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- Casper is best known for selling mattresses direct to consumers.
- Now, it’s starting to design gadgets to help you sleep.
- Its first technology product, Casper Glow, produces excellent quality warm light — but it’s pricey.
Is Casper a technology company?
At first glance, the answer would seem to be no. Casper sells mattresses, pillows, and other sleep supplies directly to consumers through the internet. Sure, it specializes in ecommerce, but we’re also in 2019 — just having a website doesn’t make you a technology company.
Or, at least, you wouldn’t think that would make Casper the kind of technology company that raises a single venture capital round of $170 million at a valuation of $750 million. Those kind of numbers are usually reserved for software companies that make internet services or fancy computer hardware — you know, actual technology companies.
But now, Casper seems to be embarking on a new quest to become a full-fledged tech startup: Enter the Casper Glow light, which is designed to replace your bedside lamp. It’s a true designed-in-California gadget, with exacting industrial design, fancy packaging, sensors, and a built-in battery. It even has an app. It seems like something Apple might release — and it even looks a little bit like a HomePod, Apple’s smart speaker.
The tagline on Casper’s website is: “A magical light for better sleep.”
Of course, the Casper Glow also comes with a Apple-like price tag, too. One glowing orb and charger costs $89; you can get a pair for $169. Meanwhile, on Amazon, less design-focused bedside lamps start at about $20.
For the past week, I’ve been falling asleep to the soft, warm glow of the Casper Glow. While the quality of the light is fantastic, and the way the orbs can turn on and off without a variety of buttons and switches is extremely clever, it’s hard to justify spending almost $100 after tax on what ends up being a really nice lamp — even if it is a sweet piece of tech.
Here’s what my experience with the Casper Glow Light was like:
The best thing about Casper Glow is the quality of the light.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
The light put out by the Glow is extremely warm; it made my bedroom immediately feel more cozy. It’s also great to read to — just enough light to so your eyes don’t strain, but not enough to keep you awake.
The Glow uses built-in sensors to match the brightness to the room you’re in, so it changes from environment to environment. It doesn’t provide enough light to illuminate a dark bedroom, but I thought that was a feature as opposed to an issue. After all, my room has an overhead light, and if I needed more illumination, I’d put that on.
My second favorite thing about the Casper Glow is its gestures.
Casper Glow basically doesn’t have any buttons. Instead, it uses a series of clever gestures.
To turn on the light, for example, all you have to do is flip the orb. Turning it over once again turns it off. To brighten or dim the light, you twist it, like the entire orb is a dimmer switch. And if you pick it up in the middle of the night, and you shake it a little bit, it turns on very dimly, so that you can use it as a flashlight to navigate your house. There are two physical buttons, one on the top and one on the bottom. When you press them, it tells the light to stay at the same brightness — it usually automatically dims over the course of 45 minutes by default.
I loved these gestures. Within a day, I was flipping the light like it was second nature. I also liked the “wiggle” gesture to become a nighttime flashlight. I used to use my phone to navigate my room and apartment, but it was too bright, and I was too tempted to read my emails if I got up for a late night drink of water or to go to the bathroom.
However, the Casper Glow didn’t help me sleep.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
Casper’s biggest selling point for the Glow light it that it will help you get better sleep. The main two ways it says it can help you sleep is through its warm, attractive light, as well as through an automatic dimming cycle. When you turn it on, by default it slowly dims for 45 minutes until it’s off. (You can change that time setting in the app.)
Ultimately, though, I chose to continue to do stuff like read my phone in bed, which I’m sure ameliorates any of the benefits of the dimming light. When I read using the Casper Glow, the dimming light didn’t lull me to sleep — it just annoyed me. I would have to adjust the light to keep it bright enough to read. Ultimately, I would turn off the light by flipping it, and then try to fall asleep the way I’ve always done.
It can also be used as an alarm. Through the app, you can tell the light a certain time to turn on. But I preferred my window and daybreak as a gentle way to wake up.
I did have one amazing night of sleep last week — but I don’t think it had anything to do with the Casper Glow. I simply made the choice to go to bed early.