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Cubo Ai Plus smart baby monitor review: An adorable option that could use more smarts

This baby monitor is great covered face alerts, but other features are so-so

Cubo Ai Plus smart baby monitor on shelf
(Image: © Cubo)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The well-designed Cubo Ai Plus smart baby monitor comes with great covered face alerts and decent video. But it isn’t up for travel with an easy-to-lose additional temperature and humidity dongle that feels like an afterthought. The Nanit Plus Baby Monitor is a better option if you want a monitor with some smarts.

Pros

  • +

    Useful alert settings for both newborns and toddlers

  • +

    Charming design

  • +

    No visible red light

  • +

    Settings in app are easy to change

Cons

  • -

    Sleep analytics summary lacks video

  • -

    Finding key moments in video is time consuming

  • -

    The floor stand is wobbly

  • -

    Temperature dongle is easy to lose

Cubo Ai Plus smart baby monitor: Specs

Camera Range: 135-degree wide angle lens
Handheld Monitor: N/A
Mobile App: Android, iOS
Temp and Humidity settings: Yes/Yes
Video Recording: Yes- 18 hours
Subscription: Free for one year with Cubo AI Plus, then premium subscription $7.99 month/$79.99 a year

The Cubo Ai Plus smart baby monitor appeals to the obsessive nesting instinct of new parents while also serving as an antidote to those early, anxiety-filled days of parenting. The baby monitor comes with an AI feature that can spot a covered face, or alert your phone when a baby rolls over (a setting you’d only use if a baby is too young to roll back). 

Once your baby grows some, a climbing, curious baby venturing onto the edge of its crib could be scooped up once the Cubo Ai Plus’ danger zone setting gets triggered. That feature alone makes it a go-to monitor for families using side sleeper cribs or co-sleeping.

The Cubo Ai Plus houses its camera in a white-and-wood toned bird that blends right into a thoughtfully designed baby room; it can also perch prettily on a parent’s bedside table on an included mobile dock, should parents following the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advice to room share for at least the first six months. But while it carries similar features to many of the best baby monitors out there, the  Cubo Ai Plus and its companion app don’t seem quite as ready for the mainstream. 

Cubo Ai Plus review: Price

The Cubo Ai Plus comes in two different versions. The $199 version features a wall-mount set that allows you to position the camera for a birds eye view over your baby’s crib. A $299 edition offers a three-stand set with options for attaching the camera to a floor base, the crib itself or a mobile stand. We tested the latter version.

Regardless of which version you choose, the Cubo Ai Plus includes a free year of Cubo Ai Care Premium. This subscription service offers 30 days of sleep tracking and analysis plus an age-based moments wall. (The standard Cubo Ai Care service limits those two features to just a day and 10 days, respectively.) You’re also able to view and download alert videos and 18-hours of video playback with a premium subscription; the standard service only lets you view that footage.

Cubo Ai Plus review: Design

The bird design of the Cubo Ai Plus looks exactly like the kind of adorable tech you’d want in your baby’s room. It’s 3.4 X 4.2 X 4.3 inches, roughly the size of a can of food; and is mostly white with just a small light wood-grain center, which houses the camera. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The best part of the camera design is the lack of a red light for night vision — a win if you’re gifted with a sensitive sleeper like mine. The Cubo Ai Plus has a microphone and built-in speaker inside, which you can use to talk to your baby, or play lullabies or white noise directly from the bird. The camera can pivot up and down, but not side to side. There is a light on the backside of the bird that pulses during set up and gives off a steady glow when operational, but you can opt to turn it off altogether in app settings. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Cubo Ai Plus camera must be plugged in to work, as does a separate temperature and humidity dongle that begs to be lost. It’s a shame the latter sensor couldn’t have been included inside the actual bird; instead, it plugs into the back of the Cubo Ai Plus where the power cord then attaches. It’s a dealbreaker if you like to take your baby monitor with you when you travel, as that means lots of small parts to the monitor when packing for those overnights to grandma’s house. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

You operate the Cubo Ai Plus through an app available on iOS (opens in new tab) and Android, and the in-app setup process is easy. I had some difficulty initially connecting the monitor to my phone, but after five or six attempts, I succeeded by using Cubo’s help feature and moving the monitor to just beside my Wi-Fi router to complete setup, then moved the camera back to the bedroom for use.

Cubo Ai Plus review: Camera

The Cubo Ai Plus camera itself records in 1080p HD, using a 135-degree wide angle lens. Mounting it to the various provided docks isn’t a problem, as there’s a silver tab on the back of the bird to insert into a slit that stabilizes it on various bases. We reviewed the $299 Cubo Ai Plus kit that comes with a floor stand, crib mount and a mobile docking station, along with a few cables to help move things back and forth. 

