Today we’re talking about something that especially a lot of you in lockdown have been struggling with, and that is noise. Snoring partners, noisy neighbors, traffic noise, planes, trains, automobiles, anything else that’s keeping you awake at night and the question is, “Can these eye-wateringly expensive earbuds help you sleep better?”
So when I first saw these Bose Sleepbuds II, I thought, “You are kidding me.” These things are so expensive and they don’t even play music. Surely there’s some magic pixies in here somewhere.
I compared them to a lot of the more normal things that you would try and use to shut out noise. It could be the little foam squidgy earplugs that you put in. It could be ear pods, earbuds, things that you put in your ears and try and sleep at night maybe to listen to music or maybe just to try and block the sound. Maybe it’s in-ear monitors if you’re doing an extension of that. It could be headphones that you’re trying to put over your head.
Any of those solutions might have worked for you on and off, but generally they’re a bit of a pain in the butt because they lack a whole lot of comfort and general passive noise canceling on their own. These things do actually have a lot of cool, little features about them that make them work. Now, are they worth the price? I’ll leave that up to you but I can say that I’ve bought them and they’ve been pretty good for me so far.
So they come in some nice packaging in a box. I know. Impressive for really expensive stuff. And then it opens up this way nicely and then you have the aluminum-looking container inside, which is actually really quite attractive. It’s quite big but you got to remember this is a charging case as well.
There’s a QR code inside the box that you can scan for the app. And if I keep pulling this apart, there’s another box, which if I keep pulling that apart, you’ve got alternate earplug sizes and a charging cable in there which is a USBC cable.
Wow, what an unboxing. That was amazing. Now, the unit itself, little USBC on the back. Nice, soft rubber bottom. Little things, okay? So when you put that on your sideboard at night, you don’t want to wake your partner because you’ve just had to sneak these into your ear because they’re snoring. So they open whisper-quiet just like that. Shall I do it again? I know. It’s exciting. Closed it. Opened it.
All right, maybe I’m overdoing it. And then inside are the earbuds which are kind of slightly magnetically fastened in there that you can you pull out. And then there’s lots of really, really cool white lights around the outside if I could show those to you again. If you can see them, now they’ve got a strong light here for this one, a strong light here for this one, and a row charge for the base here. And so when you put them in, if they’re pulsing like that, they’re just doing a little bit of charging. And then once you get that solid light, you know that they are charged.
Holding them up closer, they’re just a silicone rubber seal on the end with a little Bose signature and a squidgy, little in-ear piece for putting in your ear. They come with the medium tips pre-installed which was fine for my ears. And if you look at the spears, you can see actually they’re just round silicone and the active electronics just pop into that little hole there. So you’ve got small, medium, and large. I’m pretty confident that most of you are going to have no problem getting these in your ears.
The companion app is pretty cool. So once you take the sound buds out of the case, it connects them automatically, and then you’ve got options of what you’d like to play. For example, I’ve got it set that I’m going to play Swell which is basically just wave noise for 30 minutes. Now you can set that to be longer.
The listening play time on these little puppies is about 10 hours on a single charge, and the case can give you an additional three charges. So you’ve got about three nights’ sleep of full use before you have to charge them.
If you have a partner who snores all night or, you know, it’s like usually at 2 or 3 in the morning that your neighbors wake you up, you can run the ambient noise in these all night long. And Bose said that it’s these spikes in noise during the night that really are what wake you up. And if you’re like me, then once you’re awake, then you’re awake, which is a pain in the…
There’s been a few complaints about them not having active noise-canceling. Now, you don’t want active noise-canceling on an earbud that you’re going to be sleeping in. The way that active noise-canceling works generally in headphones and it’s similar, is there is an external microphone on the unit that listens to incoming noise and then creates a canceling noise against that on the internal so that you don’t hear that noise on the inside of the earphones.
If you’re lying on an active noise-canceling headphone as you’ll know or ear pods, there’s a lot of what we call microphonics or noise where there’s a lot of noise in motion that comes out of, you know, just that microphone picking it up and the whole thing just feels active, and it’s scratching, and it’s nasty.
So these are passive. So for this price, you’re paying for passive, not even active, and as I said, these don’t play music. They’re really just designed to play…the driver in them is designed to play the sleep sound ambient noise landscapes that you’re going to get out of the app. It’s a good thing. You know, they’re designed to do one thing. They’re not designed to do a lot of things, and that’s kind of what I like about them. Simplicity works.
Because of the lack of those microphonic noises, that’s one of the reasons these work so well in-ear. So when you put them in, the silicone ear tip is really just going to be the noise-canceling. The ambient noises can help mask additional noises. There’s no more fairy dust, magic pixies than that.
And then they’ve got a nice, soft bit here that just goes into the conch, cochlea, concave area of the ear, and that’s one of those nice, little things is, you know, when using phone tips or things, but when you roll over in the night, often they just get pushed out or they fall out or anything. So these stay in nice and snuck all night, so thumbs up Bose. Well done. Good testing on that.
And the big question, for someone like me that has one of those kind of hard, bamboo pillows, is, like, well, am I even going to be able to put my ear on it? For all the flights and hotels I’ve stayed in, you know, you just can’t get any comfort out of anything that you put in your ear.
So the big test, this is the second generation. The first generation apparently had a slightly smaller body. It’s all right, it’s all right. I’d give it, like, 7.5, 8 out of 10 in terms of comfort. Is it perfect? No. I mean, I have quite a firm pillow so I can feel these in there, but it’s not such a discomfort that I don’t want to lie on my side. So, again, thumbs up, Bose. Well done there.
You know, as an overall experience, I’m very happy with these. I do wish that they weren’t quite as expensive as they are for what you’re getting. But they do what it says on the tin better than anything else I’ve tried to date. What would I like to see in the future? Just even more slimming down of that dynamic, active electronics part so that you really can lie on your side without noticing anything.
But, for me, personally, I haven’t found anything else on the market that does what this does as well as it does. Now, I’ve probably spent more time on long-haul flights and hotels and 97.895% of you. So that’s, in my opinion, such a great endorsement.
If you’ve got any questions, please fire away because I’ll generally forget something about these that you want to know. Bose Sleepbuds II, expensive? Yep, but better than a kick in the pants.