bose soundsport earbuds

bose soundsport earbuds
bose soundsport earbuds
image credit: Bose

Bose Soundsport Earbuds

 Whether you're looking for the best running headphones or the best sports headphones, chances are you've been looking for what the Bose catalog has to offer. After all, this is a brand that has built a solid reputation for producing some of the best wireless sports headphones on the market in recent years.

But should you consider. Bose sports headphones? Their introduction follows on the heels of the excellent Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, of which we are huge fans. The big question is, how much of that brilliance has Bose managed to pass on to its cheaper siblings? Some elements have, of course, been sacrificed and changed to achieve a lower price; but is there the same character? If so, we might be looking at five-star shooting.

Bose Soundsport Earbuds Review

Design and build

The design and construction of the Bose SoundSport Earbuds is a cross between the new QuietComfort headphones and an old pair of true wireless Bose SoundSport Free headphones.

The shells are smaller and slightly more rounded than the ones you get with the QuietComforts, although they still protrude just as far from your ears. They don't look ridiculous, however, and look much thinner than the SoundSport Free, though nowhere near as thin as rivals like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.

bose soundsport earbuds
image credit: Bose


The Bose Sport earphones seem to be a bit cheaper than their siblings, as they use more durable plastic on the touch surfaces. This, of course, was to be expected. They are also slightly lighter than the QuietComforts at 6.75g (vs. 8.5g for the QuietComforts).

You have a choice of three finishes: Triple Black, Glacier White or Baltic Blue from our review sample.

Bluetooth version 5.1

Noise Cancellation No

Battery life 5 hours (15 with charger)

Voice control Siri, Google Assistant

Completes x3

As has become the norm for Bose wireless earphones lately, you only come with silicone tips in three different sizes (small, medium, and large). We would normally criticize this selection as quite limited were it not for the fact that it is relatively easy for us to find the right size. The combination of large, soft, and flexible silicone eartips (Bose calls them "umbrella"), combined with the equally soft wing tips, really helps the earbuds sit securely in place without pushing them into your ear canal. This also makes them comfortable for long listening sessions.

The tips are easy to swap out too - other manufacturers can definitely learn a thing or two about the ease with which you can take one headphone off and put the other on.

The isolation you get from the Bose headphones is good, though we'd be lying if we said we didn't miss out on the efficiency and noise-canceling level provided by the QuietComfort. Headphones. Yes, they're more expensive, but it's not uncommon to get noise canceling headphones even at that price. Let's take the excellent Sony WF-SP800N as an example.

bose soundsport earbuds
image credit: Bose

Capabilities

The bose soundsport headphones are IP4 rated, which means they are sweat and weather resistant, so you shouldn't have any problems if you get caught in a light downpour while on your weekly 5K run.

Battery life averages five hours per charge, and the carrying case provides two more full charges for a total of 15 hours. That compares to six hours and two extra charges of the QuietComfort headphones and a full nine hours on a single charge from the Sony WF-SP800N. You should be able to take a dead battery from zero to two hours with a 15-minute quick charge via USB-C. Unlike QuietComfort, there is no wireless charging here.

bose soundsport earbuds
image credit: Bose

The carrying case for the Bose Sport headphones is slightly smaller and narrower than the QuietComfort headphones. It's a little longer due to the way the buds are arranged inside. A group of five LEDs on the front show you how much battery is left in the case, and inside there is a pairing button that you will need to press every time you want to connect the buds to a new source.

We find the pairing process a little tricky and inconsistent. We're trying to pair them with iPhones and MacBooks, switching between them manually in the app when needed. But the transition isn't as smooth as we think. Sports headphones also have trouble simply reconnecting to the same device and we have to try restarting the pairing process several times. We really didn't have these issues with the QuietComfort headphones.

That you cannot be connected to two sources at the same time, such as a laptop to listen to music and a phone to make or receive random calls. You must switch manually in the Bose Music app. You will need to download the app on your Android or iOS smartphone before using them for the first time.

The old version of the Bose Soundsport Free used to have physical controls, but the sports headphones follow the steps of the QuietComfort headphones with touch controls built into the surface of the earpiece. Most of the controls you need are supported, including pause, play, and skip forward. Double-tap the right earbud to play, pause, or answer/reject calls. Press and hold your finger on the right earpiece to call the voice assistant.

Double-tapping the left earpiece skips forward, but, oddly enough, there is no way to return to the beginning of the track. Not exactly a good option, but a strange omission, considering that almost all competitors offer this functionality.

Thanks to a recent firmware update, you can also assign the touch surface on the right earcup as a volume control. Swipe up and down to decrease them, and swipe up to, you guessed it, increase the volume.

Call quality is quite good by earphone standards. The microphones are in the right earcup, which is the primary one, and your voice sounds relatively clear under normal conditions. You do hear wind noise when you use them outside, but it's not enough to make us use them.


bose soundsport earbuds
image credit: Bose

Sound

Given the performance of their noise canceling siblings, we had high hopes for the Bose Sports Earbuds. And to a large extent they work. We can't help but be impressed by their measured approach. Every track we play is handled fairly and honestly. High frequencies do not irritate or irritate.

Low frequencies are not overcooked, as they can be found in less efficient wireless headphones. The bass notes have richness and fullness, but they never sound fat and sloppy. Bose's enthusiastic and flamboyant presentation ensures they don't linger at the reception. When you first listen, they really draw you in.

Play Sting and the Police's defeat you and this plucked bass has a great sense of weight as it expresses this reggae influence. The drum beats sound solid and precise, propelling the song forward at a constant speed. There's a fullness and richness to Sting's vocals that isn't stuffy, but you feel he's a bit lacking in terms of direct expression. The best pairs of headphones for the money sound clearer and reveal a little more detail.

Play End Credits from Pirates of the Caribbean: Stranger Tides and the orchestra sound rich and detailed - although, again, the very best takes away a few extra layers of detail and delivers dynamics with more refinement. The track does not reach the same heights as when listening through, say, the Sony WF-1000XM3. The strings don't sparkle as much and their dynamism feels a bit stunted when you listen to a track through the Bose. Sports headphones are still very comfortable to listen to, they just don't make music as special as the best at this level.

Verdict

The Bose Sport Earbuds are a good pair of wireless earbuds, but we won't call them great. Their musical and powerful balance is easy to get along with, and would be a good fit for those who love sports who don't really need a bass-heavy sound; but they don't have the sophistication or subtlety needed for a five-star rating at this price point.

ASSESSMENTS

  • Sound 4
  • Build 4
  • Comfort 5

Reviewers Liked

  • One of the best-sounding wireless headphones yet
  • Well-designed charging bass
  • Comfortable to wear and stay in place during exercise routines
  • Water resistant
  • Rock solid connection

Reviewers Didn't Like

  • Relatively large buds stick out of ear
  • Noise isolation is lacking for noisy environments like a gym
  • Expensive compared to competition
  • High price tag

Bose Soundsport Earbuds Price  $139.99





Bose Soundsport Earbuds Specs


Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth4.1
Wireless Range30' / 9.1 m
NFCNone
Wired Connectivity
Charging PortPins
Battery
Battery ChemistryLithium-Ion
Runtime5 Hours
5 Days (Standby)
Recharge Time1.5 Hours
Charging Case
Additional Runtime10 Hours
Charging InterfaceMicro-USB
Physical
Material of ConstructionPlastic, Silicone
Packaging Info
Package Weight1.05 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)8 x 6.1 x 2.1"

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