There are people who have difficulty falling asleep and sleeping throughout the night, but that is clearly not an issue for me. The new Amazfit PowerBuds review: Heart rate sensor, innovative ear hooks, and long battery life
Sleep is often overlooked when we think about health and fitness, but it may be one of the most important aspects to a healthy lifestyle. A silver lining for me personally during this coronavirus situation has been that my nightly sleep time has increased one to one and half hours longer each evening. I tend to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep through just about anything, but still found some value in the Amazfit ZenBuds.
- Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 BLE
- Battery life: 10 mAh in each earbud and 280 mAh in the case. Up to 12 hours of play with the charging case providing 56 more hours of battery life.
- Headphone weight: 1.78 grams each
- Box contents: Earbuds, charging case, four pairs of silicone plug skins, USB-C charging cable
It seems everything about the ZenBuds experience is designed to bring you peace and comfort with a soft touch light weight carrying/storage/charging case that has a silicone ring on the bottom to keep the case from sliding off of your nightstand. The silicone earplug skins/tips are the softest I have ever felt on an earbud and feel awesome in your ears.
After charging up the case via USB-C, simply rotate the top of the case 180 degrees to access the ZenBuds. Each rests down in the case, held in place magnetically, to charge up when not in use. The tips and fins are malleable silicone that exude comfort.
I started out with larger eartips as I use with other earbuds, but switched to smaller ones as my testing continued. I found the smaller ones went a bit deeper into my ear and made lying on my side a bit more comfortable.
There are three white LED indicator lights on the front of the case that displays charging status.
The Zepp smartphone app is available for iOS and Android phones. The Zepp app is a rather comprehensive app with a Home panel that shows all sorts of data, such as steps, calories, sleep, weight, heart rate, and much more.
For ZenBuds use, tap the Profile tab and then select Amazfit ZenBuds from the My devices section. The ZenBuds have to be removed from the charging case to show up in the Zepp application.
After the connection is established, you will see the battery status of each earbud with options to either Rest or Focus. Tapping either of these options lets you use the ZenBuds for periods of relaxation or focus while you are awake. You can choose how long to listen to the audio during these periods.
Tap on the My Tunes option to choose from a list of sound files you have on your smartphone. You can also check out the full Amazfit music library and choose from other sound options.
By default, you will find audio files for meditation, pink noise, seabird calls, beach and waves, forest birds, rhymes of grace, frog calls, night in the forest, rainfall, and rooftop raindrops. My favorites were the beach, frog calls, and night in the forest.
Other music/sound options include ASMR, distant stars, whale song, breathing exercise, and several more. Unfortunately, you cannot load your own music, podcasts, or audio books to listen to during these focus or sleep sessions.
Tap the upper right three bars to access more settings and options for the ZenBuds. You can select from various playback durations (three hours or until the battery dies at about eight hours), but I was very pleased with the performance of the smart playback option. With this option selected, the sounds will stop playing when the ZenBuds detect that you are asleep. Every single time I fell asleep with the music playing and never heard it again for the rest of the night.
You can also set earplug alarms so you will be alerted through soft audio without disturbing others. Tap the ZenBuds or put them back in the case to turn off the alarm.
There are also settings to enable do not disturb mode during sleep. You can also turn on notifications for calls, but you cannot actually answer the call with the ZenBuds.
After the evening of sleeping, open up the Zepp application and then tap on Sleep to see all of the details. The Zepp app will show you periods of deep sleep, light sleep, and awake times on a chart. A sleep score is awarded with a proportion of deep sleep, the proportion of light sleep, and awake times are shown. Tapping on these various results will show you more details and also provide various explanations on what the results mean and how you can improve in the various areas.
There will also be some other facts provided about your recorded sleep sessions. This information includes statements such as fell asleep late, deep sleep time is short, and many more. Under these statements are ways for you to improve and get better sleep.
One of the most interesting sections of the results is the sleeping position analysis. The software shows you the number of times you turned and the amount of time you slept in the right side, left side, supine, or prone (face down) position. The software regularly confirmed I spend a lot of time in the supine (on my back) position with the right side in second place. This is exactly what my wife can confirm as well and thankfully these are both healthier sleep positions.
Comparisons with how fast people of your same age fall asleep and how much deep sleep they get is also provided on a plot. Daily records and your wake up mood are also shown.
Pricing and availability
Daily usage experiences and conclusion
Amazfit did a great job with the design of the ZenBuds as they are clearly the most comfortable earbuds I have ever tested. That said, the ZenBuds have a very specific purpose and for $150 you really need to have issues getting to sleep and staying asleep to consider these earbuds.
Before I spent the first night with the ZenBuds I thought there was no way I could wear earbuds as I spend a lot of time on my sides and surely the earbuds would impact my pillow and provide sore ears in the morning. Not to worry there, I spent a considerable amout of time on my side and never even noticed there were earbuds in my ears lying on a pillow.
The ZenBuds are clearly not for me personally as I fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly every night. I also like to have my ears open in case of emergencies or other incidents at night and don’t want my hearing obstructed. I live in a very peaceful neighborhood with a house that is well insulated and quiet so have no need to block out sounds at night.
While the hardware is great, the Zepp application is overwhelming and if you just have the ZenBuds then the functions you want are buried a bit deep. It would be great to see just a ZenBuds specific application with the core sleep options provided or at least have the Zepp app hide all of the other fitness-focused options available to other users.
Given that the ZenBuds track your heart rate during sleep, I would consider them over wearing a smartwatch if more details of my heart rate were provided. All you see in the application is an average resting HR in the results.
The ZenBuds are an interesting product that are well built and comfortable. They are expensive for their specific function and the app needs to be compelling for me to recommend them to buyers.