Muse S Overall Score: 8.0/10
Design Score: 8.0/10
Ease in Usability Score: 8.0/10
Application of the Information Score: 8.5/10
Value for Money Score: 7.5/10
- Strongly constructed, comfortable headband
- People can learn meditation through the use of EEG brainwave feedback.
- Digital Sleep Pill will lull you into sleep
- Accurate monitoring of your night’s rest
- Excellent battery life, ideal for meditating during the day
- A less comfortable option for monitoring sleep patterns
- If it is to be used for monitoring sleep, it must be charged every day.
- The app needs to be open during sleep tracking.
A new sleep and meditation device has been introduced by the company InteraXon, which is based in Toronto. The Muse S, now in its second version, is a wearable device in the form of a headband that employs a technology known as intelligent fade. This enables it to play your preferred sounds to lull you to sleep and then turn off automatically once it detects that you are already asleep. The functionality is accessible to users of devices from the very first generation.
In my evaluation of Muse 2 from earlier in 2019, I found that it was an effective tool for meditation. The business was one of the first to enter this market, and it is only very recently that there have been new competitors. Muse 2 is equipped with several sensors that, in addition to monitoring your brain activity, track your pulse rate, bodily movement, and respiration. When it comes to the latter, the user’s headband is outfitted with EEG sensors positioned along the device’s scalp.
There is no doubt that the device makes sitting in meditation more engaging. The display on the smartphone updates instantaneously to reflect any changes in the user’s state of mind or body. It is an eye-opening event that demonstrates how simple it is to become distracted and lose one’s concentration.
Design and Hardware are Discussed in this Muse S Headband Review
- People can wear it at any time of the day or night
- Materials that are both breathable and stretchy in order to provide a pleasant fit
- 3 indicator lights using LED technology
- Battery life of 10 hours
Appearance and feeling
The appearance of the Muse S is entirely different from that of the Muse 2. The Muse S is designed to be worn both during the day and at night, in contrast to its predecessors, which are solely focused on improving your ability to meditate during the day. A form factor was more adaptable and flexible as required to accomplish this goal.
To use Muse S, adjust the strap to form a snug but comfortable fit around your head, and then put it to use. The smallest possible head circumference that it will accommodate is 20 inches (51 cm), and the largest that it will accommodate is 24 inches (61 cm). You can adjust the band’s tightness by using the clip mechanism located in the back, as well as the elastic part, the soft fabric, or all three together.
The plastic casing in the band’s midsection serves as a home for the tiny pod that snaps in place to contain the heart rate sensor and other technology. Strong magnets on either side of this are what keep it from moving while you use it.
I found that the headband was really simple to put on, and once it was in place, it was more uncomplicated and more comfortable than Muse 2 was. This is significant since the sensors require a precise fit in order to produce high-quality signals. In this regard, the experience of playing Muse S is undeniably easier and less fraught with difficulties than playing Muse 2.
When it comes to the controls, they are represented by a single physical button that is located on the side of the pod. This allows you to turn the device on or off as needed. Because of its diminutive size and lack of discernible projection, the button can be challenging to manipulate. On the other hand, there is a compelling justification for this.
When you move about in your sleep, you run the risk of accidentally turning something off that you have the choice of retaining at night. The likelihood of such happening decreases if the button in question is moved out of the way.
One can find a row of three orange LED lights on the face of the pod that is facing away from you. These are utilized for various applications, including but not limited to displaying the current battery status, indicating whether or not the Muse headband is linked to the app and other similar uses. The LED lights will turn off if you wear the band throughout the night. However, if you take off the headband, you will be able to see a tiny light that is hidden inside. The only way to see it is if you remove the headband. This serves the objective of informing you if the widget is turned on or off, which is its intended purpose.
It is important to note that one may clean Muse S, and it is recommended that it be cleaned occasionally. However, this does not apply to the headband, which can be hand washed using light and odorless detergent. It is not recommended to use any chemical cleaner on the pod itself. On the other hand, you can carefully wipe it down with a dry towel.
I think that all things considered, the design of the Muse S is superior to that of the Muse 2. The entirety of it seems to have been highly carefully crafted. In addition to being more comfortable and simpler to use, the headband folds up elegantly, making it more convenient to bring along with you wherever you go.
