ProsOffers fantastic value, combining features of various nursery devices and outdoing them by adding Smartphone controls
ConsBluetooth functionality was hit-or-miss on our Android test phone; bottom-mounted physical controls not very convenient
During the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, we spent some quality time in the Baby Tech Pavilion, and were lucky enough to chat with the great folks at Hatch Baby, which burst onto the tech scene in early 2016 with its Smart Changing Pad. While that was Hatch Baby's first shot at merging the worlds of child care and technology, it was clearly only the beginning. For 2017, Hatch Baby will be releasing three new products. The first out of the gate is the Rest, the focus of this review. The concept behind the Rest is so basic that it's amazing no one has come up with it before: a Bluetooth-connected night light and sound machine. Of course, it takes a lot of skill to turn a good idea into reality, and that's likely why we haven't seen this product before. Is Hatch Baby's Rest going to be its second hit product in as many tries? Our extensive hands-on testing says yes it is - read on to learn more!
Special thanks to Hatch Baby for providing a sample of the Hatch Baby Rest for review.
You can catch Ari chatting about the Hatch Baby Rest and a number of other promising new baby tech products on NBC's Portland Today Show, as aired February 8, 2017!
Description & Features
We'll get the basics out of the way first. Officially, the Hatch Baby Rest is 4 x 4 x 6.25 inches, but we measured its diameter to be 4-1/8", and its height to be 6-3/8". In any event, the size is reasonble enough, and many single-function sound machines are around the same size. The Rest weighs 13 ounces, which makes it quite light for its size, and easy to carry in a bag for nights away from home. The Rest has an ABS plastic shell, which houses full-spectrum LED lights as well as a top-mounted speaker. The subtle chrome-colored ring surrounding the speaker is touch-sensitive, and a single press from the off state turns the Rest on, while additional short presses cycle through six stored light/sound combinations (which you can modify), and a long-press (3 seconds or so) shuts off the device. We like the look of the Rest, but in case you want to customize it a bit, Hatch Baby is offering what it calls "coverlets", which are plastic covers like the one shown below. The Rest includes two in the box, but others are available on Hatch Baby's website. We particularly like the "starry night" coverlet that comes in the box (alas, the arrow-themed coverlet in the photo does not).
While these features alone make this product feel very well thought out, there's even more to the Rest than meets the eye. It's also a "Smart Home" device, and communicates using the Bluetooth Low Energy standard. This version of Bluetooth is designed for simple "Internet of Things" devices that send data like on/off instructions, rather than the more familiar regular Bluetooth that you'll find in audio devices like wireless headphones, which require a lot more bandwidth and power (and often don't have enough of either!). The Rest is compatible with both smartphones and tablets, as long as they're running iOS (9 or higher) or Android (KitKat or higher). We'll discuss this a bit more fully on the next page when we delve into our hands-on user experience, but in short, whenever you're dealing with Bluetooth, there are sure to be challenges.
On the bottom of the device, you'll find the rest of the physical controls. The power button replicates the short-press/long-press function of the touch ring, and the forward button likewise replicates tapping the ring to cycle through programs. All the other buttons, however, are unique to the bottom of the Rest. That includes play/pause (nice for silencing the device without shutting off the device), a button to flip backwards through programs, as well as brightness and volume buttons.
Admittedly, they aren't exactly convenient, but Hatch Baby probably decided that there was an aesthetic advantage to having light project from all sides of the Rest, and buttons right in the middle of the device would have been detrimental to that effect. Our opinion, however, is that buttons placed along the base of the Rest would have been preferable. Perhaps we'll see that in Rest 2.0!
All right, now that we've covered the appearance and basic functions of the Rest, let's share our impressions of how it works in the real world of a baby's room!