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BT Sense-U Video Baby Monitor review: Great-quality HD footage at a mid-range price

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £100
inc VAT

The Sense-U Video Baby Monitor is a lightweight and stylish option with HD video, two-way talk, 4x zoom and excellent night vision


  • High-quality video
  • Superb night vision
  • Minimalistic and lightweight design


  • Needs to be plugged in to work (no battery option)
  • Camera rotation could be better
  • Customer service experience isn’t the best

Being an avid fan of BT’s range of baby monitors (and having gifted them at many baby showers), it was quite disconcerting to learn that the company has now stopped manufacturing them (though you can still find some lurking online and they still work pretty well). Instead, BT has opted to partner with Sense-U, a high-tech startup company based in Silicon Valley in California, USA, selling this brand’s baby monitors on its platform.

Sense-U has won awards for its baby thermometer and breathing monitor, as well as its innovative baby monitor swaddle blanket, so I was quite excited to get my hands on the Sense-U Video Baby Monitor, expecting a very high-tech device. This item is the most basic and affordable monitor in the company’s range, with others having extra features such as a device that clips to the baby’s clothing to monitor their breathing, temperature and sleep position, or a pan and tilt camera you can adjust via your phone.

After testing this device and researching what other customers thought, I concluded that this is a very good baby monitor. But while I initially thought I would be blown away, this was not the case, and I can only blame my high expectations for that. This item still has many fabulous features, but there are a few drawbacks (which some customers might not even find particularly problematic) that knocked a star off my total rating.

BT Sense-U Video Baby Monitor review: Unboxing

Opening this tiny package – 12 x 10 x 7cm – I was pleasantly surprised by the slight weight and design of the camera. It stands at just 11.5cm tall, and is very stylish and really rather cute. The camera head is round, with a diameter of 5.5cm, and the round base’s diameter is 6cm. You get the point – it’s very petite.

The small pole that the camera is mounted on can fold all the way back, becoming flush with the base, and it also has an approximate 15-degree movement side to side and around. But, since the pole has a ball pivot at its base, more range of motion could have been added with only a very slight design change.

The box also contained two double-sided stickers for adhering the base to a wall or item of furniture, which doesn’t give much option if you want to move it around, and you’ll have to get your own sticky-back tape once you peel these off. Perhaps a notch in the base where you could hang it on a hook would have been better. The only other items in the box were the USB cable, a power adaptor and a tiny one-page user manual.

I then needed to download the Sense-U app and set up an account, plug in the device and pair it to a smartphone before I could start playing around with the settings. All of that was fairly straightforward as step-by-step instructions are in the manual, and it only took around ten minutes to complete, but I have set up many baby monitors and smart devices before, so have had quite a bit of practice.

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BT Sense-U Video Baby Monitor review: What does it do well?

After sticking it to a smooth wall – it’s worth noting that the sticker is unlikely to hold onto a textured wall – in the corner of the room, as high up as the somewhat limited 1.5m USB cable would allow and angling it to the perfect position, I turned on the app and was pleasantly surprised by the crystal-clear image of myself that greeted me. The camera also has a 140-degree wide angle, so I was able to see almost the entire room.

I then turned the light off and could still see myself just as clearly, albeit in grey hues with slightly weird-looking eyes. I moved my arm and less than a second later my arm moved in the monitor, with hardly any detectable lag. I could definitely see what all the fuss was about over the 1080p HD camera’s video quality, in both normal and night mode. You can even zoom in and out as it has a x4 zoom. So far, so good.

The app is easy to navigate and clear to read with a very user-friendly interface. It allows you to set what alerts you want to receive, including when the baby cries, makes a noise or even moves, if you so wish. You can even adjust the motion sensitivity so you don’t keep getting notifications for every little movement – handy for when the kid is a little older and kicking for England in their sleep.

The notifications come to your smart device almost immediately, with only a very slight delay. The two-way talk is great and my voice didn’t boom into the room as it has done with other, cheaper monitors. There was also no substantial time delay when talking – it reminded me of talking to the postman through our video doorbell – even when I was not at home. And I could hear my child clearly, albeit a little quieter than I would have liked even at full volume.

