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Layla Essential mattress review: A good quality, budget-friendly option… but only for certain sleepers
12:49 pm | November 12, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Mattresses Sleep | Comments: Off

Layla Essential mattress: Two-minute review

The Layla Essential mattress slashes the price and cuts a few corners compared to the brand's standard all-foam model. I slept on a queen size for three weeks to see how this wallet-friendly offering compares to the rest of today's best mattresses, and was reasonably impressed.

The slimline nine-inch tall, all-foam mattress has a straightforward design that includes memory foam, support foam, and a zip-off, washable cover. While it's unlikely to please everyone, the Layla Essential mattress could be a terrific purchase of exceptional value for a specific cohort of customers. Specifically, solo sleepers of light to average weight who prefer back sleeping are most likely to enjoy the Layla Essential to the fullest. Combination sleepers (back and side sleeping) on a budget may also find that this mattress suits their needs. The medium sleep feel means stomach sleepers and people of heavier weights risk misalignment and discomfort, and would be better with something firmer and more supportive. 

I found there was an above-average amount of motion transfer here. Co-sleepers – especially if one partner rouses easily and the other fidgets throughout the night – should opt for a mattress that absorbs motion better. Edge support was similarly below-par, which may prove to be a problem for co-sleepers who want to be able to comfortably enjoy the full sleeping surface, or anyone with mobility issues who needs a sturdy surface to push off against when getting up in the morning. 

I'm concerned that the lack of edge support may also point to dwindling durability over time. Note:  I didn't have the same experience in my Layla Hybrid mattress review – the edge support and motion isolation was great there, which suggests these performance niggles are a concession you're making for that lower price point rather than an issue with Layla's mattresses in general.)

However, I was more impressed with the temperature regulation. I didn't have any issues with overheating on the Essential, which is particularly notable because not all of today's best cheap mattresses excel in this area. Keep reading for more extensive details in my full Layla Hybrid mattress review.

Layla Essential mattress review: Design & materials

  • On the thin side at nine inches tall
  • All-foam design, with memory foam and base foam
  • Zippable, washable cover

The Layla Essential is a nine inch tall, all-foam mattress. That's on the slightly shorter side – TechRadar recommends a minimum of 10 inches for most adults. The design comprises two different types of foam, zipped up in a washable cover (98 per cent polyester and 2 per cent lycra). The first layer, made of 'Open Cell+' Memory Foam, is two inches thick.

Layla says that this specific type of memory foam is designed to promote airflow, breathability, and temperature regulation. According to the brand's product page and its own tests, Open Cell+ Memory Foam boasts three times the cooling power of conventional memory foam – the latter of which can have a habit of clinging on to the sleeper's body heat. However, the proof of this is in the sleeping, and you'll find my personal experience of temperature regulation under the 'Performance' section of this review.

Digram showing layers inside the Layla Essential mattress

(Image credit: Layla)

Foam density is an indicator of quality and longevity, and at 2.5 pounds, the memory foam here is under what we'd usually expect for a good quality mattress foam. However, very few brands actually share the density of the foams used in their mattresses, making it difficult to directly compare budget-friendly models based on this spec (in short, it might be that most cheaper mattresses use foams of a similar or lower density). The base layer consists of seven inches of polyurethane foam to bolster support and durability.

Person unzipping the Layla Essential mattress cover

(Image credit: Layla)

The two foams are CertiPUR-US certified. This means that they've passed rigorous tests that meet standards for the protection of human health and the environment.

A cover in Layla's signature hexagonal print finishes the whole thing off. This cover can be zipped off for easy cleaning.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Layla Essential mattress review: Price & value for money

  • Budget to lower mid-range, depending on where and when you buy
  • Cheapest option from Layla
  • Sold via Amazon or direct from Layla

Layla carries three mattresses, and the Essential is the cheapest of the bunch by a considerable margin. The standard Memory Foam mattress is about twice the price of the Essential. Meanwhile, the Hybrid is about triple the price of the most cost-efficient option. 

It's sold directly from the brand – although it can be difficult to find on the Layla website – as well as via Amazon. Depending on where and when you buy, in the wider market, the mattress is on the higher end of the budget bracket or the lower end of low-mid range. Promotional sales prices are fairly common, so you can anticipate saving at least $100 if you buy at the right time. The Layla Essential mattress is priced as follows:

  • Twin size: MSRP $549 (usually sold at $349-449)
  • Twin XL size: MSRP $599 (usually sold at $399-499)
  • Full size: MSRP $649 (usually sold at $449-549)
  • Queen size: MSRP $699 (usually sold at $499-599)
  • King size: MSRP $799 (usually sold at $599-699)
  • Cal king: MSRP $799 (usually sold at $599-699)

At the time of writing (late October 2023), the promotional deal for the Layla Essential sounded almost too good to pass up, saving you $200 off the MSRP. Earlier in the month, each mattress was only $100 off the MSRP. For added value, Layla offers free shipping to your doorstep to 48 states. It'll also throw in two free pillows to the mix.

While it's common for mattress sales to happen all year round, Layla's discounts fluctuate depending on when you buy. Traditionally, the cheapest prices appear in the Black Friday mattress deals, but other good times to buy include the Labor Day mattress sales in September, the Presidents' Day mattress sales in February and the Memorial Day mattress sales in May. 

How good value this mattress is will depend on when you buy. Sitting at the top of the TechRadar best cheap mattress guide are the Siena memory foam mattress and the  Allswell (read TechRadar's Allswell mattress review). Both are typically a bit cheaper than the Layla Essential and similar quality. The Layla Essential does, however, compare favorably to most of today's best Amazon mattresses

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Layla Essential mattress review: Comfort & support

  • Layla calls it medium firm' but I found it medium (6 out of 10)
  • Most comfortable in back sleeping position
  • Heavier bodies may sink and misalign

As a lightweight sleeper, I found that the sleeping surface of the Layla Essential mattress gently hugged my body without fully sinking in across all positions. Since the top memory foam layer is only two inches thick, this wasn't too surprising.

I tested the mattress across all sleeping positions, and found it most comfortable for back sleeping. I felt that my full weight was supported without any pressure mounting up. Side sleeping, which I'm naturally prone to, wasn't exactly uncomfortable, but it didn't feel optimal either. In the long run, I think my hips would have tensed up more than they typically do. (For more options here, head to TechRadar's best mattress for side sleepers roundup.)

Layla Essential mattress

(Image credit: Future)

Stomach sleeping was in a similar middle ground. In general, most people who prefer stomach sleeping should choose a firmer mattress (eight or more out of 10) for optimal alignment – especially medium to heavier bodies.

According to the brand, the Layla Essential provides "just enough hug to support your body at critical pressure". It also deems it to be medium-firm. To objectively assess support, I placed a 55-pound kettlebell in the middle of the mattress, to mimic the sinkage from a person's body weight and center of gravity. I measured just shy of 3.25 inches of sinkage. Firmer mattresses with more robust support won't sink quite as much. Based on previous mattresses I've reviewed – as well as this kettlebell test – I believe a medium rating (6 out of 10) is more accurate.

All things considered, the Layla Essential mattress performs best for back sleeping and is most suitable for lightweight and medium-weight sleepers who prefer this position. Most stomach sleepers and heavier bodies should likely seek out firmer, more supportive alternatives.

Layla Essential mattress review: Performance

  • Decent temperature regulation for an all-foam design
  • Some motion transfer – not the best for couples or light sleepers
  • Noticeable sinkage when sitting along the edges

As well as assessing this mattress' comfort and support, I also tested for a range of other key performance criteria. Specifically: motion isolation, edge support and cooling. Here's how I got on.

Temperature regulation

A good night's sleep can be wrecked by overheating – whether that's primarily caused by a mattress, your body's own chemistry, or a mix of both. Although memory foam mattresses aren't inherently ideal to regulate temperature (they conform closely to the body and create opportunities to trap, rather than disperse, airflow), the Layla Essential takes care to address this.

Hand resting on the Layla Essential mattress cover

(Image credit: Future)

I run hot at night intermittently, part of which can be exacerbated by a lack of breathability in a mattress. During this review, I was glad to find that I didn't experience night sweats. (This was even more impressive given I did my testing at the height of summer in Los Angeles.) This is most likely attributed to the 2-inch top layer of Open Cell+ Memory Foam, which is designed to encourage airflow through the mattress. However, it's not very cool to the touch and simply won't provide the same breathability as a mattress that isn't all-foam. If you tend to run hot at night, I recommend considering a hybrid mattress (which tends to be more breathable as the springs create space for air to circulate) or shelling out on one of the best cooling mattresses.

  • Temperature regulation score: 4 out of 5

Motion isolation

I'm a solo sleeper, so motion isolation isn't my primary concern in a mattress. Regardless, I did another kettlebell test to see how light sleepers with a fidgety partner would fare with varying degrees of movement on the surface of the Layla Essential. I placed a wine glass in the center of the mattress, dropping a 10-pound kettlebell at 4, 10, and 25 inches away from it. The glass fell almost every time at 4 inches away, wobbled a moderate amount from 10 inches away, and moved only a small amount from 25 inches away.

These tests indicate that the Layla Essential doesn't excel at motion isolation, which could be a red flag for co-sleepers who rouse easily. Moreover, when the weight dropped, it made a notable slamming sound. This may be another deterrent for partnered sleepers, though perhaps not a solid pass for solo sleepers.

  • Motion isolation score: 3 out of 5

Edge support

Some mattresses have reinforced edges along the top/bottom and/or sides of the mattress. This helps to maximize the safe and usable sleeping / sitting surface area of the mattress. It also prevents early sagging, thus bolstering the mattress' durability and longevity. The Layla Essential doesn't reinforce its perimeter.

Layla Essential mattress

(Image credit: Future)

To assess the edge support objectively, I put the 55-pound kettlebell at the bottom and side of the mattress. The sinkage clocked in at approximately 3.5 inches. Since the sinkage was slightly less at the center of the mattress (about 3.25 inches), that's an indication of less-than-great edge support.

I never felt in danger of rolling off the mattress when lying down, but the lack of edge support was also pretty notable while sitting on the side of bed. This could be a dealbreaker for co-sleepers who require a bigger surface area. People who regularly sit on the bed's edge may also find that it's not as supportive as they'd like it to be, and that it may sag more rapidly than alternatives with robust edge support.

  • Edge support score: 3.5 out of 5

Layla Essential mattress review: Customer service

  • Mattress delivered vacuum-packed, rolled and boxed
  • Free doorstep shipping via Fedex Home Delivery to 48 states
  • No issues with off-gassing

Free shipping is always a perk, which Layla provides across all its mattress models. You're not able to choose a delivery window, but you can track shipping details and time estimates via FedEx.

The Layla Essential is delivered to your doorstep, vacuum-packed in two layers of plastic and rolled in a box. As a solo unboxer, I found the mattress to be super easy to roll and maneuver onto my bed frame. That's probably thanks to its slim profile, and it came as a welcome surprise. The mattress hissed only a mild amount once I unwrapped the first layer of plastic, and ceased by the time I cut open the thicker layer of plastic. As it began to expand, I could only notice a very light off-gassing odor when I sniffed it up close. However, I didn't detect an odor that night. (The brand says you can sleep on it directly after unboxing, but it'll expand completely within 24 hours. It felt fine to sleep on that night.) Again, both foams are CertiPUR-US certified, so a lack of safety wasn't a concern on the off-gassing front.

Image 1 of 3

Layla Essential mattress in its delivery box

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Layla Essential mattress vacuum-packed and rolled in plastic

(Image credit: Future)
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Layla Essential mattress

(Image credit: Future)

This mattress comes with a 10-year warranty and 120-night trial. Some brands offer longer trials and warranties, but this is decent for the price of the mattress. If you decide to buy via Amazon, make sure you read the small print on this – there are sometimes extra hoops to jump through to ensure your trial and warranty are honored. (And figuring out how to return a mattress to Amazon isn't always straightforward, either.)

  • Customer service score: 4 out of 5

Layla Essential mattress review: Specs

Layla Essential mattress review: Other reviews

  • Average 4.5 stars on brand website and Amazon
  • Happy customers cited great value for cost
  • Less satisfied customers noted poor edge support

The Layla Essential has only 12 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars on the brand's official product page November 2023). Amazon has a bit more to go on, with 68 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars. While this isn't a very sizable pool to run with, positive reviews across both sites commonly noted the value of the purchase… so long as it aligned with their preferences for firmness (neither too firm nor too soft) and sleeping positions. In addition, some commenters appreciated the early or on-time delivery. Others, like me, were pleased with the unboxing experience.

