The Bose SoundSport are decent sounding in-ear earbuds. They have a comfortable and open fit that some may prefer over typical in-ear models. The tips' design, lets you hear traffic while jogging but also, doesn't block any ambient noise. They won't be ideal for loud and noisy commutes.
- Comfortable and airy fit.
- Above-average and open sound.
- Minimal leakage.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Bass-lacking audio reproduction.
The Bose SoundSport have a relatively straightforward design. They have an efficient control scheme but the buttons feel a little small compared to QuietComfort 20's inline controls. However, the ear bud tips are slightly different from the other in-ear models from Bose. They have an open design that's very comfortable but also feels a little loose once in your ear. They're good for jogging but a bit too loose to use at the gym.
The Bose SoundSport In-Ear have a bright and sporty red and black color scheme that stands out and looks good. The earbuds are a little bigger than the similarly designed SoundTrue In-Ear and are available in a variety of colors to suit your tastes. They have a unique ear bud tip design that's smaller and more open than the StayHear tips of the Soundtrue IE and QuietComfort 20.
The Bose SoundSport are incredibly comfortable. They are extremely lightweight, and the fit does not apply any pressure to the ear canal. They feel like you don't have headphones on once they're in your ears. However, this can get slightly frustrating as you're frequently tempted to adjust the fit, assuming the earbuds are not correctly placed in your ears. You get used to it eventually, but the open and airy effect is a little unsettling at first.
The SoundSport have an above-average control scheme. They provide call/music, track-skipping, and volume controls. Sadly, like the SoundTrue In-Ear the buttons are a little cramped on the small inline control module and also don't deliver good tactile feedback.
The SoundSport are above-average stable headphones. They offer special stability tips that prevent the headphones from falling out of your ears while jogging. Their hybrid in-ear tip design is very open and airy, allowing runners to monitor their environment. However, the lack of a seal in the ear canal makes them fall out of your ears easier than the StayHear+ tips of the SoundTrue In-Ear or the QuietComfort 25. They're ideal for jogging outside but may not be stable enough for high-intensity exercises at the gym.
The SoundSport In-Ear are one of the most portable headphones we have reviewed so far. They will easily fit into your pockets or purse. Although there's no specific way to fold them into a smaller footprint, the cable is not too long or thick to take up much space.
These headphones come with a small circular soft pouch that will protect your headphones from damage. The case fabric is tough, and it will easily fit into a pocket or purse. However, a soft case may not be able to protect these headphones from water damage as a hard case would.
Decent build quality. These headphones are lightweight and the earbuds are made of a relatively dense plastic that won't break from a couple of falls. The audio cable is decent and moderately durable. Unfortunately, like the SoundTrue In-Ear, the audio cable could be a little thicker, to prevent it from getting damaged by everyday wear and tear.
The SoundSport have a decent audio reproduction but lack the low rumbles of bass that some may be looking for. They have a surprisingly open sound for an in-ear headphone, which gives them a more spacious soundstage. Sadly, the open seal doesn't transmit the sub-bass vibrations to the ear as effectively giving these headphones an overall tinny and honky audio quality. On the upside, they reproduce instruments and vocals rather well and have low harmonic distortion.
Subpar Bass Range performance. Low-bass is quite underemphasized, which is due to the open design and minimal seal of these earbuds. Bass performance is decent, and so is high-bass. So although lacking in low-end thump and rumble, there is still some punch to the sound.
Average Mid Range performance. Although the response is flat for the most part, it is consistently overemphasized. This shows that the overall tonal quality of these earbuds is Mid-Range-heavy.
Very good Treble Range. The response is quite consistent, which is expected of most earbuds. However, there is 8dB peak at around 7KHz, which adds to the bass-light and sibilant quality of these earbuds.
Poor soundstage. Although these headphones are exceptionally open sounding, they are not as loud as open-back over-ear headphones. Therefore, they interact acoustically with their environment to a lesser extent. Also, due to their earbud design, these headphones have minimal effect on the pinna, and therefore give the impression of the soundstage being located inside the listener's head.