The Sense-U monitor also supports multiple views, so you can add additional compatible cameras in the room and view their footage via the app as well. And one final positive thing about this monitor is that there’s no monthly fee for the app or service.

BT Sense-U Video Baby Monitor review: What could it do better?

After loving this monitor at first, and as sure as I could be that I would give it five stars, I was a little dismayed by the lack of volume. To compete with the TV at an average setting, your phone has to be fairly close to hear any cooing or grumbling – unless the baby is screaming their head off, which I could hear even without a monitor. Of course, this can be resolved by keeping the TV volume at a minimum, which most parents of newborns do anyway.

My partner added the app to their phone, too, but it always seemed to kick one of us out when we tried to view the footage at the same time. I imagine this has something to do with the security in place, but I still put it on my list of questions for the Sense-U customer service.

Another thing that could improve the unit, but would likely raise the price substantially, would be the inclusion of a rechargeable battery in the camera so that it didn’t need to be plugged in, relying on the 1.5m cord or having to use an extension cable.

There are other improvements the company could make and, although they’re not deal-breakers, they are worth mentioning. First, it would be handy if the camera could be angled 90 degrees side to side as well as up and down. Sense-U has obviously thought of that, which is why it also offers the slightly pricier Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera that you can adjust via your phone.

Another potential perk would be online cloud storage for the videos, although you do have the option to record to an SD card as the camera head has a small SD slot in the side, but you need to buy an SD card separately.

The only other negatives I noted were that, after two weeks of use, the footage lagged a couple of times – although this might have been the Wi-Fi connection – and that the monitor unpaired itself when I didn’t use it for a couple of days. Hardly optimal, but at least easy to fix.

Finally, getting through to customer services wasn’t a good experience. There’s no “contact us” page linked on the Sense-U site, but I eventually found it via the help centre. No telephone number was offered, only a message that reads, “For product questions, we recommend contacting us directly via in-app feedback” and an email address for general enquiries. I did as instructed and also sent an email, but got no response.

I turned to BT but, again, there’s no phone number to call, just an online chat service – which was constantly unavailable – and an email address. The response I got was vague and sort of scripted (“Please check the user manual”) and I didn’t bother reaching out again for clarification. Having said that, there were one or two buyers that claimed to have had a great customer service experience, so maybe it was just me (and quite a few other customers who complained about the same thing).

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BT Sense-U Video Baby Monitor review: Should you buy it?

Overall, the Sense-U Video Baby Monitor is a high-quality monitoring device that’s easy to set up and use, and provides crystal-clear footage, even at night. It could do with some improvements – I would love to see a model with a rechargeable battery so you can use it without having to be plugged in, and it would also be great if the volume was a little bit louder – but otherwise, it’s a great baby monitor with a lovely design that’s reasonably priced and performs better than similarly priced models.

It doesn’t have too many bells and whistles but, if you’re after those, you might have to increase your budget as Sense-U has plenty of baby monitors that could suit you better. These include the Sense-U Baby Monitor 3 (£130, without a camera), which comes with a device that attaches to your baby’s clothes or nappy to monitor their temperature and movements, and if they’ve rolled over. There’s the previously mentioned Sense-U Video Baby Monitor Pan-Tilt-Zoom (£140), which allows you to move the camera via your phone. And then there’s the Sense-U Video + Breathing Monitor (£249), which can monitor your child’s breathing. There’s potential to add far more fancy tech if you so wish and you have the spare change.

The Sense-U Video Baby Monitor gets a solid four stars, although I’d probably prefer to buy the slightly more expensive Pan-Tilt-Zoom version that can move the camera remotely, so I can spy on – I mean, monitor – my child better.

BT Sense-U Video Baby Monitor – Key specs
RangeLong range (not specified)
Additional FeaturesTwo-way talk, 1080p HD video, night vision, 140-degree wide angle, 4x zoom, motion and sound alerts, private mode
DimensionsH:14.0 x W:6.0 x D:6.0 cm
Warranty1 year

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