The Bose Sport Earbuds offer the best fit of any fitness earbud, with great comfort levels and durable build quality. Add in an enjoyable audio performance and clear call quality and the Sport Earbuds are one of the best for fitness fanatics. If you’re looking to get more out of them in terms of everyday use, its RRP is a barrier.
- Well-rounded sound
- Good call quality
- Excellent fit and design
- Not the longest battery life compared to rivals
- Somewhat limited in terms of operation
- Bit pricey for what they do
- 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 Bose Sport Earbuds are true wireless earphones with a fitness focus, carrying over some of the features from the company’s premium QuietComfort Earbuds.
They replace the SoundSport Free, and as the name implies, the Sport Earbuds are designed to cater to the needs of runners, athletes and fitness fanatics. Require a companion for your workouts? Then the Sport Earbuds are here to fill that void.
Given the QuietComfort Earbuds received five stars, is it right to expect similar excellence from the Sport Earbuds?
- UKRRP: £179.95
- USARRP: $179
- EuropeRRP: €199.95
- CanadaRRP: CA$235
- AustraliaRRP: AU$299.95
The Bose Sport Earbuds have a price of £180, although with promotions they can be found for around £150. The price puts them in the same realm as the Jaybird Vista 2 and Jabra Elite Active 75T sports earbuds.
- Excellent fit and comfort levels
- Lightweight design
- Does allow external sounds to filter through
The Sport Earbuds are smaller, plastic in feel and aren’t as flashy as their QC Earbuds counterparts. Given the more pressing need for durability, that lack of a premium finish isn’t really a problem here. More importantly, the fact that they’re not as big and weigh less provides fewer distractions during workouts.
It’s the fit that’s the best aspect 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.
The default fit worked perfectly for me; the stability offered was excellent, whether for running or doing stomach crunches. For those for whom that size isn’t right, small and large versions are included in the box. Plus, that StayHear tip design did also prove super-comfy – one of the best of any fitness earbuds I’ve reviewed.
What the design won’t do is block out much noise, however. I prefer this ‘open’ design for fitness earbuds, since I’d rather be ‘in tune’ with my surroundings. If ANC is of interest, though, both the Jabra Elite Active 75T and Jaybird Vista 2 include it.
So, 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 charging case is on the large side, and includes a battery LED indicator on the front, USB-C connection on the rear and a button for Bluetooth pairing inside. It’s available in a choice of three colours: Glacier White and Baltic Blue and Triple Black.
Lastly, the Sport Earbuds feature responsive touch and swipe gestures, with pause/play, volume, voice assistant access (on the right earbud) as well as a shortcut of your own choosing. Neither volume control nor the shortcut is enabled out of the box – you’ll need the Bose Music companion app to activate both.
- Bose Music app for (limited) customisation
- IPX4 sweat-resistance
- Reliable connectivity and good call quality
It does feel odd to restrict the touch controls, but this isn’t uncommon for Bose, doing similar with the QC Earbuds. However, it’s easy enough to enable them in the Bose Music app (Android/iOS).
The settings icon in the top-right corner is where volume control and the shortcut can be activated (left earbud only for the shortcut). What’s presented is a choice between battery notification, skipping forward and skipping back – and you can only pick one. I find that rather stingy.
Otherwise, features are somewhat thin on the ground for a pair of earbuds that command a fair amount of money. The Music app offers volume control, battery life levels, switching between sources, the aforementioned (slim) control customisation, firmware updates and a series of tips about how to wear and operate the earbuds.
There’s no built-in voice assistance, but you can call up whichever your phone supports through the earbuds, and there’s no in-app playback control, either. Nor are there any EQ settings to tweak the sound, but there is Bose’s Active EQ in play, which automatically tunes the sound. Water-resistance is IPX4 – common among true wireless earbuds – so they’re guarded against sweat from workouts or a sudden British rain shower.
Battery-wise, you get five hours per earbud and 15 in total. The charging case supplies two extra charges, which – again – isn’t as extensive as some of the Bose’s nearest rivals. Fast-charging amounts to 15 minutes for two extra hours of playback; but 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 OnePlus 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.
A solid set of features then, but perhaps not quite as advanced or extensive considering the asking price.
- Balanced sound
- Likable bass performance
- Good vocal clarity
Smoothness is the story of the Sport Earbuds’ audio performance. As you’d expect from Bose, audio quality is very good and stands up solidly to pricier true wireless options.
The Sport Earbuds achieve a good tonal balance across the frequency range with bass, mid-range and high frequencies kept in relatively good control. 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 accuracy of 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. Dynamism – the sense of quiet and loud – is managed well both in a smaller and broader sense for a flowing performance.
The Bose Sport Earbuds aren’t the most neutral sounding – there’s a little warmth to their tone – but I feel this works in their favour, with them able to handle a range of tracks and genres. I can’t remember the last we doubted Bose in the audio department, and there’s no doubt here – the Sport Earbuds are a terrific companion for workouts.
Should you buy it?
For the best fit I don’t think any fitness earbud manages as good a fit as the Sport Earbuds. Whether it’s running or doing more body-based workouts, these earbuds stay put.
If you want better value The features the Sport Earbuds offer are solid, but for the price the value they offer isn’t as good as rivals, especially if you’re using them outside of the gym.
The Bose Sport Earbuds offer the best fit of any 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. Factor in a solid audio performance and you might think the Sport Earbuds should earn higher marks.
However, you can find better value and a wider feature set at this price. Battery life isn’t as formidable as rivals, and they feel rather rigid in terms of the control offered to the listener. The Bose Sport Earbuds are one of the best fitness earbuds on the market, then – but not quite the best-value option at their price.
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How we test
We test every headphone 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.
No, they’re water-resistant, so don’t submerge them into water.
No, they do not.
The shortcut feature is available in the Bose Music app and allows the set-up of a custom command.