The Engine Compartment
Imagine Muse S as an updated and more capable version of Muse 2. It features identical sensors, each of which can be exploited to make your daytime meditation more effective. This is the feature for which Muse devices are most well-known. However, in addition to this, customers who purchase products from the S range will have access to a sleep tracking feature, the signal quality will be better, and they will have excellent battery life (10 hours versus 5 hours).
As was indicated earlier, the gadget is equipped with a wide variety of sensors. This provides a reading of your mental state using the five EEG sensors that are located along the front strip. In the pod next to them is a PPG sensor, a device that monitors your heart rate and the blood flow in your head. In addition, an accelerometer and gyroscope are incorporated into the system so that it can track your body motions as well as your respiration.
The battery life may impress you. Most people can benefit significantly from ten hours of meditation practiced during the day. On the other hand, if you use Muse S during the nighttime, you will need to recharge it through the micro-USB nearly every day. In addition, the charging process may take several hours.
I was able to test out the Muse S from its first iteration. However, there is also a device that is of the second generation. That one was made available sometime around the beginning of November. The distinction between the parties is not particularly significant. It all boils down to an improved signal quality that results in more precision on the revamped edition, better battery life, and charging times that are 50 percent faster than before. In addition to this, the product is now adaptable to an even wider variety of head sizes (48-62cm). My best estimate is that InteraXon will gradually eliminate the gadget from its initial generation.
A look at the Muse S Headband, with Instructions on How to Use it for Daytime Meditation
You are able to use Muse S for daytime meditation, just like you could with Muse 2. This is simpler than before because the signal quality is higher, and the fit is more comfortable.
My favorite feature of the device is still the one that allows me to meditate during the day. The functionality of Muse 2 and Muse S are entirely identical to one another. Since I have already discussed this topic at length in the Muse 2 review that I have published, I won’t go into too much depth here. Because both devices use the same application, there is no distinction in the manner in which this operates; the only difference is in the hardware.
You will need to install the software on an Android or iOS phone application before you can use it for the first time. Everything is managed from one central location. You’re ready to begin after you’ve established your account and paired the device. Throughout my two weeks of testing, I did not experience any difficulties with the Bluetooth connection or connection process. The process itself is simple enough.
The application is expertly crafted. There is a shortcut for meditating, sleeping, and accessing “Me” along with the bottom tab. The first one, which is selected automatically, will take you to the segment for morning contemplation.
You will be given additional options after you enter that section. These can be found in the forms of Mind Meditation, Heart Meditation, Body Meditation, Breath Meditation, and Timing Meditation. You have control over the session’s length and the soundtrack, and some even provide you with exercise instructions.
The Mind Meditation is my favorite of the three. This one measures how peaceful your mind is by employing EEG sensors to analyze the data. The gist of the matter is that the mobile app on the smartphone will make noises. The more intense the effects are, the more disorganized your thoughts will become. It would be best if you tried to bring the overall sound level down by focusing on relaxing your mind. It sounds like birds chirping is a sign that things are going well for you. After the session is over, you will be given badges to represent your level of achievement based on how well you performed, for example, for maintaining your composure for a predetermined amount of time or for provoking a large number of birds.
To be capable of exerting sole control over something by the power of one’s mind is a magical ability. After using it a few times, you will realize how simple it is to become distracted by it. Learning how to do so effectively is absolutely necessary.
After participating in Mind Sessions for a couple of days, I decided to conduct an investigation. The calming soundscapes and sounds of birds chirping helped me learn how to still my racing thoughts. After that, I lowered the sound volume on my smartphone all the way down, and I discovered that I could enhance the score in certain instances by meditating in complete stillness while wearing a pair of headphones designed to isolate the noise to an industrial-strength level.
It is a tool that teaches you how to relax your mind and allows you to track your progress in learning how to do so. In this sense, you can utilize Muse S as a component of your regular meditation session; however, one should dial down the volume of the sound to a shallow setting. However, at the end of the session, you will receive an objective assessment of how quiet your mind was throughout the process.
