/>
X
Health
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

Amazon Halo Rise review: I love this alarm clock, but can't recommend it

I was ready to ditch my bedtime wearables for Amazon's contactless sleep tracker, but its imminent sunsetting makes it a tough sell.
Written by Christina Darby, Associate Editor
12bed649-616e-4ff5-8482-2e3838d0117f.jpg

Amazon Halo Rise

4.5 / 5
Very good

pros and cons

Pros
  • Contactless sleep tracking
  • Doubles as a sunrise alarm clock
  • Consolidates complex sleep data into a digestible sleep score
  • Doesn't require a Halo membership
Cons
  • Can only use voice control when paired with an Alexa or Echo Show device
  • Doesn't track snoring or coughing

Update: Starting July 31, 2023, Amazon will discontinue its Halo line of products, including the Halo Rise. Therefore, ZDNET does not recommend buying the product.

Back in September, Amazon introduced its newest sleep-tracking device to the ever-growing health and fitness market: the Halo Rise. At the time, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Halo Rise wasn't another watch, headband, or pair of earbuds that could gauge my health. Rather, the Halo Rise is a bedside sleep tracker that uses low-energy sensors to analyze your breathing patterns, movements, and room environment to provide measurable sleep insights. 

But wait, there's more: The device doubles as a smart, sun-simulating alarm that can pair with your Echo Show or Alexa device(s) to enhance your morning routine. While an Amazon Halo membership makes it easier to integrate the tracker with multiple devices, a membership is not required to use it or perform any of the specialized tracking features. 

Also: These sound machines can actually help you fall asleep faster

If you've been wondering whether a contactless sleeper tracker would actually work, you're not alone. I had been asking myself the same question for months, eager to put the Halo Rise to the test. Now, for the past few weeks, the Halo Rise has been my one-stop sleep tracker and alarm, and I'm happy to report that it's made my mornings brighter in more ways than one. 

Specifications 

Size 

5.2 x 6.7 x 1.45 inches

Built-in wake-up light 

Max lux: 300L at 0.5m 

Requirements 

An Amazon account, compatible mobile device (iOS 13.0+ or Android 8+), the Halo app, and Wi-Fi. 

Price 

$139.99


A smart device with a smart design

Wearing tech to bed, no matter how sleek, can be more of a hindrance to sleep than a relaxant, making anyone's sleep worse before it actually gets better. The Halo Rise sits comfortably on top of my nightstand, eliminating any friction and contact with my wrist, head, or ears. By default, the 6.7-inch white disc displays the time and is held up by a stainless-steel stand, adding to my room's peaceful bedtime aesthetic. 

Review: I slept with a meditation headband. Here's why you should, too

Setting up the Halo Rise was as seamless as its appearance. I placed the device by the side of my bed and made sure it was at head level so it could accurately track my sleep behaviors. The rest of the setup process took place in the Halo app.

Amazon Halo Rise sleep tracking and smart alarm device on a sand colored nightstand next to a bed with white sheets.

The Halo Rise is a natural addition to my nightstand, both practically and aesthetically. 

Christina Darby/ZDNET

Thanks to the low-energy sensors and Amazon's claim of "hours of training against sleep lab-tested polygram data," the Halo Rise doesn't require cameras or microphones to get a read on your sleep patterns. 

That's compared with the competing Google Nest Hub, which does rely on extra parts, and tracks your snoring and coughing, as well as movement. That could be both good and bad, depending on what statistics you value and how much of your privacy you'd like to keep... private.

The top of the Halo Rise features two buttons -- a larger snooze/reading light button and a smaller one to control standby mode/sunset simulation. You can also connect the Halo Rise to your Echo Show or Alexa-enabled device to give the alarm voice commands for an even smarter experience.

An alarm clock worth waking up to

Speaking of sunset/sunrise simulation, this is arguably my favorite feature of the Halo Rise. The Rise features a sliver of LED lights that produce natural-looking sunlight to wake you up. 

The light gets incrementally brighter to simulate the warm tones of the sun, making even the gloomiest of winter days feel just a tad brighter. For deep sleepers who are worried that the light alone won't be enough to wake you, alarm chirps accompany the brightness -- with five audio tones to choose from within the Halo app -- making for a pleasant but effective way to get you out of bed.

Also: The 4 best sunrise alarm clocks: Wake up smarter

However you set your alarm, I'd recommend you set the time a bit later than you typically wake up, given that the sunrise simulation starts 15 minutes before your desired time, and increases very quickly.

Halo Rise on a nighstand with the sunrise light.

Starting off my day with sunlight, even if it's artificial, automatically makes mornings more comforting.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

From stats to better sleep

Even though the Halo Rise is a "nearable" as opposed to a wearable, its approach to tracking data is more or less the same: A hypnogram graph within the Halo app presents the time you spent in each state of sleep (light, deep, REM). 

Also: The 8 best sleep trackers you can buy

What's different is that you can also see how long it took you to fall asleep, and environmental factors like the room's light level (lux), humidity percentage, and temperature. Halo Rise consolidates these various sleep data points into a digestible sleep score ranging from 0 to 100. 

Screenshot of the Halo Rise sleep data.

The sleep data provided a sleep score, my overall data, and environmental insights. 

Christina Darby/ZDNET

As a "type A" personality, I was afraid that a score-based approach would only increase my sleep stress and totally backfire, but the Halo Rise's actionable insights did just the opposite. In addition to giving the environmental elements, Amazon presented me with recommendations and ideal levels for each factor, encouraging me to make practical adjustments. To my amazement, my stress levels and overall mood continued to improve as I was testing the Halo Rise.

The app also prompts you to try different meditation and sleep programs to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and help feel more well-rested throughout the day. I loved having these suggestions on top of Halo Rise's core functionalities.

Also: Apple Watch vs Fitbit: Which tracks sleep better?

As far as accuracy goes, the Halo apps' data more or less matched up with the data from my Apple Watch, which I wore as the control of my testing. Just know that if you're a pet owner, Amazon warns that furry friends getting between you and the sleep tracker could cause slight disruptions to the data.

Bottom line 

If you're hesitant about wearing tech as you sleep but still want access to sleep data, I'd say the $139.99 Halo Rise is worthy of its price tag. But there's one major problem: Amazon is discontinuing the alarm clock starting July 31, as part of a wider closing of the company's Halo division. That means I can no longer recommend the Halo Rise, not for what it is but for what it will soon become.

Alternatives to consider

Instead, look to these alternatives that offer a similar sun-simulating experience.

View at AmazonView at Walmart
View at Amazon
Editorial standards