Back view of Cubo Ai Plus smart baby monitor

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It’s worth noting that the floor stand is intended to be stabilized by filling a heavy-duty plastic water bag and placing it inside the plastic formed round base, but it was still so light my one-year-old could move it. I caught him just as he shoved the stand as the bird bobbed ominously overhead, scaring him enough to jump back and start to cry. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In another instance, I moved the Cubo Ai Plus near my child’s large crib, using the provided Velcro strap to stabilize it alongside the wooden slats. Within days, the strap had gone loose and fallen to the bottom of the crib slat, rendering the floor stand wobbly once again, though the stand was admittedly harder for him to get to. 

After all that I would recommend installing the wall mount version of the Cubo Ai Plus, or relying only on its mobile stand. The trade-off with the latter option is that you won’t get enough of the straight-down view that’s needed for Cubo’s excellent alerts for covered face or rolling over. However, danger zone alerts still work fine in this configuration.

Cubo Ai Plus review: Video and audio quality

The 1080p HD night vision captured by the Cubo Ai Plus seems somewhat fuzzy but reasonably clear on my smartphone screen. The picture is clear enough so that you can zoom in to see whether that little nose of your baby’s is clear of the mattress.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Sound is excellent, as you expect from a baby monitor in this price range. There’s a second-long delay between when the sound is made and when you’ll hear it on the phone.

Cubo Ai Plus review: Mobile app

The Cubo Ai Plus app takes some time to grow familiar with, and its sleep analytics feature is missing a key component that would make it useful to actually rely on. In general, though, the app’s home screen is easy enough to navigate, with the live view from the camera at the top, and saved photos of adorable butt-up sleeping situated below.

Sleep analytics, notifications and settings all have easy to find tabs on the bottom of the screen, and toggling between them feels like using a familiar and easy app. Cubo’s app also allows invitations for other admins or family members, and makes it easy to limit permissions to keep them from watching playback video or receiving event alerts. 

(Image credit: Cubo)

You can save moments captured by the camera and display under the monitor’s live view, but only downloaded with a premium subscription, which is free for the first year or use with the Cubo Ai Plus. Cubo’s live view can also be used with Google Nest Hub and Alexa Echo Show.

About those sleep analytics: Cubo touts its sleep analytics AI for helping see patterns of each evening’s sleep, and that’s what let me down the most in my Cubo Ai Plus review. In a surprising move for a video monitor, the summary lacks video clips for key moments. Those moments do still exist, but must be found the more difficult way — by first going full screen on the main livestream of the crib, then scrolling back through the video feed along the bottom roll to approximately the time you think something occurred You then fast-forward in 15 second increments until you find that specific moment. 

Cubo stores up to 18 hours of video playback in this way, which are available for viewing here. But it’d have to be a pretty intense moment to make me dig for it in this way. The Nanit Plus baby monitor packages those moments with the overnight summary with those key video clips, which I’ve found useful if you want to see what your baby does as he puts himself back to sleep, versus how he acts when parental intervention is needed.

Cubo Ai Plus review: Smart alerts

Other Cubo Ai Plus alerts are easy to turn on and off and personalize in the app. Roll over, face covering and zone alerts will grow as your baby does, and those first two alerts are really critical for peace of mind in those early newborn days. 

(Image credit: Cubo)

You’ll find that alerts are more accurate when you set up a crib detection zone by drawing a square within the Cubo app that covers the mattress, from crib rail to crib rail. The alerts can be helpful, but they aren’t foolproof. Our travel crib was half covered by a blackout wrap with the top open, far above my sleeping baby, but the alerts for covered face came in constantly. 

When in the crib, Cubo Ai Plus’ Danger Zone setting does not differentiate between a baby being in the zone and a caregiver visit. I cursed myself the night I accidentally brought my phone into the room, as danger alerts set off the app and lit up the screen every few minutes while I tried desperately to bounce my kiddo back to sleep at 3 a.m. I’ve had this experience with other Wi-Fi monitor apps too, and had previously switched over to having one dedicated old phone as a baby monitor for the living room to keep it out of the bedrooms altogether when at home. Baby monitor apps really ought to be smart enough when you’re close enough to the monitor itself to disturb sleep with gratuitous screen-lighting push notifications. 

Cubo Ai Plus review: Verdict

The sweetness of the Cubo Ai Plus’ bird design cannot be denied, and the usefulness of its main alert settings could really be of use to families — particularly those that use side crib sleepers or chuck all their perfectly designed nursery dreams in favor of co-sleeping.

The video and sound of the Cubo Ai Plus hold their own against other similarly priced monitors, and the app is useful enough, except for watching back video moments from overnight. Just don’t get the Cubo for its sleep analytics, which don’t provide video moments to help you watch and learn.