If you've ever tried to listen to music or watch videos while wearing headphones and lying in bed, you'll know that it's kind of hopeless. Your ears either start hurting, or the over-the-ear headphones just end up shifting off your head entirely. That's why when we passed by the SleepPhones booth at the Consumer Electronics Show, we had to give these fleece headphones a try.
Two flattened headphones are embedded into either side of the fleece headban and are adjustable to fit over your ears. The headphones are attached by a cord that's wrapped in a material designed to minimize tangling (more on this later). You can access the headphones themselves through the velcro compartment at the bottom of the band, which comes in handy when you need to wash the band and need to remove the electronics inside.
The SleepPhones plug into any audio device with a 3.5mm audio jack so we attached it to our Samsung Galaxy Note II to play some tunes from our Rdio app and watch some YouTube videos to lull us to sleep. CES is an exhausting experience, so we had no problems falling asleep.
Let's start with what the SleepPhones get right. The fleece headband is so comfortable that we forgot we were wearing it when we woke up the following morning. Listening to a classic piece like Rachmaninoff's Elegie in E-flat Minor was soothing, and for once it was comfortable to look at YouTube clips in bed, without disturbing our roommate.
The worst part about the SleepPhones is that it is wired, so if you tend to toss and turn in your sleep, you could wake up with the cord all tangled around you. That's what we woke up to and we had to untangle the cord from our neck when we got out of bed. Overall, that seems like a chocking hazard waiting to happen. In addition to this, while we found classical music really nice to listen to, we noticed that the vocal track was significantly quieter than the audio track. This meant any songs we tried to listen to with lyrics offered a less than stellar listening experience.
SleepPhones is certainly on the right track in re-thinking how headphones should be customized for different uses, but it's not perfect just yet. Perhaps the next-generation of SleepPhones should be Bluetooth-capable to eliminate the problem with cord all together.