This smart sock and camera should replace your baby monitor: how well do they work? | Tech

ReviewSmart home company Owlet has made a smart sock for babies that shows exactly when your child is asleep based on heart rate. An additional advantage: nervous parents can easily see whether their child is still breathing normally in bed. We tested it.

Owlet sells two bedside gadgets for parents of new babies: a smart camera with a built-in thermometer and the aforementioned smart sock. If you use both, you will get a fairly extensive overview when you open the accompanying app: you can see how warm it is in the nursery, the current heartbeat of your child and an image from above the bed.

Baby monitor with camera versus the smart sock

Anyone who wants to hang a camera above the baby bed can in fact also get a ‘regular’ alternative, but this baby variant has a few tricks that should help new parents. For example, the instructions explain exactly how high the camera should hang above the baby’s cot. In the box you will also find special cable ducts that are difficult to loosen, so that your baby cannot grab a cable through the bars of the bed.

Once you’ve installed it, the camera itself is largely identical to other internet cameras. You can set it up to receive a push notification on your phone as soon as sound or motion is detected, as with many alternatives. Handy if you want to receive a message as soon as the baby is awake, although there is one inherent risk: if you have WiFi problems, you will not receive a message when baby sounds.

SmartCam. © Owlet

Sok sees when the baby is sleeping and the heartbeat

The sock comes with a charging station that you click on with a magnet. You can put it on the changing table, for example, so that you can quickly put the sock away and charge it as soon as you get the baby out of bed.

The sock is intended to be used when your baby is sleeping, which is immediately apparent from the app: all wearing moments are collected there in a graph, where the heart rate is used to understand a kind of sleeping pattern. In our tests, this largely ties in with the baby’s sleeping pattern: if the app says the baby was asleep, it was asleep. At bottle times in the middle of the night, the sensor does not always realize that the baby is awake, because he is still while drinking – but even then the sensor detects that something else is going on for a while.

The app also shows the current live heart rate. The app sounds an alarm if the heart rate jumps far beyond the expected measurements, so that you know if something is wrong. It can be an extra bit of reassurance for concerned parents, although we wouldn’t recommend it as an alternative for children with serious heart conditions. In the United States, the sock was taken off the market because it does not have the correct medical examination, so we would then be quicker to resort to an alternative from the doctor.

Owlet app keeps crashing (on iPhone)

The Owlet gadgets are slick and fun, but there’s one big reason why we wouldn’t just recommend them: the app can suddenly crash a phone completely. On iPhones, we had several crazy bugs that caused the whole phone to freeze, only working after a full reset.

In short tests on Android, this did not just happen, although we cannot rule out whether the same crashes happen there. The app is simply not reliable, so we preferred not to use it in the long term.

After all, for those who only want to use the camera, an alternative is just as good an option. It’s full of smart cameras that you can hang above a baby bed. It is advisable to get one with good security – if you want to use it online, make sure it is encrypted with a reliable provider. But there are plenty of those too.


Owlet’s heart rate sensor is a fun gadget that gives a pretty good idea of ​​how long your baby sleeps at night. However, we would not call it essential: in case of medical problems, we would refer more quickly to a doctor with perhaps better alternatives that have been approved by the right authorities.

The camera has a few nice touches that help set it up properly over a baby bed, but is generally on par with many non-baby competitors. And those are often cheaper – and don’t have apps that completely freeze your phone.