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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Sleep matters: S+ by ResMed sleep monitor review

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

The S+ ResMed sleep monitor - could this device improve your sleep?

Getting a good night’s sleep can make the world of difference to our health. Here at Fresh Design we’ve previously focused on the importance of having a good mattress to ensure we can sleep comfortably, but could technology help us too?

That’s the challenge that the folks at ResMed set us! They’ve developed a nifty gadget that can help you monitor your sleep and assess how well you’re actually sleeping, then use the results to improve your sleep where needed. Our intrepid sleeper put the S+ monitor to a thorough test.

The gamification of sleep

Getting the chance to try S+  has shown me how well I sleep. And by giving me a ‘sleep score’ each morning, it’s given me an incentive to adopt better sleep habits.

The S+ device is a cube that you insert into a frame which holds it above mattress-level. The manual describes this cube, or pod, as ‘the engine which captures your sleep and bedroom environment data. It uses highly accurate, patented sensor technology to monitor your breathing and body movement.’ You pair it with your smartphone via Bluetooth.

From app to Zzzz

Data is collected and presented back to you the next morning via the S+ by ResMed app. You’ll need to download this from the iTunes store if you use an Apple device, or Google Play if your device runs on Android.

To use S+ by ResMed, you need to create an account, which lets you use any compatible phone with your pod. As it’s a quasi-medical device, you must agree to quite wide-ranging terms and conditions. There’s also a questionnaire to complete after you login for the first time.

Setting up the unit each night is a bit of a palaver, but worth it. As often as not, you’ll need to begin by pairing your pod and phone via Bluetooth. The home menu displays your previous sleep score and lets you view its ‘Sleep Mentor’, a set of brief articles that advise how to sleep better; your Sleep History; and Mind Clear, which lets you record a memo for the morning about tasks or issues on your mind:

 

Clicking on the big Sleep button loads a Pre-Sleep questionnaire about how stressed you’ve been during the day, how much exercise you’ve taken, and how much coffee and alcohol you’ve drunk. It’s a useful moment of reflection, data from which can also build up a longer term picture for you of your habits:

Screenshot of S+ by ResMed Android App pre-sleep questionnaire

This is also, I daresay, a useful base of crowd-sourced data for ResMed.

The Sleep screen also tells you about your heartbeat rate, ambient light levels and room temperature. After hitting the Sleep button, you plug your phone in to charge overnight – the ResMed AC mains adapter includes a phone socket – and settle down for the night.

In the morning, it’s time to reach for your phone once more, open the app and stop sleep data recording. After a few seconds, the unit will tot up your score and show you a graph for the night, above those for previous nights, so you can see whether you’ve slept better or worse:

Screenshot of S+ by ResMed Android App sleep charts

Tapping on the graph shows on a detail screen how well you slept. Different colours show periods, respectively, of deep sleep, when your body gets its best chance to repair itself; rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when you dream; light sleep; disturbances; and the time it took you to get to sleep:

Screenshot of S+ by ResMed Android App sleep score in detail

Tapping on ‘How is your sleep score calculated?’ opens a pie chart that compares your sleep quality against the ideal in each of the tangents measured by ResMed. Last night, as it was a Friday night and I didn’t set my alarm, I slept for nearly eight hours but got only 80% of the deep sleep I needed and 90% of REM sleep:

Screenshot of S+ by ResMed Android App sleep charts

Although sleep is the one thing over which you have no conscious control, getting data like this is a good motivator to create the right conditions and habits that will enable you to sleep better.

You can also log into your account on the mysplus.com website. This displays all the information available in the app and, in addition, shows you your scores over the course of each month in chart form:

Bar chart

Criticisms

On a few nights, it has failed to track data throughout the night, leading to an abnormally low score.

On other occasions, there have been early mornings when I’ve been awake and S+ has recorded this as sleep. In general, though, it seems pretty accurate.

My only other niggle is that the app could be better designed. You keep having to use the Back button to get back to the main screen. Adding a ‘hamburger’ menu icon would easily fix this.