Less enthusiastic customers were unhappy with the firmess, whether they deemed it too firm or too soft for what they expected (firmness levels are highly subjective, so this type of criticism should be taken with a grain of salt – almost all mattress review sections are peppered with people complaining their purchase it too firm or too soft). Some experienced next-day pain and/or continuing pressure build-up across different sleeping positions. In addition, some customers called out the disappointing edge support – feeling as though they might roll off or that the mattress wouldn't hold up for as long as it should.

Layla Essential mattress

(Image credit: Layla)

Should you buy the Layla Essential mattress?

Buy it if...

✅ You're on a budget: The most appealing thing about the Layla Essential is probably its price. Depending on when and where you buy it, this mattress sits in the lower mid-range or budget brackets, and offers good value for that price. It's also the cheapest Layla by some way.

You're a back sleeper: During my review, I found this mattress comfiest for back sleeping. I'd specifically recommend it to light- to average-weight back sleepers, who should get on with this level of support. 

You sometimes sleep warm: All-foam mattresses, and especially budget-friendly ones, can run hot. I didn't have that issue with the Layla Essential, which stayed neutral throughout my testing period. 

Don't buy it if...

❌ You can afford to spend a bit more: While the Layla offers good value for its affordable price, if you can stretch to spend a bit more, the Nectar is TechRadar's #1 rated memory foam mattress, and comes with a full year's trial and forever warranty. Read more in our Nectar memory foam mattress review.  

You sleep on your stomach or weigh above average: The medium sleep feel and relatively shallow profile of the Layla Essential means it probably won't be supportive enough for anyone of heavier body weight, or stomach sleepers. A good, firmer, budget-friendly option is the Siena memory foam mattress, or if you're of very heavy body weight, head to TechRadar's roundup of the best mattresses for bigger bodies, and invest in a specialist option. 

You share a bed: I found the Layla Essential didn't isolate movements as effectively as many mattresses I've tested, which could be an issue for those who share a bed, especially if you're a light sleeper. If you can afford it, try one of Layla's pricier models – I was impressed with the motion isolation in my Layla Hybrid review

Layla Essential mattress review: Also consider

Nectar mattress
If you're okay with shelling out an extra hundred dollars or so (at evergreen sale price), check out Nectar's Memory Foam Mattress. With 5 layers of foam and 12-inch thickness at 6.5 out of 10 for firmness, it'll please a wider variety of sleepers, especially those who lie on their side – while optimizing comfort and support. Read more in our Nectar Mattress review.View Deal

Layla Memory Foam mattress
Intrigued by the Layla brand but want to upgrade to a cooler, more co-sleeper friendly model? Their standard Memory Foam mattress offers 10.5 inches of height plus the unique option to flip the mattress for different levels of firmness (4 out of 10 on the soft side, 7 out of 10 on the firm side). You'll also get additional cooling, pressure relief, and motion transfer thanks to copper gel foam, which are sure to please a wider range of sleepers.

How I tested the Layla Essential mattress

I slept on the Layla Essential mattress for three weeks in August in Los Angeles, where nights were cool enough as far as peak summer goes, averaging around mid-60s Fahrenheit. (I usually slept with a ceiling fan on and next to a partially open window, but did not sleep with the air conditioning on overnight.) During testing, I used bamboo sheets and a duvet, often sleeping on top of both and using a throw blanket instead. In addition to reviewing this mattress based on my own body type, needs, and preferences, I did several weighted tests to objectively assess features including softness, motion isolation, and edge support.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: November 2023
Suunto Wing review: Bone conduction headphone tech with added toughness
8:00 pm | November 11, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Suunto Wing: One minute review

Wing is Finnish brand Suunto’s first foray into the best bone conduction headphones market, and while it may be dominated by Shokz (formerly AfterShokz), there is clearly room for more players here. 

Suunto is best known for making some of the best running watches, including the Suunto 9 Peak Pro, and it brings with it a wealth of outdoor experience which really shows in Wing. It’s well-designed in that it feels tough and built to withstand whatever you can throw at it.

The addition of a carry-case that doubles up as a charger is brilliant, as it extends battery life to more than 20 hours, which is perfect for ultra-endurance athletes or off-grid enthusiasts. It’s unusual to find in connected bone conduction headsets, and it’s nice to see tech common in the best workout earbuds make its way here. 

Plus, the decision to place customizable LED safety lights at the flanks is proof that Suunto really understands its audience. These are people trail-running in the wilderness or forging new pathways at the weekends.

The biggest issue facing bone conduction technology is the sound quality and anyone making the leap from respected in-ear or over-ear headphones will likely be disappointed. But the additional spatial awareness afforded by open-ear headphones designed for outdoor sports unfortunately comes with a little audio quality compromise and it is the same story here. 

Suunto Wing: Specifications

Suunto Wing: Price and availability

Suunto Wing bone conduction headphones

(Image credit: Future)
  • $199 in the US
  • £169 in the UK
  • AUS $319 in Australia

Suunto Wing is, quite predictably, available to buy from the brand’s own website, where it retails at $199 / £169 / AUS $319.

Suunto also sells via online retailers, such as Amazon, although stock has been a little patchy at time of writing. Failing that, it is also available via some outdoors and sports retailers, such as BikeInn, but prices are standardized across the board, so it’s currently tricky to find a bargain.

The only variable available to the customer is color, with Suunto Wing coming in either a stealthy all-black offering or a slightly more noticeable black and red. Both pack the same price tag: more than the Shokz OpenRun Pro, its nearest competitor. 

  • Value score: 3/5

Suunto WIng: Design

  • Lightweight, tough titanium alloy structure
  • Three-button controls
  • Bold design, attractive red colorway

Most bone conduction headphones look largely the same: the general theme sees two buds that sit just in front of the ear, conjoined by some sort of metallic band that is covered in a softer material so it doesn’t rub on the back of the neck.

To that extent, the design of the Suunto Wing is nothing revolutionary, but it feels altogether more premium as soon as you lift it out of the equally bougie box. The Suunto branding is bold and the color choice looks good, particularly with the red highlights on the model that I tested.

Suunto opts for a titanium alloy structure, covered in soft silicone, for its band, which proves both lightweight and tough. The buds that conduct sound to the inner ear via a series of vibrations are also covered in soft silicone and feel comfortable against the skin.

Control is taken care of by a trio of buttons that, although small, are easy to locate once familiar with the system. The main multi-function button on the right-hand earbud takes care of most functionality, as it is possible to answer calls, play music, and skip tracks with a combination of clicks.

Arguably coolest of all are the three red LEDs that sit on either side of Wing, which can be turned on or off (or cycled through the various flashing modes) by long-holding the volume down button, or through the Suunto smartphone app when the headphones are paired. For some reason, it reminded me of The Predator’s laser-targeting vision.

Finally, and perhaps what sets Suunto apart from rivals, is the unique charging dock that not only stores the headphones neatly when not in use, but also adds additional battery power every time the Wing is mounted. It’s a slick piece of design that features its own red LED lights that reveal the charge level of both the dock and the headphones. 

  • Design score: 4/5

Suunto Wing: Features

Suunto Wing bone conduction headphones

(Image credit: Future)
  • 20Hz bone conductive technology
  • IP67 water resistance rating
  • Three hours of audio on 10-minute charge

The technology that powers Suunto Wing is housed within the two buds at the end of the band. These then sit on the jawbone of the wearer and send frequencies in the range of 20Hz~20kHz through the bone structure and into the inner ear.

This leaves the ear canal open to natural sounds from the environment, making bone conduction technology a lot safer to use when you need your wits about you - i.e. trail running or even cycling on a busy road.

Built tough, the Wing has been IP67 rated for water, dust and muck resistance, meaning they can be submerged in water up to a maximum depth of 10m for around 30 minutes. Granted, they aren’t fully waterproof and as such, aren’t sold as a device to lap the local pool in, but can handle most other situations. Suunto has also implemented a microphone into the design, which allows the wearer to make and receive hands-free calls. 

There is also head movement control that gives the option to answer or reject incoming calls and skip tracks with various head movements, like nodding or shaking your noggin. This is fully controllable through Suunto’s smartphone app and you can easily turn the feature off if you don’t like it. 

Again, the power bank that comes with the Suunto Wing is fairly novel, as it adds a further 20 hours of music playtime to an already impressive battery life and delivers three hours of audio via a quick 10-minute charge. It’s small enough, unobtrusive and designed to fend off the worst of the elements, so can be shoved in a backpack or bundled into some bike luggage and taken along for the adventure.

  • Features score: 4/5

Suunto Wing: Performance

Suunto Wing bone conduction headphones

(Image credit: Future)
  • Better audio than Shokz
  • Tangible vibration
  • Fends off rain

If you test Suunto Wing back-to-back with its closest rival, which in this case is arguably the Shokz OpenRun Pro in terms of price and features, Suunto’s offering comes out on top of the audio quality battle.

Bass is handled better and the overall experience isn’t as tinny. But let’s be real, the sound quality is still pretty bad. I found that I had to pump music up to high volumes to hear it over the general noise of traffic or the rush of trees flowing past on a gravel ride.

The brain is clever, and it tunes into the bone conduction technology after a few minutes, doing its best to block out ambient noise until it is required, but I still couldn’t get into my favourite musical tracks and playlists.

Instead, I opted to binge podcasts and audiobooks as a preferred distraction when out on a boring run or long hike. The sonic spectrum of a podcast is more limited than, say, a Slipknot track, so I found it much easier to tune into. With music, I found my brain tuned out after a while and often stopped listening altogether, with music becoming a sort of faint backing track.

Another issue that blights bone conduction technology is increased tangible vibration at higher volume. In other words, you can physically feel the headphones shake if you turn things up too loud, which can be off-putting.

In terms of fit, I found them comfortable and secure. The design is such that they don’t bounce or rub around the back of the neck when jogging, trail running or participating in other energetic tasks. They are also tough, and will withstand a fair amount of rolling around the bottom of a gym bag without worrying about providing an additional carry case.

With regards to water-proofing, I didn’t want to test these in a pool, seeing as they are not really marketed as waterproof headphones, but the IP67 rating states it can happily undergo “short periods of immersion”. I can say they will happily fend off a deluge when you are out running. In fact, I can’t remember a run I’ve been on in the last month that hasn’t been damp and dismal.

  • Performance score: 5/5

Suunto Wing: Scorecard

Suunto Wing: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Siena Memory Foam Mattress review: Sleep tight on a tight budget
3:51 pm | November 8, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Mattresses Sleep | Comments: Off

Siena mattress review: Two-minute review

The Siena Memory Foam Mattress made quite the entrance in March 2022 with a markdown from its already-low MSRP. It's remained on sale ever since, and sits solidly in budget mattress territory – but based on my hands-on experience, I believe the Siena is not only the best cheap mattresses on the market right now, but also holds its own against some of the best mattresses with heftier price tags.

During August 2022, I slept on a twin Siena mattress and had a diverse group of five testers nap on it, as well. My full review is below, complete with all of the details. But if you're pressed for time, here's the abridged version...

Siena memory foam mattress on a twin platform bed frame

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

The 10-inch Siena features three foam layers, capped with a polyester top cover and a shift-resistant bottom cover. This diverges from the single- and dual-layer construction typically found among budget memory foam mattresses. Since my initial review, the Siena has had a minor redesign: the base layer is shorter, the comfort layer has increased in height, and the top memory foam layer is half an inch smaller. Plus, the top polyester cover no longer has polyethylene fibers to aid with moisture-wicking. The core materials, however, remain the same.

Despite these modifications, I think the Siena will maintain its overall level of performance, and may even have a more balanced feel. My fellow testers and I found the Siena decidedly firm, collectively rating it a 9 out of 10 on the firmness scale. (Siena's self-assessment is a 6.5, or medium-firm.) Thus, the Siena will likely resonate with front and back sleepers who want the support of a firm mattress with minimal give sag. Dedicated side sleepers might grapple with its unyielding surface, and those with joint pain might yearn for deeper pressure relief.

Surprisingly, the Siena was a welcome reprieve from one of the hottest summers on record. Its cooling prowess exceeded expectations and should be suitable for most sleepers; although those who excessively overheat may need something more specialized. Meanwhile, the Siena's excellent motion isolation makes it a sound choice for couples, and I can personally vouch for its stable edges as someone who relied on them for support during recovery from a back injury.

In terms of value, the Siena is a gem. It comes with a 180-night trial – that's half a year to try it out at home, a rarity for mattresses in this price bracket. (It's backed by a 10-year warranty, too). I doubt prices will get much lower during November's Black Friday mattress deals, but the Siena is already competitively priced year-round, so there's really no need to wait for the right time to buy.

