Tue. May 21st, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • The Soundcore Sleep A20 earbuds don’t offer the greatest audio quality, but that isn’t a breaking point.
  • The earbuds are comfortable for side sleepers and come with various ear tip sizes and types so you can dial in the best fit.
  • You can also expect impressive battery life and sleep-tracking data in Soundcore’s companion app.


I do not have difficulty falling asleep, but I do enjoy listening to music when I lie down. My wife, on the other hand, can’t sleep when I have the TV on. I tried using traditional earbuds like the AirPods Pro, but those are not comfortable to sleep with. To my surprise, though, I had no issue sleeping on my side with the Soundcore Sleep A20 Bluetooth Earbuds.


Audio Quality Doesn’t Matter While You Sleep

Soundcore Sleep A20 Bluetooth Earbuds in its charging case sitting on a table
Justin Duino / How-To Geek


Before I dive into this review, I want to clarify one thing: You are not buying these earbuds for the audio quality. Soundcore makes other headphones that sound fantastic, but these are, first and foremost, designed to be comfortable enough to be worn overnight (i.e., more than eight hours straight). The Sleep A20 earbuds don’t sound bad, but they don’t compare to the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds. Everything is mostly flat, with basically non-existent bass, but dialog is clear. I wouldn’t listen to music on these throughout the day.

Additionally, there are no microphones built into these earbuds. Not only does this mean that you can’t place phone calls, but there also isn’t active noise cancellation (ANC) or Transparency mode. All external sound dampening is done using the two different ear tips (more on this below).

Comfort Is King

Person holding the Soundcore Sleep A20 Bluetooth Earbuds
Justin Duino / How-To Geek


I wear a pair of true wireless earbuds almost every day while I’m at work or out walking my dog, and no matter which pair I choose, my ears always feel sore after several hours. So, when I first unboxed the Sleep A20, I really worried that I would wake up feeling less rested due to ear pain. Thankfully, once my ears were used to wearing the buds at night, I had no problem.

The Sleep A20 are extremely lightweight—in part thanks to the smaller driver sizes and lack of mics/ANC equipment—and made out of soft materials. Soundcore advertises these as being great for side sleepers, and I have to confirm that I had no discomfort in any sleeping position.

My biggest piece of advice is to experiment with the various wing and ear tip sizes until you find a combination that’s comfortable and will stay in your ears all night. Long story short, I toss and turn a lot when I sleep, so the earbuds were missing when I woke up during the first couple of nights of testing. I eventually found the right fit and stopped having that problem, and the Soundcore app makes it easy to find a bud if it rolled under your bed.


Person holding the Soundcore Sleep A20 Bluetooth Earbuds extra ear tips
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

The Soundcore Sleep A20 come with more ear tips than most. You get to swap out the wing tip and ear tip for whatever size fits you best, and you can also choose a sealed or breathable ear tip.

I went back and forth on the ear tip type but ultimately settled for the breathable option. With the sealed tip installed, I felt like I had foam earplugs in. There was so much sound isolation that the main thing I could hear was my own breathing. If you live in a noisy city or sleep next to someone who snores loudly, the sealed ear tip might work best for you, but it wasn’t for me.

With the breathable tip, I felt less pressure in my head while blocking out most environmental sounds. I also preferred this tip because I could converse with my wife, just as long as I wasn’t playing music or listening to podcasts.


I was thoroughly impressed by the Sleep A20’s battery life. Soundcore advertises that the buds themselves should last up to 14 hours, with a combined 80 hours when paired with the charging case. During my week of testing, I never actually got around to charging the case. I topped it off when the earbuds were first delivered, but seven days later, the case still has between 25% and 50% battery left. Of course, I do not normally wear these earbuds for 14 hours every night (I averaged closer to six), and the volume is pretty low.

This is ultimately pretty minor, but I was hoping the case supported wireless charging, not just wired USB-C. As most people will likely only use these earbuds at night, simply placing the case on a bedside Qi charger during the day would have been extremely convenient. We reviewed $80 budget Soundcore headphones in 2022 that included wireless charging, so its omission here is pretty disappointing.


Sleep Tracking Is Hit or Miss

As with most headphone companion apps, the Soundcore app (available on iPhone and Android) is primarily used to adjust some of the default settings and update the Sleep A20’s firmware. It’s also where you can check the earbuds’ sleep tracking.

The data is pretty standard stuff you’d get from a smartwatch or smart ring: How long you were asleep, what your different sleep cycles looked like, etc. While I didn’t find this data as reliable as what I received in the Health app from my Apple Watch, what I enjoyed looking at was how many times I rolled over and what position I primarily slept in. This info was more fun and interesting to analyze than to really help my quality of sleep.


The most frustrating aspect of the sleep tracking feature is that you can’t view your data without the earbuds actively connected to your smartphone. So, if you’re like me and the first thing you do when you wake up is throw the earbuds in the charging case, you’ll need to take them back out to see how many times you rolled over in your sleep. Even if you’re in the middle of viewing the data when you return the buds to their case, you’ll lose access to the dashboard.

Additionally, there doesn’t appear to be any way to export or sync your data with other health-tracking applications. The dashboard is nice, but you can’t easily compare it to your other metrics collected by other wearables.

The Soundcore Sleep A20 also offer a built-in Sleep mode that plays ambient noises in case you don’t want to stream from a connected device throughout the night. Within the app, you can go through a library of different sounds, choose from white noise to rain on a tent to someone typing on a keyboard, and then transfer them directly to the earbuds. And if you like more than one effect, you can combine three to play simultaneously.


Should You Buy the Soundcore Sleep A20?

The longer I use the Soundcore Sleep A20 earbuds, the more I like them. I think those having difficulties sleeping due to loud environmental noises will benefit most, but if you’re like me and enjoy listening to something as you fall asleep, these won’t disappoint. They’re comfortable to wear, the audio is good enough for sleeping purposes, and the battery life is so amazing that you’ll likely have to set a reminder to recharge the case. I can’t promise they’ll help you get more rest, but finding a pair of sleep earbuds that feel as great as these might be hard.

Soundcore Sleep A20 Bluetooth Earbuds on a white background

Soundcore Sleep A20

The Soundcore Sleep A20 are earbuds designed to be comfortable to wear while sleeping, even if you’re a side sleeper. They offer noise-masking features to block out distractions and help you fall asleep. Additionally, they have a long battery life so that you can wear them overnight.

Battery Life
14 Hours, 80 Hours With Case

Bluetooth
Bluetooth 5.3

Charging type
USB-C

Sensors
MEMS Sensor

Noise Cancellation
Noise-Masking System

Pros

  • Comfortable while side sleeping
  • Automated sleep tracking
  • All-day and all-week battery life
  • Extensive number of built-in ambient noise options
Cons

  • Buds don’t always stay in your ears
  • Earbuds must be connected to view sleep data
  • No wireless charging



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By John P.

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