Bose SoundSport Free ReviewMay 20, 2018
- Superior sound quality
- True wireless with one-earbud option
- Earbuds not flush with the ear
- Controls take too much pressure to operate
Bose speakers have long been known for superior sound quality and it seems like that tradition continues even when they shrink those speakers down and remove all the wires. Although many of the earbuds in the test had amazing sound quality, the SoundSport stood out from all the others with the kind of clarity one would expect from Bose. The mid-range and high trebles are amazing, and while the bass is excellent as well it’s the weakest part of the range.
Comfort & Fit
The SoundSport Free took a different approach to fitting the true wireless earbuds by creating a kind of nozzle that fit into the ear while the main bud remains away from the ear. The buds and wings in the SoundSport Free are one unit, but like all the other earbuds in the test, the SoundSport Free come with three different sizes. At first it doesn’t seem too stable, but once it’s fitted inside the ear, it’s surprisingly comfortable and secure. The only downside to the design is that the earbuds aren’t as flush to the side of the head as some of the other earbuds, and this can make it easier to get snagged on helmet straps or other headgear and accidentally dislodged. Obviously, this isn’t a concern for running, but it does make for a little bit of a Frankenstein look with the knobs sticking out of the head. Looks aside, the SoundSport Free remained comfortable in the ear for the full five hours of battery charge.
Ease of Use
The SoundSport Free require that you download the Bose app before connecting, then the app guides you through the pairing process and provides an overview of the features and controls of the SoundSport Free buds. The controls are intuitive and easy to use, but they require more pressure to activate the controls than many of the other earbuds in the test. This can be troublesome when trying to operate the controls while exercising as this increased pressure has a tendency to dislodge the earbuds that are positioned away from the ear.
The SoundSport Free allows one earbud to be used while keeping the other ear open to the surrounding noise, making them a good option for biking, hiking, and running, but the wider profile means there’s a chance they might get caught up in helmet straps or other headgear. They aren’t as waterproof as the Jabra Elite Sport but are still sweat-proof and water resistant enough to handle unexpected weather. And they’re comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time regardless of what activity you happen to be engaged in.
The SoundSport Free brings high quality sound to a true wireless design in a way that will make even the most critical audiophile impressed. The true wireless design of the SoundSport Free allows them to be used nearly anywhere and for nearly any kind of activity, and the superior sound quality means that even the most discerning music lovers don’t have to sacrifice their listening pleasure just to have freedom from wires. The SoundSport Free come with a hard case that protects and re-charges the earbuds, and allows users to store the unused bud safely in the case while only using one earbud. It’s easy to switch between devices in the accompanying Bose app and it also has a find-my-earbud feature. At 5 hours of play time, the SoundSport Free had the longest battery life of any of the true wireless earbuds, though it was still significantly less than the 12 hours of the corded PowerBeats 3. Like the others, the protective case gives two more full charges, and the SoundSport Free also have a quick charge feature that yields 45 minutes of play time after charging for 15 minutes.
Christopher Cogley is a freelance writer who spends as much time as possible biking, hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoor playground of Western Colorado where he lives with his wife and two boys.