Bose launched its first pair of Sleepbuds in June 2018, and while we were originally enamored by their comfortable design and ability to mask external noise, the product was ultimately discontinued the next year due to battery life issues.
Now, Bose has launched the aptly named Sleepbuds II, which aim to fix the key problems of the original buds and also promise a better night’s sleep. The new buds will be available in October for $249 / £229 / AU$379.
For those wondering what Sleepbuds even are, they're essentially a pair of true wireless headphones that offer powerful ‘noise masking’ and specific audio content geared towards relaxation and sleep in a lightweight, compact, and comfortable package.
It’s important to note that (in Bose’s words) these headphones “aren’t active noise cancelling headphones or in-ear headphones with an added feature, and they don’t stream music or let you take and make calls”, so those looking for everyday music machines need to look elsewhere.
Some most notable improvements over the original units include an overhauled design, ergonomically, acoustically and electronically, as well as an expansion to the available sleep content in the Bose Sleep App, now including “over 35 methodically produced and tested tracks”.
The aforementioned battery issues aren’t explicitly mentioned in Bose’s release materials, but it’s stated that the units will have a new battery capable of 10 hours life in the buds themselves and an extra 30 hours in their charging case.
The noise masking technology Bose uses here is different to the usual noise-cancelling we see in other consumer headphones, in that it layers new sounds over problematic environmental noise in order to ‘cover and replace’ sounds rather than actively cancelling them.
Bose partnered with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the UCHealth CARE Innovation Center to run a study (opens in new tab) on the improved version of this technology that appears in the Sleepbuds II, and found that 86% of participants found that the buds helped them fall asleep, and 76% claimed it helped them stay asleep.
It remains to be seen how successful the Bose Sleepbuds II are in their pursuit, and how worthy of their relatively high price tag they are, but if the stated improvements have indeed been implemented, we’re cautiously optimistic about their capabilities.