then add the camera, and link them for the video to appear. It took me a while to figure that one out!
The picture detail is crystal-clear with a fisheye lens view and offers different HD options. If I was being super picky, I could say that the image colour was slightly shadowed but then my daughter has a really dark nursery. The sound clarity was decent with no static background noise and the sound delay with Norah crying was about a second or two. Since previously we only had the old school walkie talk-esk devices I would encourage potential buyers to compare similar products online.
You can maximise the video screen and take screen shots. Apparently, you can also view the readings from owlet SmartSock overlaid on the full-screen video.
USER TIP: The camera has a status light (and guide) which I found useful but if you feel it is too bright you can disable it in the app.
Is the Owlet camera reliable?
Over 24-hour period I had NO issues with dropped WiFi connectivity which I saw comments on in other older reviews. There is the potential of buying a WiFi booster for added range if you do need it. I am not a fan of bells and whistles so like the short features list – there is no nightlight or 1000 nature sounds. The only thing that could be considered missing was motion and sound activation but within the notifications section of the app Owlet recognise the need for this and state these features are coming soon.
Like any phone app baby monitor one downside is needing to keep your phone on overnight. I kept my phone on charge for reassurance as having an app running can drain the battery. Usefully the Owlet Cam’s background mode enables you to hear your baby whilst you use your phone for other things. The video can be viewed on up to 5 devices with the same account login. Testing out the camera I only paired it with one mobile so I can’t comment on multiple device use but love the idea that daddy at work can see little Norah napping. The App opens to where you left it not automatically to home where the video is which I would prefer.
A couple of times over the day the app restarted when I was using it but did not experience it freezing etc. The troubleshooting section in the app offer Live Chat and suggestions to a lot of common questions and problems which is helpful when using such high spec products.
Our final thoughts.
The Owlet’s components are well designed and durable. I would want both products together for consistent monitoring. Price would be the only stalling factor for me, but I can’t argue that the Smart Sock especially is an innovative and advanced product! A general criticism of tracking devices like Owlet is that they may trigger a false sense of security but as a (I hope) sensible parent I understand it is not a medical device and certainly does not mean you abandon safe sleeping practices. This would have saved me from a lot of anxiety as a first-time parent and now with a child with health problems is a very useful information-gathering product! Additionally If you want historical oxygen and heart rate information you need to download the Connected Care app which also offers trended sleep data – helpful if you’re sleep training!
#AD We were kindly gifted the Owlet Monitor Duo for the purpose of this review.