Heart mindfulness is the same as the other meditations, except that it monitors your heart rather than monitoring your brain waves. Your goal here should be to slow down your heart rate. This is accomplished by using various bodily motions, while Breath Meditation keeps a record of the progress of breaths taken, and the Timer does not use any sensors; rather, it only times your session. You are free to use any of these options in any way you see fit.
On the other hand, I do wish there was a choice that allowed us to combine all of these into a single, comprehensive meeting. Getting a rating on the state of your brain, heart rate, and how still you are all at the same time is at the top of my wish list. Your sleep is monitored by Muse S using an amalgamation of all of these sensors, so keeping track of it is certainly possible. Another feature that I’d like to see added to the Muse app is the capacity to view raw brain wave information in a graphical style.
The option of Guided Meditation is also deserving of a note here. To have access to this one, you will need a Premium Subscription. For the low, low price of $12.99 per month (or $23.75 per year – down from $94.99 at the time of this writing), you will have access to more than 500 guided meditations, as well as the ability to input the EEG signal into third party applications and other features.
The uplifting news is that you genuinely don’t require a Premium Subscription at this time. When you buy the gear, you get access to the vast majority of the capabilities at no additional cost.
What is immediately apparent to me is how much simpler it is to use Muse S in comparison to other incarnations of the software. In addition to its convenience, the app makes it much easier to obtain a high-quality signal quickly. This must be done prior to each use and comprises a brief validation time during which the software checks to see if all of the sensors are correctly aligned against the user’s scalp. It was necessary to make a minor adjustment to the band on occasion; nevertheless, doing so was not difficult and did not take very long.
Review of the Muse S Headband, including Instructions on How to Use it to Improve sleep
Muse S, as the name suggests, goes well beyond morning mindfulness by measuring the amount of time you spend sleeping. You can put it to use to keep track of sleep patterns throughout the day or throughout the nighttime. It is not something I would wear every night, but it is helpful to use sometimes to check up on the condition of your sleep during the night. InteraXon recommends using Muse S to track your sleeping patterns around 3 times each week.
To begin, the device will provide you with comprehensive data derived from a sleep analysis. As a person obsessed with health technology, I have been monitoring the quality of my sleep for years using various gadgets, including fitness bands, watches, bands that go under your bed, radar-like gadgets, and more. When contrasted to all of those, the Muse S is perhaps the finest when it comes to recording the different stages of sleep. This is because it penetrates your consciousness in order to monitor your brain waves. These, together with data on your heart rate, respiration, and movement, are used to determine whether or not you are sleeping and in what phase of sleep you are currently ensconced. That can’t be competed with by something just resting on your wrist.
The 5 phases of slumber are something that most people are familiar with. In the first phase, your mind is still slightly active, and as you move into the second phase, you can experience some twitching. This phase of sleep is known as Light Sleep, and during it, not only do your breathing and heart rate drop-down, but the activity of your brain waves also decreases. Next, we achieve phase three, or Deep Sleep. This is the point where everything starts to move even more slowly. The frequency of your brain waves drops to its lowest level. This stage is also referred to as the healing phase because it is when both your body and mind mend themselves. The last type of sleep is called REM sleep (where you dream). At this point, the waves produced by your brain are comparable to those of someone who is conscious.
The mix of sensors within the Muse S enables it to track this information in exquisite detail. And all of this information, along with a Sleep Score, will be displayed in the app in clear charts that are simple to comprehend. The fact that the mobile software for tracking sleep must always be running in the background on the smartphone is a drawback. Because the application consumes a lot of power, it is in your best interest to ensure that your smartphone is always connected to a power source.
The other drawback is that the Muse S is not actually all that pleasant to wear for long periods of time, such as while sleeping. Because the pod protrudes, you can feel it pressing up against the pillow. One night, when I was tossing and turning in bed, the pod became dislodged from its original position, resulting in the sleep session’s premature termination. I ensured that there would be no repeat occurrence by being extra vigilant the following evenings.
As someone who does not have problems falling asleep or staying asleep, I do not anticipate utilizing it regularly. Maybe every once in a great while. On the other hand, I can see how it could be helpful for people who struggle with various sleep disorders.
