Bose Sleepbuds II Review: How Much Is Better Sleep Worth?

Bose is extremely well-known for its lineup of trusty headphones and home speakers. The company isn’t afraid to take a few risks, either, like with its Bose Frames line of bone-conduction sunglasses.
But what about Bose as a purveyor of products designed to help you sleep? That’s not exactly most people’s first thought about the company.
With its new Sleepbuds, that’s exactly the market Bose is trying to break into or, perhaps more accurately, create for the first time. Its recently released Bose Sleepbuds II purport to give users better nights of sleep. So far, they are successful for many users.
That said, they aren’t a perfect product, and they generate a question that’s hard to answer: how much is better sleep worth to you?
Find out everything you need to know about this curious new product in this Bose Sleepbuds II review.

What Are Bose Sleepbuds II?

The short answer here is that Bose Sleepbuds II are earbuds. They certainly look like earbuds: they have soft silicone tips that seal tightly in the wearer’s ear, along a soft body that rides in the outer opening of the ear. They ship in a charging case with three sets of eartips and a USB charging cable.
So far, they sound pretty much like earbuds, right?
Now, here’s the weird part: they don’t play music. Or podcasts. Or anything else you might choose from almost any app on your phone.
They only play content (and that’s using the term loosely) from the accompanying Bose Sleep app.

Technology-Powered Sleep Aids

As you might guess from the name, the real goal of Bose’s Sleepbuds II is to help wearers sleep by blocking out distracting noises, like snoring partners, pets or the sound of the city outside your window.
So how do they do this? They aren’t exactly earbuds, but they’re far more than simple earplugs. They help users sleep in two primary ways: noise reduction and noise making.

Dual Strategy: Noise Reduction and Noise Masking

Bose Sleepbuds II uses two strategies. The first is noise reduction. By now, you’re likely familiar with the feeling of a tight-fitting earbud. AirPods Pro, Galaxy Buds, and a very wide range of others take this approach. These devices use silicone tips to create a tight seal in your ear, thus naturally blocking out most ambient sound.
The Bose Sleepbuds II do exactly this, and they do it quite well. The tips on these buds are flanged widely outward but made of even softer than usual material, for added noise reduction and comfort.
The second strategy in play with this product is noise masking. From the Bose Sleep app, you can select from a wide range of sleep-inducing sound profiles, like Swell (gentle ocean waves) or Rainforest. In total, Bose offers 54 “specially engineered sounds” divided into three categories: naturescapes, noise masking, and tranquilities.

What’s Not Included: Active Noise Cancellation

One thing worth noting is that Bose Sleepbuds II don’t include any form of active noise cancellation (ANC). This might be a frustration to some prospective buyers, even if there are some legitimate reasons not to include it.
For one, ANC is better with steady, predictable sounds, like the roar of airplane engines. It isn’t nearly as good at blocking out intermittent sounds or variable ones, like voices speaking.
Second, ANC isn’t the absence of sound. It’s a trick, really: by piping in an inverse soundwave to the one currently happening around the user, ANC tricks the ear into hearing “silence” – but it does so by producing even more sound. In other words, ANC has its uses, but it isn’t exactly restful.

Intelligent Construction, with Caveats

Bose has done great work on the design of these earbuds. They’re soft through and through, and they don’t extend outside the ear for most ear shapes. That means that most users can even sleep on their side with them in with no discomfort.
Unfortunately, that intelligent construction might not extend to the app design. Engadget reviewers were deeply disappointed by this. There is no way to save favorite sounds and no way to preview the sounds in the earbuds. Seriously – previews played out loud on the reviewers’ phones.
The buds also require you to use the Bose Sleep app if you want to set an alarm. There are precious few OS integrations on display here, which is a baffling choice.

Price, and a Question

Bose Sleepbuds II retail for $249. So, these earbuds do a decent job at helping people sleep, most of the time. But they’re incredibly limited in terms of functionality, and the app experience isn’t a pleasant one.
This leads to the central question: how much is a good night’s sleep worth? $249 is a lot of money for a device this limited. But if it helps you sleep when nothing else can, that amount of cash will feel like a bargain.

Protect Your Bose Sleepbuds II with Upsie

If you buy Bose Sleepbuds II, you’re spending a decent chunk of money in pursuit of something that’s nearly priceless: a good night’s sleep. So it makes sense to protect this kind of investment with an extended warranty that protects against defects and accidental damage. Upsie’s headphone warranties cover Sleepbuds, and they keep you protected for a very reasonable cost.
Protect the thing that’s protecting your sleep. Get an Upsie warranty today.

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