Amazon Halo Rise evaluate: a great sleep tracker thwarted by my cat

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I’m caught in a vicious cycle. My cat is an asshole who likes waking me up at 3AM. In pursuit of a extra peaceable slumber (and a brand new life as an early riser), I flip to all kinds of devices and sleep tech. It really works for some time, till my cat adopts a brand new technique.

I drowned out his late-night yowls with the Bose SleepBuds II, till he began batting my face together with his paws. I purchased him a cat fountain so he’d cease knocking over the cup on my nightstand; he was happy till he determined it was extra enjoyable to drink condensation within the bathtub after which scream. Inevitably, I get up late and exhausted. Rinse and repeat.

I had hoped to interrupt the cycle with the Amazon Halo Rise, a $139.99 sensible alarm clock, dawn lamp, and contactless sleep tracker rolled into one. And I feel it would’ve labored if it weren’t for my pugnacious purry boy Pablo.


A sleepy jack-of-all-trades

I made a decision to evaluate the Halo Rise as a result of I’m struggling to remodel from an evening owl to an early chicken. Outdoors a bout of insomnia, my skills embrace sleeping by three iPhone alarms, a number of vibrating smartwatch alarms, and most of my partner’s nightly pilgrimages to the kitchen. (They appear unaware that potato chip baggage crinkle 1,000 instances louder at evening.) I learn someplace that dawn lamps might be an effective yet gentle way to wake up and was actually in the midst of researching which one to purchase when my editor talked about the Halo Rise.

On paper, the Halo Rise is an environment friendly possibility. It helps you get up gently by mimicking pure morning mild throughout your lightest sleep stage and has sensors to watch ambient temperature, mild disturbances, and humidity. You’ll be able to hyperlink it with an Echo machine, successfully turning it into one other voice-controlled sensible mild. It’s sufficiently small to suit on a crowded nightstand, and its minimal design is flexible sufficient to go along with quite a lot of bed room decor.

I used to be most cautious of the Halo Rise’s contactless sleep monitoring. Wearable or mattress-based sleep trackers have a tendency to make use of a mix of movement sensors and coronary heart fee information to find out which stage of sleep you’re in. There isn’t any accelerometer or optical coronary heart fee sensor within the Halo Rise. As an alternative, just like the Nest Hub, it tracks sleep by way of a low-energy radar that analyzes your motion and respiration. In contrast to the Nest Hub (and a few smartphone sleep monitoring apps), there’s no microphone, so it doesn’t document your snores or voices. There’s no digital camera, both. That’s nice for privateness, however it additionally eliminates one other information supply. This finally means the Halo Rise’s radars and algorithms need to be on level for the sleep monitoring to be correct — and in my expertise, radars in sleep devices might be hit and miss.

You view your sleep metrics within the Amazon Halo app, which is pretty primary.

Bundling all of those options into one machine is handy, however because the saying goes, a jack-of-all-trades is a grasp of none. Nightstand actual property is treasured; there’s no room for one thing that falls simply shy of nailing all the things it’s speculated to do. That’s the place my head was at going into testing. Now that I’ve used it for a bit of over a month, I can say that my instincts have been spot-on — however not due to the Rise.

Operation: sleep no meow

Establishing the Rise is straightforward peasy, however positioning it’s difficult. As a result of it’s a contactless tracker, you’ll want to intention it in the best path. The app walks you thru it, however the gist is that you must:

  • Place it on a nightstand such that the Rise’s steel stand is both the identical top or as much as eight inches above your mattress.
  • Level it at your higher physique.
  • Guarantee there’s about one arm’s size of distance between you and the Rise.
  • Take away any objects between you and the Rise (although bedding is okay).

The laborious factor is ensuring that it stays this fashion. For me, that meant checking that my books, water bottle, and cellphone weren’t obstructing any a part of the Rise earlier than mattress. You’ll be able to set nightly reminders within the Halo app to test that all the things’s positioned accurately, however that’s only one extra notification so that you can ignore in your cellphone. However although I did all the things proper, there was one issue I couldn’t management: Pablo.

Close up of Amazon Halo Rise on a nightstand, showing circular shape, metal legs, and curved light source.

The Halo Rise is sufficiently small to suit on most nightstands, however you’ll want to ensure nothing is obstructing its radars.

I first suspected one thing was off once I began evaluating my historic Halo Rise sleep scores to what I obtained on the Oura Ring, Apple Watch Ultra, Garmin Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar edition, Polar Ignite 3, and a number of other different wearables and sleep monitoring apps I’ve been testing. I additionally preserve a sleep and health journal, so I used to be in a position to cross-reference once I obtained a crappy evening of sleep. Impressively, the Halo Rise was very correct on a few nights when a persistent cough or insomnia woke me up. For these nights, my information and sleep stage graphs throughout all my check units corresponded. On a number of days the place I obtained actually good sleep, the Halo Rise was in a position to acknowledge that, too. Once more, my information corresponded throughout a number of platforms.