Siena mattress review: Materials & design

  • A 10-inch mattress with three foam layers
  • Minor change in design since its release in 2022
  • Polyester cover isn't removable

The Siena has undergone a minor facelift since I originally tested it in September 2022. Originally, the Siena featured a 5.5-inch polyfoam base layer (for stability), two inches of rippled transitional foam (for cushioning and improved airflow), and a 2.5-inch layer of gel-infused memory foam (for cooling and contouring).

Today, the Siena's base polyfoam layer and support foam layer each measure four inches, while the top gel-infused memory foam layer is now two inches. These tweaks may give the Siena a more balanced bed feel than I experienced a year ago.

The top cover is still made of soft polyester, though the polyethylene weave (for moisture-wicking) appears to be missing now. (The shift-resistant bottom cover is also polyester.) The cover isn't removable so you'll certainly want to invest in one of the best mattress protectors to shield it from spills and stains.

Design changes aside, the Siena still boasts one of the most complex builds I've seen from a cheap memory foam mattress. With a total of five layers, it's similar in build to its mid-range sibling, the Nectar. (For the lowdown on that, read our Nectar Mattress review.) 

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Siena mattress review: Price & value for money

Since it entered the market in March 2022, the Siena has never sold at its suggested retail price. At launch, it was already $200 off. That discount eventually increased to $300, bringing the price of a queen to a mere $399.

Siena's early Black Friday mattress deals advertise a hefty 50% off all beds, but this is somewhat deceptive as the brand has quietly bumped up list prices in the process. Take a closer look and you'll find these are just Siena's standard sale prices.

Regardless, the Siena is quite a steal for a five-layer memory foam mattress. That value becomes even sweeter with the inclusion of a 180-night trial period – generous for a budget bed. There's also a 10-year warranty, which is comfortably within the industry average. While the Siena doesn’t come bundled with freebies, shoppers do have the chance to add a bedding bundle at a bargain price of $99 (a $499 value).

  • Value for money score: 5 out of 5

Siena mattress review: Comfort & support

  • Officially rated medium-firm but many find it much firmer
  • Excellent support for front and back sleeping
  • Lack of 'hug' may deter side sleepers and those with back pain 

In August 2022, I spent a whole month sleeping on a twin Siena mattress. I'm a 5ft 4, 140lb side/front sleeper with a nagging lower back injury. However, I couldn't be the only one to try it out so I asked five other adults to sleep on the Siena to help me gauge its performance across a spectrum of body types and sleep needs.

Siena rates its memory foam mattress at a 6.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale (medium-firm). My panel and I felt much differently as we unanimously determined it was a much firmer bed. Collectively, we rated it a 9 out of 10 on the firmness scale. Of course, with the recent tweaks in Siena’s foam layer structure, there's a possibility it now skews softer, but if the most recent customer reviews are to be believed, plenty of sleepers still find it decidedly firm.

The side and back sleepers among us said the Siena struck a nice balance of comfort and support, providing just enough give along our joints and lower backs. As someone who occasionally sleeps on their stomach, I found the Siena kept me well-aligned.

However, as a dominant side sleeper, I needed a week to properly break in the Siena. It was initially too rigid along my hips and shoulders (the best mattresses for side sleepers tend to be a bit softer). I eventually settled into it and (fortunately) didn't have any pain. That wasn't the case for one of the back sleepers in my group. At 5ft7in and 210lbs, he found the Siena too unyielding, and he ultimately developed a lower backache after a few moments of resting on it.

Siena memory foam mattress with a 50lb kettlebell in the middle to test pressure relief

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

To objectively test the Siena's pressure relief, I placed a 50lb kettlebell in the middle of the mattress. The weight sank roughly an inch into the surface, which immediately snapped back to form once I removed the weight. That matches what we human testers experienced.

So who will like the Siena? It seems to be a match for back and stomach sleepers who prefer firmer support. Side sleepers might also enjoy it if they don't like anything too plush but overall I’m hesitant to recommend it exclusively for side sleeping – nor would I consider it an ideal mattress for back pain since there's not much pressure relief.

Again, the latest design changes could theoretically offer a more nuanced feel, but recent customer feedback suggests that many still find the Siena firmer than anticipated.

Siena mattress review: Performance

  • Sleeps cooler than expected
  • Edges are stable all around
  • Minimal motion transfer

During my month with the Siena mattress, I performed a series of tests to evaluate its temperature regulation, motion isolation, and edge support – all according to TechRadar's mattress methodology. Here are the results...

 Temperature regulation

I slept on the Siena in August, which was the perfect chance for me to test the efficacy of its cooling materials. It includes a layer of rippled comfort foam to improve airflow and a gel-infused memory foam to help dissipate heat.

Despite my tendency to occasionally overheat, I didn't wake up sweaty once with the Siena. Whether I dressed the mattress in 100% cotton sheets or a cotton-polyester blend, I remained comfortably cool beneath my mid-weight polyester comforter.

Siena memory foam mattress with tester's hand on top cover

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

The Siena’s firmness potentially helps with its temperature control. Memory foam mattresses are prone to trapping heat with their enveloping sink. Instead, my fellow testers and I felt like we were slightly hovering right above the surface of the Siena, mitigating the potential for overheating.

The Siena mattress will keep most sleepers at a comfortable temperature. However, chronically hot sleepers should consider a specialized cooling mattress crafted with innovative materials designed to ward off night sweats and hot flashes.

(Note: The original Siena included polyethylene fibers woven into the cover for moisture-wicking. Although this appears to have been phased out, I doubt its absence will dramatically compromise the Siena’s temperature regulation.)

  • Temperature regulation score: 4 out of 5

Motion isolation

To test the motion isolation on my twin Siena mattress, I conducted a series of drop tests using a 10-pound weight and an empty wine glass. I positioned the weight 25 inches from the wine glass and dropped it from three distinct heights: four inches (to simulate tossing and turning(, eight inches (to simulate someone climbing in or out of bed(, and 12 inches (to simulate the impact of jumping in or out of bed).

The wine glass remained virtually motionless throughout each drop, and the weight had a slight bounce before coming to rest on the surface. This suggests that the Siena mattress has superb motion isolation, making it a great choice for anyone sharing a bed with a restless partner or an enthusiastic pet.

  • Motion isolation score: 4.5 out of 5

Edge support

At the time of testing, I was recovering from another flare-up of my back injury, which meant I had to sit on the side of the bed before standing up. Luckily, the Siena has superb edge support, which made my morning wake-ups much less painful. The rest of my review panel said they felt secure when seated on the corner or along the side. Minimal compression made it easy to push up.

Siena memory foam mattress with a 50lb weight on the edge

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

For an objective look, I placed a 50lb weight along the perimeter. It compressed about an inch, the same measurement I recorded when testing the pressure relief in the center of the bed. The edges shouldn't dip lower than the middle, so the Siena aces this portion of the test.

Conclusion: if you intend to use every inch of your sleep surface, you'll be well-supported by the Siena – whether you sleep in a twin (like I do) or something larger.

  • Edge support score:  5 out of 5

Should you buy the Siena mattress

Buy it if…

✅ You're a back or front sprawler: With its firm feel and stable edges, the Siena is inviting for front and back sleepers who like to stretch out comfortably.

✅ You share a bed with an active partner: The Siena's top-notch motion isolation bodes well if you want to sleep uninterrupted amidst your partner's flopping.

✅ You're on a strict budget: At $399 for a queen, the Siena is one of the most affordable mattresses out there. The six-month trial is a nice bonus, too.

Don't buy it if…

You're a dedicated side sleeper: Side sleepers who want a mattress that molds to their body may find the Siena too stiff. Our roundup of the best mattresses for side sleepers can point you in a cushier direction.

You crave a traditional memory foam feel: Those in pursuit of a body-hugging foam mattress will find the Siena lacking. Consider its mid-priced sibling, the Nectar mattress, for a more typical memory foam experience.

You deal with severe overheating: While the Siena slept surprisingly cool for me, it may not suffice for chronically hot sleepers. For an all-foam bed tailored for cooler slumber, check out our Cocoon by Sealy Chill mattress review.

How I tested the Siena mattress

I slept on a twin Siena Memory Foam Mattress for four weeks in August 2022. During that time, I was running my central air as we were in the midst of some dreadfully hot weather. I dressed the mattress in either 100% cotton or cotton/polyester bed sheets, with a mid-weight polyester comforter on top.

I'm a 5-foot-4 side/stomach sleeper who at the time weighed 140lbs and was struggling with yet another flare-up of my lower back pain. To supplement my experience, I had five other adults nap on the Siena for at least 15 minutes in their usual positions and sit along the edge. Testers ranged in size from 5-foot-4 and 126lbs to 6-foot and 215lbs. 

To objectively gauge the Siena's performance, I conducted a series of standardized tests. I used a 50lb weight to evaluate pressure relief and edge support, and a 10lb weight plus an empty wine glass to observe the motion isolation.

Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress review: sustainable slumber at a fantastic value
10:54 am | November 5, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Mattresses Sleep | Tags: | Comments: Off

Awara mattress review: Two-minute review

The Awara Natural Hybrid mattress is something of an anomaly among latex beds due to its affordable price. Most of today's best organic mattresses are expensive, but the Awara consistently sits in the mid-range price bracket – a queen size goes for less than $950 during regular sales. But does this affordable natural mattress have a glaring compromise in quality? Quite the contrary – it's an impressively durable bed.

In January 2022, I slept on a twin Awara mattress and assembled a panel of five diverse testers to help me assess its features. Our collective verdict? The Awara ranks among the best mattresses for those who favor a firmer sleeping surface with gentle pressure relief. My full review is below but if the Internet has spoilt your attention span, here's the two-minute version...

Awara mattress on a twin platform bed

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

The Awara is a mattress in a box constructed of 8-inch springs, two inches of Rainforest Alliance-certified Dunlop latex, and a blend of organic cotton and New Zealand wool on top. Setup is seamless – and four side handles make moving the mattress a much less taxing task. The Awara boasts a number of highly-regarded third-party environmental and safety certifications to add to its eco-friendly cred. 

When I first lay on the Awara, I was shocked by its firmer surface, but its latex comfort layer immediately molded to the shape of my body for ample support and just enough pressure relief – no matter if I rested on my side, stomach, or back. Everyone in my testing panel found it comfortable but side sleepers who crave more cushioning, as well as sleepers under 130lbs, may find it too unyielding (the best mattresses for side sleepers tend to be on the softer side, with plenty of contouring). 

Good news if you're prone to overheating at night (like me): the Awara is one well-ventilated mattress. It's not a specialty cooling mattress, but latex, cotton, and wool are some of the most breathable materials on the planet. The individually wrapped coils help keep the air flowing, too. 

Edge support is excellent so you can sprawl out or sit on the sides or corners without fear of falling off the bed. However, Awara's one area of weakness is motion isolation. The buoyant latex and springy coils make for a bouncy, responsive bed. Couples will be more inclined to feel each other's movements, which could lead to frequent and unpleasant nightly wakeups. On the other hand, solo sleepers who switch positions during the night will love it.

The amenities are impressive. Awara includes a one-year sleep trial plus a forever warranty with purchase. Returns are also free, and the brand will help you donate it to charity or responsibly dispose it. Among current Black Friday mattress deals, Awara's is already one of the best out there, yielding historical price lows after up to $765 off. Given the effects of inflation over the last several years, this is a rare thing to witness now.

Awara mattress review: Materials & design

  • A 10-inch hybrid mattress with three layers
  • Uses Rainforest Alliance-certified Dunlop latex
  • Includes four side handles for easy moving

There are three primary layers that make up the Awara Natural Hybrid mattress: a sturdy base of 8-inch individually wrapped coils, a 2-inch comfort layer of Rainforest Alliance-certified Dunlop latex, and a soft cover that's a blend of organic cotton and New Zealand wool. Combined, these layers offer a responsive and breathable sleep surface, with gentle contouring to ease your joints. Latex is often used in organic mattresses as a natural alternative to synthetic foams (see how the two compare in our memory foam versus latex mattress explainer). Bonus: latex is hypoallergenic so it's also great for sleepers with asthma or airborne allergies.

Setup is simple – just remove it from the box, unroll it on your bedframe, and remove the plastic (a process made easier thanks to the included credit card-sized cutter). Everything is structurally kept in place via a shift-resistant bottom cover. Four reinforced side handles will make the mattress much easier to move, which will be useful if you move house often.

Awara's commitment to producing an eco-friendly bed is highlighted by its array of environmental certifications, which include the aforementioned Rainforest Alliance, Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX, UL GREENGUARD Gold, and the Forest Stewardship Council. These standards ensure that the Awara's materials are sustainably sourced, low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and free from toxic chemicals. The Awara is also a fiberglass-free mattress; it uses a chemical-free flame retardant.

