Bose has a new pair of earbuds on the way in the form of the Sleepbuds II, but the new earbuds' intended use is quite different from the average pair of wireless earbuds. And comes with an unfortunate legacy attached.
Arriving on October 6, and available to pre-order right now, the $250/£230 earbuds are aimed specifically at helping users get a good night's rest rather than to play their music in high quality. Their unique function means that it could be of interest to many sleepless potential customers, despite the high price.
The original Bose Sleepbuds were discontinued in late 2019 after chronic battery problems that saw some users getting unexpected switch-offs during the night, with others finding they couldn't charge the batteries higher than 58%. This is something Bose openly discusses in a behind-the-scenes blog post. But even with the problems it faced in designing the original buds, Bose says it attracted a keen audience who wanted a successor to this unique, albeit janky product.
Bose has rated the Sleepbuds II for 10 hours of playback, with another 30 stored within the charging case, which should see you through over half a week's worth of long sleeping sessions.
Rather than play tracks from your music streaming service of choice, the Sleepbuds instead play locally saved tracks, chosen from those offered via Bose's Sleep app. These are a selection of calming tracks, nature sounds and noise-masking tones, and can be set to shuffle through your downloaded tracks or to repeat one throughout the night. This is part of Bose's "cover and replace" strategy for unwanted sounds, which it claims is better for sleep than the usual noise-canceling methods you see on other earbuds and headphones.
They feature a unique gel eartip design (with three sizes included in the box), specially-designed anti-friction materials that prevent unwanted squeaking, a new antenna for a more reliable connection to your phone and are much lighter than the average earbud so they can be worn easily throughout the night too. That's unlike normal earbuds, which are great to wear until you want to rest your head on something, at which point they start pressing against your head or squeaking as you try to get comfortable.
We're hoping the Sleepbuds II are a big improvement over the original. In our Bose Sleepbuds review, we actually found that the buds made it hard to get a good night's sleep due to its uncomfortable design. Its lack of sleep tracking and high price was also a sticking point.
If these don't sound like what you want from a new pair of wireless earbuds, then Bose has another option in the form of the QuietComfort Earbuds. These are your more typical pair of ANC-equipped earbuds, and should provide some strong competition to the AirPods Pro when they launch on September 29.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.