However there have been additionally a number of nights when the info didn’t match in any respect. My wearable units would say I’d slept soundly with few disturbances. Solely the Halo Rise would say I’d been up for hours once I hadn’t. For example, the Oura Ring would say I’d had about an hour’s value of awake time. The Halo Rise would say I’d been sleepless for 3 to 4 hours. Typically these wakeful durations matched on sleep stage graphs. Different instances, they completely didn’t.


Three nights the place I’ve concrete recollections of Pablo wrecking my sleep. You’ll be able to see the discrepancies in awake instances. In every occasion, my reminiscence aligns extra with the info recorded by the Oura Ring. The Halo Rise was correct at recording mild disturbances, nonetheless.

I requested Dr. Michael Miyamoto, medical director for Amazon Halo, why that is likely to be. May my partner’s midnight snacking confuse the Rise? In response to Miyamoto, whereas it may possibly’t be dominated out, it’s extremely unlikely, because the Rise is programmed to concentrate on the physique closest to it. Miyamoto additionally instructed me that individuals typically get up a number of instances through the evening however just for a number of seconds. The Rise solely information it as a disturbance if it’s an occasion lasting longer than 5 minutes. That’s about once I put two and two collectively. I requested if it have been doable {that a} cat may wreck my outcomes.

Blurry picture of Pablo making way to nightstand

Caught making his solution to the Halo Rise. Glasses have been knocked off the nightstand two seconds later.
Picture by Victoria Tune / The Verge

Pablo clearly sitting between me and the Halo Rise

Caught as soon as once more considering nightstand mischief whereas blocking the Halo Rise. This disturbance was logged the subsequent morning as me being awake for one hour.
Picture by Victoria Tune / The Verge

Right here’s what you’ll want to learn about Night time Pablo. Night time Pablo loves chaos, nightstands, and creating chaos on my nightstand. Just a few instances per week, I get up to the sound of my glasses, books, cellphone, Nintendo Change, or water bottle clattering throughout the ground. Why? It took us a very long time to determine it out. It’s not that he’s hungry or thirsty; he has an automated feeder and a elaborate cat fountain. It seems this crepuscular demon desires somebody to witness him consuming kibble. It’s beneath him to dine alone.

Pablo doesn’t at all times knock stuff off of my nightstand. He parks his fluffy butt there for myriad causes. He loves enjoying with my charging cables. He loves sniffing my stuff. He likes having a launching pad for catapulting himself onto my partner’s chest. Typically, he’ll sit proper subsequent to my head and demand scritches. (And if I don’t, he’ll chunk.) It’s not each evening, and I don’t bear in mind each occasion as a result of I normally sleep just like the useless. That mentioned, I’ve sleepily witnessed it sufficient instances over 5 years to comprehend it occurs.

In brief, as a result of the Halo Rise zeroes in on the closest physique, it doubtless confused Pablo’s mischief-making as me being awake. I now have an inadvertent document of all of the nights Pablo entered chaos mode. That, in itself, was startling. I knew Pablo typically made it troublesome to get respectable shut-eye — I simply wasn’t conscious of how a lot that added as much as over time. I’ve since caught him within the act and corroborated it with the info the subsequent morning.

For sure, if you wish to use it as a sleep tracker, the Halo Rise is best suited to individuals who don’t have rambunctious kitties (or mattress companions).

Good alarm clock, higher sensible mild

Sleep monitoring is simply one of many issues the Halo Rise can do. Pet-induced inaccuracies apart, it’s not a foul sleep monitoring possibility in case you really feel uncomfortable sporting watches or rings to sleep. However I used to be extra excited to attempt the sensible alarm and dawn lamp combo.

As talked about earlier, I’m making an attempt to grow to be a morning individual. Up to now, I’ve had blended outcomes. I set the Halo Rise’s sensible alarm for six:45AM. After a month, my success fee is about 45 %. On the one hand, the Halo Rise’s default alarm sound is adorably cheery. It jogs my memory of my rice cooker — a tiny robotic singing in a MIDI-esque voice so you recognize it’s time to do the factor. Even my partner mentioned it was the “least annoying alarm tone” and “kinda cute.” I’d attribute the 45 % of the time I did rise up to the audible alarm. In the event you don’t like cute bleeps and boops, you’re fallacious, however you can too join it to an Echo machine to play music as a substitute.

All of your Halo Rise alarm choices:

TKTKTKTKTKTK(opens a brand new window)

On the flip aspect, the simulated dawn didn’t assist me a lot. I sleep on my aspect, so once I’m turned away from the Rise, I don’t get any profit. My again does. I additionally discovered it a bit of dim, however that’s a me drawback. Most dawn lamps are between 100 and 300 lux, and the Halo Rise is true in that vary with a most of 300 lux. I merely didn’t discover it vibrant sufficient as a result of I apparently want a floodlight shining down on me to get up. In the event you’re extra delicate to mild (or sleep in your again), you may need larger success than I did.

The Halo Rise with the light portion turned on

You get a most of 300 lux, which is paradoxically vibrant and never vibrant sufficient on the similar time.

