Snoring, being unwell, stress or a racing mind and many more psychological and biological reasons for not sleeping cause many of us, at some stage in our lives, to find it difficult to get the well-earned rest we need before we get up and brave the world again. There are relaxation techniques you can try, herbal remedies and prescribed medication if it’s quite that bad, but all you really know in the morning is whether you are still tired, or refreshed. I’m hardly ever the former, so the Rem-Fit Zeeq Smart Pillow was an ideal bed-fellow (literally) for me to gain a better understanding of my sleep pattern.
- Comfy pillow
- Adjustable filling
- Good audio from speakers
- Nice features
- Companion app needs work
- A bit pricey for some
Let’s start with what the Zeeq Smart Pillow is, and what is most certainly is not. It isn’t a device that is going to necessarily help you achieve Zen-like relaxation and awareness of your biological clock. It is a device that just might help you get a little bit of a better sleep, as well as decluttering your bedside table.
The Zeeq looks like a premium pillow with memory foam at first glance. Ignoring the huge box it comes in and the plastic overlay thast outlines the speaker placements, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d just stepped out of a High Street bedding store with one. Obviously, that’s not the case here and the Zeeq has much more going for it than just the lovely soft feel of the memory foam.
- Snore Alarm – Built-in microphone detects snoring triggering the pillow to gently vibrate, just enough to encourage you to move without waking you up
- Wireless Music – ZEEQ will help you fall asleep by allowing you to listen to music through the pillow and letting you choose music from your favourite sources.
- Music Timer – You can set a sleep timer in the app so the music will stop automatically – that way you can focus on sleep.
- Sleep Analysis – ZEEQ links to a smartphone app, so you can see your sleep data, including your Snore Score.
- Smart Alarm – Your natural sleep movements are recorded and used to wake you up at the ideal moment in your sleep cycle.
- Adjustable – ZEEQ has a foam outer shell and removable memory foam clusters.
- Tencel Fabric – ZEEQ features a Tencel pillowcase that is removable and washable. Tencel is a wood-based fibre that naturally inhibits bacteria.
- Battery Life – ZEEQ’s battery lasts for 2 weeks and charges via a micro USB.
The Zeeq is, despite its size, a compact unit. There are multiple zips to keep the filling in, and a pocket for the control pod which neatly sits off to the side to avoid any contact with one’s head. Also, contrary to the iMusic Smart Pillow I reviewed, it was sufficiently dense to not allow me to feel the speakers under the foam after just a few days use. Another indication of a more premium product, aside from the price that is.
The Control Pod has a power button, some LEDs to notify of charging, pairing status and battery life, as well as large volume control keys which double as track skipping buttons too. Overall it’s a nice package.
I started by charging my pillow. Actually, just stop there a second. Read that sentence back; “I charged my pillow”. What a world we live in!
Once charged, the pillowcase fitted, and the Bluetooth connection paired, I was ready to try this out. My original plan was to just use this for a week or so as a device to playback relaxing music whilst I dropped off. I have ASMR triggers (check out Emma over at Whispers Red for more info on ASMR – yes, it’s real) that can be easily hit by certain noises and personal attention videos, and they really help to relax me, so I was planning on playing these back whilst I started to sleep. I did run into a bit of a hurdle here. The Bluetooth pairing was actually no issues, but I did find that there was a delay between the action I selected on the companion app and what actually happened on the device. For example, I chose to use the Zeeq as a playback device from the app, and whilst it started playing back, when I selected to use my phone as the playback device once again (as a test, but the sort of thing you’d do when you woke up to start your day) I found the Zeeq was still being used. From discussing with support I found two easy solutions for this. First, click the power button three times in quick succession to turn on/off Speaker Mode, and secondly, with my smartphone I can choose what the playback device is, manually. Both work just fine but it caught me off guard night one.
After the first night, I did have to make a bit of a change. I adjusted the filling for my desired firmness (is that a word?). This is something I specifically was worried about before I saw that this could be adjusted as I like my pillow firm, but also shallow, otherwise I end up with a painful neck. Thankfully after performing what can only be described as some surgery on the smart pillow and removing some of the innards, I was able to get back to a depth of pillow I was satisfied with.
The companion app is an area where Rem-Fit needs to improve to allow users to get the most out of the Zeeq in my opinion. Whilst it seems to track my sleeping patterns well and has a number of features to improve my sleep, the UI isn’t particularly intuitive and when updating the pillow’s firmware I did get into a bit of a mess, forcing me to use Rem-Fit support once again. I’m not exactly a newbie when it comes to consumer gadgets and smart apps, but I did feel that the combination of confusing LED notifications and an app that isn’t quite as responsive as it should be contributed to the need to utilise the support team. Reading the manual will help (yes, I had to go back and do this) but even then, you’re hoping the app performs.
Once you’re over the setup, and don’t need to update your pillow (what a strange sentence) you should be good though. Tracing sleep, vibrating to adjust your resting state and alleviate snoring, calculating when to wake you up, and using a pre-built playlist, or music on your smart device, to wake you up all work absolutely fine without any tweaking. An interesting addition is the daily summary that you can fill in to provide more information to your pillow ahead of your sleep. You can tell it whether you’ve had a particularly stressful day, and reconcile this to your sleep pattern the following day to see whether it had an impact.
One thing to note here is that if your partner is a very heavy snorer, you could be in a situation where the Zeeq activates the snore alarm and motions you to move in the middle of the night, disturbing your cycle, even when you’re not snoring at all. It hasn’t happened to me, but it has monitored my snoring during a night I slept in a separate room, and my Wife’s snoring triggered the pillow when she wasn’t using it. Something to bear in mind.
Overall the Rem-Fit Zeeq is a cool device. First and foremost it’s a comfy pillow for anybody looking for one. It has to be more than that though to justify the lofty £199 price tag, right? The answer there is a resounding yes. Luckily, it does deliver most of what it suggests. The battery life is great and did indeed last just about 2 weeks, the speakers can get quite loud, but are dampened when your head hits the pillow to avoid “noisy neighbour” syndrome for your partner, and the sleep tracking features do give you some semi-valuable information that might help you to achieve a more restful sleep in the future. Is this worth £199 to you? That depends on how desperate you are to improve your sleep, and whether you’ve got some cash to burn.
It would be wrong of me to suggest that the Zeeq doesn’t have its merits, but equally wrong if I didn’t point out that you could buy a lovely pillow, and simply use any number of sleep tracking apps to perform a lot of the same functionality, but you would be losing some of the key features that make Zeeq relatively unique. The motion detection, snore alarm (you could use an app but the alarm would be audible rather than vibration-based) and built-in speaker are all value-adds which just might make the figures stack up. If I was in dire need of sleep improvement I would definitely consider the Zeeq. If nothing else, it’s a very cool addition to a 21st century smart home!
It is a device that just might help you get a little bit of a better sleep, as well as decluttering your bedside table. If you really are trying to improve your sleep, getting a better pillow as well as upgrading a mattress would be an ideal move. So, just in case you are interested, feel free to read some mattress reviews on www.sleepingguide.org they test each mattress and have great guides as well.