Bose, a truly trusted name in sound for any audiophile worth his or her salt, enters the wireless earphone market with the Bose Soundsport Free. Here’s my review of these awesome new earbuds.

So, if you’re like me, then you are constantly getting your earphone cord caught up in things. When I’m on my phone, chatting with my mom or a friend, I usually have the handset in my pocket while the earphone cord snakes up to my head. I tend to pace or move around doing things while I talk, too, and every conversation I usually snag the darn cord on something and yank it unceremoniously and quite uncomfortably out of my ears. I do own over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones, however I only use those when I am sitting in one place listening to music, as they are a bit bulky for moving around. If I’m out biking, snowboarding or hiking, it’s back to the wired headphones that came with my phone. And I never really considered wireless earbuds before now, for a number of reasons.

The first reason is sound. I need good sound quality for music, and I guess I just could never believe that a teeny tiny set of ear plugs could deliver the same sound as an over-the-ear set. Reason number two is fit. If I’m being active, running, riding or ripping up the slopes, any in-ear buds need to fit perfectly—not to mention comfortably—and snug, otherwise they’re going to pop out. That leads me to reason three why I never invested in wireless earbuds:loss. I just know I’d lose something so tiny as a little earbud, and then there goes that hard-earned cash. The Bose Soundsport Free addresses all those issues, and more.

Bose Soundsport Free Design

Inside the box, you’ll find a case containing the earbuds, charging cable, different-sized ear plugs, and the documentation. The black case, which fits in the palm of your hand (well, unless you have little tiny baby hands) has a button on the front that, when depressed, opens to reveal the two Bose earbuds. Lights under the button show the remaining charge in the case (more on that feature below), and there are indicator lights beside each earbud, as well. To be honest, the first time I felt like I had just opened a James Bond gadget or something. A friend saw the case on the table, popped it open and exclaimed, “Whoa, that looks high-tech … and expensive!”

The Soundsport headphones are magnetically secured to the case in their own respective recessed compartments, and—cards on the table—I thought they looked big when I first saw them. They have these rubber ear plug tips that look like wings, and a thick, quarter-sized unit that obviously is going to stick out of your ear when wearing them. They’re certainly not as discrete as some of the other wireless earbuds I’ve seen on the market. However, I did totally end up changing my mind about these super lightweight buds after using them. The right bud features the control buttons integrated discretely right into the side, and include volume control, and the ability to advance tracks, pause, and answer incoming phone calls. The buttons are small and a tad stiff, but I had no trouble using them to control my music or take calls.

Bose Soundsport Free Features

Those wing-like rubber plugs are Bose’s StayHear + Sport tips. They very comfortably “lock” the buds into your ears, sealing out a great deal of ambient outside noise, while maximizing the sound quality. And, they don’t really jam the tips into your ears. It really is a comfortable fit, and there are two other sets of tips included that are of different sizes, so you can find the best fit for your ear shape.

The earbuds are also sweat and water-resistant, meaning you can certainly use them out in the snow or rain, however don’t go swimming with them, as they are not water-proof. As they are on the larger side, the Bose Soundsport Free buds have a better-than-average battery inside. They boast five hours of playtime, and my tests confirmed that claim. The rugged little carrying case is also a handy dandy charging case, and provides two full additional charges, meaning you can get 15 hours of portable life out of these babies when you’re on the go.

Bose Soundsport Free Performance

As I stated earlier, the Bose Soundsport Free fit well. They are surprisingly comfortable, and they stay put when you’re dancing around or exercising. I actually tried to dislodge them by shaking my head around, and they stayed firmly, yet comfortably in place. Bob your head around all you want, but these things aren’t going anywhere.

You’ll need to download the Bose app to connect the buds to your phone, and it was a simple process. In fact, the connection seemed to happen a lot easier than with other Bluetooth devices I own. The app also offers the totally useful “Find My Buds” feature, which, as the name intuitively implies, allows you to find your expensive ear speakers should you leave one behind at the gym, or just misplace it somewhere in the house.

In terms of sound performance, I can honestly say these are some of the best earphones I’ve tested. The audio performance is powerful, clear, and Bose has added some seriously boosted bass response for a truly exceptional audio experience. The buds aren’t noise-cancelling (and you wouldn’t want to be totally oblivious to the sounds of things like oncoming cars anyway when you’re outside), however I found they did cut a lot of the ambient noise down when I was outside or in a crowded area, such as a restaurant. Honestly, these sound exactly like I would expect something from Bose to sound, meaning awesome … and they deliver.

The Final Word

I’ve tried other in-ear Bluetooth headphones, and they just can’t compare to these Bose Soundsport Free wireless earphones. When it comes to fit and comfort designed specifically for use when active, the water and sweat resistance, battery life and portable charging case, Find My Buds feature, and sheer crystal-clear sound performance—the Bose Soundsport Free is a total homerun in my books. These are pretty likely, in my opinion, the best on the market for this type of earphone. My only gripe: They are a bit big and not very discreet. However, they are lightweight, and you can wear them for hours without even the slightest discomfort. I would totally recommend these to anyone looking for high quality Bluetooth wireless earphones.

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