When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Products or services may be offered by an affiliated entity. Learn more.
The Apollo is a wearable device with one goal in mind: optimizing your heart rate variability (HRV), or variations in the length of time between each heartbeat. A high HRV means you can quickly adapt to and deal with stressful situations. Healthy sleep, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and rewarding interpersonal relationships can all contribute to a high HRV.
On the other hand, a low HRV may indicate that you have a hard time managing stress. People with low HRV often struggle to get enough sleep and feel tired during the day. That’s where the Apollo comes into play. The device is designed to issue light vibrations that promote activity in the nervous system. Some of these vibrations are intended to stimulate you and increase alertness when you need a boost of energy, while others help you relax in order to conserve your energy and sleep more soundly.
I wore the Apollo for 30 days and tested all seven vibration modes with different intensity settings. This is the minimum amount of time Apollo recommends wearing the device. Below, you’ll find my detailed analysis about what the Apollo does, how it looks and feels, and my personal experience with each mode.
What Does the Apollo Do?
To explain what the Apollo does, it’s important to understand the inner workings of our nervous system — specifically, the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates heart rate and other essential bodily functions.
The ANS consists of two main branches:
- The sympathetic nervous system controls what’s known as the fight-or-flight response, which kicks in during stressful or dangerous situations that demand immediate attention. Your heart rate and blood pressure levels rise, blood flow increases to the heart and other areas of your body, and digestion slows down. Think of the sympathetic nervous system as a natural survival mode.
- The parasympathetic nervous system helps you calm down when there is no immediate threat, thus conserving energy for when it’s most needed. Your heart rate and blood pressure decrease as the parasympathetic branch kicks in, allowing you to relax.
Neither the sympathetic branch nor the parasympathetic branch is inherently bad or good, but balance between the two is crucial. Too much sympathetic activity can lead to high stress levels, low HRV, and negative health outcomes like poor sleep, anxiety, and depression.
Each of the Apollo’s seven vibration modes is designed to optimize your HRV by engaging with the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system, depending on whether you want to stay alert or relax and unwind.
The Apollo is controlled through a mobile app. While the wearable device has buttons to increase or decrease intensity level, the seven vibration modes are selected through the app.
I tested all of the modes individually and noticed subtle variations. The modes intended to increase energy levels were relatively strong, whereas those meant to help me unwind were gentler and more soothing. That said, you can adjust the intensity level for each one in increments of 5%. I found this feature particularly helpful, as the energy-boosting modes can be a bit jarring, while the relaxing modes might be too subtle for some.
You can also customize the duration anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the selected mode. Some people will react differently to the Apollo than others, and the vibrations may not affect them to the same extent.
The Apollo’s seven modes break down as follows:
- Energy and Wake Up: This mode is designed to increase your heart rate and help you feel alert first thing in the morning. Of all the modes, this one felt strongest to me — even with the intensity cranked down to 30%. I tested it between waking up and exercising before work. I’d liken this mode to the energy kick you get from a cup of coffee, but without the mid-morning crash.
- Clear and Focused: This is another mode intended to stimulate and refresh. The goal is to boost your attention levels during the day when you’re at work or running errands. I recommend starting this mode at an intensity level of 40% or lower, then increasing as needed.
- Social and Open: This mode is geared toward people who want to improve their mood and elevate their energy level before engaging with people at work or in social settings. The vibrations are less intense compared with the Energy and Wake Up or Clear and Focused modes, but are still noticeable.
- Rebuild and Recover: One of the more relaxing options, this mode is meant to help you relax after periods of physical or emotional stress. I used it after working out and felt calmer than usual during my cool-down period. I noticed this could also be a useful mode if you’re recovering from an illness or dealing with a stressful interpersonal situation.
- Meditation and Mindfulness: While the name of this mode implies it is best suited to guided meditation, I also found it soothing for other purposes like winding down after work. You don’t need much intensity here — at most, 40% to 50% should do the trick.
- Relax and Unwind: True to its name, this mode helps you chill out in the evening during the hours leading up to bedtime. I maxed out the intensity at 60% but could have gone higher, especially after an exceptionally long or stressful day.
- Sleep and Renew: Think of this mode as a companion for Energy and Wake Up. It’s designed for use immediately prior to or while falling asleep. Of all the modes, this one was most effective for me in terms of intended purpose. I encountered little to no trouble falling asleep while using it.
Once you turn your Apollo on, your selected mode should fully kick in after a couple minutes. You can also schedule your favorite modes to automatically begin at specific times. To schedule modes, click the clock icon on your Apollo Neuro app.
One thing I appreciated about Apollo is the wealth of information on its website. The company has sponsored scientific studies to test the effectiveness of the Apollo, and the results are available for anyone to read. The company has also cited more than 50 academic sources to back up various scientific claims.
