Getting back to the good news, the little Bedphones app for Android and iDevices is simple but effective. Particularly welcome is a timer mode that can be set to automatically turn off your music after a time period of your choosing - handy if you just need sound to help you go to sleep rather than needing sound to be playing all night. When in sleep mode you can also touch anywhere on your smart device screen to pause and unpause playback.
When it comes to audio quality, how effective the Bedphones are depends on what you want to hear on them. For us, our favourite sleep aid is white or brown noise, or the monotone whirring of a fan. And with this relatively undemanding sort of sound the Bedphones are more than up to the job, enabling you to enjoy a reasonable amount of volume without harshness. The tone is even and stable too, avoiding any of the pulsing problems or volume variations that might otherwise disturb your sleep.
The only time the volume changes dramatically is if you turn from lying on your back or front to lying on your side, for obviously pushing the ear piece deeper into your ear canal leads to a rise in volume. However, surprisingly this didn’t disturb us too much provided we hadn’t set the volume level too high in the first place.
If you want to listen to music, the Bedphones' sound quality is rather less satisfying. On the upside there’s an impressive degree of clarity and stereo separation, which helps relatively lightweight music sound detailed and clean. But the little ear pieces really struggle to produce any sense of bass, which is clearly pretty damaging to your average pop or rock track. The result is that anything other than fairly light classical music tends to sound thin and lopsided, with drum beats actually becoming quite distorted when the going gets even remotely raucous.
To be fair, it’s hard to imagine many people wanting to drift off with Ace of Spades blaring away in their ears. But even the mesmerising tones of something like Sigur Ros’ Takk album tend to sound a little distractingly harsh on the Bedphones.
Even though they still (inevitably) require a cable to connect them to your audio source, the Bedphones can be considered something of a triumph in design terms, managing to be so light, malleable and soft that you genuinely can’t feel them even when your sleeping head is lying right on them.
Where they’re much less satisfying is with their audio quality, as they struggle to sound pleasant with all but the most lightweight or monotone of audio sources. But then such simple sources are precisely the sort of thing most ‘night noise’ devotees will want to listen to anyway.
All in all, while the extremely focussed nature of the Bedphones design might limit their market, for people who find it hard to sleep £27 really doesn’t seem much to pay for a product that could genuinely change their lives.