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Reviewed on Feb 22, 2018 , Marc Henney, Yannick Khong

Bose SoundSport Free
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
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Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.7
Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.7
Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
6.3
Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
7.8
Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
6.5
Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
5.6
Home Theater
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Score components:
5.2
Gaming
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Score components:
Type : Earbuds
Enclosure : Semi-Open
Wireless : Truly Wireless
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Bose SoundSport Free are good headphones for sports and have a good audio reproduction for critical listening. They're comfortable earbuds with a semi-open design for runners but this also makes them a bit worse for commuting since they do not block a lot of noise. Unfortunately, they are a lot bulkier than other truly wireless designs, and they also have a few bugs with their wireless connection.

See our recommendations for the best Earbuds.

Pros
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Stable and comfortable fit.
  • Sturdy and durable build quality.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Bulky truly wireless design.
  • High latency.

Test Results
Design 7.9
Sound 7.6
Isolation 4.1
Microphone 5.8
Active Features 6.4
Connectivity 2.7

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7.9

Design

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Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Design Picture

The Bose SoundSport Free have a good, sturdy design but they're slightly bulky and come with a fairly large case. They have the same comfortable earbud tips of the SoundSport Wireless, which makes them a bit more comfortable than most wireless in-ears. They're also decently breathable and stable enough for running and exercising. Unfortunately, the buds stick out of your ear quite a bit which doesn't look as good as some of the other truly wireless designs and slightly reduces their stability. They also have an extremely stiff control scheme with difficult-to-use buttons that force you to take the earbuds out of your ears which is not practical when working out.

Style
Bose SoundSport Free Design Picture 2

These headphones look well-built and durable. They're a little bulkier than most truly wireless designs and come in a flashy yellow and blue color scheme that stands out. You can also get them in a more understated black scheme if you prefer. The buds feel premium and sturdy in the hand but once you put them on, the bulky design sticks out of your ears, which might not be ideal for everyone. They won't fit as discretely as the Jaybird Run or the Samsung Gear IconX, which is a little disappointing.

7.5 Comfort
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What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bose SoundSport Free Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.04 lbs
Clamping Force
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What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
0 lbs

The Bose SoundSport Free have the same earbud fit of previous Bose models, like the SoundSport Wireless and SoundTrue Ultra. This makes them quite comfortable. However, they are bulkier earbuds than the other models mentioned. This means since they are truly wireless, if you don't get the right tip for your ears, the weight of the buds will slightly pull on the stability fins and cause a looser or an unstable fit which feels a bit less comfortable than previous models. They are more comfortable than conventional in-ear designs but aren't the most comfortable Bose earbuds we've tested.

6.5 Controls
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What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Bose SoundSport Free Controls Picture
Ease of use : Poor
Feedback : Mediocre
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
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What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through : N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The Bose SoundSport Free have a mediocre-at-best control scheme. They have physical buttons that provide all the essential functions; call/music, track-skipping, volume controls and a dedicated pairing/Bluetooth button. Unfortunately, the buttons are so stiff it makes them really difficult to use. We often had trouble turning the volume up and had to remove the earbud from our ears to physically push on the button for it to work. You do get a click once the buttons are pressed but they're so rigid that it's easier to just switch tracks or change the volume directly on your smartphone which is not always practical when working out. This may be a deal breaker for some.

8.9 Breathability
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What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 1.1 C

Like most truly wireless designs, the Bose SoundSport Free earbuds are highly breathable. They do not cover your ears and only trap a small amount of heat within the ear canal, which has a negligible effect when exercising.

9.5 Portability
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What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Portability Picture
L : 0.9 "
W : 1.8 "
H : 0.9 "
Volume : 1.5 Cu. Inches

These headphones are quite portable despite their bulkier design. They will easily fit into most pockets but since you will most likely carry them in their case you will lose a bit of portability. Their case is surprisingly cumbersome and about twice the size of the Apple AirPods' charging case, which is not ideal if you want to carry them around on you at all times. They won't fit as nicely in your jean pockets.