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Awara mattress review: Price & value for money

  • Never sold at MSRP, sits in the mid-range price bracket
  • One of the cheapest and best value natural mattresses around
  • Full year's trial and forever warranty are very generous

Like many bed brands, Awara runs a perpetual discount; you'll never have to pay full MSRP. Based on the regular discounted price, the Awara Natural Hybrid sits in the mid-range price bracket, with a queen size costing around $999. That makes it one of the cheapest natural mattresses around, and excellent value for money.

Deals on the Awara don't tend to fluctuate as regularly as they do with other sleep brands, but if it is going to unveil an especially good price, it'll be for the Black Friday mattress deals in November. 

Awara is the natural mattress brand within the Resident Home umbrella, which also includes mattress heavyweights Nectar and DreamCloud. As such, you'll get basically the same, ultra-generous package of extras, including a full year's trial period and forever warranty. All of Resident's brands shine when it comes to value for money.

Awara mattress review: Comfort & support

  • A firm (8 out of 10) mattress with subtle contouring
  • Offers ample support and comfort for most sleepers
  • Side sleepers and petite individuals may want a plusher bed

In addition to myself – a 5-foot-4, 140lb side/stomach sleeper with back pain – I also asked five other adults to sleep on the Awara mattress. We have diverse body types and sleep preferences, which afforded me a broader look at how well this organic hybrid mattress performs.

Awara calls its mattress 'luxury firm,' or a 7 out of 10 on the firmness scale – but my group collectively rated it an 8 out of 10.  While some of us initially found it a bit too unyielding, we appreciated how quickly the Dunlop latex subtly contoured our bodies, offering just enough pressure relief without significant sinkage. 

Mattress tester lying on her side on the Awara mattress

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

My lone back-sleeping participant said he felt like he was floating on top of the mattress yet adequately supported. Meanwhile, the side sleepers in my panel (myself included) were comfortable on the Awara – despite its firmer-than-average surface, all of us felt just enough give along our shoulders and hips. Even the pregnant side sleeper in my group liked how the Awara gently cradled her belly.

As the only combi sleeper among all the testers, shifting from my side to my stomach was effortless thanks to the responsiveness of the Awara's Dunlop latex and springs. Plus, when resting on my front I didn't feel my pelvis dip below the rest of my body, helping me avoid my nagging lower back pain.

Pressure relief test using a 50lb weight on the Awara mattress

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

To further test the Awara's pressure relief, I placed a 50lb weight at the center of the mattress. This created a minimal dip (about an inch), and the bed quickly returned to form once I removed the weight. This assessment aligns with the minimal sinkage we human testers experienced.

While everyone in my testing group found the Awara's comfort to their liking, side sleepers who prefer a plusher feel and smaller-framed people who weigh under 130lbs might think it's too firm. For them, a memory foam mattress (or a memory foam hybrid) may be a better fit. 

  • Comfort score: 4.5 out of 5

Awara mattress review: Performance

  • Excellent temperature regulation – good for hot sleepers
  • Too much motion transfer so not ideal for couples
  • Edges are sturdy for sitting and sprawling

I slept on a twin Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress for one month, during which I tested it in all key areas of performance according to TechRadar's mattress methodology. Here's how it fared...

 Temperature regulation

I slept on the Awara mattress in the wintertime, so the real test here was to see how well it could regulate my body temperature upon cranking the heat and layering the fabrics. (I'm also prone to overheating at night, regardless of the season.)

Between latex's natural ability to draw away heat and the airflow created by the layer of coils, I didn't break a sweat once and remained perfectly cozy, even on the coldest nights. The organic cotton and New Zealand wool cover was not only lusciously soft, but it did a stellar job of wicking away moisture, too.

The Awara may not be a proper cooling mattress, but given the breathability of its materials, I think it's a sound choice for sleepers who don't want night sweats or hot flashes to keep them up at night. 

  • Temperature regulation score: 4 out of 5

Motion isolation

The Awara is a remarkably bouncy, responsive mattress. This appeals to me as a solo sleeper who switches positions at night. However, anyone who shares a bed with their partner, kids, and/or pets will feel less enthused. 

To gauge the Awara's motion isolation on my twin-size bed, I conducted a drop test using an empty wine glass and a 10lb weight. Mimicking the actions of a restless partner or a lively pet, I simulated three common bed disturbances: tossing and turning, getting in and out of bed, and jumping on the bed. I dropped the weight from 4, 8, and 12 inches above the bed to represent each scenario, respectively, and measured the effect roughly 25 inches away from the wine glass.

Awara mattress drop test for motion isolation with a 10lb weight and empty wine glass

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

The wine glass didn't topple too much but I did notice the surface dip slightly beneath the glass. More telling was the weight itself, which bounced several times before settling into the mattress. Given the natural buoyancy of latex, these results didn't surprise me.

Thus, the Awara isn't the best choice if you don't want to be disturbed by your partner's movements – whether they fidget a lot in their sleep or operate on a different schedule than you do. For an organic mattress with superb motion transfer properties, read TechRadar's Avocado Green mattress review.

  • Motion isolation score: 3 out of 5

Edge support

Sturdy edges are essential for any mattress, regardless of size. Whether you tend to roll towards the edges in your sleep or sit on the side prior to getting up out of bed, you don't want to feel as if you'll topple overboard. 

Unfortunately, some brands skimp on edge support, especially for solo sleeper beds. However, this isn't the case with the Awara. My testers and I experienced solid support whether we sat on the corners or the sides. Although the mattress did obviously compress under our weight, we never felt unstable or at risk of sliding off.

I also placed a 50lb weight along the middle perimeter, measuring about an inch of sinkage – the same amount I observed when I placed the weight at the dead center of the mattress. Ideally, the edges shouldn't dip lower than the middle, so the Awara gets a passing grade in this area.

The Awara ranks among the best mattresses I've tested for robust edge support. It's proof that stable edges are possible for even the smallest of beds.

  • Edge support score: 4.5 out of 5

Should you buy the Awara mattress

Buy it if…

✅ You're a fan of firm beds: The Awara's firm surface will appeal to to front and back sleepers – and even side sleepers who eschew overly plush beds will find it comfortably supportive.

✅ You use every inch of your mattress: The Awara's sturdy sides and corners will sufficiently accommodate those who like to sprawl out or need a stable edge to sit on. If you're prone to rolling toward the edge in your sleep, don't worry about falling overboard.

✅ You care about saving the planet (and your money): Organic mattresses often command a higher cost but the Awara's mid-range price makes eco-friendly sleep much more accessible. Add in a year-long sleep trial and a lifetime warranty and you have an tremendous value.

Don't buy it if…

❌ You share a bed: The Awara's bouncy, responsive surface is great for solo sleepers who toss and turn at night – but this could be bothersome for couples or anyone who shares a bed with a lively pet.

❌ You like the sink-in sensation of memory foam: Sleepers seeking the deep embrace of memory foam won't find it here. The Awara's latex comfort layer imparts a firmer touch with limited contouring. TechRadar's best memory foam mattress guide provides a range of alternatives at different price points, but in the #1 spot you'll find the Nectar memory foam mattress

❌ You weigh under 130lbs: Firmness is a matter of personal preference but if you're a smaller-framed individual who weighs under 130lbs, the Awara's firmness and limited give might be too rigid for your liking. Our organic mattress guide has models in a range of firmness profiles, including some that fall into the 'plush' category, like the WinkBeds EcoCloud hybrid

A tired tabby sleeps at the foot of the Awara mattress

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

How I tested the Awara mattress

I slept on a twin Awara Natural Hybrid mattress for four weeks in January 2022. Since I tested this mattress during the winter, I cranked my central heating system while layering my pajamas. I dressed the mattress in either 100% cotton or cotton/polyester bed sheets, with a mid-weight polyester comforter on top.

In addition to myself – a 5-foot04, 140lb side/stomach sleeper – I asked five other adults to nap on the Awara mattress for at least 15 minutes in their preferred positions. These testers ranged in size from 5-foot-4 and 126lbs to 6-foot and 215lbs – and one participant was even seven months pregnant at the time.

To supplement my real world experience, I also conducted several standardized tests to objectively gauge the Awara's performance. I used a 50lb weight to evaluate pressure relief and edge support, and a 10lb weight plus an empty wine glass to observe the motion isolation.

Garmin Forerunner 965 review: That AMOLED screen brings it all together –watch out Apple
6:00 pm | October 29, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Smartwatches | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Garmin Forerunner 965: One minute review

This is the watch that takes one of the best Apple watch features and adds it to Garmin – that stunning AMOLED display. Yet, this manages to offer at least five days more battery life than almost any of the other competition with the same display.

To be clear, this model comes as a screen upgrade following the release of the very similar Forerunner 955, nine months before. So while the upgrades from that to this aren't huge, it's worth noting that the model was a near-perfect jump forward anyway. Add this screen and it's a real heavy hitter. Garmin also released the Forerunner 265 alongside this model, also packing an AMOLED screen but at a lower price point.

For anyone who wants one of the best multisport watches you can buy, the 965 is – as you can see from the star rating – where it's at. As such the price is representative of what you get, meaning it's high.

For what you get this justifies that cost, as this review will clarify. In short, it's got astonishing battery performance, a beautiful display, super accurate location and heart rate tracking plus lots of other smart metrics including new running dynamics without the need for an extra sensor. This is one of the best Garmin watches, so is this the ultimate sports watch?

Garmin Forerunner 965: Specifications

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Garmin Forerunner 965: Price and Availability

  • £600 in the UK 
  • $600 in the US
  • AU$999 in Australia

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is definitely one of the more expensive options from the company but that's because it comes packing all the best features rolled into one wonder device. As such you're looking at a price of US$600 / £600 / AU$999.

Of course these are the at-launch prices, so you can expect these to drop as new models come out. It's also worth taking sales into consideration as you can often find deals on even the best Garmin models during these times.

That said, you may find that the Garmin Forerunner 955, which is nearly identical aside from that screen upgrade, can be had at a cheaper price. And if you go for the 955 Solar you'll get a bit more out of your battery performance too.

  •  Value score: 4/5 

Garmin Forerunner 965: Design and screen

Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Future)
  • 1.4-inch AMOLED display
  • Titanium bezel
  • Comfy silicone strap, 22mm QuickFit compatible

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is all about that superb 1.4-inch AMOLED display which looks superb. It's not only rich with colors and crisp definition between light and dark, but it also has a fantastic 454 x 454-pixel resolution, plus it's super bright. 

All that equates to a screen you can read in any light or situation – including underwater – with lots of data at a glance. You can also activate the always-on display and since this is super low energy consuming that won't even affect battery life much.

Plus it's all coated in a Gorilla Glass DX outer layer which should mean it stays scratch-free too. In our months of using this, including throwing it in bags, there's not a mark on it.

Upgraded from the previous generation is the bezel too, which is now made of lightweight and hardy titanium. This is the metal they put in your body if you have an operation – as it's so nonreactive and won't be affected by moisture – meaning this should stay in perfect condition longer than you're alive.

The strap comes in three options Amp Yellow/Black, Black/Powder Grey, or Whitestone/Powder Grey. In all cases, there is a double clasp, malleable and comfy silicone strap and it can be swapped out as it uses the Garmin 22mm QuickFit system. 

Since everything is waterproof to 50 meters it's also super simple to give it a clean by washing under the tap or in the shower – which in reviewing for months was found to keep it looking as good as new.

  • Design score: 5/5

Garmin Forerunner 965: Features

Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Future)
  • Offline maps
  • Heart Rate Variability
  • Contactless payments

The Garmin Forerunner 965 crams in nearly all the best features developed over the years, making this a powerhouse of a sports watch. That means it'll track most sports, with over 30 including triathlon and multisport-specific tracking with one-touch transitions. But it does all this with lots and lots of data.

Of course, you have the ever-impressive accuracy of the Garmin when it comes to multi-GNSS GPS but this also packs in heart rate monitoring which offers Heart Rate Variability, VO2 Max, stress tracking, sleep tracking, all-day HR tracking, and more. 

All that means lots of data to work with, not only while training, but also to help advise when you need to rest and even make suggestions on workouts to hit goals. This includes last year's Training Readiness score, recovery times, workload readouts, race predictions (a nifty running feature that uses your training to predict what time you'll get during a marathon, half-marathon, 10k etc), and more. 

That's a whole list of features and it can seem overwhelming, but the watch and Garmin Connect app do feed it to you in a way that is helpful. You can then decide to add more data or strip it back as needed to suit your workout style and goals.

You also have some great day-to-day functionality with contactless pay, onboard Spotify music, offline maps, find my phone, flashlight screen feature, sleep tracking, step tracking and plenty more to be found in the IQ App Store. This isn't comparable to Apple or Android app stores, so don't expect full smartwatch functionality. But it's enough to keep you focused while also being alerted when needed.

