Early last year, I reviewed Bluetooth SleepPhones from Acoustic Sheep. My wife has been a big fan of them, using the SleepPhones to comfortably listen to relaxing music as she falls asleep. Acoustic Sheep sent me the latest version of these wireless headphones to try out, along with their fitness enthusiast version, RunPhones.
If you want to see a detailed overview of what SleepPhones Wireless are like, check out my earlier review. Nothing in terms of the user experience has really changed from that time. In a nutshell, you’re looking at small, flat speakers positioned inside a comfortable, washable headband. Perfect for wearing to bed and listening to music or an audio book while falling asleep. The headbands come in multiple sizes and colors and the choice of two fabrics. No wires to get tangled up in–these ones use Bluetooth for connectivity. Battery life is in the 12 hour range, plus or minus a few hours depending on how loud you have them set.
The Bluetooth module has been upgraded since our initial SleepPhones. I don’t know if that change is solely responsible for what we’ve observed, or if the drivers have also been tweaked, but the new SleepPhones Wireless definitely sound better than the ones we bought last year. They’re not going to replace a good set of on-ear headphones for listening to music, but they don’t sound bad at all.
The components are made to withstand being slept on. But if you’re worried about wear and tear, they are covered by a one-year warranty and if you run into an issue later on, Acoustic Sheep actually sells the speaker components separately.
SleepPhones Wireless go for $99.95 direct or from Amazon.
After SleepPhones, a version of the headband for runners was a natural choice. RunPhones Wireless are virtually identical to SleepPhones Wireless–same sound, same battery life, same form factor–but with a moisture-wicking headband in sportier color choices (and yes, it’s washable).
Because the drivers aren’t physically in your ears or sealed against your ear using a cup, runners can still hear ambient noise for safety. And if you’re not a fan of earbuds, the RunPhones Wireless means no sticking buds in your ears and struggling to keep them in while exercising. Unlike most Bluetooth wireless earbuds, there’s also no cable connecting the buds to hang down the back of your neck. That cable is still there, but it’s tucked away inside the headband where you’ll never notice it.
Finally, if you run in cool weather, the RunPhones Wireless do double duty as a head warmer. Although, that may make them less comfortable in hot conditions.
The one disadvantage of RunPhones compared to other wireless headphones aimed at the fitness crowd is the lack of an external remote. There is a control module that lets you adjust volume and skip tracks, but it’s inside the headband. There are raised buttons so you can feel them through the fabric, but it may turn out to be easier to use your source device (smartphone or smartwatch) to control music.
RunPhones are also $99.95, direct or from Amazon.
If you’re looking for ultra-comfortable and extremely compact headphones for sleeping, exercising, travel, or simply relaxing without the bulk of traditional headphones, the SleepPhones and RunPhones from Acoustic Sheep are definitely worth checking out. They would also be a good pick for kids who find headphones or earbuds uncomfortable.
Disclosure: Acoustic Sheep provided headphones samples for review purposes.