Why don't you sleep on it? Gizmo Guy rates pillows with speakers inside

Posted: June 21, 2013

NEED MUSIC all night long? Rest your head on one of these pillow speakers. With the right tunes, they really help wash away the day's worries. And you can set the volume so low you won't disturb a bedmate.

Brookstone SoftSound: The Brookstone SoftSound ($129.99) offers wireless connectivity to a sound source and boasts a thick, high-end, "BioSense" memory foam pillow that contours to your head and neck. You'll never feel the hardware - built-in speakers, battery pack and receiver.

The small, wireless RF transmitter (2.4 GHz) plugs into an AC power outlet and your sound source. Power up the pillow with a small, wired remote. Four AA batteries hiding inside are good for about 8 hours. That doesn't sound like much, but the pillow is "smart" enough to click off automatically when the music ends. Or you can set it for 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes.

Muted by all that memory foam, the SoftSound speakers put out a whispering sound that's best with instrumental music and when lying on your side, ear pressing down toward the rear-mounted speakers.

Brookstone also touts this as "a new way to watch movies and shows in bed," with the receiver connected to a TV. But when I tried to watch "The Daily Show" and the newly issued Rolling Stones' documentary "Crossfire Hurricane," the jokes were muffled and I could barely get the volume up to "Satisfaction."

Available at Brookstone.com or 866-576-7337.

Sound Oasis Sleep Therapy Pillow: This $49.99 speaker pillow has the soft polyfill that many sleepers prefer. But you may occasionally feel the speakers stashed to the left and right ends of the 20-by-25-inch sleep maker.

The good news? The polyfill doesn't muffle the sound, so these speakers can rock out, man, if sleep's the last thing on your mind. No batteries required.

Connect to your sound source with a thin, 6-foot cable with an in-line volume wheel close to the pillow, and a mini-plug at the other end that's compatible with many MP3 music players, CD players, TVs and such.

But you'll need a 3.5 mm Male to 2.5mm Female adapter (a couple of bucks at Radio Shack) if you want to extract both channels, instead of just one, from a connected Apple iPhone or iPad.

Available at sound-oasis.com or 866-625-3218.

C.Crane SoftSpeaker Pillow: For best results, and the best sound of the bunch, rest your ear directly on this well-padded, velvet-covered mini pillow speaker. Or stuff the cookie-sized gizmo under your pillow and still enjoy reasonably good, loud sound. Has a 6.5-foot cable that plugs into anything. $19.95 or $22.95.

Available at ccrane.com or 800-522-8863.

Blog: philly.com/GizmoGuy Online: ph.ly/Tech

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