Today Bose released its brand new Sleepbuds here in Australia. A week ago I would have been a bit ¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯ about this, because I don't usually need them. Ordinarily I'm blessed with the ability to pass out anywhere, anytime.
However, this past weekend I flew back from IFA and my body has well and truly forsaken me. I'm exhausted, but can't fall asleep. When I'm about to drop off, my brain reminds me that everyone I love is going to die someday. It's great.
So when I was asked to check these little guys out earlier today, I jumped at the chance. Well, sluggishly collapsed at it.
— Tegan Jones (@Tegan_Writes) September 11, 2018
As the name suggests, Bose Sleepbuds are designed to help you fall and stay asleep. Tiny and wireless, they come with 10 "Sleeptracks" that mask the frequencies of noises such as snoring, neighbours, dogs, traffic, etc. The stuff that keeps you up at night, basically. Some of the tracks also promote relaxation.
I tried them for a short period at the briefing and so far, so good. Even without the tracks playing the buds muffled the noise around me. And when a track started, it's all I could hear. I'm really keen to see how they go once I get them into an uncontrolled environment.
They're also designed to be comfortable to wear to bed, even for side-sleepers like myself. During my brief time with them they felt snug, but comfortable. Hopefully they remain so when I actually try to sleep with them in.
"Noise-masking is a science," said Daniel Lee, systems engineer for Bose sleepbuds. "It’s more than ambient sound or white noise. You can’t achieve it by simply turning up the volume on calming songs. And depending on the situation, it’s more effective than active noise cancelling — even ours.
"During the day, QuietComfort headphones improve focus and productivity, or let you hear your playlists and calls clearly in loud places. But at night, you’re trying to shut down completely, and the world is naturally more quiet — and when it’s quiet, even the slightest sound seems loud. Bedside machines can’t cover it, earplugs can’t block it, and earbuds meant for sitting, standing, or moving can’t be worn for hours laying down — especially on your side. But Bose sleepbuds can. And if you’re someone who’s tried everything and nothing’s worked, or haven’t tried anything believing nothing will, we made them for you."
My main concern with the Sleepbuds is their limited versatility. One of their strongest selling points is the 16 hours of battery life they get from their unplugged charging case (once it's charged up of course).
The impressive battery life is partially due to the lack of device connection for content playback. The sleeptracks are stored on the Sleepbuds themselves and when new ones are released, users can pick which ones they want to store from the accompanying Bose Sleep app.
This is super cool, but also limiting. The Sleepbuds aren't capable of playing your music, podcasts or anything else you enjoy listening to. They are custom built for a singular purpose — sleep.
On the plus side, this means that the sleeptracks are optimised for this purpose and have a maximum dB level of 50 to protect against damage. Non-Bose content couldn't be controlled or mask noises in the same way.
This is admirable, but I wonder if the lack of versatility combined with the $379 price tag will dissuade prospective buyers. Is this very particular purpose enough for people to drop that kind of cash?
To be fair, I don't usually suffer from a sleeping disorder, so I'm arriving at this perspective from an incredibly privileged place. And judging from how excited I am to try these after mere days of jetlag, perhaps this won't be such a high price to pay for someone whose quality of life may be drastically improved by these little buds.
Keep your eyes peeled for my full review in the next couple of weeks and Pray For Mojo!
Bose Sleepbuds are available now and have an RRP of $379.