The Fresh Design verdict

Overall, S+ by ResMed is a very useful sleep tracking device. It has reassured me that I actually sleep better than I think. Nevertheless, it’s only a device and can only give you data and general advice. So if poor sleep is seriously worrying you, please see your GP or physician.

Where to buy the S+

The S+ by ResMed is available to purchase from mySleep.resmed.com, Amazon and John Lewis for £129.95.

For more details, visit www.splus.resmed.com and follow @FixMySleep on Twitter.

(Disclaimer: We were sent a device to review, but all views and opinions are our own)

 

 

Stylish and functional: Flair bluetooth speaker by KitSound

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Stylish, slimline and super functional - the Flair bluetooth speaker by KitSound. Full review on Fresh Design Blog.

These days we all have so much music stored digitally that it makes sense to have bluetooth speakers to hand. The speakers enable you to listen to your music whenever you want, but especially achieving a decent quality of sound.

One of the new designs of bluetooth speakers is Flair, by KitSound. Designed in a style reminiscent of a handbag, this square speaker is designed to both work like a dream and look good too. The front of the speaker features a lovely layer of tactile felt and, with different colours to choose from, you can ensure that the speaker fits in well with your interior design room scheme.

KitSound are an award-winning audio company,  who are renowned for products with great sound quality. As soon as you listen to music on the Flair, that becomes apparent – there’s no cheap, tinny sound with this speaker.

The product comes with good, clear instructions and it’s very easy to charge it up ready to use and then connect it via bluetooth to your mobile or tablet. If you don’t want to use bluetooth, or it’s not convenient to do so, then you’ve got the option of connecting it via a cable too.

What’s more, it’s lightweight and relatively slimline too. It’s got a full range of controls, which are semi-hidden from view as they’re on the top and back of the speaker. They’re very minimal, but work via a simple soft touch.

Love the contemporary look and style of this Flair design bluetooth music speaker by KitSound.

The handle makes it super portable and easy to move around and the style works in many areas of the home – in your kitchen, living room, bedside your bed, or on a desk for music as you work.

Love the sleek, modern design of the Flair bluetooth speaker by KitSound. Effortlessly connect it to your mobile.

It’s very different to other speakers on the market and we love the attention to detail on the front. As you can see, it works very well alongside other modern design pieces. The speaker can offer up to eight hours of battery play time. As it contains rechargeable batteries, you can easily re-charge it to restore the full power once again.

This Flair bluetooth speaker creates its own design statement. It also offers a great listen quality too. Perfect for teaming with your mobile for a fab listening experience.

The Flair speaker is available in a choice of four colours – grey, blue, red and green – and has an output of 10 watts. It’s available for £60 from KitSound.

For a speaker with personality, style and great sound quality, and one that may even tone with your interior design scheme, we’d definitely recommend taking a look at the Flair.

(Disclosure: We were sent a Flair speaker for review, but all views and opinions are our own)

Product review: Sengled Pulse combined speaker and light bulb

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Could combined speaker and light bulb technology revolutionize our home? Sara Walker reviewed the Sengled Pulse to find out.

About the Sengled Pulse

Pulse by Sengled is a smart bulb that combines a dimmable LED light with the high-quality audio of a JBL Bluetooth speaker, removing the fuss of speaker wires and power cords.

Master bulbs can be paired with up to seven Satellite bulbs, providing users with a premier home entertainment experience that can be easily controlled with the accompanying app. The starter kit costs £149, available from the Sengled Pulse website.

It’s available in a colour choice of red, white or silver in two different bulb fittings.

The Sengled Pulse is a combined speaker and LED bulb

What we thought of the Sengled Pulse

 

I have to be honest, and say that technology isn’t really my thing. When I first saw these combined LED light bulbs/speakers, my first thought was ‘what’s the point?’ I already have a set of speakers and, er, some light bulbs, so I wasn’t sure what else the Sengled Pulse could bring to the party.

Another point against the product was the size of the bulbs – they are large compared to standard light bulbs, and you need to be careful where you use them. I tried them in two different lamps where they just looked silly, before settling for a pendant light with an opaque shade which worked well.

