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Bose Sleepbuds 2 awake from battery nightmare, refreshed

These improved bedtime earbuds include design and performance upgrades as well as more sounds.

The Sleepbuds 2 ship Oct. 6 and cost $249.

Fans of Bose's Sleepbuds rejoice: Your favorite sleep earbuds are back in a next-generation model featuring "demonstrably better noise masking," according to Bose. It'll also come with new categories of content to combat your inability to relax. The Sleepbuds 2 arrive Oct. 6 for $250 (£230, AU$380), the same price as the original Sleepbuds, which were discontinued last year following months of customer complaints citing battery issues.

While the tiny Sleepbuds 2 look similar to their predecessor, they combine a new acoustic and electronics design along with a new enclosure and tips. Bose has dropped its cutting-edge silver-zinc battery that caused all the problems in favor of a more conventional nickel-metal hydride battery that doesn't offer as much battery life (10 hours instead of 16), but should be more reliable. Bose says the design of the charging case has also improved.

Like the original, the new Sleepbuds don't play music or allow you to take calls. They simply pipe in various forms of soothing white noise to mask out unpleasant sounds such as big-city street noise. They also let you set a morning wake-up alarm that won't disturb your sleeping partner. While they don't offer active noise cancellation, their tight seal passively reduces ambient noise. 

Their tiny design allows you to sleep comfortably with them in your ears, even on your side. Some light sleepers -- including one CNET staffer, but I won't name names -- found them indispensable and panicked when Bose said it was discontinuing them.

The new charging case.


The Sleepbuds 2 have an expanded library of content, with three categories of sounds, including 14 noise-masking tracks, 15 "Naturescapes" and 10 "Tranquilities." Up to 10 tracks can be stored on the buds (an app for iOS and Android allows you to wirelessly transfer tracks onto the buds). The Sleepbuds 2 are IPX4 water-resistant, which means they're splashproof. 

I look forward to trying the Sleepbuds 2 and am particularly curious whether they're even more comfortable to wear. They may be a niche product compared to standard true wireless earbuds -- Bose is finally releasing its new noise-canceling QuietComfort Earbuds later this month -- but if you're a light sleeper or someone who lives with a noisy sleeper, they can be life-changing.