So between traveling for work and play, going around NYC and working out, I was starting to think, “man, I really need a fitness tracker…” steps for everyday metrics would be nice, and maybe a heart rate monitor for when I’m at the gym. After tons of research and review-reading, I found the Sona Connected Bracelet by Caeden. I wanted something functional, but stylish and the Sona seemed to fit the bill. Unfortunately, it was on pre-order and is brand new bit of tech. So… I put in an order and waited. After about 3 months or so, I got the long awaited email: Your Sona is ready to ship!
But prior to this, I wanted to learn more about the Sona and to make sure I didn’t waste $150 (special preorder pricing)! I tried to find reviews on it, maybe by tech journals, etc., but I couldn’t find anything except some older ones about a protoype a year ago. And now that I’ve had it for some while, I’ll share my experiences!
In terms of functionality, the Sona hit all the critical points that I was looking for. As I constantly run through airports to make my flights, walk around client offices, or just hanging out in New York, I rack up a lot of steps. I don’t always have my phone in my pocket to utilize the Apple Health app for this so the steps function is very useful. The Heart Rate Monitor is the key piece of the Sona. Like the Fitibit Charge HR/2, Jawbone UP2/3/4, etc. they all offer some form of Heart Rate monitoring. The important part is the continuous monitoring that the Sona offers. All of the other HRM functionalities are usually passive (except with the Fitbit) but the Sona is continuous and on demand. That’s important, especially when I’m working out as I would want constant feedback available. In addition to Heart Rate monitoring, it also offers Heart Rate Variability, an additional more in depth metric. Heart Rate Variability is the time between heart beats and it is said that the higher, the better. This is a unique feature that only the Sona offers. Other features that the Sona offers are Text/Call Notifications (it’ll vibrate your arm when you get a text or call). This only applies to texts and calls and doesn’t work for the other notifications you may receive on your phone (apps and all). This is nice as sometimes, the phone can vibrate in my pocket but I don’t feel it and miss my call/text. The Caeden Sona app also offers a meditation function. There are different goals you can choose to achieve and an app that assists in breathing and meditation. I have used this a couple times and it seems to work? Or so at least the app tells me as my heart rate drops a bit and the breathing exercises help me achieve a moment of calmness. I was never a big follower of meditation and in truth, don’t really understand how it works or how to do it, but the app offers a bit of clarity and instruction when it comes to that.
The quality of the materials is pretty decent. It’s supposed to be Full Grain Leather and it does have a higher end feel to it, but is kind of flimsy compared to watch bands. That being said, that’s fine because I wouldn’t want a band as thick as watch bands either. It’s been a couple weeks of day wear and it doesn’t seem to have started to break as some cheaper leather bands have.
The best parts of the Sona is the fact that it has continuous heart rate monitoring and real-time heart rate. This is crucial as a lot of to other devices require you to wear a separate chest band when working out to monitor heart rate when the Sona (along with only a few other competitors) only require a wristband. The Sona is also lightweight and small. It doesn’t take up too much space on your wrist that it’d draw a large amount of attention, especially if you want to pair it up with a watch on the other hand. The best part and the main reason why I bought the Sona is that, it’s beautiful. Unlike other health trackers, it doesn’t look like a gaudy accessory or an “overly sporty one” and blends with all types of outfits. The leather band has a classic look to it and the gloss metal finish on the device is sleek. As a fashion accessory, it works with a bunch of different outfits, casual, formal, the whole nine yards.
After reading this part, you might find that these are the ultimate reasons why I even decided to review it. Although it has the functionalities I described above, they don’t always work. As this is a bit of “experimental tech”, the Sona doesn’t have all of it features completely refined, or at least in mine. There are no clear instructions how to turn on/off the Sona. When you don’t want to wear it to sleep and want to just place it down, sometimes it still “searches” for a heart rate and flashes throughout the night, both draining battery and putting up ridiculous numbers on your heart rate. Also, after a full discharge of the battery, the Sona is finicky in deciding if it wants to reconnect to your phone. On more occasions than not, I would have to reset the Sona (completely) using the instructions provided to get it to reconnect to my app. And I know it’s not a battery issue as after it connects, the battery icon is fully charged. Ultimately, the Sona has many crucial flaws that render the technology 50% effective throughout my time using it.
To sum it up, the Sona is an extremely beautiful piece of jewelry and when it works, it’s amazing. It does everything I want it to do and more! It’s classy, sexy, and a great accessory to a number of outfits. But it’s the times that it doesn’t work that really annoys me and ultimately is why I decided to return my Sona. Sona’s customer service is pretty good, as they’re helpful with a lot of my concerns and ultimately told me that I probably have a defective piece and I could wait till November or something for them to send me a new one, but I think it’s time for me and the Sona to end our journey right here. Perhaps, when the Sona 2.0 comes out with it’s tech perfected, I’ll spring for it. And I hope they do because this bracelet is damn sexy, but not sexy enough to be a $150 bracelet.
Unboxing the Sona