Muse 2 review

Can this sci-fi headband turn us all into expert meditators?

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Our Verdict

The futuristic Muse 2 headband adds insightful data to meditation practice, keeping tabs on your heart rate, posture, electroencephalogram (EEG) brain readings and more thanks to seven built-in sensors and a decent app. It needs more personalized information and benchmarking, but it’s an ambitious product that could help you turn a daily meditation practice from a pipe dream into a habit.

For

  • Good range of sensors
  • Lightweight, innovative design
  • Adds data and purpose to meditation

Against

  • Expensive
  • Won’t appeal to everyone
  • Needs more detail and personalization

It’s easy to track your running times and quantify your fitness progress over a few months at the gym, but is there a way to see how well your brain and body responds to meditation and calm? That’s the thinking behind Muse, a company that produces sensor-laden headbands designed to be worn while you meditate.

First launched in 2014, Muse has produced three headbands to date that are designed to track data about your body and brain as you meditate.

The latest headband is the Muse 2, a significant upgrade on the previous model that adds extra sensors and data in a sleeker, sci-fi-worthy device.

The result is a headband that can keep tabs on your brain, posture, heart and breath as you meditate thanks to 7 sensors that are embedded within the band, including an accelerometer, gyroscope and pulse oximeter.

What makes it useful is a series of fantastic audio instructions, as well as real-time audio feedback, which will let you know when your mind wanders, through audio cues and music.

The aim being that the Muse 2 teaches you to regain focus over time, improving your practice and allowing you to reap the benefits of being more mindful.

Not only is the Muse 2 a pretty different product in the wearable space, it’s different for the TechRadar team. So we’ve done our best to follow our review structure and give you a rating based on our experience of similar products and lifestyle wearables.

Muse 2 price and availability

  • Out now in the US and UK (other regions TBC)
  • The Muse 2 costs $249 / £239 (roughly AU$350)

The Muse 2 is out now in the US, UK and Europe, with other regions yet to be confirmed.

When we spoke to the Muse team briefly before our review, we were told that although the Muse 2 is released to the public in early 2019, there might be plans in the near future to roll it out to corporations and already established wellness programs.

The Muse 2 costs $249 / £239 (roughly AU$350). The previous iteration of the Muse device costs $159 / £199 (around AU$225). Although the earlier version of the Muse headset looks similar to the Muse 2, instead of tracking a range of metrics, it focuses solely on EEG readings.

So, price-wise the Muse 2 is more expensive, but it’s a rise that makes sense given that it’s had a refreshed design and a range of new sensors added that can tell you much more about your body, mind and meditation practice.

There aren’t many similar devices aimed at focus and meditation that also keep tabs on so many metrics on the market already, so it’s difficult to compare pricing and assess whether the Muse 2 is good value.

However, to add some context, a range of wearables we’ve reviewed in the past have guided breathing practice built-in, such as the Apple Watch 4 (from $399 / £399 / AU$599) and the Fitbit Versa ($199.95 / £199.99 / AU$299.95), which use an optical heart rate monitor and accelerometer to gauge how calm you are. However, they’re multi-purpose smartwatches that aren’t built for calm.

There are a number of devices aimed at keeping tabs on breathing, which can be a good indicator for stress levels, like the Spire Stone ($79, roughly £65 / AU$110), but that’s aimed at all day breath tracking with some guided meditations on offer too.

Design

  • Light and comfortable design
  • Simple headband style
  • Easy to carry

The Muse 2 is a headband that sits in the middle of your forehead and secures around the back of your ears, like a pair of glasses. Users are able to adjust the arms of the headband to make it tighter or looser.

It’s important that it sits flush against your skin so that the 7 different sensors located on the front band and round your ears can more accurately track your readings.

The band itself is as light as a pair of specs and made of a flexible plastic with some metal components.

Given its shape, it does feel a little fragile, which is why you can also buy a separate carry case for $39.99 / £39 (roughly AU$55) from the Muse website. The team behind the Muse 2 is really keen for its users to use the headband everywhere, so the case makes it easy to pack on-the-move without damaging it.