Muse S (2nd generation) review: The Meditation Sensory Brain Stimulator

Muse S (2nd generation) review: The Meditation Sensory Brain Stimulator


  • Wide range of guided and unguided meditations
  • Brain sensor and app combine to make meditation a habit
  • Detailed sleep tracking data


  • Setting up a verbose connection every time
  • Premium subscription required to take advantage of all technologies
  • false positive brain sensing

We all know that meditation has a range of benefits: physical, mental, and all the good in between. But meditation is a practiceAnd the Not just a “quick fix”. As the antithesis of today’s instant gratification culture, it’s definitely hard to keep your mind and body in check, especially when the results aren’t instant.

InteraXon Muse (2nd generation) headband has the fix; It integrates a combination of electroencephalography (EEG) technology used for embedded brain sensors that provide feedback after meditation. Combined with the goal-based meditation exercises in the app, the supplement has the potential to turn the abstract practice of meditation into a more realistic exercise. I’ve been testing the wearable over the past week, and while there’s no doubt Muse made me responsible, I still wondered if the sensors were legit or just an expensive placebo.




head sizes

Diameter 46-63cm

Sensor type

EEG, PPG, gyroscope, accelerometer, pulse oximetry and smart fade technologies

Battery life

10 hours


Micro USB port LED indicator

Compatible Devices

Smartphones with iOS 12.2 or above and Android 8 or above


Bluetooth 4.2

the color

midnight blue



Design and fit

The Muse S is soft and lightweight, which is impressive due to the presence of a brain-sensing pod in the center. After I adjusted the straps and clamped the magnetic buckles together around my neck – like a necklace, I raised the strap to my forehead. To my surprise, the sensor pod did not drill into my forehead. And although the headband looks like a headlight, I found the material to be relatively flexible when I needed to make adjustments.

Muse S 2 . meditation headband

The discreet look of the Muse S headband makes it a convenient device for meditation.

Christina Darby / ZDNET

Before I get into meditation practices, it’s worth noting that the Muse S also has sleep tracking technology, which makes the headband perfectly suitable for all-night wear. While I’m no stranger to wearing technology to sleep, I woke up with pressure building up on my forehead and my ears popping a few hours after I fell asleep. If you sleep with an eye sleep mask, sleeping with a Muse headband is a similar sensation but with a thicker tissue that sinks deeper behind the ear. Loosening the headband makes it easier to build up, but it also renders the sensors useless.

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woe mode

The headband contains six sensor points responsible for tracking heart rate, breathing and brain activity. Once you have the headband in place and ready to start your meditation, you can simply pair your smartphone with the app and choose the meditation you want. It’s not quite as simple as making sure the headband is in the right place for the sensors to function properly.

MUSE brain sensor signal check

Before each meditation session, you have to pass a signal quality check to make sure all six sensors are connected. This process often takes some time and is a game of trial and error.

Shot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

Unfortunately, each meditation session began with a “signal quality check” which took five minutes to calibrate the sensors. The unfortunate part is that not every check guarantees success, especially if the check is behind your ears. If you use meditation as a natural remedy when you’re in a state of confusion, I don’t expect constant readjustment here to make things better.

I will say that once all the sensors are in place and the signal check is passed, you are all set. As long as you don’t touch the headband once you start your practice, the sensors will stay in place and track accurately.

More: Best Meditation Apps

Muse app: Basic vs Premium

Once you have the green light to start using the headband, there are over 500 different unguided, guided, and experiential meditation methods to choose from. You can choose to meditate based on your mood or a specific area (breathing, mind, heart, etc.)

Despite its wide range, the app’s interface is simple and easy to navigate, with your past meditations saved in your library so there’s less familiarity after finding your favorites.