Excellent imaging. Although the phase error is not as low as some of the better performing over-ear headphones, especially in the Bass Range, it still is impressive. Additionally, the drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched.
Good harmonic distortion performance. Although there are peaks in harmonic distortion above 1KHz that exceed 1% of the input in level at higher SPLs. These frequencies could sound a little harsh.
The SoundSport do not isolate listeners as a typical in-ear model would. They are intentionally open to allow the user to hear the outside world, while on a daily jog or riding a bike in traffic. Unfortunately, this also means that in loud environments, you can barely hear your audio, which is not the best for traveling by train or plane. On the upside, they don't leak much and won't be distracting to the people around your at moderate-to-high volumes.
Poor isolation. As opposed to most in-ears that provide extreme amounts of passive isolation, these earbuds - due to their open design and minimal seal - have very poor isolation. They offer no isolation below 1KHz, and above that, barely achieve more than 9dB of isolation.
Very good leakage. Although these earbuds have an open design, they don't leak as much as open-back over-ear headphones. However, they leak considerably more than closed, tightly-sealed in-ears. These headphones barely leak below 2KHz. The profile of the leakage that happens above that frequency is quite narrow, so despite its relatively high volume, won't be bothersome to people around you in most situations.
No active features.
No compatible app.
In the box
- Bose SoundSport Headphones
- Earbud tips (x3)
- Carrying case
Conclusion CHECK PRICE
Questions & Answers
The SoundSport In-Ear does produce adequate amounts of bass and high-bass, the roll-off only affects low-bass (sub-bass). The roll-off means that the sub-bass level is lower than it should be, and doesn't mean that they are not able to produce any sub-bass. Also, low-bass is quite hard to hear especially on In-Ears, therefore its absence won't be as detrimental to the sound as bass or high-bass. So we agree that the Bass score doesn't necessarily reflect the subjective experience of bass with these headphones. We are currently working on improving our scoring and an update should be out in the near future.
Thanks for your comments.
As mentioned in a previous answer, we agree that our Bass score for the SoundSport In-Ear is too low and doesn't necessarily reflect the subjective experience of it. In order to fix that we have to improve our scoring infrastructure, which takes a bit of time, but it's coming in the near future.
It is also true that we have some leakage issues with our HMS II.3 dummy head, which makes some of our Bass measurements not reflect the subjective experience. We are considering purchasing a new dummy head with the purpose of fixing this issue. However, we almost only experience bass leakage issues with closed-back over-ear headphones that have small/shallow ear cups. We rarely experience this with in-ear headphones, and almost never with open-back headphones, since they don't rely on a seal to create bass. The SoundSport In-Ear doesn't rely on seal to create its bass either (which creates the very open soundstage), so we don't have a reason to think we are experiencing leakage issues with the SoundSport In-Ear.
We are not familiar with the IE2, so can't comment on that. But we do have the SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear and SoundSport Wireless in the office, and the SoundSport In-Ear ranks as less bass-heavy compared to the other two both in objective measurements and subjective listening tests. Both of these have a better seal than the SoundSport In-Ear which reflected in their isolation/openness scores. We are open to being wrong, but at the moment our best guess is that sub-bass is just very hard to hear on headphones.
The SoundSport In-Ear is currently our highest rated in-ear/earbud for Soundstage, but we agree that the score of 4.6 doesn't necessarily reflect the openness of these headphones. Fixing this also requires an upgrade to our scoring infrastructure. As a side note, we are very careful with the terminology used in our reviews in order to keep things clear (click on the blue question marks for more). That's why we try to avoid using the term "wide" too much in our reviews, since headphones by design sound too wide compared to a stereo speaker setup. We would like to think openness/spaciousness is different from width. Since width in stereo content usually refers to the amount of correlation between the L/R channels, and that would be shown in our Correlated Crosstalk test.
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