Everything can be organized well, and that means moving icons about on your watch or using folders, but also in data screens when training. Everything can be made bespoke, even the clock face, to suit what data you need to see. Plus you've now got more data options than ever, but more on that in the next section.

  • Features score: 5/5

Garmin Forerunner 965: Performance

Garmin Forerunner 965

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  • Accurate heart rate data
  • Superb running metrics
  • Useful VO2 data

The Garmin Forerunner 965 sounds fantastic when you look at the specs but did that actually translate into real-world performance experience? The short answer is yes. As you can expect from Garmin, the GPS accuracy was fantastic as was acquisition – in fact, this would find satellites and be ready to go in just a few seconds. This was tested all over the country, and in one rural area, it found GPS and was ready to go in just two seconds. 

The only issue noticed was at the start of the Great North Run annual race, where my data was different to others running right next to me, but that could be down to their older watches versus this more accurate one.

Heart rate tracking was as impressive. When tested against a dedicated chest strap (Wahoo Tickr) it was found to keep up accurately, although, of course, there was a little more lag in sudden HR changes, since this is on your wrist not right by your heart. Even while swimming this offered excellent heart rate tracking which could actually be used thanks to that easy-to-glance-at display.

So a very accurate GPS and a reliable HR monitor all make for lots of data that can then be used with Garmin algorithms to work out more useful metrics. As such this watch offers Heart Rate Variability, so you can see how your actual cardiovascular fitness is changing as you train. There's a VO2 Max measurement to assess how well you can perform under strain. 

Plus, you have acute load measured to assess the impact on your muscles as you work. All that means the watch will let you know when to rest, and what training you need (cardio versus weights, for example) so you get to where you need.

Battery life is also worth a mention as this offers a massive 23 days on standby, 31 hours in GPS mode, and 10.5 hours with GPS and music playing. All that translates to a charge very rarely, even if you train a lot. So you won't need to take a charger if going away for a race weekend, for example. Plus it charges ridiculously fast, up to a percentage a minute.

This could go on for thousands of words, such is the depth of this watch. But just to mention this model adds in running dynamics without the need for an extra sensor. So you can now check your vertical oscillation, cadence, stride length, ground contact time, and more to improve running in a really effective way. Sleep tracking worked relatively well although its accuracy wasn't always spot on, but enough so as to help track if you're recovered and ready to workout again.

You also get smartphone notifications for WhatsApp, calls, messages, emails, calendar, Ring doorbell, and plenty more to make it a smartwatch of sorts, only kept to a minimum so you're not too distracted from its primary use as a training tool.

  • Performance score: 5/5

Garmin Forerunner 965: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Garmin Forerunner 965: How we tested

We wore the Garmin Forerunner 965 on one wrist, connected to an Android device, for months. This came on half marathons, long bike rides, swims, surfs, walks, yoga classes, weights sessions, paddle boarding and more.

The contactless payment features and wireless offline Spotify were both used plenty as was sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring in cold water baths, notifications from the phone and more.

In short this was lived with 24/7 for months to truly test how you would use the watch, and all its features.

Garmin Forerunner 965: Also consider

First reviewed: October 2023

DreamFoam Essential mattress review: A budget-friendly mattress to fit anywhere
11:55 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Mattresses Sleep | Comments: Off

DreamFoam Essential mattress: Two-minute review

The DreamFoam Essential mattress, from parent company Brooklyn Bedding, is a basic, all-foam bed-in-a-box with some important distinctions. Formerly known as the Brooklyn Bedding Chill mattress, it doesn't trap heat like many foam mattresses do. 

What really sets this mattress apart is the wide variety of sizes from which to choose. The thickness you choose determines the firmness for the DreamFoam mattress. There are five different options, ranging from six to 14 inches, which translates to a range from 'firm' to 'medium-soft'. Most notably, there are 22 different mattress sizes available, many of which are especially for RV or boat spaces.

Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress

(Image credit: Future)

My husband and I slept on the 10-inch thick, queen-sized mattress for three weeks. In my testing, I found the DreamFoam's motion isolation to be good, which is important for couples. Despite having different sleep preferences – I'm a side sleeper that prefers a softer mattress, he's a stomach sleeper that prefers a firmer mattress – we both found it to be comfortable. The 10-inch mattress falls in the middle of the range, and the company refers to it as 'medium-firm'. It is better suited for stomach and back sleepers than side sleepers, since it lacks the contouring of a softer mattress. If you depend on firm edges to sit comfortably on the edge of your bed, you may want to look elsewhere.

This isn't the most luxurious or exciting mattress around, but it is functional and very affordable. While it doesn't make the cut for TechRadar's overall best mattress guide, it does feature amongst its best cheap mattress picks – and is especially useful if you're shopping for an awkward space. Read on for my full Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress review.

DreamFoam mattress review: Materials & design

  • All-foam mattress – two or three layers, depending on thickness
  • Simple but effective design
  • Huge range of sizes and several thickness options

One of the most notable things about the DreamFoam Essential mattress is that it comes in 22 different sizes, each of which can be purchased in one of five different thicknesses. Depth options range from six to 14 inches, with the sleep feel getting softer the thicker the mattress is. A number of Brooklyn Bedding's mattresses are available in a wide range of sizes, but this one might have the most options of them all. 

Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress, press photo

(Image credit: Brooklyn Bedding)

The design is simple but effective. The DreamFoam mattress isn't removable for cleaning, although it is designed to be stain-resistant. Each mattress has at least two layers of foam: the thicker bottom foam layer is a high-density foam for firm support, while the top layer is Gel Swirl Memory Foam, which is designed to be responsive to your movement. 

This top layer of foam is infused with cooling gel, and also described as 'open-cell', to encourage airflow and heat dissipation. (In reality, pretty much all mattress foam is open-cell, but I was impressed with the temperature regulation here nevertheless – I'll get into that more in the Performance section of this review.) The 6-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch models all have these two layers, and the layers get thicker as the mattress gets thicker.

The two thickest models, the 12-inch and 14-inch mattresses, have a third transitional foam layer in between the two mentioned above. This middle layer is a high-density foam designed for better contouring to your body. 

Close up of stitching coming loose on Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress

(Image credit: Future)

Brooklyn Bedding recommends rotating the mattress every six to eight months, but it's not flippable. There are no handles to help with maneuvering. This isn't the most luxurious or complex mattress design around, but it offers decent quality for the affordable price tag (although there was a bit of loose stitching on our review model).

  • Design score: 3.5 out of 5

DreamFoam Essential review: Price & value for money

  • Budget or lower mid-range mattress, depending on thickness
  • Good value for the quality; respected brand name
  • Always discounted – expect 25% off or occasionally more

Like many mattresses, the DreamFoam Essential is never sold at full price. Expect 20% off MSRP, which takes this mattress into budget (for the 6 and 8 inch models) or lower mid-range brackets (for 10 inches or thicker). 

Here's the official pricing for the main sizes, alongside the prices you can expect to actually pay. I'll use the 10 inch model here. 

  • Twin: MSRP $449 (usually sold at $336.80)
  • Full: MSRP $574 (usually sold at $430.50)
  • Queen: MSRP $699 (usually sold at $524.30)
  • King: MSRP $899 (usually sold at $674.30)
  • Cal king: MSRP $899 (usually sold at $674.30)

If you're not in a rush to buy, you might be able to snag a bigger discount around national holidays. The Black Friday mattress deals in late November traditionally bring with them the lower prices of the year, but parent company Brooklyn Bedding typically bumps up its deals to 30% off for events like the Presidents' Day mattress sales and the Memorial Day mattress sales.

In terms of value for money, it's pretty good but not amazing. The most affordable options in TechRadar's best memory foam mattress guide are cheaper, but you are getting the reassurance and expertise of a well-known and respected sleep brand here (DreamFoam is an offshoot of Brooklyn Bedding). If you're considering the 12 inch version or thicker, there are similarly-priced alternatives that offer more for your money – for example, the DreamCloud mattress (no relation) has a more complex and luxurious feeling design, along with a much longer trial and warranty.

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

DreamFoam Essential review: Comfort & support

  • Firmness depends on thickness; 10" review model around 7/10
  • 10 inch version comfortable for any sleep position
  • Not a lot of body contouring

The DreamFoam Essential mattress comes in five different thicknesses, and each one has a different firmness profile. I tested the 10-inch model, which is the middle of the five. It's rated as 'medium-firm' by the company, rating it 6 out of 10 in terms of firmness. I think it's slightly firmer; more like a 7 out of 10. The following section of this review is based just on the 10-inch version; the thinner and thicker versions will feel different.

I found the DreamFoam Essential mattress to be the type of mattress where I lie on top rather than sinking in. I didn’t find that it contours to my body very much. The sleep surface is quite responsive, and springs back quickly when you remove pressure. While the mattress is made of two different foam layers of different densities, I couldn’t sense that while sleeping on it.

Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress with weight resting on it, to show sinkage

(Image credit: Future)

To get a more objective record of firmness, I placed a 15-pound weight in the middle of the mattress and measured how far it sank in. The weight sank to a depth of two inches, which lines up with the medium-firm rating that Brooklyn Bedding gives the 10-inch model. I agree with the company’s medium-firm rating; it feels that way to me subjectively as well.

Mattress firmness preference is a matter of taste. But as a general rule, the best mattresses for side sleepers tend to be a little softer, with more pronounced contouring, to prevent pressure from building up around the hips and shoulders. Back and stomach sleepers generally get the support they need with a firmer mattress. Additionally, larger bodies will want the added support of a firmer mattress while lighter-weight bodies will be more comfortable on softer mattresses.

My husband and I both have lighter-weight bodies, but he is primarily a stomach sleeper while I’m primarily a side sleeper. We do both occasionally sleep on our backs as well. I found the mattress to be comfortable, even on my side, with just enough contouring for a good night’s sleep. My husband found it to be even more comfortable, since he prefers to sleep on his stomach.

While I think anyone could sleep comfortably on the medium-firm 10-inch version, it will feel most comfortable for stomach and back sleepers. It’s designed to support up to 950 lbs, so should be suitable for bigger bodies, too.

Brooklyn DreamFoam mattress review: Performance

  • Decent temperature regulation
  • Good edge support for sleeping; less for sitting
  • Minimal motion transfer

Foam mattresses can trap heat, rendering the sleeper uncomfortably hot. Both my husband and I tend to sleep hot, so we are especially sensitive to any mattress or bedding that might raise our sleeping temperature. Thankfully, we didn’t find this to be an issue with the DreamFoam Essential – I'd judge it to be temperature neutral, neither warming me up nor cooling me down as I slept. (If you really struggle with overheating at night, you might be better off investing in one of the best cooling mattresses, however.) For context, I tested this mattress during a midwestern spring, with the average temperature being about 68 degrees Farhenheit. 

Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress with reviewer's hand resting on it

(Image credit: Future)

Motion isolation is an important factor for couples, especially if one or more of the partners tends to toss and turn. I’m very sensitive to my partner’s motion while I’m trying to sleep, and I found that the DreamFoam Essential offered pretty good motion isolation. I ran some tests to measure this more objectively, dropping the 15-pound onto the mattress near a wine glass to see if it would fall over. First, I dropped the weight 10 inches away from the wine glass; it jiggled but didn’t fall over. Second, I dropped it 25 inches from the glass; this time it barely moved at all. This confirms that the mattress will work well for people whose partners move around a lot at night.

Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress with wine glass, tape measure and weight resting on it

(Image credit: Future)

Finally, I tested the mattress' edge support. This matters for a couple of reasons. First of all, you want to be able to sleep on your mattress right up to the edge, so you can make use of the whole mattress. Second, you want to be able to sit on the edge of the mattress and push up to standing. For sleeping purposes, I found the edge support to be quite good; I never felt in danger of rolling off. However, when I sat on the edge of the mattress, I sank in quite a bit. It wasn’t the best surface for pushing off from. 

I also tested all of the edges with the 15-pound weight, noting 1.5-inch sinkage all around. As a rule of thumb, you want for less sinkage around the edges than in the middle. The middle of this mattress had two inches of sinkage, so, overall, edge support isn't bad.

  • Performance score: 4 out of 5

DreamFoam Essential mattress review: Specs

Should I buy the DreamFoam Essential mattress?

Buy it if...

✅ You're shopping for an awkward space: The DreamFoam Essential comes in nearly two dozen different sizes, including ones especially for RVs and bunk beds. A few of this brand's mattresses come in some unusual sizes (the Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid has 14 size options, for example), but this might be the widest range of them all. 

You're on a budget: If you don't have tons of cash to splash and/or you just need something good quality and comfortable, this is a great pick. While this isn’t a high-end, lush mattress, both my partner and I were perfectly happy sleeping on it during our review period. 