However, he warned that without Moses $3.99 monthly subscriptionYou will only be able to access 39 options with the basic account. While the free version is fairly extensive, especially if you’re just starting to meditate, the premium plan is a great option for those who like more structure in their routines and/or want to layer the audio feedback from the app with those of another. For example, you may prefer Spotify’s white noise playlist and want it to play in the background.

meditation with headband

while wearing Apple Watch It doesn’t always make you better at your workout, the idea of ​​closing the loops is enough to push you to finish your last sprint or lift. The same phenomenon is true during meditation with a brain sensor band.

Knowing that Muse S was monitoring my vitals during my meditation session encouraged me to stay still, take deep breaths, and really try to relax. After a few sessions, my stillness became a habit.

Moses data from meditation

The interface of the Muse app is fairly navigable. While the charts are detailed, there can be false positives to meditation.

Shot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

However, looking at my data early in my use (right image), I was surprised how far my mind wandered and how low my levels of relaxation were when I first started practicing meditation. But with more practice, my numbers reflected my efforts to stay steady, both physically and mentally.

Unlike other wearable apps, you can also access the app without connecting the headband to your phone. So, you can look at the well-organized graphs to see your physiological trends at any time.

The only real issue I had with trying the app was that even when I took off the headband, there were moments when the headband kept tracking and recording data. False positive statements are clearly impractical and conflict with general measures of my health, but at least I know more about how stressed my bed sheet is now.

Regarding the media content within the app, there are guided and unguided meditations. I mostly chose the first, and found it easier to stay present with someone who narrates. I appreciate that each teacher’s voice had an honest and calm tone rather than sounding theatrical or mechanical.

If you feel more comfortable with an unguided meditation, there are plenty of unguided meditations that play relaxing audio scenes instead, like the ones you’d find on a white noise machine. I experimented with the Crystal Cavern Track and found the flow of water calm for the ears and the mind.

MORE: This active wearable helps you relax and sleep better

Muse S 2nd Generation Headband With Blue Background

The Muse S (2nd generation) is supple and soft, with light-colored sensors around the ears and a sensor knob in the middle.

Christina Darby / ZDNET

Sleeping with a headband

Like its predecessor and most wearable markets, the Muse S includes sleep tracking data. These ideas include your starting and ending points, as well as the duration of your sleep states (light, deep, and REM). Naturally, users can take these points and adjust their sleep habits accordingly.

However, my favorite sleep feature is the digital sleeping pill. The “digital bead” refers to how the headband coordinates the sound of meditation—whether it’s music, narration, or an audio scene—to the different stages of your sleep. For example, the sound will calm you to sleep at the beginning of your sleep by gradually lowering the volume. By midnight, if you suddenly wake up, the headband’s sensors will detect the response and play the sound again to facilitate your return to sleep.

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As someone who sometimes relies on actual sleeping pills, I was reasonably skeptical and intrigued by this feature. To my surprise, my suspicions were quickly cleared. With digital sleeping pills, I fell right into sleep — and deep into that, according to the tracking feature.

The Muse S (Gen 2)

There are two sensor bars marked on either side of the headband.

Christina Darby / ZDNET

Even if I took off my headband in the middle of the night, I felt more comfortable in my new bedtime ritual. If you are someone who often lets the worries of the day carry you into bed with you, I highly recommend digital sleeping pills. It is not intended to replace your prescriptions, but I can confirm that it is an effective and natural relaxant.

Battery life

In terms of battery life, while I was able to get a full night’s sleep with the headband without a single charge, the charging itself takes almost the entire day. So, I have to prepare Muse S hours before bed. Besides, using MicroUSB instead of the more modern USB-C is disappointing. It’s 2022!


The Muse S (2nd generation) Transforms a traditionally abstract practice into a performance-driven culture. While getting the sensors to read on command can be a bit tricky, using the headband itself feels natural enough not to disturb meditation or sleep. For the app, you’ll want to opt for the premium subscription for the best and most powerful experience, though I’d recommend taking advantage of the initial batch of 39 meditation actions first before committing.

Alternatives to consider

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