Being a natural night-owl, I struggle to get to sleep. I often go to bed wide awake and try to relax by either reading, or listening to audio books or music. The problem is trying to get comfortable with either over-the-ear headphones or in-ear earbuds: the Pillow Speaker from Soft Tones aims to help combat this issue.

With no batteries required the Pillow Speaker works off an included 3.5mm audio jack (5 feet/1.5 meters in length), which is a bit of an inconvenience as it means you must be tethered to your device and there is potential for getting caught up in the lead at night. Bluetooth would be a nice addition for more connection options. The two stereo speakers are embedded in ergonomically shaped memory foam that dips in the middle and raises at either end, creating an effective stereo sound and reducing the chance of noise disturbing a sleeping partner. It has a low profile and has been designed to sit on top of your pillow - I was concerned that this would mean it would slip about, but the hypoallergenic fabric is surprisingly grippy and the pillow remained in place - and the outer pillow case can be removed and washed. The pillow’s design is simple and attractive; I’m not entirely convinced about the colour black, as it doesn’t blend in to the bed spread but maybe that’s the point.

The sound quality is good but not amazing: the bass is quite flat, which could be a deliberate design to avoid over stimulation whilst relaxing in bed, but I suspect not. The pillow is quite firm (which I prefer) and provides comfortable support to your head and neck. It is best suited for when you are laying on your back. However, if you are anything like me and prefer sleeping on your side, the ergonomic shape doesn’t work quite as well, but it is certainly manageable and still more comfortable than earbuds digging into your ears.

Overall the Soft Tones Pillow Speaker is a simple but well executed idea that allows you to enjoy music and audio-books, listen to white noise or even guided meditation in a comfortable way that won’t disturb anyone else. RRP $49.95

3.8 out of 5

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Washable case

Ergonomic shape

Surround sound effect

No charging/batteries required


No Bluetooth options

Less comfortable for side sleepers

Cable tethers you and can get in the way