Bose discontinued its noise-masking Sleepbuds last year after users complained about unreliable charging. However, Bose didn’t completely give up on its goal of making super small in-ear white noise generators, because today the company announced the second-gen Sleepbuds II.
Bose addressed previous complaints about the device’s charging by switching to a new NiMH battery and creating a new anodized aluminium charging case (which stores 30 hours of extra juice). Bose says the Sleepbuds II are even lighter and more comfortable than before.
The housing for the Sleepbuds II weigh less than a dime, with each bud measuring just a quarter of an inch deep and featuring newly redesigned ear tips (which come in three sizes). Even people who sleep on their sides should be able to fall asleep without the buds digging into their ears.
A study by the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus and the UCHealth Care Innovation Centre performed in partnership with Bose found that the Sleepbuds II are clinically proven to help people fall asleep faster, with 80% of the study’s participants reporting “an overall improvement in sleep quality.” (Of course, the company making the buds funded the study, so we’ll have to put that to the test for ourselves.)
For the Sleepbuds II, Bose claims it has also improved its noise-masking feature, which is designed to cover up potentially disturbing sounds instead of using something like active noise cancellation to eliminate them.
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However, it’s important not to get the Sleepbuds II confused with your typical wireless earbuds, because unlike normal headphones, the Sleepbuds II don’t allow you to listen to content from your phone or computer. Instead, users are able to select from 35 tracks stored in the Sleepbuds themselves, which include different types of white noise like Country Road, Shore Line, and Boardwalk, with an additional set of Tranquilities and sleep-inducing tones.
This is kind of a bummer because while white noise generators are good, for anyone like me who prefers listening to podcasts or movies to help fall asleep, the Sleepbuds II are only a partial solution. With the first-gen Sleepbuds, Bose said the reason for not supporting standard Bluetooth audio was because adding additional wireless radios would increase the Sleepbuds’ size and affect overall comfort.
For people who do want to listen to music, podcasts, or movies to help fall asleep, I’ve found that the most comfortable earbuds for sleeping are the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, the Google Pixel Buds, and the basic Apple Airpods, in that order. That said, while all three wireless earbuds are relatively small compared to competitors like Sony’s WF-1000XM3, they can still make your ears sore if you’re a side sleeper.
The other potential downside is the new Sleepbuds’ price: At $380, they aren’t cheap. But still, if you’ve been looking for super small white noise generators that you can wear to bed, the Sleepbuds II are one of a very small number of potential solutions. The Sleepbuds II will be available for preorder starting today, with official sales beginning Oct. 6.