It’s amazing to see how fast the wireless headphone market has grown in the past couple of years. No two earbuds are the same and as consumers, we have a wide variety to choose from to match our needs and lifestyle.
Today, I’m reviewing the Bose Sport Earbuds. As the name suggests, these are made for active applications, such as running, working out, and other forms of activity. If you’re looking for pair of earbuds for the gym that can handle sweat or a little rain, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s begin by looking at the design.
Design of the Bose Sport Earbuds
The Bose Sport Earbuds are constructed with plastic, making them lightweight and durable. The in-ear design seals your ear canal which helps to block out ambient noise. They come with three sizes of the StayHear Max tips. These are made with soft silicone and ensure the earbuds do not fall out during rapid head movements.
The earbud case is compact and well designed. Unlike most earbud cases, it does not use magnets to keep it shut. Instead, you press a button to open a lid. While some people may not like the extra step, it does a great job of accidental openings during travel in a gym bag. Four LEDs on the outside of the case indicate the remaining battery level. A Bluetooth pairing button is located inside the case.
Using the Bose Sport Earbuds
These earbuds were designed for someone like myself. Not only do I work out in a gym I also run or jump rope outdoors. I couldn’t imagine doing any of this without listening to music to focus, tune out the world, and get into the zone. I also have an older pair of sport earbuds from another brand to compare with.
Putting the earbuds on for the first time, I noticed that the right earbud wanted to fall out. I switched to the larger StayHear Max tips and that did the trick. The earbuds are comfortable to wear and stay in place even with rapid head movements.
With respect to the sound, I immediately noticed a lot of low-end bass. It seems that Bose increases the loudness in the midrange which allows you to really feel the music in your ears. The resonance that it provides is clear and ever-present.
The sound isolation wasn’t fantastic and is especially noticeable when music isn’t playing. However, I think that is a good thing. For anyone working out in a gym or running outside, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings.
One issue I did experience was the right earbud would sometimes be louder than the left one. This is fixed by pressing the Bluetooth button on the case. If you don’t have the case with you, this can be annoying. I’ve had the same issue with other earbuds. I suspect it has something to do with the Bluetooth pairing connection between the two earbuds.
Touch Control on the Bose Sport Earbuds
There are no physical buttons on the earbud itself. Instead, the front housing on both the left and right side operate as touch panels. Most of the onboard controls are done on the right side. As a lefty, this is yet more proof that we live in a right-handed world.
The right earbud control volume and music can be paused by a double-tap. The right earbud also features a sensor for ear detection. When the right earbud is removed, playback is paused. Once it goes back into the ear, playback resumes.
This is the first pair of earbuds that I’ve used with touch controls. Personally, I don’t like it and prefer physical buttons. Sometimes when I would adjust the earbud, I would hit the touch controls by accident. It’s just hard to do simple commands like adjust the volume on the fly. While touch controls may feel necessary for premium sport earbuds, functionally I don’t think they work well.
Voice calls with the Bose Sport Earbuds
The Bose Sport Earbuds feature a four-microphone array to use with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and taking voice calls. I’ve always been wearying of taking calls with earbuds since they don’t have a microphone close to the mouth. However, I did get some calls and didn’t hear any complaints from the other end.
The four microphones use a beamforming array to separate someone’s voice from environmental noise. Being an audio guy, I’m not really sure how this works but my guess is they cut off low-frequency noises.
Users can expect to get up to 5 hours of talk time. The charging case also provides two additional charges for a total of 15 hours. I suspect most people will use them for about an hour or two before putting them back into the case.
Should you get the Bose Sport Earbuds?
Anyone requiring a pair of earbuds for working out should definitely consider the Bose Sport Earbuds. They are extremely comfortable and provide a secure fit and remarkable sound. The StayHear Max tips are probably the best I’ve ever tried. The important thing is to try all the tips to see which ones provide the best fit. Do not skip this step.
There are three things I wish it had. One is a built-in heart rate monitor and activity tracker for movements like steps. The ear has shown to be a great place to measure heart rate. As a premium Sports Earbud, this is something I almost expect from Bose.
Second, a built-in heart rate monitor and activity monitor would then enable it to be used as a fitness tracker. The current sport earbuds I use have both. The corresponding app provides a ton of fitness metrics such as heart rate, calories burned, steps taken etc. I like to look at data post-workout and that is something I really miss when I’m wearing these.
Third, I wish the case supported wireless charging. Again, Bose is a premium, high-end audio brand. With so much competition out there in the wireless earbud space, you would think that Bose would include all the bells and whistles to attract customers.
I’m the type who always forgets to charge the case. With wireless charging, it would be easy to just place the case on a wireless charger at home after each workout. Instead, I still have to remember to use a USB-C cable to charge the case. Thankfully, a quick 15-minute charge provides up to 2 hours of playback. So I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.
When it comes to wireless earbuds, the most important two considerations should be comfort and fit. The Bose Sport Earbuds does not disappoint in that regard. Music sounds great and it’s tuned to accentuate bass, the mid-low end, and highs. With a IPX4 rating, it’s also designed for sweat and running in the rain.
While the sound isolation can put you in the zone during a workout, it still allows enough sound to be aware of the surroundings. If you’re the type who can never find a pair of sport earbuds that stay in place, then the Bose Sport Earbuds is something you should definitely consider.