Thursday (June 21), Bose released its brand new product, the Bose Sleepbuds, and although it resembles a pair of wireless headphones, it is not meant to play music, even if it’s the last thing you expect it to do.
The Bose Sleepbuds are, basically, wireless earbuds, designed to help you get a good night’s sleep, while they stay nestled comfortably inside your ears, not on or over them, playing audio tracks that are not only soothing and sleep-inducing, but also help in drowning out ambient noise.
“Sleep deprivation is a growing, global epidemic that impacts our lives and our health,” said Brian Mulcahey, Category Director of Wellness at Bose, adding that the company “put together an incredible team of experts in noise management, acoustics, psychoacoustics, electronic miniaturization, wireless in-ear headphones, and neurology,” to make the Sleepbuds concept a reality.
If you are thinking Bose’s super-cool noise cancellation technology is at play here, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
There is no denying the fact that active noise cancellation does a great job of filtering out ongoing sounds like noisy surroundings, but when it comes to keeping out loud and abrupt sounds, it is not the ideal solution.
The Bose Sleepbuds “combine passive blocking of sleep-disturbing sounds with a selection of sounds engineered to mask what gets past the blocking by the eartips,” which are included in the box.
So, what the Sleepbuds, basically, do involves noise masking rather than noise cancellation.
Bose has put in a lot of research into making these noise-masking buds as tiny as they are. Weighing in at just 1.4 grams each, and measuring a little over one-centimeter in height and width, the Sleepbuds are the smallest product to have ever come out of a Bose facility, within the U.S. or overseas.
Despite the Speedbuds’ tininess, Bose has managed to incorporate a silver-zinc battery, transducer, and flash memory inside the buds, with a wireless antenna on each of them, which is actually a part of the bud’s exterior.
As mentioned before, the Bose Sleepbuds don’t play any kind of music, whatsoever; not by itself, nor from any external devices.
So, if you are thinking Apple Music, Spotify, audiobooks, or podcasts, all one can say is that music is not what the Sleepbuds will use to put you to sleep.
The miniature transducer isn’t designed for that; it is, in fact, built to play special pre-loaded “sleep tracks” – ten of them in all – stored on the tiny internal storage.
While you can’t stream from your smartphone, you can actually connect through it using the the Android or iOS version of the Bose app to control your settings like, for instance, choosing the sleep-track that you’d like to lull you to sleep, set the volume that suits you the best and you can even set up your alarm.
The ten pre-loaded tracks include sounds under the categories: Campfire, Circulate, Warm Static, Tranquillity, Downstream, Shower, Rustle, Altitude, Cascade, and Swell.
According to Bose, each of these tracks is engineered to provide optimal coverage across different frequencies, so they can effectively mask undesired night-time noises like partying next door, traffic, snoring and other such disturbances.
However, Bose doesn’t want you to become totally oblivious to important sounds like your smoke/fire alarm, for example, and, hence, allows you to adjust the volume of each sound so that these emergency sounds can filter in.
It must be mentioned, that playing one of the tracks is imperative for the entire set up to give you the desired effect; just putting the Sleepbuds in your ears will not serve the purpose.
The tiny rechargeable silver-zinc battery inside can give you 16 hours of battery life, which, effectively, translates to 2 nights of charge-free operation – make that 3 nights, because the brushed aluminum charging case can give you a third charge-free night.
A small rubber ring ensures that the Sleepbuds nestle securely in your ears and the super-soft, almost mushy material used for the buds make them, practically, as comfortable as not having them on at all.
All of those combine to give you a comfortable night’s sleep, regardless of whether you sleep on your back, belly or on your sides.
Here are some scenarios that you can picture in your head to help you decide whether, or not, the $249 Bose Sleepbuds has a place in your scheme of things.
- Instead of hearing your partner snore the roof away all night, you drift off to sleep to the gentle sound of ocean waves lapping against the shore. However, in the interest of your partner’s sanity, be prepared to spend an additional $249 if you happen to be a snorer too.
- Instead of waking up in the middle of the night a number of times because of traffic noise, you sleep soundly as leaves rustle in the background. Even if you do wake up for some reason, a dream or nightmare, perhaps, you are immediately soothed back to sleep.
- The tranquillity-inducing sound of a flowing stream giving you those unhindered hours of sleep after a hectic night shift.