By Andy Feng on May 21, 2015
Hello everyone! Today’s edition of App-a-Day is slightly different, today I’m going to review the Sense app by Hello.is. Sense is a hardware product designed to monitor your sleep environment and provide useful insights into ways you can improve sleep quality. The app itself only works if you have the hardware setup linked to it so I guess today’s review is more of an over product review rather than the traditional app review.
Why change things up today you ask? Well... because after backing their Kickstarter campaign almost a year ago, last night I finally received my Sense device and got to try it out for myself. Better late than never right? (chough* Lockitron* cough cough**)
Ok, so here’s the basic run-down of what Sense is. The main product, the Sense ball, is a little ball of lights and sensors that you place next to your bed. It comes with a smaller clip-on “sleep pill” that attach to your pillow and together, they track your sleeps patterns and the environment around you while you’re asleep.
Sense can track when you've fallen asleep, how well you've slept, as well as external variables such as noise level, temperature, light, and humidity. All this data is collected from the Sense ball and Sleep Pill and neatly displayed and recorded in the Sense App on your phone. Sense makes sense of all this data and calculates a “sleep score” for each night.
Last night after using Sense, the app shows that my sleep score was 80 (out of 100) and that I only slept soundly for 1.4 hours… not sure if that’s normal?
It’s obvious to you right out the box that the creators of Sense really put a lot of effort into the overall design of both their hardware and corresponding software products. There are no buttons or messy wires, the Sense ball lights up in different colors after you wave your hand on top of it. Green means everything is good, orange means something's wrong and your room is not optimal for sleep. The hardware feels extremely well made and setting up all the systems was a piece of cake. Basically plug and play.
The app itself is nice and simple and displays all your sleep and environmental metrics. It also comes with a smart alarm feature that allows the Sense ball to play sounds to wake you up during the optimal time in your sleep cycle. Users simply wave their hands over the Sense ball to turn off the alarm.
After tying it out, I’d say that from what I've seen so far, Sense is a really well thought out product that more or less delivers on what they promise. The smart alarm is quite useful and even after using it just once, I did feel the difference as it made getting out of bed slightly less painful this morning. The app looks nice and presents all the data collected in a way that’s easy to understand. The hardware is cool to look at and blends into the background. It’s like one of those products that just works without the user having to do much at all.
In conclusion, Sense is a great gadget that will help you gain insight into how well you sleep and what you can do to make it better. Will this information actually make a positive impact on your sleep quality? Maybe, maybe not. I guess we’ll find out over time. One thing’s for sure though, we could all use some better sleep…..