Bose Sleepbuds 2 review: How much is a good night’s rest worth?
The root cause of his sleep issues are very similar to my own: an overactive brain. Neither of us can sleep in silence because our inner voice literally WILL. NOT. SHUT. UP. For me this has led to a lifetime of chronic insomnia that has at times required medication. There are, of course, differences in our situations. Brian tends to be a light sleeper, waking up at every little sound including his snoring dog. I, on the other hand, could probably sleep through armageddon. (I still frequently wake up in the middle of the night, just usually due to back pain or night terrors… I’m a blast to share a bed with.)
After two weeks we can both report at least some success. The bigger question is, can a wearable sound machine ever be worth $250?
Now, I want to be clear: The Bose Sleepbuds are not headphones. You can not use them to listen to music or podcasts. They can’t answer phone calls. You load a selection of soothing sounds on them from Bose’s library and… that’s it. And yes, you load the sounds on them, not stream. The Bluetooth here isn’t any good for streaming audio, and frankly it’s pretty damn slow for transferring even the small files we’re talking about.
The Sleepbuds are very much a single-use gadget. So, everything rides on how well it does that one thing. In order to succeed they need to be small and comfortable enough to wear all night. They need to block enough sound to keep the nonstop traffic outside at bay, or at least muffle the loud snorer next to you. But they also need to let enough in that a smoke alarm will get you up and moving. The soundscapes also need to be pleasing to the ear, without obvious seams, and cover a wide range of styles to suit people’s tastes. Lastly, they need to be easy to use because no one wants to fight with a buggy and complicated app as they’re getting ready for some shuteye.
Let’s go through these requirements one-by-one, starting with comfort.
Are the Sleepbuds 2 comfortable? Yes, with some caveats.
These are all minor inconveniences, but they add up.
The problem is, since this is such a niche single-purpose gadget, there should be basically zero inconveniences for $250. Sure, the Sleepbuds 2 helped me sleep, but not much more so than Headspace or my own nature recordings. Brian meanwhile, had to develop a convoluted system of playing a podcast on his phone loud enough that he could hear it over the Warm Static on the Sleepbuds to really find a workable solution.
We both agreed that the Bose Sleepbuds 2 aren’t bad; they’re just not great. And they’re definitely way too expensive. If you were desperate to completely block the outside world and struggled to fall asleep every night, they might be a great investment at $100, or even $150. But a $250 wearable whitenoise machine is borderline absurd.