Over the years, many people have asked me what my best choice of Bluetooth sports headphone is. My answers haven’t been straight up. But I think now I can recommend one honestly – Bose’s SoundSport Wireless.
Truth be told, not many brands in the earphones space currently can claim the market share, recognition, and prowess of Bose. That’s my humble opinion. Quite rightly, Bose is famed for its noise-cancelling headphones.
The company also produces an array of other types of world-class headphones/earphones.
If you are an exercise or sports enthusiast or even a regular commuter, then these earphones are your best choice. While their battery life could be better and they’re relatively pricey, the earphone’s solid audio, comfortable fit and reliable quality make them an excellent option.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones feature a sleek sporty aesthetic. While the one I’m reviewing today is black in color, a variety of other bright color schemes is available. In terms of style, they look well-designed and premium. They’re larger compared to other typical in-ear headphones in the market today.
What I found a little disappointing is that they were a little bulky. What’s more is that they protruded out of my ears once I had them on.
The style of their earbud tip is highly comfortable. The same is true to their Stayhere+ tips, which also opens more, compared to many others. Sadly, at times, they move around while walking which might cause slight frustration and discomfort particularly when they affect the audio.
The control scheme describes the placement, functionality, and layout of the buttons in an earphone. Some headphones (example: AKG K701) feature more options and functionalities, such as touch sensitive input methods, talk-through modes, and noise cancelling switches. For my control scheme test, I score the volume’s layout, functionality, call/stop/play buttons, and noise cancelling.
In terms of control, the earphones bring with them an above-average control scheme. The only issue I have with their control scheme is that they lack good tactile feedback. Apart from that, everything else is perfect. These earphones provide volume, track skipping as well as music/call controls. In addition to the buttons being fairly large, they’re also heavily rubberized to ensure they’re sweat proof.
When I took the wireless earphones out of the box, I told myself, ‘There’s no way on earth these will work!’. I had used the wired SoundSports before and found them to be thin and nice. These ones, on the other hand, are bulky and huge.
Most parts of these earphones, including the battery, are stuffed in the pods inside endcaps of every earbud. It makes sense because, in my opinion, the Bluetooth components had to be stashed somewhere, right? I like and dislike the design for several reasons.
On the brighter side, having the guts packed inside the pods instead of inline on their connective cable means they not only feel balanced, but also do not bounce around whenever I’m exercising.
On the downside, because of their design, the pods look noticeably heavier and larger compared to most of the other competing Bluetooth earbuds.
The good thing is that Bose compensates for the discomfort of weight and heft with its highly comfortable StayHear+ ear tips. The tips are made from one piece of silicone. They come in three sizes. The tips are designed perfectly to loosely ride on the ear’s auricle.
I loved the fact that they allow outside noise while at the same time channeling the sound from my audio source, which further increased my situational awareness. If you’re a cyclist, jogger, or gym-goer like myself, you’ll certainly love this feature.
The earphone’s microphone, multi-function and volume button are baked into an incredibly lightweight in-line pod that hangs roughly two inches below the right ear. I loved the clear call quality that the microphones inside the pod provided. Actually, the friends I chatted with through Skype and on the phone opined that the mic offered decent audio voice quality while at the same time limiting environmental noise.
These earphones boast an IPX rating of 4 meaning they’re capable of handling a bit of sweat and rain. Of course, you would not want to throw them inside the pool.
Breathability describes how hot the earphones get when you wear them for some time. This feature is significant especially if you use yours while working out or running because more demanding activities raise your body temperature. The airflow around your ears and within the ear cups is dictated strongly by your headphone’s design.
Just like with most headphones from Bose, I found the breathability of these ones to be top-notch. While they trap some heat in the ear canal because of their design, it’s just a negligible rise temperature, which honestly should not make you sweat more than normal.
They connect through Bluetooth to your device relatively painlessly. If you have a compatible gadget, you can also connect them through NFC. Their connection range is pretty average (25-30 feet). However, it works well enough. When running, I noticed there was minimal skipping when I strapped my phone to my left arm and no skipping when I did the same to my right. Consequently, if you aren’t into jumpy music, keep the phone by your right side.
When it comes to battery life, the manufacturer indicates that they deliver roughly six hours between charges. I verified the claim and based on my testing, it’s correct. That said, it’s important to note that volume affects runtime. Once depleted, they’ll need around two hours of charging through a USB power source.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones have the ability to connect up to two audio sources at the same time. For instance, with the same device, it’s possible to take calls from an iPhone and listen to a music/movie on an iPad. Do you know these earphones are also smart? While you take your calls, they can pause your iPad’s audio.
Are you the one-device-at-a-time kind of person? With the free Bose Connect app, you can easily switch between audio sources. I noticed that the earbud’s Bluetooth connectivity is pretty solid provided you’re within distances of 25-30 feet away. Although I experienced occasional hiccups in connectivity, they were just a few and far between.
For many years, I’ve known Bose’s earphones, headphones, and speakers for their neutral and detailed sound. There’s no exception with these pieces. Nonetheless, I noticed that the bass these ones offer is more forward compared to other Bose products I have used in the past. I found it to be a win having an additional thump to maintain the beat as I power the last minutes of my run or workout.
In addition to the extra bass, I discover the earphones provide more than enough treble to prevent any nuances from coming in the way of what I’m listening to. If you’re one of those with an eclectic taste in music, then these earphones are a fine choice.
The setup process of these earphones is a walk in the park. You pair them by just long-pressing their power button until they enter pairing mode. When swapping between modes, I loved that there is a clear English voice that tells you stuff like battery percentage. The voice can also tell you the specific device that you are paired to. If you are entering pairing mode, it’ll inform you that it is ready to pair another device.
While the voice is robotic, the specificity level is very welcome.
In terms of comfort, the earphones bring with them a great fit and unique ear tips. What stood out for me is the unique shape of the included StayHear+ Sport earpieces. Instead of a perfectly round foam or silicone tip, the earphones are somewhat oval-shaped, almost as if someone crimped or crushed an ordinary set of tips.
The different size options available include a ½-inch tip and a ¾-inch tip. There’s also one size that’s in between. It’s important to note that the piece’s curved rubber wing firmly holds it into your ears so you don’t have to worry about them moving out of position frequently. Actually, the fact that they hold firmly and comfortably makes it effortless for you to swap out wings and tips. The only related risk to this feature is that you can be stuck with a wing that doesn’t fit and ear tip that does or vice versa.
A small surprise … I discovered that these earphones feature Tile’s tracking technology. Tile is the largest lost-and-found community in the world. Consequently, if you have downloaded the Tile app on your iPhone, finding your lost earphones is a walk in the park. To learn more about the Tile app, visit Tile.com.
While the Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones aren’t completely waterproof and might feel a little heavy, there’s plenty to love about them. With their Tile tracking capabilities, great situational awareness, utmost comfort, and enjoyable sound quality, they have everything it takes to be my favorite workout buddy as an athlete and exercise aficionado. They’re comfortable and boast high-sound quality.