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4moms mamaRoo review: The 4moms MamaRoo gets the basics right, misses the extras

What does it get wrong?

For its creative and well-designed base, MamaRoo's extra features are disappointing. When I first set it up, I could imagine using it to rock my son to sleep, engage him with the mobile, stimulate him with music, and calm him with ambient sounds like a heartbeat, the ocean or rain. Besides its basic function, none of these added features worked well.

The mobile has high potential for a smart baby seat. This one not only looks flimsy and basic, with three suspended balls of different color and design -- it also requires you to manually spin it. Yet the whole idea of this device is to distract kids while parents can finish a little work (or just rest). My son is curious and loves watching new and interesting things, and he was bored with the mobile in under a minute.

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Idris watched the mobile for a few minutes, but since it doesn't move on its own, and it doesn't have anything hanging down for him to reach for, he usually became bored within a few minutes.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The second big weakness is the sound system. If I didn't know what ambient sound I was selecting, I would probably have thought they were all just slightly different patterns of white noise. When using the speaker for music instead, I was even more disappointed. Not only is the top volume about equivalent to my iPhone at 30 percent volume, but the sound quality is terrible. I could barely hear any individual strand of music besides the most percussive mid-levels.

Finally, I love the Bluetooth app control of the MamaRoo, but for some reason, even if I wanted to use my phone's music with the speaker, that doesn't have Bluetooth functionality. So to connect my music to the speaker, I have to walk over to the device, plug in my phone with the included auxiliary cord (which is only a couple of inches long), and leave my phone beside it. Given the issues with sound quality and the lack of Bluetooth speaker connection, after a day or two, I just started using my phone's speakers for music.

Should you buy it?

If you're looking for good speakers or a device to visually engage your child, then MamaRoo won't cut it. The last thing you want is a $270 investment gathering dust in a corner.

But for parents who can't seem to find any seat or bassinet that their baby likes, the 4moms MamaRoo could make those first few months manageable.

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