The Bose Sport Earbuds offer an excellent fit, with great comfort levels and a design that’s built to last build. Add in a sufficiently enjoyable audio performance and clear call quality and the Sport Earbuds are a great option for fitness fanatics.
- Well-rounded sound
- Good call quality
- Excellent fit and design
- Not the longest battery life
- RRP pricey for what they do
- Strong competition
- StayHear tip Bose ear-tip design keeps the earbuds’ fit secure
- Dual-microphone array for calls Right earbud features microphones specifically for calls
- Bose Music appOffers firmware updates and customisation of controls and features
The Sport Earbuds are Bose’s sport-focused true wireless earbuds, designed to sustain any fitness fanatics through their audio workouts with their secure fit and clear audio.
Launched at the same time as QuietComfort Earbuds, they carry over some of the features from that five-star rated earbud but are tuned. to the needs of runners, athletes and fitness fanatics.
When we initially reviewed them, they were priced at £180, which felt a steep barrier to hurdle over for a pair of sports true wireless. They’re also up against beefed up competition from Jabra Elite Active 7, Jaybird Vista 2 and Adidas FWD-02 Sport. Do the Bose remain a sports true wireless worth getting?
- Secure fit and comfortable to wear
- Lightweight design
- Design does allow external sounds to filter through
The Sport Earbuds are smaller, plastic in feel and aren’t as premium looking as their QuietComfort Earbuds stablemate. Given the more pressing need for durability, the lack of a premium finish isn’t a problem here, and more importantly, as they aren’t as big and weigh less, the Sports Earbuds provide fewer distractions during workouts.
It’s the fit that’s the best quality of Bose Sport Earbuds’ design. They use the same StayHear tip as the QuietComfort Earbuds, with every surface that touches the inside of the ear made from soft silicone for increased comfort. Resistance is IPX4, which is the most common rating among true wireless earbuds, guarding against sweat from workouts or a sudden British rain shower.
They’re better than the QuietComfort Earbuds were in dealing with wind noise. I found the StayHear ear-tip design on this pair didn’t cause as much noise when running, which did distract a little from the audio during runs.
However, while wind noise is mitigated, ambient noise has a tendency to filter through. I’m actually in favour of this ‘open’ design for fitness earbuds, as it does help to be aware of what’s around you when you’re running outside. I’d rather be ‘in tune’ with my surroundings. If noise cancelling is of interest, the Jaybird Vista 2 has it, but they are currently more expensive.
While you’ll hear more noise competing with tunes from your playlist, these aren’t the most thunderous-sounding earbuds. As such, you can modulate the volume without wreaking havoc on your hearing.
The stability and security of the fit was one I found to be excellent, whether for running or doing stomach crunches. For those for whom the default size isn’t right, small and large versions are included in the box. In terms of comfort, the Sports Earbuds are one of the best of any fitness earbuds I’ve reviewed.
The charging case is large side, featuring a battery LED indicator on the front, USB-C connection on the rear and a button for Bluetooth pairing inside. The headphones (and case) are available in a choice of three colours: Glacier White and Baltic Blue and Triple Black.
Lastly, the Sport Earbuds feature swift touch and swipe gestures, with pause/play, volume, voice assistant access (on the right earbud) as well as a shortcut of your own choosing (left earbud). Neither volume control, volume touch nor the shortcut is enabled out of the box – you’ll need the Bose Music companion app to toggle these features on.
- Reasonable battery life
- Updates have added Spotify integration/EQ customisation
- Reliable connectivity and good call quality
Head to settings icon in the top-right corner of the Bose Music app and that’s where you’ll find the toggles for volume control, voice assistant control and the shortcut. For the shortcut what’s presented is a choice between battery notification, skipping forward or back or, in a new feature since we first reviewed the buds, resuming your Spotify listening session.
Features were thin on the ground when the buds launched, but a few updates have expanded what’s available (slightly), even though arguably these features should have been there from the start. Originally, the Music app had volume control, showed battery life levels, and had the ability to switch between sources and fiddle with the controls.
Now there’s the aforementioned Spotify integration and an equalizer for boosting/reducing bass and treble. Bass can be boosted or reduced by +8/-8, treble +6/-6. There is no room for creating a custom preset though.
There’s no built-in voice assistance, but you can call up whichever your phone supports through the earbuds, and in another new addition there is now in-app playback control.
Battery-wise, it’s up to five hours per earbud and 15 in total. An hour of listening brought the battery to around 70%. The drain was performed at a higher volume level (default levels sound a little low), and the figure I got suggests around three to four hours of battery.
The charging case supplies two extra charges, with fast-charging amounting to 15 minutes for two extra hours of playback. There’s no wireless charging.
Connectivity is Bluetooth 5.1, and the Sport Earbuds haven’t been a let-down in that department, with a reliable tether to my smartphone. In the right earbud is a dual-microphone array for calls, and call quality has been very good in terms of clarity. Excellent examples of in-ear detection and auto play/pause round up the feature set.
- Balanced sound
- Likable bass performance
- Good vocal clarity
Smoothness is the story of the Sport Earbuds’ audio. As you’d expect from Bose, audio quality is very good and stands up solidly to pricier true wireless options.
If you’re not using any equalizer adjustments, Bose’s Active EQ automatically tunes the sound, and the Sport Earbuds achieve a good tonal balance across the frequency range with bass, mid-range and high frequencies.
Bass displays solid depth in a track such as LMP’s Yellow, avoiding any sense of tubbiness or crowding the mid-range. It isn’t the most explosive, but it achieves a nice middle-ground for those who want bass but not too much of it.
Vocals are handled smoothly, although not quite with the same level of detail and precision as more expensive true wireless. The mid-range performance is good – instruments and lyrics are given room and offered solid levels of clarity. While the Sport Earbuds don’t dig up as much detail or hit the level of sharpness as their premium siblings, I don’t think many will be fussed by their performance.
High frequencies are also handled well, with good definition and enough brightness and clarity to make them distinct in a track such as GoGo Penguin’s Raven. The size of the soundstage is one area where the Sport Earbuds feel a little less astute, but there’s no impact on music in terms of clarity. The dynamic swings between quiet and loud is managed well both in a minute and broader sense for a flowing performance.
The Bose Sport Earbud’ smoothness and overall clarity works in their favour, with them able to handle a range of tracks and genres. The Sport Earbuds are among the better earbuds for workouts.
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Should you buy it?
For the best fit The fit here is secure as you can get. Whether it’s running or doing more body-based workouts, these earbuds stay put.
If you want better battery Battery life isn’t the most extensive, and so you may want to use these just for sports rather than all-day use.
The Bose Sport Earbuds offer a reliably secure and comfortable fit, better than any other fitness earbuds on the market I’ve tested. Comfort levels are great, touch controls are responsive, and build quality ensures they’re as durable as your workouts are as hard-hitting.
Updates have also expanded the bud’s customisation options, though arguably they should have been there from the start. Factor in a solid audio performance and these are an enjoyable pair of fitness earbuds to use.
However, battery life isn’t as formidable as rivals, some may feel they’re not the loudest-sounding pair of earphones and the competition is strong. They also were expensive at launch, but as of December 2022 they’re available at a more affordable price – as low as £99 in some stores. At that price the Bose Sport Earbuds are an easy recommendation.
How we test
We test every headphone set we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Tested over several weeks
Tested with real world use
Battery drain performed
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The shortcut feature allows the set-up of a custom command on the left earbud, and you choose between getting battery notification, skipping forward or back, or resuming a Spotify session.