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Published on November 16th, 2011 | by Greg


Zeo Mobile: Better Sleep, But Not Yet Perfected

Ah, sleep. One-third of our lives, poor­ly un­der­stood, and a fre­quent cause of health prob­lems and phys­i­cal ail­ments. Whether it’s wor­ry over your cur­rent state, or per­haps just cu­rios­i­ty, sleep track­ing has hit the main­stream and can help you awake more re­freshed as well as an­a­lyze your per­son­al pat­terns.

We’ve seen many of these de­vices- in­clud­ing the orig­i­nal Zeo which we liked quite a bit al­most ex­act­ly two years ago- but the new Zeo Mo­bile with the Soft­wave head­band of­fers a few things that set it apart. First, the low pric­etag is com­pelling- un­der $100 brings it to the “gift-giv­ing for Mom or Dad” range. Of course, they’ll need a smart­phone to use it- An­droid or iOS on­ly at the mo­ment- but that’s still a de­cent us­er base. In­stalling the free app on the iPad was sim­ple; pair­ing the de­vice pret­ty easy. The head­band is fair­ly com­fort­able, and wide­ly ad­justable, but though get­ting con­sis­tent re­sults through­out a night was a bit more dif­fi­cult. We’ll talk about that more in a mo­ment.

Zeo Mo­bile ba­si­cal­ly con­sists of a head­band and base. You wear the head­band each night, and it us­es a va­ri­ety of sen­sors to iden­ti­fy your REM and deep sleep. It us­es Blue­tooth to wire­less­ly trans­fer that da­ta to your mo­bile de­vice, and you can see ev­ery­thing graphed. Fur­ther, much like oth­er com­peti­tor sys­tems and the orig­i­nal Zeo, you can re­place your alarm with their nifty Smart­Wake fea­ture, that al­lows you to set a firm alarm but will wake you up at the op­ti­mal point near then. This way, you aren’t roused from a deep sleep abrupt­ly, which can neg­a­tive­ly af­fect the rest of your day.

We liked the look and feel of the app, for the most part, though test­ing was done al­most ex­clu­sive­ly on the iOS plat­form, both iPhone and iPad. One is­sue is that the bed­side unit is fair­ly bulky, and thus a bit hard to trav­el with. The bat­tery life on the head­band is not lengthy, and re­sult­ed in us los­ing some da­ta- it can last through two nights in the­o­ry, but cut out part of the way through our sec­ond night when we hadn’t recharged. There isn’t an easy way to tell bat­tery life on the head­band it­self, from what we could see. Worse, you need to leave your mo­bile de­vice turned on over night- it has to be plugged in and not locked in or­der to re­ceive the da­ta. Fur­ther, we had to man­u­al­ly close some back­ground apps to get ev­ery­thing work­ing cor­rect­ly. Word is that the app will be up­dat­ed short­ly, but def­i­nite­ly has some rough edges in the mean­time.

Over­all, it’s a great price for a fun sleep track­ing sys­tem. If you haven’t tried them be­fore or al­ready have one that you use, this might be the eas­i­est way to do so. Don’t ex­pect mir­a­cles- but you can like­ly count on some in­ter­est­ing da­ta and pos­i­tive changes in your alert­ness, once you get ev­ery­thing set up and if you can re­mem­ber to charge ev­ery­thing. $100, avail­able on­line and in stores now.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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