In addition to standard sleep monitoring, the Muse S provides guided meditation sessions designed to help you relax and turn off your thoughts so that you may more easily fall asleep. The biofeedback soundscapes and calming voice guiding of the Go-to-Sleep Journeys are brought to you in response to your brain activity (EEG), heart rate (PPG), body movements, and breathing. The software allows users to customize the amount of time that it will play for. Close your eyes and choose an experience from a selection that includes “Enchanted Forest” and “Underwater World.” After you have finished your sleep journey, Muse S will turn itself off automatically.
Digital Sleep Pill of the Muse S Headband
At long last, we arrive at the topic at hand, which is referred to as the Digital Sleep Pill. This represents the next higher level. A few weeks ago, concurrent with introducing the second generation Muse S, the feature was presented as an announcement.
A technology known as “smart fade” is utilized in producing the Digital Sleep Pill. The Digital Sleep Pill is a more sophisticated alternative to the Sleep Journies, which is the primary difference between the two. Not only will it turn off the sound when it recognizes that you are sleeping, but it can also tell whether you have awakened in the middle of the night. It will turn off the sound when it recognizes that you are asleep.
At that time, it will softly begin playing sleep stories, atmospheric sleep sceneries, biofeedback sound soundscapes, or guided sleep meditations, depending on which one you choose previously. Different people have different preferences about the nature of their sleep.
You have the ability to change a few aspects, like the volume, the amount of time you want the information to fade out and fade back in, and other aspects as well.
This is a very intriguing experience to have in actual practice. If you have trouble falling asleep or are only having a little nap, you may have the sensation that the soundscapes are blending in with your dreams because the content will begin to play as soon as you begin to stir from your sleep. It is an extraordinary experience when there are times when you are unsure of whether you are awake or asleep! It is unquestionably something that I can see being of assistance to people battling insomnia and other types of sleep disturbances.
According to InteraXon, the “Digital Sleeping Pill” function will also arrive at the Muse S free of charge when it enters its first generation. To evaluate it, I tested it using the very first version of the product. Because of the corporation’s generosity, I have been given access a little bit ahead of schedule. Other customers should keep their eyes out for a firmware update in the month of December 2021. When that time comes, you’ll want to check if your device’s firmware is up to date.
The Conclusion of our Review of the Muse S Headband: is it Worth the Money?
On most days, I am very good at meditating, but I have never been entirely sure that I am doing it correctly. Muse S provides me with feedback that indicates to me whether or not I am headed in the right direction. It is beneficial to clearly understand how your body and mind are reacting in the present moment. Because using the device makes meditation more enjoyable, it also functions as a motivating factor. And I give a big thumbs up to anything that can make me feel more rooted and give me a little bit more tranquility.
The section of the device that is devoted to meditation practice is, in my opinion, still the most exciting aspect of it. The vast selection of exercises makes it simple to locate the best practice to meet a particular situation’s requirements. Muse S provides a baseline of statistics that you can utilize to better monitor your progress.
On the other hand, tracking your sleep is more of a desirable addition than a necessary one. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I have no problem dozing off at a reasonable hour. The problem is that while I found the design to be quite comfortable for practicing meditation during the day, wearing the device throughout the night is a little bit difficult. However, I did value the specificity and precision of the data provided by the sleep tracking tool, and I can see myself using it on occasion.
Having said that, people who struggle with sleep disorders such as insomnia will value the newly implemented capabilities of the Digital Sleep Pill. It induces drowsiness and puts you to bed. If it identifies that you have awakened throughout the night, it will play various soundscapes and other content for you in order to help you fall back asleep, if necessary.
In comparison to its predecessor, Muse 2, the flexible headband design and modular construction approach represent two more significant advancements. The app is terrific and packed to the gills with information; there is, however, a significant amount to investigate. Combining all of these qualities results in a product that is adaptable and soothing.
On average, one can purchase the initial Muse S for a price of $349.99 on average. On Amazon right now, you may get a twenty percent discount in celebration of the holidays. ChooseMuse.com is currently selling the second generation of the Muse S for $399.99. It is presumed that the corporation will stop producing the first generation’s device. You also have the choice to buy Muse 2 for the discounted price of $199 (a Christmas promotion that brings the price down from $249.99). Individuals who do not require sleep material and do not mind the form of the hard plastic frame may find this one an excellent option. Follow this link to read the comprehensive evaluation that I’ve written of the Muse 2 game.