The bulbs will fit almost any light with a standard socket, but some locations are definitely better than others from a aesthetic point of view, and I also found that some light shades changed the quality of the sound a little.

Having found a home for the bulbs, then next step was to install the app that comes with the kit and controls the lights. This absolutely couldn’t have been easier – once installed, the app pretty much had two buttons that said ‘lights’ and ‘music’. Idiot-proof, just the way I like it.

From the app, you can turn the volume of the music and the brightness of the lights up and down for atmosphere. The app will sync automatically to the bulbs, which need to be in range of each other. When you’re playing music , you do seem to have to have your phone or tablet quite close to the bulbs to keep the signal but that’s not a problem if you know about it.

The incorporated speakers are JBL by Harmon technology, a well-respected manufacturer. The audio quality wasn’t as good as with my dedicated speakers, but it was perfectly ‘listenable to’ and nice and clear.

Convert your bathroom into a spa with Sengled Pulse combined bulbs/speakers

After a few days of playing with the Sengled Pulse kit and moving it from room to room, I had a brainwave. There’s one room in the house where I definitely can’t take my speakers for fear of them getting damp – the bathroom.

A quick email to the manufacturer confirmed that the product is UL damp rated, so it can be in touch with casual moisture (such as the steam in a bathroom) without any problem. Hooray!

Once I’d discovered that, the Sengled Pulse really came into its own. Stick your iPod on the other side of a closed bathroom door, plug the bulbs into the bathroom ceiling, run the bath and voila! Your own home beauty spa experience. Now I can see the point!

The verdict on the Sengled Pulse

Overall, the Sengled Pulse was extremely easy to use – installation is non-existent, and the app is very straightforward to install.

The main disadvantage was the size of the bulbs, which does limit where you can put them.

It’s an excellent and very modern way of introducing speakers into a room without any trailing wires, and the novelty/gadget factor is high – friends were fascinated.

The kit would make a great Christmas present for a gadget-minded friend or family member. Now, where’s that bubble bath?

Reviewed by Sara Walker

 

 

Bluetooth enabled Wow wireless speaker

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Fresh design wireless music speaker

Described as being a small speaker capable of producing a big sound, the Wow wireless speaker is designed to be used with any compatible bluetooth enabled device.

The design – especially of the yellow and pink ones, as you look at them side on – reminds us of Liquorice Allsorts. They’re made of silicon and can easily be charged up by USB. The speakers offer up to four hours play time at maximum volume and are great for using outside when you’re having a barbecue or party and want music on demand.

Even better news – they’re in the sale! They were priced at £55 each, but are now just £33 from Graham and Green. Wow indeed, that’s our summer music sorted.

 

Fresh Design Ideas: CableKeeps gadget cord organiser by Nice

Monday, July 8th, 2013

How to organise gadget cables

Tidy up unsightly cables from your iPhone, iPod, iPad or iPad Mini and get them organised, with these well designed CableKeeps.

Designed by James Young and Christine Park from Nice, the CableKeeps offer aquatic themed cable management solutions for Apple products. The colourful designs feature subtle fishy themes, including whale and squid designs.

Nice Ink UK cable cord storageApple gadget cable cord storage

A set of two cable organisers, featuring the Ink design (suitable for use with iPhone, iPod and iPad Mini) and the Gulp design (designed for use as an iPad CableKeep) are currently on offer at Fab for £15.50 (normally priced at £21). Or each is available to buy individually, in a range of colours, for just £8.50 each.

Wireless slimline bamboo bluetooth speaker

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Bargain bluetooth home speaker

Stylish bamboo speaker

A speaker that does away with dangling, unsightly wires is definitely a good move in our book.

This slimline bluetooth speaker ticks the wireless box, but also brings with it a great design too.

The speaker is encased in distinctive bamboo wood and looks sleek and stylish. It works up to 10m away and can be recharged.

What’s more, the brilliant bamboo bluetooth speaker is currently half price in the sale at Cox and Cox.

There are lots more bargains to be had in their sale, which runs until Sun 28th October. If you’ve not looked at their site for a while, we recommend a browse, as its sporting a fresh new re-design.

 
 
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