Review: Bose Sleepbuds II will help you get that elusive eight hours - for a hefty price

Bose Sleepbuds II review by Daniel Rutledge on Newshub.
The silicon tips that fit into your ear are the reason Bose Sleepbuds II are so comfortable. Photo credit: Newshub.

As the earbud market continues to boom in popularity we're getting devices that are more specialised, hoping to cater for certain niches.

US audio giant Bose has a handful of different types of earbuds on the market, including the Sleepbuds, which are specifically designed for use in bed.

As well as earbuds that target groups like gym addicts, gamers and audiophiles, do we need earbuds that target those of us struggling to achieve an elusive eight hour slumber?

It turns out the answer is yes - with a few caveats.

I've been using the Bose Sleepbuds II for the past few weeks and here are my thoughts.

The good

There's no question that these earbuds will help a lot of people have longer, better sleeps.

They do a great job of obscuring annoying noise that would otherwise interrupt your sleep, covering it with a range of pleasantly soothing audio options.

The calming sounds the emit into your ear can also be really good at helping distract a frustratingly active mind when you're just trying to nod off.

Instead of using active noise-cancelling (ANC), the Sleepbuds II combine passive noise blocking with Bose's noise-masking technology. The result is especially good if the sounds you're wanting to block are happening more in bursts rather than a constant drone - think a partner's snore, a loud car driving past your house or drunk people walking past your apartment. 

Review: Bose Sleepbuds II will help you get that elusive eight hours - for a hefty price.
A pair of Bose Sleepbuds II beside their charging case. Photo credit: Newshub.

Normally, audio quality is the number one feature I'm interested in with earbuds or headphones, but that's not the case here. The most vital feature of earbuds designed for use in bed is comfort.

The Sleepbuds II are very, very comfortable.

By far, these are the most comfortable earbuds I've used to date. However I'm lying in bed, they never push uncomfortably on my ear or create any strain.

I was impressed that even when one side of my head was pushed into a pillow, not only did it not get uncomfortable but the audio on that side wasn't impacted, as it usually is with other earbuds.

The Sleepbuds II manage to be so comfortable by weighing a tiny 1.35g each and fitting into your ear with soft, springy silicon tips that basically make it feel like you're not wearing anything.

You select the sounds you want via a mobile app that separates them into three categories. There's 'noise masking' sounds like a fireplace, plane hum and ocean waves; 'naturescapes' like rainforest and songbirds; and 'tranquilities', which is basically gentle meditation music.   

There are 54 sounds in total at the time of publishing.

Bose Sleep app screenshots.
Bose Sleep app screenshots. Photo credit: Newshub.

The app has a beautiful, simple design that uses soothing imagery that makes me get excited about upcoming lovely sleeps when I use it. You can put a sleep timer on the sounds, or let them play all night long.

I've never had the buds run out of battery during the night and they're said to give 10 hours on a single charge. Their case will keep juicing them up for up to another 30 before you need to charge that, which you do with a USB-C cord included in the packet.

I should point out that as the name suggests, the Sleepbuds II is the second iteration of this device. The first apparently suffered a range of pretty major problems that I fortunately did not experience.

But it still wasn't perfect and could be improved for the Sleepbuds III. 

The bad

The worst thing about these earbuds is they can only be used with the app and play the limited range of sounds it offers.

I really wish I could get podcasts going through them, or even alternative sleepy sounds to what the app offers.

For the past decade or so I've gone to sleep listening to a podcast almost every night. Earbud technology has made this super convenient and better than ever.

While monotonous, gentle drones are awesome to sleep to, sometimes I need a podcast that's just engaging enough to attract my attention, but then also boring enough to fall asleep to.

It'd be fantastic to have that option with the Sleepbuds II. I know this isn't what they're going for, but it seems like it wouldn't be too hard to add.

Because the sounds are stored on the buds themselves and streamed to them from your phone, there's a bit of planning and management involved. It takes a bit of time to select what sounds you want and delete older ones to make room for others, all of which you can't really do if you're half asleep.

The price is also on the higher end for earbuds or headphones - at the time of publishing, a set of these are listed at $420 on the Noel Leeming website.

That's a lot of money, but then, if they help you get a good sleep when you otherwise couldn't, you'd probably be willing to pay a lot more.

The Bose Sleepbuds II are available at Noel Leeming in New Zealand.
Photo credit: Newshub.

The verdict

For those who can afford the high price, the Bose Sleepbuds II are a fantastic device for masking sound and helping get a good night's sleep.

If earplugs aren't quite cutting the mustard and other earphones or headphones feel too awkward when you wear them, these could be your key to blissful eight hours of shuteye. 

These Sleepbuds are exceedingly comfortable and come with a wonderful set of sounds to sleep, doze or meditate to.

I only wish they offered a few of the standard earbud functions on top of the single-use feature they do so well. 

Newshub was supplied a set of Bose Sleepbuds II for this review.