British brand Joie is on a mission to make ‘better, safer, stronger’ parenting products that are less work and more fun. It has created award-winning buggies and car seats, along with travel cots, highchairs and soothers.
The Sansa 2in1 is a multipurpose baby seat, offering automated or manual movement settings to rock your child, along with vibrations, music and white noise. It has a base unit and a seat which can be removed, in order to take to a different room or take it with you.
It’s definitely one of the more premium baby rockers and swings on the market, similar to the Babymoov Swoon Motion Swing (£155.95), although this one does not have the option to move the seat without the base. Nor does the eye-wateringly expensive – but very futuristic – 4Moms MamaRoo (£239.99). If you go to the more budget end, the BabaBing! LoBo2 (£50) offers a toy bar and recline setting, but then this needs to be bounced manually and there are no vibration options or sounds.
On the box and brand website the Sansa 2in1 promised a lot. It looked like a robust and feature-packed bouncer so we were excited to set it up.
How easy was it to set up the Joie Sansa 2in1?
This proved to be more difficult than we had anticipated. To its credit, Joie has obviously spent a lot of time preparing the instructions, which are presented as a series of images. But there are no written instructions and none of the components are labelled to mark which side is left or right. Some of them (like the bar under the foot of the chair) need to be installed one way and not the other. We got it wrong the first time, and removing it required cautious application of force, which if done incorrectly could have broken the chair before it was even used.
Does the Sansa 2in1 seat use batteries or a main adaptor?
It uses both. The motion and sounds features can be powered either way, although the vibration settings need batteries.
There is a cable to plug the base into the wall, but it is very short so the chair needs to be positioned near a mains outlet.
There is a battery compartment door on the base of the unit for the sound and motion settings, which needs 4 x 1.5v D batteries. The door is incredibly difficult to open and I only managed it by leveraging the clasp with a screwdriver.
There is a second compartment on the seat for the vibration setting and this takes a single 1.5v D battery. Annoyingly, this information – along with the fact that the setting can only be operated with batteries – isn’t mentioned until nearly the end of the instructions, by which time you have most likely already attached the seat cover – so you need to remove this again to insert the battery. The compartment door is equally troublesome.
Tell us about how the three different rocker options work
The Sansa offers three motorised rocking motions for your baby, all controlled by the base unit. There is Glide (back and forth), Sway (side to side) and Dream (a combination of both).
There’s a choice of different rocking speeds which are controlled by dials on the base, however there are no visual markers to quantify how fast the motion is set to. This means that when you turn the chair on, the setting could be too high and therefore start more abruptly than the baby is prepared for, resulting in very grumpy baby!
If you are using the chair away from the base unit, it can be rocked back and forth manually, and there is a flip down stand to keep it steady.
Tell us about the vibration settings
The are two different vibration options, the control for which is on the seat, and they can be used in conjunction with the motion settings or alone. The vibration function can still be used when the seat is removed from the base.
How many sounds are there?
There are five songs and five white noise/nature options. The base unit houses the speakers for these and offers surprisingly good sound quality with decent volume range. There are volume buttons (up and down) and pressing the music and white-noise buttons cycles through the options.
The white-noise sounds are very soothing, and the musical tunes are tolerable, but the fact that it doesn’t cycle through the tunes automatically means that the repetition gets quite tedious after a while. The absence of a dedicated button to turn the sound off means that you have to cycle through the rest of the sounds to get to the off position. I would imagine that if your baby is a light sleeper, this is the kind of thing that could be quite unsettling.
How compact is it?
The dimensions are 71.5×53.5×77.5cm and Joie claims this is a compact rocker for its level of functions. But we still found that the combined unit has quite a large footprint, making it difficult to put it away so it has to always be out. If you are using the chair on its own as a rocker, it has the same footprint, it’s just not as tall, so there is no real space saving by doing that.
Is the Sansa 2in1 easy to store?
Not really. As you can’t collapse the chair, it is quite bulky and you end up having it out all the time. The packaging and website claim that the chair is portable, but with all the other things one needs to travel with (stroller, change bag, toys and so on) this isn’t a feature we would use. Perhaps if it doubled as a car seat it would be more portable.
How easy is it to remove the seat from the base – and is this a useful feature?
It is very easy to remove the seat from, and return to, the base. The seat attaches to a cross-shaped dock and it slides on and off smoothly. The simplicity is excellent when my daughter isn’t in the chair but lining it up with the dock when she is in situ is tricky.
This function is useful and it does make it easy for moving the seat around the house, although as it is not a smooth movement once your baby is in the seat, you’d definitely risk waking them if they were napping.
Also, as I said above, it’s not compact enough to take on trips away from home and while the seat unit offers a manual rocking option plus the vibration settings, you need the base to take advantage of the other movements and sounds.
Did your child like being in the chair? Is it soothing and comfortable?
Mila finds the chair very soothing, and she quite often drifts off to sleep in it. The vibrate function of the chair is great for helping to release uncomfortable wind.
Once the straps are done up (something she hates with any chair, not just this one) the chair is very nicely padded and Mila finds it very comfortable. It comes with an infant insert and head support to ensure the smallest babies are comfortable and safely positioned.
What are the straps like?
As well as the standard grips to adjust the length of the straps, the straps can be repositioned within the seat as baby grows. This is great as it gives a wide variety of options to make your child more comfortable as they grow. The buckle is also hidden inside a velcro sealed pouch so your baby can’t undo it. The pouch is nicely padded so it sits comfortably between the legs.
What is the handle like?
The handle has two positions and doubles as a toy bar, with two hooks for hanging the toys provided.
Does the chair recline?
Yes, it offers three different positions. You adjust it by squeezing the handle at the back of the seat and pushing down or pulling up to the desired setting.
How easy is it to clean?
The chair cover comes off and can easily be put in the washing machine, although the cloth surface makes it difficult to wipe down for spot cleaning. The poppers are also quite tough to undo and do-up, something that also inhibits the replacement of batteries for vibration mode.
What is the fabric and design like?
We found the design a little bland. There are three very neutral colour options: In The Rain (stone and cream), Petite City (grey, black and white) and Dots (monochrome).
What age child is it suitable for?
It goes from newborn to 9kg, which is about 6 months. It is perfect for Mila at this stage, at 4 months old.
Is the Joie Sansa good value for money?
The Joie Sansa 2in1 is three times more expensive than the Silver Cloud Counting Sheep bouncer we normally use at home but does have three times the features.
We like our Silver Cloud because it is compact and is well constructed, although the motion functions with the Joie make it a more comprehensive tool for settling Mila down.
That said, I do think these additional features could be better and things like the onboard music and white noise could easily be provided by a phone or stereo, so I’m not sure those features justify the price.
The finish in some areas is also a little disappointing. Aside from the battery compartments that I’ve already mentioned, the two plush toys provided feel very cheap. Both are rattles and have identical designs, colour-scheme and texture, while cheaper bouncers come with better quality toys.
Overall, we have enjoyed using the Joie Sansa 2in1. It is sturdy and secure, and Mila definitely finds it very soothing. But with so many other less expensive options on the market, we don’t think every parent would feel all the added functions justify the higher price point.
How we tested the product
Iván Medina, Sophie and baby Mila, 4 months, predominantly tested the Joie Sansa at home. But as an adventurous family, they regularly like to take trips and value any products that are portable.
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