Through the years I frequently get asked what the very best Bluetooth sports headphone is. My stock answer is that none are perfect, all have their drawbacks, and the couple of top models may fit you well and work great — or they could not.
Bose’s SoundSport Wireless, the business’s first Bluetooth sports headphone, isn’t perfect either, nonetheless it may just be the very best Bluetooth sports headphone currently out there.
What makes it the very best? Well, it is rather comfortable to wear, sounds good, appears well developed, and — at $150, £140 or AU$249 — it is not outrageously priced.
Just like the original SoundSport wired, which remains in the line and gets a cost chop from $130 to $100, this new SoundSport Wireless comes with an open design. By open, After all you do not jam the earbud into your ear and completely seal off your ear canal (that kind of headphone is known as a “noise-isolating” in-ear headphone). Because of Bose’s StayHear+ eartips, that can come in three sizes — small, medium, large — the bud sits loosely in your ear yet remains securely set up.
The SoundSport Wireless includes three sizes of StayHear ear tips.
This model has a particular sport version of the StayHear tips that’s not the same as the StayHear tips incorporated with Bose’s earlier in-ear headphones, so they aren’t interchangeable. I will also explain that for the reason that earpieces extend out from your own ears you’ll probably involve some trouble wearing these under certain helmets.
The ear pieces are somewhat bulky, however, not so bulky to feel heavy on your own ears. However, if there’s a criticism of the headphone’s design, it’s that the ear pieces could protrude out just a little less and become more discrete-looking. Easier said then done, of course — today’s battery technology is holding back miniaturization efforts.
Rival headphones — such as for example Jaybird’s X2 and Freedom, Beats’ Powerbeats 2 Wireless and Monster’s Adidas Sport Adistar — provide you with the capability to shorten the cord length (or cinch up the cord) for many who want to wear the cord nearer to the neck. With this headphone, you can’t modify the cord length, but what Bose did is give a clip you can hook to the back of your shirt (at the very top) to keep carefully the cord from flopping about. It’s a good design and I thought it worked well; the cord remained fairly stable, whilst I was running.
The headphone will come in aqua and black colors at launch with yellow arriving in September.
The only downside to the floating-fit, open design is that ambient sound does leak in: this is not an excellent headphone for noisy environments. (In the event that’s your preference, Bose’s upcoming QuietControl 30 is a radio model that has active noise-canceling.) But if you are out running or biking, you can hear cars coming, which explains why a whole lot of runners and bikers prefer their headphones to have open designs.
As you may expect, the headphone is sweat- and water-resistant and there’s an inline mic and remote that enables you to skip songs, modify volume, and take and make calls. Bose is touting its quality as a headset to make calls, along with how reliable the Bluetooth connection is. I could verify experiencing only minimal Bluetooth hiccups and was content with how it performed as a headset, although QuietControl 30 and QuietComfort 35 offer superior headset performance. Those models have noise-reduction features that muffle ambient sound, including wind and street noise.
Just as importantly I had no trouble pairing and mending the headphone with my iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (the Bose features near-field communication tap-to-pair technology for devices just like the Samsung that support this feature). I also simultaneously paired it with my iPhone 6S and MacBook Air and had no trouble switching between your two whenever a call came in as I was watching a video using the pc.
Bose Connect, a free of charge iphone app for Android and iOS, enables you to manage your pairing list, upgrade the firmware and change the auto power off settings (the headphone powers down unless you make utilization of it for a particular amount of time, that is a good battery-saving feature). When you start the headphones, a lady voice alerts you just how much battery life is remaining and with which devices you’re paired. That information can be obtainable in the app.
At launch, the headphone comes in two colors — black and aqua — with citron (yellow) to arrive September. Also in September, Bose is releasing the SoundSport Pulse Wireless, which costs $200 (£170, AU$299) and comes with an integrated heart-rate monitor that’s appropriate for Runkeeper, Endomondo and other fitness apps.
Battery life for the SoundSport is rated at 6 hours, which is rather decent for this sort of small headphone (though not great overall), and 5 hours for the SoundSport Pulse. Both SoundSport wireless headphones have a simple neoprene travel case, but Bose may also sell an accessory case which has a built-in battery for on-the-go charging that’ll cost $50. That battery case provides three full charges, or up to 18 hours of battery life.
Bose will sell another accessory case which has a built-in rechargeable battery for $50.
I used the the SoundSport Wireless for over weekly, taking it to the fitness center, using it on the streets of NY, and doing two runs with it on Randall’s Island. I used the large StayHear+ eartips and could get yourself a comfortable, secure fit.
With a whole lot of in-ear sports headphones, I find myself needing to make little adjustments to alleviate some discomfort or get yourself a better fit, especially while running, but with this headphone the adjustments I had to create were minimal. These were simple to placed on and remove, they powered on and paired quickly to my phone, and worked in addition to any Bluetooth headphone I’ve used.
The sound quality is great for an in-ear sports Bluetooth headphone. There’ve been some complaints about any of it not playing loud enough, but I didn’t have that issue with the iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge I tested it with. (Bluetooth performance on computers is commonly a little dodgy as well as perhaps a number of the volume complaints are linked to computer connectivity.)
The headphone doesn’t sound as effective as Bose’s $130 SoundTrue Ultra wired headphones, that i like a lot and will be offering cleaner, more dynamic sound, with better defined bass. But that is the nature of Bluetooth. You lose something. Regarding the SoundSport Wireless, losing isn’t huge. There’s some clarity missing (the highs certainly are a little recessed), nevertheless, you get plenty of bass and the midrange sounds pretty natural and warm. It is also a reasonably open-sounding headphone.
What’s interesting about the sound is that headphone appears to be optimized for outside use. Inside, in a quiet room, the bass can sound just a little bloated, gives everything a slightly dull edge. However when you’re travelling outside, the bass sounds toned down because it’s competing with ambient noise, be it the wind or traffic or whatever. If you didn’t have that extra bass the headphone would sound thin outside. Just how it’s tuned, it sounds smoother and better balanced outdoors.
I didn’t think it sounded much better than the Jaybird Freedom, which also offers excellent sound for an in-ear Bluetooth headphone — though that model costs 33 percent more. Nonetheless it bests the Beats PowerBeats 2 Wireless, Plantronics’ BackBeat Fit and Monster’s Adidas Sport Adistar. The latter two models cost a lower amount than the Bose.
All having said that, what in the end makes the Bose the superior headphone and simple to recommend is its fit and comfort and ease. No, it isn’t perfect — and it will not be considered a perfect fit for everybody — but it’s mostly of the “premium” in-ear Bluetooth headphones that I believe will work for a large proportion who buy it.