I appreciate seeking out a better sleep just as much as the next guy…in fact, recently when Bose recalled their SleepBuds I was a bit perturbed, as I have been plagued with poor sleep over the last few years at least.
The first time you see this device from Philips, you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at. Personally, I was a little bit worried based on its design (disturbed? excited? not even sure?), but getting over that hump and actually trying it out I was able to learn a few things that I didn’t know before.
The design aside, this “lamp” (and I use quotes because it does far more than a standard lamp) has a built-in alarm clock which supports multiple alarms, sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, light, and noise levels, an FM radio, relaxation functions to help you fall asleep, and basic bedtime/sleep-tracking capabilities to give you better insight into your slumber. And, while most of these features are usable without it (thanks to an on-device screen that displays the time and has capacity touch capability to allow you to navigate through the lamp’s menus), the Philips SleepMapper mobile app helps you keep tabs on all of your data.
The setup was a bit frustrating, as it took me 3 resets of the lamp to get it to stay connected to my phone long enough to download and install the latest firmware update. Once that was done, the connectivity between my phone and the lamp was inconsistent regardless of how close I was to the lamp. The app itself requires an account be set up with Philips, but it annoyed me that my existing Philips account (which manages my Hue lighting) is a strictly separate account, and app, from the SleepMapper’s account and app.
The app itself is well-designed, and connection issues aside, allows control of all functions. You can set multiple alarms (I had 4 total set for various days of the week), initiate relaxation and bedtime tracking modes, and control the radio and display brightness from the app’s home screen. The app also has a screen dedicated to providing data about sleep durations (provided you “report” those things to the app or the lamp) and environmental conditions, but the data is only available for the trailing 7 days at any time—so no monthly monitoring is available there.
The alarm functionality offers both audible and visual triggers; a standard audio alarm is available with a variety of sounds (or the FM radio), while the light can “fade on” over a set number of minutes to slowly illuminate your bedroom in the morning; you can control the maximum intensity of the light as well.
I found the relaxation modes to be a bit gimmicky at best. The “RelaxBreathe” function uses the lamp’s light to guide you through deep breathing exercises, and the “Sunset” function will slowly “fade off” the lamp at night time to take you peacefully into slumber.
The bedtime tracking capabilities exist, but are limited when compared to fitness trackers and smart watches that will be far more accurate in capturing sleep times. Regardless, you have to indicate to the lamp (either through the app, or by long-touching the top of the lamp) that you are going to sleep to indicate your sleep start time, and the end time will default to whatever time your alarm goes off (or when you first interact with the lamp).
At the end of the day, though, this is a $200 alarm clock with some lighting and sleep-tracking functionality that, if I’m being honest, can be mostly recreated with a pack of Hue light bulbs and the Hue lighting app, along with a fitness tracker and smart phone you may already have. Not to mention, it is a really funny-looking device that if modeled after the Hue Go light would be more appealing.