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HolidayBuyer's Guide

The 4moms MamaRoo is a smart infant seat that moves in patterns and speeds that imitate those of parents rocking their kid to sleep. It also includes a few extra goodies to engage growing and learning babies. I brought my son Idris to the CNET Smart Home to test it out.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

First things first: you can adjust the angle of the seat so it sits up or lies back, depending on the age of the infant that's using it. It's an easy mechanic to use, and helps meet the needs of babies whether they're awake or asleep.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

The material of the seat is soft and comfortable, although my seven-week-old clearly didn't enjoy being strapped in much. The nylon straps themselves are less comfortable than the seat material, and I probably wouldn't use them on his bare skin.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

Once the kid is in the seat, you can manually toggle the speed, movement pattern, and ambient sounds of the MamaRoo. These functions work well, except for the low-quality sound effects, which sound like static arranged in different patterns.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

You can also control all those features from across the room using the 4moms app, which connects via Bluetooth to the device. I like that I can adjust what Idris needs from across the room. At times, it really felt like an extra pair of arms.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

One major drawback is that you must plug in your phone if you want to play music through the speakers. You can't connect to them using Bluetooth. Even if you do connect the phone, though, the speaker quality is terrible. I ended up just leaving the phone near my son, playing the music from its own speakers.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

The other disappointing feature is the mobile. Although it engaged Idris for a few minutes, the fact that it doesn't move automatically and doesn't feature any pieces hanging down for new babies learning to reach is a major drawback.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

The 4moms MamaRoo has a promising base mechanic and a few disappointing features. Whether it's worth the $270 (about £186 or AU$361) price tag will be up to parents.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET
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