The irony is that, whenever you’re awake, the Halo Rise is an effective lamp — particularly in case you’re making an attempt to nix blue mild out of your environment earlier than mattress. It was vibrant sufficient for me to learn my books and Kindle Paperwhite in mattress with out feeling harsh or overpowering. When you can regulate brightness, you may’t tweak the colour temperature; it’s simply automated variations on heat lighting.

However right here, too, Pablo’s interference often mucked issues up. As a result of he appreciated to get between me and the Rise anyplace between 3AM and 6AM, it’d typically journey up the sensible alarm. That’s as a result of the sensible alarm will go off inside a 30-minute window of your alarm if it detects you’re in a lighter stage of sleep. Except, in fact, it confuses a transferring cat for you. The alarm went off between 6:15 and 6:30AM a few instances, and I’d smash the snooze / off button like I used to be making an attempt to win a spherical of Hungry Hungry Hippos. As soon as I discovered it was Pablo’s fault, I turned off the sensible half and settled for a “common” alarm.

There have been a number of issues Pablo couldn’t smash for me. His existence had zero impression on the Rise monitoring the temperature, humidity, or mild disturbances in my bed room. I have already got an honest sleep setup — the temperature is at all times a nice 65–70 levels Fahrenheit, and we lately obtained blackout curtains. Nonetheless, it’s a dry winter, and I typically get up hacking up my lungs. The Rise confirmed that our bed room is method too dry most nights, so we obtained a humidifier. After I bear in mind to make use of it, it really helps.

Top-down view of the Halo Rise showing its two buttons

There are solely two buttons to recollect: the snooze button (high) and the on / off button. The snooze button additionally incorporates the sunshine sensor. I had a tough time remembering which was which when sleepy and ended up hitting each till it shut up.

Amazon additionally despatched me an Echo Present to attempt utilizing alongside the Rise. You’ll be able to, as an illustration, ask Alexa to point out your sleep information on the Present. It labored once I examined it, however I didn’t discover it helpful. I most well-liked utilizing the Rise as a sensible mild with my different Echo units. The truth that you should utilize it in Alexa Routines and management it with voice instructions is neat, particularly in case you’ve already invested within the Amazon sensible house ecosystem. (It’s solely suitable with Alexa.)

Let’s discuss subscriptions

For $140, you get the Rise and a six-month trial of Amazon’s Halo service. After that, Halo prices $3.99 month-to-month. That’s comparatively reasonably priced so far as subscriptions go, however right here’s why I’m not offered. For starters, the Halo app is pretty primary, and it’s not the simplest to view historic information in case you’re a self-quantifying nerd. It’s actually solely value paying in case you use the Rise alongside the Halo Band or Halo View — and I like to recommend neither attributable to their weird body mapping and tone policing features. (Facet be aware: in case you use both tracker, Miyamoto says the app will prioritize the Rise for sleep information.) In the event you don’t give a flip in regards to the Halo Band or Halo View, you still get nearly all of the sleep features and a few exercises, recipes, and packages with out membership.

Extremely fat cat sleeping on bed in direct path of the Halo Rise.

Pablo, smug and napping after a tough evening of creating positive the Halo Rise can’t observe my sleep precisely.
Picture by Victoria Tune / The Verge

In any other case, $140 is on the pricier aspect however not egregious given the additional smarts and sleep monitoring. For context, dawn lamps can price anyplace from $50 to $200 for one of Philips’ fancier lamps. If you put all of that collectively, I’m unsure why you’d pay for the subscription in case you plan on utilizing the Rise by itself.

In the end, the Rise is the very best Amazon Halo product up to now and the primary new Amazon product I’ve appreciated in an extended whereas. It’s the least invasive within the Halo lineup, and whereas it wasn’t excellent for me, that’s not the machine’s fault. It’s Pablo’s.

And earlier than you say something, we’ve tried closing the bed room door. It solely results in the cat destroying any breakable merchandise he can discover in retaliation. Since I really like the bushy bugger and don’t plan on evicting him, I don’t suppose the Rise fits my wants. But when you don’t have a rascally pet, possibly you may have what I can solely dream of: an uninterrupted evening of sleep.

Comply with Proceed: Amazon Halo Rise

Each sensible machine now requires you to conform to a collection of phrases and situations earlier than you should utilize it — contracts that nobody really reads. It’s unimaginable for us to learn and analyze each single one among these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of instances you must hit “agree” to make use of units once we evaluate them, since these are agreements most individuals don’t learn and positively can’t negotiate.

To make use of the Amazon Halo Rise, you should pair it with an iPhone or Android smartphone. That features the cellphone’s phrases of service, privateness coverage, and every other permissions you grant.

By organising the Amazon Halo Rise, you’re agreeing to:

In the event you select to make use of the Halo Rise with an Echo machine, you should additionally conform to that machine’s phrases and privateness coverage. The identical is true in case you determine to make use of it with Amazon Alexa.

Ultimate tally: two obligatory agreements and no less than 4 non-compulsory agreements.

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