When it comes to Fetal Doppler’s they come in all shapes and sizes beginning with a base model ranging through to advanced, each intended to serve a different need and purpose.
The basic model is usually the kind without an LCD screen and gives quick and simple re-assurance by emitting a clear sound of baby’s heartbeat which sounds something like a galloping horse. Entry level Fetal Doppler’s, being the most affordable are extremely popular and make a lot of sense compared to renting one which is typically built to with stand heavy usage every day in a hospital over a prolonged period of time. Performance wise there is rarely any difference (depending on your requirements) and the novelty of owning your own Fetal Doppler sits very well with mum and dad!
This is not to say all Dopplers are the same, they very extensively and should be of medical device standard and engineered accordingly. Entry level or an advanced model, Fetal Doppler’s must conform to a medical device standard governed by manufacturing standards recognised worldwide. Some however are built more like toys not medical devices. This article sets out to demonstrate this difference.
Below we take a look at two of the most popular base model Fetal Doppler’s, making a comparison and explaining the difference between the ‘medical device standard’ and a Fetal Doppler’s that is constructed more like a cheap toy.
Before we go on just remember, like many consumer devices there are always copies and lot of effort is spent overseas cloning good quality products (particularly through eBay) so always check the Fetal Doppler you buy is approved by the TGA and listed on the ARTG. Don’t be shy to ask either! And never substitute the care and advice of your medical practitioner with your own diagnosis using a Fetal Doppler!
Now for comparing the very popular Sonotech® Lite and Angel Sounds Fetal Doppler’s. There are some very distinct points of difference some of which are obvious, just take a look at the quality and arrangement of the internal board and the difference in the plastic used in the body.
This alone speaks volumes and you need not look very hard to determine the superior product. We do however offer some detail below revealing the points of difference between the Sonotech® Lite the Angel Sounds Doppler.
Now remember both of these Fetal Doppler’s are similarly priced and both very popular, one of them however will stand the test of time and deliver far sharper performance.
Let’s take point 1 the Sound Output Socket. On the left we have a hard cased Output Socket fitted directly to a neat sturdy and well laid out internal board of the Sonotech® Lite. On the right we have a large clumsy looking board with the Sound Output Socket fitted against the body of what resembles a disposable toy you picked up for $5, this is the Angel Sounds Fetal Doppler.
At this stage it’s pretty easy to work out which resembles a medical device and which doesn’t but let’s continue.
Take point 2 the Sensor. The Sonotech® Lite Sensor on the left is significantly larger than Angel Sounds sensor meaning superior sensitivity and broader signal coverage. The Sonotech® Lite uses a 2Mhz sensor whereas the Angel Sounds uses 3Mhz, 2Mhz is arguably more effective and projects a wider beam. The Sonotech® Lite with its broader sensor and far spreading 2Mhz will outperform the Angel Sounds narrow 3Mhz sensor every time. It’s important to note here the engineering design of the Sonotech® Lite maximises sensitivity by combining a bigger sensor in combination with the wider beam of 2Mhz.
Finally on the sensor again we see a distinct difference in quality and arrangement this is easy to recognise and requires no further explanation.
Moving on to point 3. Here we look at the internal boards specifically, there really isn’t much explanation required. The Sonotech® Lite is far superior with its larger more complex and intricately laid out board. When looking at the board of the Angel Sounds Doppler if you didn’t know we were reviewing medical devices I think you would be quite surprised as to what you found inside. The internal board of the Sonotech® Lite is typical of the engineering standard found through the complete Sonotech® Fetal Doppler range and quality manufactured medical devices in general.
Now for point 4. Not as significant but again the Sonotech® Lite takes the advantage. With the Angel Sounds using a 9V battery it requires more power to run, Sonotech® adopting advanced technology is typical of modern devices running on less voltage which is safer generally and 2 AAA batteries are more accessible to consumers than 9V.
As for point 5 we now compare probes. One of the more important components of a Fetal Doppler’s from a performance and ergonomic point of view. The probe of the Sonotech® Lite is ergonomically sloped to ensure a comfortable feel when positioned across the belly whereas the Angel Sounds is square making for a more awkward feel and touch.
Moving on to point 6. Product material: a very important component of any medical device however easily forgotten is the product material and construction of the device. Comparing the Sonotech® Lite with the Angel Sounds Doppler there is an obvious and apparent difference in the material used. With the Sonotech® Lite you see a crisp, sharper, thicker and brighter casing typical of medical device standard; on the other hand the material used on the Angel Sound Doppler is the same kind you will find in a budget home appliance or toy.
Another major advantage of the Sonotech® Lite is its ergonomic compact design weighing in at just 75gm including batteries which is almost doubled by Angel Sounds coming in at 145gm.
Additionally you will find the Angel Sounds is stocked sparingly whereas Sonotech® is exclusively stocked ensuring a tighter brand and quality control as well as offering an Australian 12 month direct warranty when compared with a ‘back to manufacturer’ warranty.
In conclusion and although the Angel Sounds Doppler has been around for a while, it really has been left behind and neglected in terms of design and technology. Its marketability these days is all about its ‘cute’ look, but when you take a closer look and consider the facts does it stack up as a medical device you can trust at home? You decide.
Despite being the exclusive stockist of Sonotech® Doppler’s our review is based purely on facts and whilst it may come across with bias there is no denying what has been written here cannot be fully supported by what is shown and demonstrated.