You need a guest room mattress: With a range of different firmness options and a high maximum weight limit, this is a mattress that can suit lots of different people, regardless of sleep position or body size. The price point is perfect for a spare room, too.

Don't buy it if...

❌ You want a luxurious mattress: The DreamFoam Essential, while perfectly fine, is more of a basic mattress-in-a-box model. If you want something a little fancier, check out the DreamCloud mattress. This hybrid sits in the lower mid-range price bracket (so depending on thickness may be cheaper than the DreamFoam) and is our top pick for affordable luxury. 

You need a mattress with sturdy edges: While the edge support on the DreamFoam is okay, it's not exceptional. If you need something you can comfortably push up off to get up in the morning, look elsewhere. 

You aren't shopping for an awkward space: If you don't need one of those weird sizes, be aware that there are plenty of budget-friendly all-foam mattresses to choose from. The DreamFoam might still win out in the end, but it's well worth taking a look at the TechRadar roundup of the best memory foam mattresses to make sure you're not missing out on something that would suit you better.

How I tested the Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress

I tested the 10-inch thick, Queen-sized DreamFoam Essential Mattress. My husband and I slept on it for three weeks in the spring. We have central heating and air-conditioning,  so it was never too hot or too cold. The average temperature was 68 degrees Fahrenheit. We both tend to sleep hot, so we used minimal bedding: just a bottom sheet, a top sheet, and a light blanket.

In addition to my subjective feelings about the comfort of this mattress, and soliciting my husband’s opinions, I ran standardized tests to assess the softness, edge support, and motion isolation of this mattress. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed July 2023

Saatva Latex Pillow Review: a luxurious yet supportive pillow that’s worth the investment
6:24 pm | October 28, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Mattresses Sleep | Comments: Off

Saatva Latex Pillow: Two-minute review

Saatva Latex Pillow includes both shredded latex and down-alternative for cushioning. As such, you're getting the best of both worlds: the allergy-friendly fluffiness of synthetic stuffing, and the comfortable bounciness of latex. 

This is the brand behind TechRadar's #1 best mattress (read about it in its Saatva Classic mattress review), so I had high expectations for this pillow, and I wasn't disappointed. The Saatva Latex pillow is one of the very best pillows I've slept on. It provides a luxurious sleeping experience, with the blend of different fills creating the feeling of sleeping in a 5-star hotel bed.

Although you can't adjust the fill level as is possible with some pillows, there are two loft options, making it suitable for a wide range of sleepers. Most of the pillow is machine-washable, and I didn't have any issues with it trapping heat, either.

With prices starting at $165, this sits at the top end of pillows in general, but the build quality is excellent. If you can afford it, it might well be worth it. Read on for my full Saatva Latex pillow review.

Saatva Latex pillow on reviewer's bed

(Image credit: Future)

Saatva Latex Pillow review: Specs

Saatva Latex Pillow review: Price & value for money

  • Premium pricing – costs from $165, and rarely discounted
  • High quality
  • Comes with a 45-night trial and year's warranty

The Saatva Latex pillow sits firmly in the premium price bracket. In fact, it would be in the premium bracket even at half price. Although Saatva mattress deals and sales are common, they never really include accessories like pillows. Here's the pricing for the two sizes:

  • Queen size: $165
  • King size: $185

None of Saatva's products are especially cheap, nor is that the brand's general approach – instead, it focuses on high-end materials, strong build quality and excellent customer service, all of which help justify those higher prices.

When the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow is on sale, it’s less than half the cost of the Saatva Latex Pillow. But keep in mind that the latter also includes down-alternative fill, so it’s almost like getting two pillows for the cost of one, here. Although, of course, only person can sleep on it at a time.

Saatva makes four different types of pillows. In addition to the Sattva Latex Pillow, the company also makes a Saatva down-alternative Pillow that starts at $115 for a standard/queen. In addition, there’s a Saatva Graphite Memory Foam Pillow that starts at $165 for a standard/queen, and Saatva Cloud Memory Foam Pillow starts at $135 for a standard/queen.

Saatva Latex pillow in original packaging

(Image credit: Future)

Saatva Latex Pillow review: Design & materials

  • Shredded natural latex core provides support
  • Fill layer of alternative down fibers is breathable 
  • Cover and down microdenier fiber pillow are machine washable

The Saatva Latex Pillow has three main design components, all of which work perfectly together. The main core is made from shredded natural latex, to support the head and relieve pressure. This is wrapped in a fill layer containing down-alternative fibers. Finally, there's the organic cotton cover, with gusseted sides that look smart and help the pillow maintain its shape. 

This isn't one of those pillows where you can remove filling until it's the perfect height and firmness for you. However, it is available in two different lofts, making it suitable for a wide range of sleepers. The standard loft – which is about 4 inches to 5 inches high – is recommended for stomach and back sleepers. The high loft pillow is 6 inches to 7 inches high, and is recommended for side and combination sleepers.

Saatva Latex pillow, unzipped, to show inner chambers

(Image credit: Future)

In TechRadar's Saatva Down Alternative pillow review, the reviewer found the loft too high for most people, so it's great to see that this option has two heights to suit different people.

My review pair of Saatva Latex Pillows arrived in one branded box, with the pillows enclosed in a strong plastic bag with two carrying handles. Since the pillows weren’t shrink-wrapped, I didn’t have to wait for them to expand, so I was able to put the pillows on my bed and start the testing process immediately. (And since they were not shrink wrapped, I didn’t experience any off-gassing smells.)

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Saatva Latex Pillow review: Care & allergies

Most of the Saatva Latex pillow is machine-washable – both the outer cotton cover and microdenier fiber layer can both be tossed in the washing machine to launder. Synthetic down-alternative generally better at not aggravating allergies when compared to actual down.

Although the shredded latex core isn't machine washable, it is hypoallergenic, and dust mite- and mildew-resistant. This natural latex does not contain allergy-producing proteins, and it doesn’t come into contact with your skin, so it should also be safe for people (like me) who have latex allergies.

Saatva Latex pillow in reviewer's bedroom

(Image credit: Future)

Saatva Latex pillow review: Comfort & support

  • Can suit back, side, or stomach sleepers, depending on the loft 
  • Squishy yet supportive
  • Doesn't need re-fluffing

The Saatva Latex Pillow provided a comfortable level of firmness and support, while also being ridiculously comfortable. My preference is always a thick and squishy/spongy pillow that’s plush yet supportive, and this pillow checks all of the boxes.

If you want a pillow that you can bash into shape and fold over, this isn't it – the Saatva Latex pillows can't be folded over, and are full enough that they don't need to be refluffed.

Saatva Latex pillow, unzipped, to show inner chambers

(Image credit: Future)

Since the pillow is available in two lofts, it's a good option for back, stomach, and side sleepers. I’m a combination sleeper, alternating between my stomach and side. For my review I slept on the high loft pillow option, and it was the perfect hight for these positions. On my back, it was slightly high – not enough to be uncomfortable, but enough to notice the difference. However, had I been a stomach sleeper, I would have requested the standard loft pillow instead.

I actually enjoyed the pillows so much that after my two weeks of testing, I started using them to lounge on my sofa on the weekends – but I would always take them back to the bedroom at night. 

  • Comfort and support score: 5 out of 5

Saatva Latex Pillow review: Temperature regulation

I did not find the Saatva Latex Pillow to be 'cool to the touch', but neither are the vast majority of temperature-regulating pillows that I test. However, the pillows did provide a relatively cool sleeping experience. 

This is due to three factors. First, the pillow’s natural latex core is breathable. Also, the fill later of alternative down fibers is also breathable. In addition, the organic cotton cover is moisture-wicking. With all of these components working in harmony, the result was a temperature-relating experience that kept me comfortably cool during the night.

  • Temperature regulation score: 4.5 out of 5

Should I buy the Saatva Latex pillow?

But keep in mind that the Saatva Latex Pillow combines latex with down-alternative, so it’s almost like getting two pillows for the cost of one. So, I would definitely recommend trying it. 

Buy it if...

✅ You want the best of the best: This pillow is an investment, but the quality and comfort makes this pillow worth it. As someone who loves down pillows/alternative down pillows and also loves latex pillows, this is the best of best worlds. It's comparable to asking me to choose between chocolate and peanut butter versus letting me combine chocolate and peanut butter. Why choose one when you can have both? 

You want to be able to pick your loft: The ability to choose a higher or lower loft means you can choose the best option for your build and sleep style – it can be suitable for almost anyone, including side, back, and stomach sleepers.

You suffer from allergies: Both the cover and the down-alternative fill section are machine-washable, which is a win for those who struggle with allergies. The latex, though not washable, is hypoallergenic, dust mite- and mildew-resistant.

Don't buy it if...

❌ You want to be able to adjust your loft/firmness precisely: Although it's available in two loft options, once you've made your choice, you're locked in. Other options let you remove and re-add fill as desired. 

You're on a budget: This is a premium pillow, and while I don't think it's overpriced, there are plenty of excellent pillows around for much less – the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow, listed below in the Alternatives section, is half the price.

You want a super-squishy pillow: The Saatva Latex pillow is full and soft, but you can't bash it into shape or fold it over. 

Saatva Latex pillow review: Also consider

Casper Down pillow
The Casper Down Pillow is a pure down pillow with a supportive 5-chamber design and is actually a pillow within a pillow that includes duck down and feathers. It’s fluffy and feels like sleeping on a cloud. And for those who sleep hot, it is always cool to the touch. It works well with back, stomach, and side sleepers – but some people may find it too soft.  And at the time of publication, the pillow is at least $30 less expensive than the Saatva Latex Pillow, and can be tossed into the washing machine. Read more in our Casper Down pillow review.

How I tested the Saatva Latex pillow

For over two weeks, I slept on a pair of the Saatva Latex Pillows to see how they fared in performance, testing for setup, comfort, support, and temperature regulation. I also slept in side, back, and stomach positions to see if the performance was the same.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: October 2023
Garmin Venu 3 review: A perfect balance of smartwatch and health tracker
7:10 pm | October 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Smartwatches | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Garmin Venu 3: One minute review

The Garmin Venu 3 is the third in a trilogy of watches which – unlike most movie trilogies – as the third is actually the best of the bunch. In fact, this is one of the best Garmin watches outright. 

Like the rest of the Venu series, this is a pretty balanced blend of smartwatch and health tracker. Primarily, that means the Garmin Venu 3 looks great with a rich and colorful AMOLED screen, that gives some of the best Apple watches a run for their money. Unlike Apple Watches, which can only go a scant 18 or 36 hours without a recharge, this watch can last for up to two weeks.

What you don't get here is some of the more premium running features like the Training Readiness score, or Race Predictor, like you would get on the Garmin Forerunner 265 for example. But you do get advanced sleep tracking and suggestions, an evening report, unique wheelchair user-specific training metrics, and more health insights.

This watch also features a speaker and microphone meaning you can take calls from a connected phone, right there on your wrist. It also means the meditation training is more immersive with audio guidance, music, and more.

So while this is on the expensive side for a Garmin watch without premium training features, this does manage to offer lots of smartwatch-style capabilities – like GPS tracking, offline Spotify, and contactless pay – while also focusing on lifestyle tracking, all day and all night.

Garmin Venu 3: Specifications

Garmin Venu 3: Price and Availability

Garmin Venu 3

(Image credit: Future)
  • £450 in the UK 
  • $450 in the US
  • AU$749 in Australia

The Garmin Venu 3 is a relatively high price compared to other Garmin watches and contemporaries like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, but it costs only slightly more than an Apple Watch and does a bit of everything (and it does it very well) while looking premium to boot. So you're looking at a price of US$450 / £450 / AU$749, slightly higher than most smartwatches, but still quite representative of what you're getting at this stage. 

Of course, these are the launch prices, so you can expect these to drop over time. You can often find great deals on Garmins, and we're betting the Garmin Venu 3 is no exception. Check out our Black Friday Garmin deals page for more information.

  •  Value score: 4/5 

Garmin Venu 3: Design and screen

Garmin Venu 3

(Image credit: Future)
  • 1.4-inch AMOLED display
  • Stainless steel bezel
  • Comfy silicone strap, 22mm QuickFit compatible

The Garmin Venu 3 is undeniably an attractive smartwatch that can be used as a fitness tracker and as a fashionable day-to-day wearable. The silicone strap is comfy, waterproof, and minimal in its design. That stainless steel bezel also gives it a premium finish, which other curved-screen wearables like Apple Watches and the Google Pixel Watch 2 are missing. 

But it's only when that screen lights up you really see the quality. This watch boasts a gorgeous 1.4-inch AMOLED display with a high 454 x 454 pixel resolution. This super-bright and colorful screen makes all your metrics show up clearly and attractively, no matter the lighting conditions. 

