Bose is a brand that’s name is recognizable almost anywhere you go. Mostly they are known for their over-ear headphones like the QuietComfort 35’s that we reviewed earlier this year, but one thing that was long desired from many fans of the company was a pair of Truly wireless in-Ear headphones.
Then the company announced the SoundSport Free Wireless. We got our hands on a pair and wanted to give you our impressions of them after using for a month.
At $249, they are certainly on par with others in the wireless earbud community like the Bragi Dash, the Jabra Elite Sport, yet it’s about $100 more expensive than Apple’s very own Airpods. Now if you’re not a fan of the look of those, or simply wanted a sound that matches what you would get out of a pair of over-ears, let me save you some time by just saying: It gets no better than the SoundSport Free.
Here are some Specs of the SoundSport Free:
Headphones:1.25″ H x 1″ W x 1.2″ D (0.5 oz each)
Case:1.5″ H x 4″ W x 1.9″ D (2.8 oz)
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Charging time: 2 hours
Battery life: 5 hours per full charge
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
SoundSport Free wireless headphones
Portable charging case
3 sizes of StayHear+ Sport tips
Unboxing, you’ll find the SoundSport Free Charging case front and center, sitting above all of the documentation, extra ear tips that can fit various sizes, but let’s dive right into the SoundSport Free Wireless.
The charging case for the SoundSport free is certainly unique. Where most of the wireless earbuds on the market have your typical clam-shell like enclosure, Bose ramps it up a notch with this almost futuristic looking case that is accented by glowing LED lights on the front signifying the charge remaining for the case itself.
Bose boasts that the SoundSport Free can get up to five hours on a single charge, with an additional two full charges from the case, which is perfect if you’re the type to listen to about a day’s amount of work before heading home or to the gym. In practice, I’ve been able to listen to Podcasts from 9 am until about 2:30 before my SoundSport have told me that the battery is low, or dying. This is comforting if you’re the type of individual who tends to forget exactly how long you’ve had them because trust me, Bose’s voice command feature is fantastic at notifying you about battery life. What’s more, a quick 15-minute charge will give you about 45 minutes of battery life, so if you commute to and from work or the gym, you can easily get yourself enough juice to hit the weights.
On the inside of the case, you’ll notice there are two indicators for the left or right ear that showcase that the headphones are charged as well which is great as well.
Upon syncing your device to the SoundSport Free via Bluetooth which literally took me about a minute to do, I was greeted by ‘Connected to Greg’s iPhone”. What’s more, if you sync the SoundSport Free to multiple devices, it will connect to them all as soon as you turn them on. Since I tend to have my iPad Pro with me when I travel, I would use this feature the most, more recently switching from listening to Apple Music when my flight first started, then going over to Netflix on my iPad when it was time to watch a movie. All of this without having to re-enable the Bluetooth on either. This alone is a feature that beats out the majority of the Bluetooth wireless headphones that I’ve ever tried out.
I discussed wireless earbuds with a buddy of mine, and one of his gripes about every single one was comfort. He went on and on about how his ear canal can’t tolerate having something sitting in it for more than two hours without having even slight discomfort, and more importantly, he wanted earbuds that stayed PUT for the extent of his listening experience.
So I had to show off the SoundSport Free to him. Needless to say, I saw him over the weekend, and he currently has himself a pair. Courtesy of Bose’s own StayHear+ Sports tips, the SoundSport Free stay in your ear comfortably that’s to the silicone tip that goes into the canal, while the “fins” that go around the inside of your ear contribute to making sure that they don’t move no matter what.
Aesthetically the SoundSport free are just phenomenal in looks, but the audio experience will knock your socks off. Coming complete with their own companion SoundTouch app that’s free in the App Store, the SoundSport Free can control your music or podcasts directly from their app. The app also allows you to monitor battery life as well as an internal equalizer which I think works well.
Each earbud has specialized buttons that range from volume control to toggling your Siri or Google Assistant so if you have your phone in your bag, you can easily answer a call with just a button tap on the right ear cup.
As far as noise cancellation, I was expecting a bit more out of these. I’m very critical of noise cancellation, especially in environments like airplanes (I somehow always manage to sit in front of small children, or in the row with the person who snores) so noise cancellation is a bit of a big deal for me. Since the SoundSport Free do not have the same noise reduction technology as my trusty QuietComfort 35’s, I do have to pull those out in those small cases. Despite that small flaw though, Audio sounds fantastic. Listening to NPR you can hear words cleanly without things getting choppy, and with music, especially as a fan of bass-heavy tracks, I’ve been amazed by the experience I’ve gotten versus what I did not get out of the likes of Airpods and a few others. But then again, it’s Bose, what else do you expect?
Despite that, I will agree with most that $249.95 isn’t for everyone. This is certainly a luxury item that is about the price of the QuietComfort 35’s, with the caveat being as you’re more likely to lose one of the earbuds from the SoundSport Free than you would your QC-35’s, so I would suggest always placing the earbuds into the case when not in use. Nevertheless, you won’t find another pair of in-ear headphones at this price better than the SoundSport Free, so why even bother? You can currently get yourself a pair by clicking here today.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review unit
What I Like: Super comfortable in the ear and will not move on a workout; Quick charge capabilities
What Needs Improvement: No active Noise cancellation; If you’ve been spoiled by the Airpods ability to use lightning cable you have to go back to using Micro-USB