If you're craving calming vibes, look no further than Sensate 2. Combining a pebble-shaped wearable that sits on your sternum with a selection of soothing audio tracks provided by a mobile app, it's a bundle that works to good effect. You’ll need to choose from 10-, 20- or 30-minute sessions and stick with it to get the full-on immersive experience. It's worth investing the time, though, and you'll enjoy an air of calm if you’re prepared to let Sensate 2 do its stuff. While the audio selection will need to be beefed up in time to provide continuing interest and stimulation, this is a solid enough start. There’s very little involved in getting Sensate 2 up and running too, which makes it more appealing than some rivals with their more fiddly configuration options.
Quick and easy to operate
Sensate hardware is potent
Decent battery life
Fairly limited audio selection
Quite an expensive option
App is pretty spartan
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Sensate 2 two-minute review
Sensate 2 is billed as a state-of-the-art sensory device, which combines a plastic palm-sized, pebble-shaped chunk of hardware with an audio app. You hang the wearable around your neck with an included lanyard, while the audio app supplies lots of calming audio.
Together, the pairing provides a powerful range of infrasonic sound waves that target the nervous system, most notably the vagus nerve. Used correctly the bundle can help to promote relaxation and build up your resilience to stress.
Sensate 2 works to best effect if you’re lying down, so that you can rest the wearable on your chest bone, thereby allowing your body to absorb the best that this natty bit of tech has to offer. It certainly feels like it’s got the power and ingenuity to work, although we’re still unsure of just how effective the pairing really is.
Sensate 2 price and availability
The Sensate 2 sensory device is available for $249 / £199 / AU$359 direct from Sensate, in a package that includes all the equipment you need to start your calming sessions. You’ll need to get the app too though, which is free for download from iTunes and Google Play. Both are available now, though you might want to check the Sensate website, which has a list of compatible devices so you’ll know if it’s going to work with your own smartphone.
Sensate 2 design
Sensate 2 looks the part as you lift it out of its attractive cyan-coloured packaging – or at least the wearable hardware part of the package does. The other half of this calm-inducing combo is the app, which can be downloaded for free from either iTunes or Google Play. Inside the box is the device itself, a lanyard, charging cable, carrying pouch and an eye mask so you can really get stuck into the immersive potential of this stress-busting package.
The actual Sensate 2 device is a palm-sized design, made of black soft-to-the-touch plastic and which feels great in the hand. It comes with an eyelet, which lets you suspend it from the lanyard. There’s a power button on one-side, which illuminates when the device is working while a power port at the bottom of the unit allows you to recharge it via the included USB cable. Meanwhile, the app is simple and fuss-free to use and operate.
Launch it, start a soundscape session and you’re away. Alternatively, select a track from the library, with themes that currently include Nature, Space and Time, Sacred Spaces, and Breathe. The audio 'flavor' is largely reflected in the titles of the sections.
Note, however, that you can only use the Sensate 2 with the supplied audio options, not your own music. This, according the folk behind the device, is because the tracks call on SIRT (Sensate Infrasound Resonance Technology), and work in a more optimized way than simply listening to regular tunes. A wider range of audio is apparently in the pipeline, just in case you become weary of the current selection.
Overall, the Sensate 2 package looks, feels and behaves like a premium experience, which you’d hope for from something costing $249 / £200 / AUD $359.
Pressing the button on the Sensate 2 powers it up, and delivers a satisfying little clunk, which suggests you’ll be in for some kind of treat once it starts a session. However, the Sensate 2 turned out to be rather more potent that we’d expected. For something so small it seems to be able to radiate quite a lot of energy.
This can be a good thing depending on what supplementary audio track you’ve selected from the supporting collection in the app. There are numerous free options, with quick ‘Try it’ buttons so you can get a flavor of what to expect. If you like what you hear and feel you’ll need to download the full track. Other selections will eventually be available if you tire of the thin free selection, or there’s nothing there that appeals.
We gave all of the free options a whirl, with obvious choices such as the rainforest and water-based audio tracks proving most effective. However, this is largely going to be down to what stirs your own individual senses.
As noted, the Sensate 2 does deliver quite a substantial sensory experience. Lying on your back, it doesn’t matter where, gets the best from the device as it uses its own weight to pulse the low frequency vibrations through your body. These range from cool and calming through to quite, er, stimulating depending on the audio you’ve selected.
Once you’ve grown accustomed to the experience delivered by the Sensate 2 though your body does get quite into the zone and relaxation follows soon after.
Considering how much of an experience it delivers, we found the Sensate 2 to be pretty good at holding a battery charge too, while re-juicing it can be done easily enough for a few hours overnight or in your car on the way to work if you plan a lunchtime de-stress. Simple enough, then.
This simplicity extends to getting started too. We tried the Sensate 2 at around the same time we got the Cove wearable, and the former was much easier to get started with. Download the app, power up the device and, with very little to do, you’re getting those calming sensations delivered in mere minutes.
The main secret for getting the best from Sensate 2 is to use it with headphones, and allow 10, 20 or 30 minutes for a session. From there, use the app on your smartphone, power up and connect via Bluetooth. All you need to do after that is place the Sensate 2 on your chest, adjust the volume and intensity via the app interface and relax. It’s definitely a stress-free user experience.
First reviewed September 2021
Buy it if
You’re keen to relax more
Sensate delivers soothing sessions that can be tailored to suit your mood and available time.
You want to keep things simple
Setting up Sensate is stress-free, and the device is quick to use once you’ve got the app installed.
You’ve got an open mind on relaxation options
Sensate could be worth a try if you’re willing to lie back and enjoy it.
Don't buy it if
You’re not keen on vibrations
The adjustable pulses delivered by Sensate can be quite intense, so they may not be for everyone.
You don’t want another gadget to charge
Sensate requires power, so you’ll need to remember to plug it in and recharge in order to use it.
Your budget is tight
While it’s not the most expensive relaxation gadget you can buy the Sensate isn’t bargain basement either.
Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.