A few years ago fitness trackers were all the rage. Not only were there companies like Fitbit focusing directly on health monitoring but the smart watch manufacturers jumped on the band wagon including step counters and heart rate monitors into their devices. There are still many people who swear by their trackers and love to use them to complete “goals” to help keep themselves motivated. Attempting to capitalize on what remains of the EarlySense (traditionally a patient monitoring company) brings us Live by EarlySense.
Live by EarlySense aims to bring health monitoring into the bedroom and complete the picture of what other health monitoring device cannot capture. A prime example is my wife, often times the rubber wristband that comes with the Fitbit often gives her a rash if she wears it all day. Wrist worn items also require charging every so often which is generally most convenient during sleep. Live by EarlySense solves these issues by always being available under your bed.
The box comes with three items in it: the instruction manual, the power chord, and the unit itself. The first step in the process would be to download the Live by EarlySense app to your mobile device. Like most things we review here, this is the control center/data hub for all the device features.
Once you launch the app we are asked for some permissions. It asks for Bluetooth (to connect to the sensor itself), Storage (to be able to store your data), and Location Services (they say this is to aid in connection of your device, hmmm?).
After we get past the permissions prompt we are forced to create an account. There is no way around creating this account so if you want to use this device just give it whatever email address we all have that we don’t ever check and move through it.
Next up is connecting the device for the first time. Pretty simple, you are landed on the Vitals Tracking page. Tap on the Sensor Detected button towards the middle of the screen. Provided your sensor is plugged in it will find it with your BT connection and simply tap on it to connect.
Lastly, follow the instruction booklet about how to place your device under the mattress. Yes, you read that correctly, under your mattress.
Setup is all done. Now, let’s get some sleep. No WAIT!! I forgot about the rest of the review.
Honestly, this device is a pretty cool concept, especially for people that find themselves being restless at night or those getting at least 8 hours of sleep but still not feeling rested when they wake up.
In the app, there are neat little explanations about the difference between REM sleep and Deep Sleep and what part they play in your rest cycle (you kinda have to dig for these though). It also monitors your heart rate and respiration rate to let you know how you are sleeping (or let your doctor know since I have no idea what is good and what is bad). Every morning you are given a “score” by the app based on how well you slept. This is a pretty neat idea but I think its execution leaves a little to be desired.
For the health nuts out there that like to track everything in one place, Live by EarlySense does also make it possible to import all of the captured data into Google Fit so that you can track all of your health activities (yes including sleep) in a single app.
While I really enjoy the concept of what they are trying to get at, and the data that is collected could be shared with medical professionals as cursory diagnostic information to people who are genuinely having trouble sleeping, I did run into a few issues with the device provided that made my experience less than enjoyable.
First is the worst. I had major issues with the Bluetooth connectivity. I tried it with two separate phones and the results were the same. Almost every single night, I had to unplug and replug the device so that my phone could see and connect to it. How is that user-friendly? Who wants to do that? Seriously, if a device is going to connect via Bluetooth just make it work, every time, without question.
My second issue is not so much with the device itself but with the arbitrary scoring system. As I mentioned above, the app gives you a score every morning based on how you slept the night before. Ok, I get it, people like to see how “good” they are at something. IF YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE A SCORE, PROVIDE A DAMN SCALE. Seriously, if there is going to be a score or any other type of grading system let the people know what the friggin number means. Is it 70 out of 100? Is a higher number better? What are the baselines to get that score? All of these are questions that I have about this scoring system that is used here.
Live by EarlySense brings something that I have not seen yet to the table. They brought something out of medical facilities and into the home for personal use; for this I applaud them. I do, however, take issue with the two major complaints I listed above. Resolve those issues and I think we might have something here.
You can pick up Live by EarlySense from its website or Amazon (it’s prime) for $169.