Other Functions of the Apollo
The Apollo does not offer much functionality beyond the seven vibration modes. One thing users might find frustrating is that the device does not actually track any health metrics. If you want to check whether your HRV or sleep patterns have changed after using the Apollo, you’ll need a supplemental tracker that monitors these data points. The Apollo is compatible with the Oura Ring sleep tracker, as well as Apple Health tracking software on the iPhone and other Apple smart devices.
The Apollo is a great example of a device that does one thing and does it well. You won’t find the bells and whistles or detailed reporting you might encounter with a more advanced tracker. However, each vibration mode is distinct from the others and has real-world applications that make the Apollo practical in a wide range of settings. You may not use all of the modes on a regular basis, but they are at your disposal whenever you need them. The adjustable intensity levels and duration also make the device customizable for just about anyone.
On a technical note, you don’t need to wear the Apollo all day every day to experience the effects. In fact, doing so will drain the battery pretty quickly. I wore mine for about an hour or two at a time, two to three times per day. That was more than sufficient for me to feel the device’s effects.
Discounts and Deals
Sleep Foundation Special Offer
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Apollo products
How Does the Apollo Look and Feel?
The Apollo is one of the most nondescript devices we’ve tested. The device is composed entirely of plastic. There’s no display or control panel to speak of, just two buttons on the side to increase or decrease the intensity level for the current mode and a micro-USB port on the backside to charge the battery.
Different design aspects of the Apollo include the following:
- Band: The neoprene band is designed to fit around the wrist or ankle using a Velcro enclosure. I tried both and found the ankle more comfortable when working out, going about my day, and sleeping. Each order comes with two bands. One is designed to fit on a medium-sized wrist or small ankle, and the other should fit a large wrist or large ankle. On the Apollo website, you can also purchase bands intended for smaller adults or children. You can choose from three band colors to mix and match with the six color options for the tracker.
- Size: With the band attached, the Apollo weighs 1.4 ounces. This makes it considerably lighter than many watch-style devices on the market. However, the Apollo is also somewhat bulky and may not be comfortable if you have smaller wrists. In this case, you will probably prefer wearing the device around your ankle.
- Battery Life: The Apollo’s battery lasts about six to eight hours. Since you will likely use the device in intervals, rather than continuously, you can probably stretch the battery life throughout the course of a single day. Keep in mind that higher intensity levels drain the battery more quickly than lower levels. The Apollo can take up to four hours to fully charge.
- Water Exposure: While the Apollo is water-resistant, it is not waterproof. Apollo does not recommend wearing the device in the shower or while swimming.
Buying and Setting Up the Apollo
Lastly, I’ll cover the nuts and bolts of ordering the Apollo, setting it up, and syncing it with your phone.
Prices and Ordering: Each Apollo purchase costs $349, and includes the tracker, medium and large bands, and a battery charging cable. Financing is available if you prefer to make monthly payments.
No subscription is required for the Apollo, so the sticker price is a one-time cost. The Apollo Neuro app can be downloaded for free, and is compatible with Apple and Android smart devices.
|Shipping||The Apollo ships free to customers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Shipping rates depend on the destination. Customers outside the U.S. may need to pay a value-added tax, which also varies by location.|
|Setup||Once you’ve received the Apollo in the mail and downloaded the Apollo Neuro app, you’ll be ready to set up the device. Unbox the Apollo and press the button with a raised dot.|
From here, all you need to do is sign into the app using a code you’ll receive in an email and create your user profile.
|Pairing With Oura Ring and Apple Health||Pairing your Apollo with the Oura Ring sleep tracker or Apple Health app is also straightforward. Both can be completed by customizing the app’s settings.|
Apollo provides a detailed step-by-step rundown for linking with the Oura Ring and Apple Health app. These are the only two health and sleep tracking resources that are compatible with the Apollo at this time.
|Connectivity Troubleshooting||If you experience connectivity problems with your Apollo, you may be able to resolve the issue with a quick four-step process:|
1. Close the Apollo Neuro app on your phone.
2. “Forget” or “unpair” the app from your Bluetooth connection.
3. Perform a manual factory reset on the device by holding down both buttons for 10 seconds. Make sure the Apollo isn’t charging when performing this step.
4. Press the raised-dot button. If a blue light flashes, the reset was successful.
|Beta Testing||A beta-testing opportunity is available for active Apollo users. The company grants these users access to the beta version of the Apollo Neuro app and lets them download new features as they are introduced.|
The beta testers are encouraged to provide feedback about how well the features work. This is a voluntary, unpaid program.
|Returns and Warranty||The company allows returns for the Apollo within 30 days of delivery. You’ll receive a full refund for your device, minus the cost of return shipping. Your device needs to be in like-new condition and returned in its original packaging.|
All Apollo purchases come with warranties that cover structural defects for up to one year. Apollo users must contact the company’s customer service team to register the warranty.