S+ by ResMed review: A wireless tracker with the goal of improving your sleep

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The Good The S+ by ResMed can accurately track your sleep without a wristband or a mattress pad. The app (Android and iOS) offers detailed information each day on your sleep habits and provides feedback to help improve your sleep.

The Bad Sleep tracking isn't automatic and the device is expensive for something that only tracks your nighttime activities. The tracker can also be confused by someone else sharing the bed or if you move out of range of the sensor.

The Bottom Line The S+ offers accurate tracking and insightful sleep data that any insomniac will appreciate.

7.3 Overall
  • Style 7
  • Features 8
  • Ease of use 7

I'm a terrible sleeper. I know this because almost all of the activity trackers I have tested over the past few months include some form of sleep tracking and they have told me that I am a terrible sleeper. I toss and turn throughout the night and wake up frequently. This isn't news to me. I've had trouble sleeping since I was a child.

All of these trackers could tell me different metrics about my sleep, but none of them offered feedback on how to improve my sleep. That's where the S+ from ResMed comes into play. In addition to tracking your sleep each night, this wireless bedside tracker provides daily tips and insight to help improve your sleep habits.

The S+ is available for $150 in the US. It's pricey considering it only tracks sleep, especially since you can buy a Fitbit Charge or Jawbone Up24 for both activity and sleep tracking, for cheaper.

What is it?

Almost every sleep tracker on the market requires some sort of wristband or mattress pad. The S+ is different. It sits next to your bed and can wirelessly track your sleeping habits. The sensor is quite small, but it is placed inside of a stand to ensure that it can properly record your breathing and heart rate. Altogether, it's about the size of a milk carton. The minimalist design helped it blend well with my furniture, although in some bedrooms it may stand out. There is no battery on the S+ and it must be plugged in at all times to function. It connects using a normal Micro-USB port and adapter, however the adapter also has a second port for charging your smartphone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What does it do?

As you are about to go to sleep each night you must enable sleep mode on the sensor. You would think that the S+ could automatically enter sleep mode, especially given how smart it is, but this is not the case. Early on I went a few nights without sleep tracking because I would forget to enable the S+.

Enabling sleep mode must be done from your Android or iOS device using the company's mobile app. You will then be asked about your stress levels throughout the day, how many alcoholic drinks you consumed, how many caffeinated drinks you had and how long you exercised for.

A so-called "Smart Alarm" feature can be set to wake you up at the optimal time within a time frame you indicate each morning. The alarm didn't feel all that smart to be honest and I'm not exactly sure how it determined the "optimal" wake-up time, but nevertheless it got the job done and woke me up around the time I requested.

Sarah Tew/CNET

As I lie in bed each night, I toss and turn and my mind wanders. I think about unfinished tasks, emails I need to respond to and friends I haven't seen in a while. Sometimes I'm even left thinking about odd concepts for movies or books I will surely never write. To solve this problem, the S+ includes a "Mind Clear" feature. The idea is for you to write or speak memos to get them off your mind. Your memos will then be waiting for you when you wake up the following morning.

There is also a "Relax to Sleep" mode that will synchronize relaxing sounds like the ocean or the forest to your breathing. The sounds start out loud and as you drift off the they get quieter until they ultimately turn off. I like this feature in concept, but I found it distracting when I actually used it. I would focus too much on the sounds and it would make my insomnia even worse. After using it for a few nights, I decided the feature wasn't for me.

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