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Sleep Number 360 review: This $7,600 smart bed isn't smart enough

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DualTemp is a reasonable addition if you regularly feel too warm or cool in bed, but each pad costs $850, so that's an additional $1,700 for a king mattress. In theory, you could add this to any mattress, but it doesn't have a smart component. Each pad is instead controllable from the dedicated DualTemp remote control. Sleep Number should really add DualTemp control to the SleepIQ app, where everything else is accessible. 

Even so, it was ridiculously easy to set up and use. Simply plug in the control unit, stick it under your bed and make sure the hose isn't coiled or otherwise obstructed to allow for full air circulation. From there, you create a profile with the remote and control your side of the bed, as needed. Press the power button on the remote to turn it off. This worked well, but the highest settings that pump out the max amount of cool or warm air is loud, similar to a white noise machine. Kevin liked it; I found it annoying. 

The SleepIQ app is your main point of access to most Sleep Number settings, aside from DualTemp heating and cooling. 

Screenshots by CNET

In the SleepIQ app (see above), you can set goals and see how your last night's sleep compares. For example, last night I got a sleep score of 84. It says, "You slept 56 minutes less than your goal of 8 hours. 6 hours and 25 mins of that time was restful sleep." From there, the app gives you a generic suggestion that could be applicable to you, but isn't personalized, "If it's still light outside at bedtime, use light-blocking curtains or shades on bedroom windows; small amounts of light can disrupt sleep." 

In the second screenshot above you can see how my sleep (the blue line) compares to the temperature in my home (the orange line) via our Nest Thermostat E. According to the data, I got my best night's sleep when it was 73 degrees in our house. Of course, that sleep score could be due to a variety of factors, but the data from the Nest helps introduce one potential variable in your overall sleep score. The final screenshot shows the easy in-app interface for adjusting your side of the bed and setting a "favorite" setting that you can select in the app or with the button on the side of your bed. 

The Sleep Number It Bed I reviewed back in 2016 essentially offers the same features as the 360, including sleep tracking and support for Nest, just without the adjustable base or the DualTemp mattress pads. My complaint then was similar. The It Bed collected a lot of information about me, but didn't use any of it to automatically adjust any bed or third-party device settings. It didn't have Alexa, either. It looks like Sleep Number hasn't changed much in two years. 

Use the favorites button on the side of your bed to adjust the frame to your preferred setting for reading, watching TV and more. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Getting in bed with the competition

Here's the thing, though. You can get a lot of the same sleep-tracking functionality from a much less expensive product. Eight sells mattresses, but its main smart device is its Sleep Tracker mattress pad. Ashlee Clark Thompson reviewed both the Eight Mars+ mattress and the Sleep Tracker mattress pad. 

For just $419 in a king size and $399 in a queen size, the Eight Sleep Tracker retrofits to existing mattresses and tells you how you slept each night and even has an integrated heating element to keep you warm (it has dual sides, too, so your partner can track their sleep separately). The negative is that you're missing all of that customization with the mattress firmness and the motorized base you get from Sleep Number, but you can use whatever frame and mattress you want with the Eight Sleep Tracker, so you still have tons of options. Eight's Sleep Tracker also works with Alexa, IFTTT and Nest so you can connect your bed to more devices in your home. 

The $199 Beautyrest Sleeptracker works similarly to Eight's version, but it's a device you put under your mattress, rather than a pad you fit over the entire mattress. You need one Beautyrest Sleeptracker per person,and you automatically get two with your $199 purchase (there's no single pack available). Beautyrest's Sleeptracker only works with Alexa, though, and Molly Price said its tracking wasn't as reliable as she expected during testing. 

Unlike Sleep Number and Eight, you have to buy the Winkbed mattress to use the bed's temperature control feature. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The WinkBed CoolControl Base that Brian Bennett tested was the most disappointing smart bed of the bunch. The Android version of the app was unreliable and the bed didn't track sleep; it only provides heating and cooling to keep you comfortable while you sleep. That's a nice feature, but it isn't enough on its own to make it worthwhile (especially when you consider its hit-or-miss app and high price: $1,299 for the queen Luxury Firm mattress and $2,200 for the corresponding base). And, unlike the Eight and Sleep Number temperature controls, the WinkBed's version is built into the mattress. That means you have to buy the mattress to get that feature, rather than simply buying one Eight Sleep Tracker mattress pad or two Sleep Number DualTemp pads. The WinkBed also doesn't work with any major smart home platforms. 

The verdict

The Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed is highly customizable, with optional add-ons, like the FlexFit 1 base and the DualTemp pads that add to its flexibility. That's what you're paying for. If you want those options, this bed could be worth it to you. 

The sleep tracking functions work well, too, but I expect more for the thousands you're throwing down. I want this bed to do a better job intuiting my needs based on the tons of data it collects and automatically adjusting the settings for me. I also want it to work with a major voice platform like Alexa. Given that Eight and Beautyrest have managed it, I'm not sure why Sleep Number hasn't yet.

Overall, the 360 bed is very good as far as comfort, flexibility and app control goes, but it still isn't a great smart bed. Look to the Eight Sleep Tracker if you hate the idea of a wearable on your wrist while you're in bed, but you still want to see how well you're sleeping at night. 

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