The Venu 3 works well with a touchscreen that not only makes menu scrolling easy but features lovely graphical transitions that create an intuitive way to explore the menus. It's all encased in Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to make sure it stays scratch-free – which was the case throughout our frankly harsh testing. 50-meter waterproofing does set your mind at ease: you can use it anywhere, including underwater, and it's dustproof to boot.

You also have three buttons to help menu interactions which are utilized well. For example, if you want to discard a workout you hit the red cross on the screen but then have to confirm using one of the buttons.

The Venu 3 comes in two sizes: 41mm (known as the Venu 3S) and the larger 45mm, just known as the Venu 3. Colorways for the Venu 3 include white, black, or black with a leather strap. Go for the Venu 3S and there are even more choices including soft gold, rose pink, sage gray, and others.

  • Design score: 5/5

Garmin Venu 3: Features

Garmin Venu 3

(Image credit: Future)
  • Pre-loaded guided meditation content
  • Wheelchair user specific tracking
  • Smarter sleep tracking

The Garmin Venu 3 is packed full of health, lifestyle, and fitness tracking features while offering some genuinely useful smartwatch apps from the Connect IQ store. One standout feature was the fact this AMOLED screen is taken advantage of when linked to the Ring doorbell app, showing a screenshot of who's there when you get an alert on your wrist. 

The return of Venu 2's speaker and microphone means you can get audio alerts and even take calls natively on the watch. It's not quite well refined enough to let you talk back using the Ring app, for example, but it's no surprise the mainly third-party apps aren't going to be as good as on other platforms – Garmin has never pushed too hard in that area, largely because it focuses on fitness training, and it's done that well here.

You can expect a plethora of tracking and training options including all-day heart rate tracking, deep sleep tracking with guidance, stress scores, HRV measurements, respiration tracking, and plenty more. All that equates to a clear overall picture of your health. As we've come to expect from a good Garmin watch, you can also track nearly any exercise you can think of too, including swimming and golf. Garmin has a dedicated Garmin Golf app available on your phone, which you can sync to the Venu 3. Garmin consistently makes some of its best golf watches around, and it's nice to see some of those features available here, such as downloadable courses and shot analysis.

The meditation content is worth mentioning as this is specifically tailored to this watch, offering audio and visual guidance without the need to connect headphones. That means guided meditations that track your respiration rate and heart rate so you can see the effects directly.

The wheelchair user-specific tracking is a fantastic option that lets you setup in that mode, right from the outset. This will then be able to track pushes as well as offer a selection of wheelchair-specific sports tracking.

You also have a selection of useful features day-to-day like contactless payments, Bluetooth headphone connectivity, offline Spotify playlists, and a handy flashlight mode that you genuinely do use when pottering about in the dark.

  • Features score: 5/5

Garmin Venu 3: Performance

Garmin Venu 3

(Image credit: Future)
  • Accurate heart rate data
  • Superb sleep support
  • Still Garmin setup issues

The Garmin Venu 3, like most Garmins these days, performed very well in practice. That means it had near faultless GPS acquisition, was fast, and offered accurate measurements. It also meant heart rate data was accurate when compared with a chest strap test.

How all that data is used is what makes the Venu 3 special. Sleep tracking, for example, is far more advanced here than in many of the more sports-specific Garmin watches. This watch not only offers you a Morning Report of how you've slept and recovered, but also an Evening Report, helping you consider ways to make that night's sleep the best it can be. All that equates to checking in more with your habits and adjusting accordingly – part of what makes this watch supportive of change. This even has nap detection for the first time, allowing you to pop this on to get a power nap where your recommended sleep duration that night is taken into account.

It was a surprise to find the speaker and mic weren't just a fad but proved genuinely useful. There was enough clarity to follow guided meditations, take phone calls, and even appreciate music. The microphone worked well too; if you think this feature might be appealing, perhaps as a busy parent in the kitchen who still needs to be connected while hearing what's going on in the room, this is a top solution.

So why bother going for a sports-specific watch over this? Well, you'll find the Venu 3 can track a lot of sports – over 30 – but it might not do so in quite as much depth as some sports-specific wearables. Running, for example, tracks speed, pace, HR and even has maps, but you won't get more complex metrics from running dynamics like ground contact time or race predictors, which are available for the best running watches.

This would be a five-star section, but phone connection and setup was a nightmare. Having reviewed Garmins for over a decade, using various Android phones, this has always been an issue. A recent Forerunner 965 review was so faultless in the setup that it seemed Garmin had fixed it, then this Venu 3 connection was plagued with issues involving restarting the phone, the watch, the app, factory resets, and more. It might not be an issue on your phone but it's an unfixed Garmin trend, and cannot go unmarked.

  • Performance score: 4/5

Garmin Venu 3: Scorecard

Garmin Venu 3: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Garmin Venu 3: How we tested

We wore the Garmin Venu 3 on one wrist, connected to an Android device, for months. This came on runs, bike rides, swims, walks, yoga classes, weights sessions, paddle boarding and more.

The contactless payment features and wireless offline Spotify were both used as was sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring in cold water baths, notifications from the phone and more.

In short this was lived with 24/7 to truly test how you would use the watch, and all its features.

Garmin Venu 3: Also consider

First reviewed: October 2023

Levitex Mattress review: a simple but very effective design to promote perfect posture
8:37 am | October 15, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Mattresses Sleep | Comments: Off

Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress: Two-minute review

The Levitex Mattress – also referred to on the brand website as the Lexitex Gravity Defying Mattress and the Levitex Sleep Posture Mattress – is made from proprietary foam, and doesn't feature any memory foam or springs, making it different to other mattresses on the market. This brand is very focused on how sleep products can be used to create the ideal nighttime posture – i.e. one that delivers perfect spinal support and alignment – and it's with this in mind that the Levitex mattress has been developed. 

The Levitex includes 10cm high-resistance foam on the base and 10cm pure Levitex foam on the top and has been clinically trialled and proven (by Levitex) to reduce pressure and improve sleep posture. At 20cm, it’s slightly thinner in depth than most of our best mattresses, which tend to be closer to 25cm. This doesn't compromise on comfort, however, as it feels streamlined and has impressive edge support that provides maximum sleeping space from edge to edge. The mattress isn't temperature sensitive either – so it won't be affected by you or the room temperature, which is a major plus with an all-foam design.

The Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress on a bed

(Image credit: Emily Peck)

I trialled the Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress over the course of two months and rated it on pressure relief, motion isolation, edge support, cooling and ease of set up. I was keen to see if the mattress does, in fact, match up to its claim of reducing pressure and improving posture to make me wake up feeling rested and ache-free.

The thing I noticed most when first laying on the Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress is how evenly supported each part of my body felt. It instantly made my back feel at ease, with my spine feeling nicely aligned and comfortable. It's a medium-firm mattress that I think steers more on the firm side. But it does still have that nice bit of bounce, and excellent pressure relief in all the important areas, such as the hips, back and lumbar area. Read on to find out more on what I, and a selection of testers, thought about this all-foam design. Here's my full Levitex Defying Mattress review.

Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress review: Price

  • A mid-range mattress
  • Discount on the TikTok shop with flash sales every few months 
  • Expect Black Friday deals

This is an upper mid-range price mattress, with what I think feels like a premium finish. It's mindfully crafted and the only mattress design Levitex sells, to complement the equally supportive Levitex pillow. Here's what you'll generally pay for it:

  • Single: RRP £499
  • Double: RRP £689
  • King size: RRP £829
  • Super king: RRP £979 

Levitex seems to purposefully not be a discount brand so you won't see constant mattress sales like you do on some bed-in-a-box company websites. That said, you can benefit from sale prices at peak trading times such as Black Friday and if you're a TikTok user, you may want to take advantage of the TikTok shop where the brand tells me that there are flash sales every few months.

There are four sizes on offer at the time of writing: single, double, king size and super king, and the Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress costs £689 for a double. The company doesn't offer any bundle deals, but if you want to team the mattress with a complementary Levitex pillow, it will cost a further £75. Meanwhile, a Levitex mattress topper costs from £175.

Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress review: Specs

Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress: Materials and design

  • 20cm deep, all-foam foam mattress with removable cover
  • 5-year guarantee that the mattress retains its shape
  • Foams have an antimicrobial treatment

The Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress is unlike anything I've tried before. It's constructed from a layer of 10cm pure Levitex foam at the top, with a 10cm layer of high-resistance foam on the base. These foams have an antimicrobial treatment that means bacteria, mould and mildew can't live there. 

The cover has an interesting geometric design, and can be removed for cleaning. To be honest, I didn't attempt this as getting mattress covers back on their base after washing definitely isn't my forte. There are no handles for easy maneuvering, but as it's on the thinner side, this isn't too much of an issue. Overall, I'd say that although this is far from the most complex or exciting mattress design around, it is effective. 

Design score: 4 out of 5

Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress review: Comfort

  • Designed especially to promote good sleep posture
  • Medium-firm sleep surface keeps you well supported
  • Excellent for side sleepers, but equally good for back and front sleepers

The Levitex Mattress is the brainchild of James Leinhardt, who spent 10 years working in hospitals helping the chronically ill and injured and realised how important sleep posture is on our general health. With the help of medical director, Dr Ilan, the Levitex mattress and pillow were launched. Both are aimed at helping to ease back pain and improve sleep quality.

The mattress is officially medium-firm feel. I think overall it leans more on the side of firm, but with a top surface that's incredibly soft and feels luxurious to lie on. It contours a little to your shape, but you won't sink in and feel enveloped by it, like you would with a classic memory foam (it's also responsive enough that it's easy to change position on). The Levitex mattress offers excellent pressure relief in all the important areas such as the back and hips. At 20cm, the depth is thinner than anything I've tried before so I wasn't expecting to find the mattress so supportive and comfortable. 

To get more of an insight into how supportive the Levitex mattress, I used an 8kg weight to measure the sinkage of the mattress. The weight is meant to simulate the feel of a person's body sinking into the mattress and I measured it giving a 4cm sinkage value, which is a reasonable score for a medium-firm mattress.      

A kettlebell on the Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress

(Image credit: Emily Peck)

One of the most noteworthy features of the all-foam Levitex mattress is just how well it retains its shape. I asked a group of friends varying in height from 5ft 2 to 6ft to try out the mattress and tell me what they thought about its comfort and how well supported their bodies felt.

Overall it made my body feel light, comfortable from top to toe and suitably supported – especially when laying on my back and side. I teamed it with a Levitex pillow that is made from the same foam, so my body felt suitably balanced and at ease. The Levitex mattress is ‘clinically researched to make sure it provides you with pressure relief and postural management, so you can wake up rested and free from back pain'. I don't always have back pain, but on the nights that I was feeling particularly creaky I did find myself sleeping deeper and waking up feeling like I'd had a good 7 hours.

Close-up of the edge of the Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress

(Image credit: Levitex)

One of our front sleeping testers who weighs around 63kg liked how ‘held up' her body felt when she was laying on it, while the majority of side sleepers said they were able to quickly get into a really comfortable position. For anyone sleeping on their back, I'd suggest teaming it with the Levitex pillow, which really does a great job at holding your head in place and aligning your spine for a really comfortable sleeping position that feels effortless. With such positive feedback in all sleep positions, I'd say that this mattress might be the sweet spot for anyone who hasn't quite found their ideal sleep position.

Comfort score: 5 out of 5

Levitex Gravity Defying mattress review: Performance

  • Not temperature-sensitive, no issues with overheating
  • Isolates motion well – a good choice for couples
  • Great edge support around the perimeter

As well as assessing the Levitex mattress on its comfort and support levels, I also tested it is key areas of performance: temperature regulation (whether or not it sleeps hot), motion isolation (how well it absorbs movements on the surface) and edge support (whether it slopes around the perimeter). This mattress performed impressively well across the board. Here's a closer look...

Temperature regulation

Unlike a memory foam mattress, Levitex foam isn't temperature sensitive. With memory foam the longer you lie on it the softer it becomes and the more you immerse in the foam, the more you run the risk of getting too hot while sleeping. Levitex material properties aren't affected by heat, however, so you won't sink into the foam and will have less body contact with the surface.

There's also the issue that some foams have a tendency to trap body heat, and all-foam mattresses can also lack breathability because there's less space for air to circulate compared to models with springs. 

Despite this being an all-foam mattress, I had absolutely no issues with overheating on the Levitex. I found it kept me at a nice, even temperature throughout my testing period.

Temperature regulation score: 4.5 out of 5

Motion isolation

It's no fun being disturbed every time your partner moves in their sleep, and vice versa, which is why good motion isolation technology in a mattress is a must. To find out just how well the Levitex did at limiting movement from side to side, I slept alongside my 6ft partner whose long and lean legs tend to take up quite a bit of space on the king size mattress. As he's a side and front sleeper and I'm a back and side sleeper, we definitely put the mattress to task on this test. We can both report that it really did a good job to hold its structure, with no annoying wobbles or bounce affecting either side when either of us moved.

