Disclaimer: This is not a paid review or promotion. These are personal experiences and views on a product that helped me regain some of my lost sleep. These observations are based on my own specific personal circumstances. I am not an expert on sleep issues, therefore, I am not generalizing the benefits of this products nor claiming that this product will help everyone.
Coming from an academic, research and journalism background, this review is not something I would usually write. Many of my friends, colleagues and peers might even be surprised and enquire as to what prompted me to write this review for something that has nothing to do with my profession.
However, I have a simple answer; an excellent product, with an amazing after-sales service, which helped me regain some of my lost sleep.
Being an early career researcher has its ups and downs. One of the biggest ‘downs’ in that regard is uneven sleeping hours, mainly due to the random patterns of our research, reading and writing. Even though I succeeded in completing my PhD thesis on time, it was last year (after finishing my PhD) that I realized the massive negative impact my research had on my sleep. Even with little stress and work pressures, I was sleeping late and waking up early in the morning. A lack of sleep ultimately had a negative impact on my mental health, making me more agitated and less calm.
It was then that I started looking into products that could help me sleep better. Ultimately, I landed on the Bose Sleepbuds (Version 1).
Initially, I was unwilling to spend over $300 AUD on a product that looked like just ‘another’ pair of earbuds, with some pre-set sounds and tunes. However, I decided to give it a shot. Initially, I was unable to get used to sleeping with the earbuds. However, after a couple of weeks, I did not only get used to the product, but it also started improving, and increasing, my sleeping hours without waking up in the middle of the night. The Sleepbuds also helped me get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which also had a positive impact on my overall day to day functioning.
As fate would have it, after few months of use, I started noticing major issues with the battery. The battery was only charging up to 57% (for some reason), and draining in less than four hours, compared to the eight hours promised by Bose. I still persisted with the product as, due to my previous experiences with other brands, I did not believe that I will get a product replacement after almost a year of use. In the meantime, I also landed on a news story stating that Bose had recalled the whole batch of its Sleepbuds due to battery issues and it was also offering replacements and refunds. However, I had missed the deadline for a refund.
Ironically, I still persisted with the product until one of the magnets (that holds the earbuds in the charging station) lost it magnetic power, making it impossible for me to recharge one of the buds. In the meantime, I had also backed a similar product on a crowdfunding platform, hoping that the product might be good replacement for my Bose buds. Once the product arrived, I realized why Bose buds’ cost what they cost and why the new buds were nowhere near Bose in terms of quality, battery time, and the length (and loops) of sounds and tunes. The sound loops for many might not be a major deal. However, longer sound loops ensure that you get less distractions and disruptions while listening to your sounds before sleeping.
Finally, I decided to contact Bose customer service, hoping to get some resolution for my product, and encountered my first pleasant surprise. Due to my introverted nature, I avoid “calling” customer service helplines. Therefore, I was really glad that Bose had a WhatsApp chat service. The customer service officer, responding on WhatsApp, chat was not only courteous and helpful, but they also resolved my issue within a few hours. It was also then I encountered my second shock. Bose offered to replace my Version 1 with Version 2 (released recently), free of cost. I couldn’t believe this offer until I physically had my hands on the replacement, and the product arrived within two weeks.
With the new product, I noticed a number of major upgrades.
First, the earbuds had a better design and fit better in the ears.
Second, the battery charging was better and faster with a USB-C port. Even though Bose claims that the battery lasts between 8-10 hours (compared to Version 1’s maximum 8 hours), I have had 30% battery left even after 10 hours of usage. This means that Bose has remained on the cautious side in terms of its battery claims, which is understandable as Version 1 mainly failed due to battery issues. The battery lasts longer than 10 hours, which is an amazing upgrade.
Third, unlike a limited number of pre-set sounds and tunes on Version 1, Version 2 has three times more the sounds and tunes. This allows the user to choose between different sounds and tunes, and ultimately selecting the one that suits them the best.
Fourth, the new buds have a separate magnet in them for better alignment with the charging case. The buds now automatically fit (and stick) on the charging case, with a stronger magnet, without having to look for the ‘magnet’ in the case. A separate magnet in the earbuds might look like a trivial thing, however, the magnet ensures that the buds are placed perfectly in the charging case, even in dark, without much effort.
Finally, where previously transferring a new tune or sound took hours, Version 2 takes 10-15 minutes to transfer a new tune to your earbuds.
In short, so far, I have been really satisfied with Bose Sleepbuds II. The price tag might seem a bit high to young researchers, academics and students. However, from personal experience, I can definitely and safely say that it is worth the investment. Having said that, I still think that like other major services and products on the market, Bose can look into offering the product at a discounted price to students and young academics, to attract a segment of customers that will definitely gain benefits from this product.
As I mentioned in the disclaimer above, I am not a sleep expert, and not claiming that the product will help everyone with sleep issues. However, the product helped me regain some of my lost sleep. Therefore, for researchers with similar issues, it might be worth giving this product a shot; even if it is a free trial 90-day offered by Bose.