A wine glass and a dumbbell on the Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress

(Image credit: Emily Peck)

To further test just how good the mattress's motion isolation is, I conducted a test using an empty wine glass and 5kg weight. I placed the wine glass in the centre of the mattress and dropped the weight 4, 10 and 25 inches away from it. I was keen to see if the wine glass fell over due to the impact of the nearby weight. Impressively, it didn't at any of the distances and although the wine glass stem did wobble considerably at 4 inches away, it proves that the mattress is well constructed to deal with disturbance and motion.

Motion isolation score: 4.5 out of 5

Edge support 

If you've ever sat on the side of a mattress only to have the structure flatten and make you feel like you're slipping off, you'll know how important good edge support is on a mattress. The good news is the Levitex mattress definitely doesn't make you feel like you're at a child's soft play. In fact, we were all very pleased with just how well the edges held together when we sat on the sides. Our tallest tester told me that he felt like the mattress evenly supported his body and the streamlined surface gave him a lot of usable sleep space from edge to edge. Personally, I think the edges are above average in terms of being supportive and able to hold their shape.

A kettlebell on the edge of the Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress

(Image credit: Emily Peck)

To further test the edge support, I used the 8kg weight to measure the sinkage at the sides. The results were the same as in the middle of the mattress, which proves just how evenly supportive the mattress is from one edge to the other.

Edge support score: 5 out of 5

Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress review: Setup

  • Arrives boxed, folded, rolled and vacuum packed
  • Calculates shipping on purchase
  • Off-gassing took a while to clear

As Levitex only sells one mattress, clicking to buy is straightforward. There is lots of information on the website, however - on the brand, the importance of good sleep posture and the benefits of this mattress.

The mattress arrived promptly boxed and rolled up in vacuum plastic packaging. I had ordered a king size mattress that weighs 29.8kg so once I had taken it out of the cardboard box it was a two-person job to haul it up the stairs.

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The Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress rolled up and standing on its end

The Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress rolled up and standing on its end (Image credit: Emily Peck)
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The Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress vaccum-packed in plastic wrapping

Vaccum-packed in plastic wrapping (Image credit: Emily Peck)
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The Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress just after being opened

The Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress just after being opened (Image credit: Emily Peck)

I lay it onto a wooden slatted bed and cut open the plastic. The mattress comes folded and rolled so it's super compact when it arrives and takes a few hours to form shape, which it did nicely. The fold in the middle of the mattress took a little longer to smooth out, but once it had there were no signs that it had been rolled or folded at all.

Delivery and set up of the mattress was easy. Within a few hours the mattress had reached shape, but I left it for 72 hours to reach its full capability. One of the pros of this mattress is that it doesn't need turning as the foam is designed in such a way that it won't sag. That came as a welcome relief as I had become tired of having to turn my last new mattress once a week for the first three months. One con of this mattress, however, is that the off-gassing – that new factory smell you sometimes get with a new mattress – took a little longer than I'd like to clear.

With this in mind I'd suggest you factor in at least a few days to air the mattress – with a window open if possible - so that the off-gassing reasonably clears before sleeping on it. I also found that it took a couple more weeks of off-gassing lingering around before it really starts to go. 

Also note that at 44 days, the trial for this mattress is much shorter than you'll find at any of the big bed brands. Most offer a minimum of 100 nights, some much longer. I suspect that is because at the moment, Levitex is a relatively small company. The same goes for the warranty, which is only 5 years – less time than you'd expect a mattress to last for. Most brands offer a minimum of 10 years.

Setup score: 4 out of 5

Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress review: Customer reviews

  • 4.6 rating on 659 reviews on
  • 4.3 stars over 7 reviews on Trustpilot
  • Positive reviews for back-relieving benefits

I found some customer review comments displayed on the Levitex website that all come pooled in via the website. There are up to 659 to choose from that paint a positive picture of Levitex. These reviews aren't just for the mattress, however, but are based on the Levitex pillow too.

While they are all positive, there are currently only seven reviews about the Levitex brand on the Trustpilot reviews site. Customers state how quickly the products arrive, and there are many general comments on how the Levitex foam has helped with back and neck pain in general. One customer simply says: ‘My wife now sleeps'.

Should you buy the Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress?

The Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress on a bed

(Image credit: Levitex)

If you've been suffering from a bad back, have chronic pain or are just not able to get comfortable at night, I think this Levitex mattress is worth a try. While it does come rolled up and in a box, this is not your standard bed-in-a-box mattress company. The brand prides itself on having created a product that can provide the optimum sleep posture, and this is something that I felt the instant benefit from.

So if you're mindfully sourcing your mattress – rather than simply looking for a quick fix – I would recommend that you browse the Levitex site and read the clinical research. You will also find tips to help you improve your sleep posture to see whether the mattress could work for you. 

The brand also claims that the mattress can improve digestion and circulation, lessen tension in neck and shoulders, reduce snoring and boost your energy levels. Having trialled it for just two months, it's hard to say whether it could do this, but it definitely did a good job at improving my posture, which is where good sleep hygiene starts.

Overall, I think the mattress has excellent pressure relief, great edge support and has easy-care features. While it's not the deepest and plushest of mattresses I or my tester friends have ever tried, we all found it extremely comfortable and great at providing a reliable night's sleep. As a result, I think it's a good option for all sleeping types and makes it onto my top 5 of all-time favourite mattresses. It's only slightly let down by the short trial and warranty. 

Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress review: Also consider

How I tested the Levitex Gravity Defying Mattress

I tested this mattress over the course of two early summer months. The temperature in the room was comfortable and never went over 21 degrees C. I teamed it with Egyptian-cotton bed linen and a Levitex pillow and slept on the mattress alongside my partner.

To get a range of opinion, I asked a few friends varying in heights and weights to try the mattress and tell me how well they think it supported them.

I also ran standardised tests to objectively measure softness, edge support, and motion isolation. Overall, I was keen to see if the mattress does, in fact, match up to its claim of reducing pressure and improving posture to make me ‘wake up feeling rested and ache-free'. I am pleased to report that it did.

Google Pixel Watch 2 review: lighter, faster, and maybe better
6:20 pm | October 4, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Smartwatches | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Google Pixel Watch 2: One-minute preview

Google Pixel Watch 2 essentially steers the same course as its well-received first version, and that's mostly a good thing.

At a glance, the new smartwatch's design is unchanged. Google did redesign the digital crown a bit to enhance ease of use. Otherwise, the screen and dimensions are the same as they were on the original Google Pixel Watch. However, looks can be a bit deceiving. The cover glass is thinner (Google insists it's just as strong) and the body is now made of lightweight, recycled aluminum. Together, they decrease the weight by what Google insists is a noticeable amount.

More importantly (and maybe more noticeably) this watch has new components and a major platform update. It has a new quad-core processor and Wear OS 4.0, making it probably the best Wear OS watch around right now, if not one of the best smartwatches period.

There are critical new features like the new Personal Safety Check, and, finally, auto-recognition of when you start and stop working out. Google Pixel Watch 2 might also do a better job of recognizing your workout performance thanks to the watch's new multi-path heart rate sensor on the back.

This is just our first impressions of the Google Pixel Watch 2. If you want more from this year's October Made by Google Event, you can check out our early Google Pixel 8 review and our early Google Pixel 8 Pro review.

Google Pixel Watch 2

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

The display still has that too-large black bezel around its bright 320ppi face, but the screen is now running in Always On mode by default, while still maintaining 24-hour battery life (according to Google).

If you're up for sleeping with the watch (remember it's lighter for more bedtime comfort), you may appreciate that it can charge a lot faster now thanks to four physical charging pins on the back, which is a switch from the induction charging found on the last model.

Google claims you can get a 50% charge in less than 30 minutes, which means if you want a quick charge before bedtime and maybe don't want to charge up again when you wake up and head out to work, it's possible with the Pixel Watch 2.

Also, if you're looking for more sleep data, the Pixel Watch 2 has you covered with a new skin temperature sensor. And for when you're awake, the new continuous electrodermal activity (CEDA) sensor could help detect signs of stress

Overall this looks like a smart, albeit safe update. Google didn't attempt a wholesale redesign but they've basically changed almost everything else, from the CPU to most of the key sensors and even the charging methodology. With Wear OS 4.0, safety enhancements, and some new Fitbit capabilities, this may be the smartwatch update to watch.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Specifications

Google Pixel Watch 2: Price and availability

Google Pixel Watch 2

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
  • Starts from $349 (WiFi) $399 (LTE)
  • Prices £349 and £399 in the UK, AU$549 and AU$649 in AU
  • One size: 41mm

Google unveiled the new Google Pixel Watch 2, along with the new Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, on October 4. 

The Google Pixel Watch 2 starts at $349 in the US, £349 in the UK and AU$549 in Australia for the WiFi-only model. With LTE connectivity, it costs $399 / £399 / AU$649. 

Preorders started on October 4 and the watch ships on Oct. 12.  It's available in four color combinations: Polished Silver/Bay, Polished Silver/Porcelain, Matte Black/Obsidian, and Champagne Gold/Hazel.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Design

Google Pixel Watch 2 HANDS ON

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
  • Maintains elegance of original design
  • Lighter aluminum body
  • Redesigned digital crown 

Google's original Pixel Watch was one of the best-looking smartwatches on the market and its successor, the Google Pixel Watch 2, measures up to that standard.

The newly thinner glass cover and recycled aluminum body still look like they were poured out together. Its gumdrop shape looks and generally feels good. While lowering the overall weight by about 10%, Google didn't touch the dimensions of the one-size-fits-all 41mm watch.

There is one change that does incrementally improve the aesthetic appeal: Google redesigned the digital crown, mostly by changing the stem that leads to it, to give it a more watch-like look and more importantly make it easier to use it.

Google didn't make any changes to the sometimes challenging band attachment system, but there are some new bands, including six fitness bands. I didn't get to wear them but I can report that the material felt nice.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Features

Google Pixel Watch 2

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
  • New Safety features
  • Skin temperature sensing
  • New watch faces and complications
  • Better heart rate sensor

While I didn't get to spend much time with the new Pixel Watch 2, it's safe to assume that the new quad-core processor should result in smoother operation. However, some of the biggest changes will surely come from the new Wear OS 4.0.

The system change will bring new core apps like Calendar, Gmai, and an updated Google Assistant.

On the Health and Fitness front, the Pixel Watch 2 will match the Apple Watch Series 9 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 to automatically recognize when you start and stop working out. it's one of my favorite Apple Watch features and I'm happy to see it here.

There's a new heart rate zone for runners that can help with pace coaching and alert you when you drop in and out of your personal zone.

Google Pixel Watch 2

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Speaking of heart, the new multi-path heart rate sensor is actually multiple sensors that, according to Google, can much more accurately track your heart rate during more vigorous workouts (Google claims it's up to 40% more accurate than the original Pixel Watch's optical heart rate sensor, just like the Fitbit Charge 6's 60% improvement on the Charge 5). It does this by taking the single-point sensor contact of the original Google Pixel Watch and multiplying it into four points of wrist contact.

There's also a new sweat detector (the CEDA) that the watch can use to measure your stress level.

In addition to all these health and activity adjustments, the Google Pixel Watch 2 now includes Personal Safety features. With Safety Check, you set a timer and if you have not responded by the end of it, the watch can automatically send a message to your emergency contact with your real-time location.

Normally, this feature would require not only an LTE version of the Pixel Watch 2 but a monthly carrier contract, as well. Google will be offering it, though, as a free feature for Fitbit Premium customers. Naturally, Fitbit Premium is not free – it normally costs $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$15.49 a month. However, all new Pixel Watch 2 customers get six months of Fitbit Premium for free.

I got a walkthrough of the new Safety Features and thought they looked clear, concise, and useful.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Early verdict

Having only spent a couple of hours with the new Google Pixel Watch 2, it's way too soon to offer a verdict. 

Still, I'm generally pleased with the look, feel, and function of Google's new smartwatch.

While I wish Google had enlarged the display, the new watch faces are packed full of information and much of the interface appeared clean and responsive.

I'm a little surprised that Google chose to swap out inductive charging capability for four physical pins, but the reasoning is sound. Who wouldn't want faster charging so they can get back to bed with their smartwatch for accurate sleep and temperature tracking?

The new quad-core processor and updated Wear OS 4.0 should make it a more responsive and easier-to-use wearable.

Google held the line on pricing though I can't help but think that the Pixel Watch 2 could be a best-seller if it drops the WiFi model price to $299.

More to come in our full review.

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