7.0 Case
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What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bose SoundSport Free Case Picture
Type : Hard case
L : 3.8 "
W : 1.5 "
H : 1.2 "
Volume : 6.9 Cu. Inches

The Bose Soundsport Free come with a bulky hard case that will protect them against impacts and drops but significantly reduces their portability. The case is larger than most other truly wireless headphones we've tested and isn't flat like the Sony WF-1000x. This creates a pretty big bulge in most pockets and feels a bit counter-intuitive for a truly wireless design.

8.0 Build Quality
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What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bose SoundSport Free Build Quality Picture

The build quality feels durable and sturdy. They won't break from a couple of shoulder-height drops and feel considerably denser than some of the other truly wireless designs we've tested. Even the case is pretty durable but slightly heavy and bulky.

7.5 Stability
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What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bose SoundSport Free Stability Picture

The Bose SoundSport Free are stable headphones for sports. They're not the most stable of the Bose earbud designs since they are truly wireless and a bit heavier than most. This means if you don't get the right tip size for your ear they will be considerably less stable than the SoundSport In-Ear or the SoundTrue ultra In-Ear. On the upside when you have the right fit, they're stable enough for running and working out at the gym.

Cable
Bose SoundSport Free Cable Picture
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

They come with a micro USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.6

Sound

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What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Bose SoundSport Free Frequency Response

The Bose SoundSport Free are a good sounding pair of semi-open earbuds. They have a deep and well-balanced bass, able to produce thumpy basses and punchy kicks. They also have virtually flawless mid and treble ranges, with the only remark being their slightly forward sound which gives a bit of emphasis to vocals and lead instruments. They also deliver a consistent bass and treble across multiple users and re-seats, and have a great stereo image. However, like most other earbuds, they don't have a large and in-front (out-of-head) soundstage.

9.0 Bass
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What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Bass
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.41 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
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What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
17.06 Hz
Low-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.26 dB
Mid-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.55 dB
High-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.73 dB

The bass is excellent. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 17Hz, which is excellent. However, this is not as low as some other in-ears' such as the X3, the Run, and the BeatsX. This is expected for an earbud design and doesn't really have an effect on the bass as frequencies below 20Hz are almost inaudible. Low-bass, which is responsible for thumps and rumbles, is within 0.26 of our target. Additionally, mid-bass and high-bass are reproduced virtually flat and within 1.75dB of our target. Overall, the bass is deep, well-balanced, and punchy.

9.0 Mid
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What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Mid
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.34 dB
Low-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.58 dB
Mid-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.32 dB
High-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.16 dB

The Bose SoundSport Free have an excellent mid-range performance. The response is very consistent and virtually flat. However, it shows a bit of emphasis in the high-mid region. This adds some excess presence to vocals and lead instruments, but at 4dB, the effect will be very subtle. Overall, the mid-range of the Bose is outstanding but slightly forward sounding.

9.0 Treble
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What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Treble
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.26 dB
Low-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.75 dB
Mid-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-3.02 dB
High-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-2.16 dB

The Bose SoundSport Free earbuds have a great treble range performance. Low-treble is within 1dB of our target, which is excellent. Mid-treble is slightly underemphasized around 8KHz, but the dip is too narrow to have a significant negative effect. Overall, the treble is clear and present, with a good balance of brightness and detail between vocals, lead instruments, and cymbals.

Raw Frequency Response
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What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
Score components:
8.6 Frequency Response Consistency
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What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Consistency L Bose SoundSport Free Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.29 dB

The frequency response consistency is great. This is especially impressive, considering the earbud design. The maximum deviation we measured through the entire range is less than 2dB. This ensures a consistent delivery of bass and treble across users and re-seats, if proper fit and seal has been achieved by choosing the correct sized tip.

9.3 Imaging
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What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Bose SoundSport Free Group Delay Bose SoundSport Free Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
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What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.15
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
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What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.6
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
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What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.7
Weighted Phase Mismatch
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What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
1.2

The imaging is outstanding. Their weighted group delay is 0.15 which is excellent. As it is shown in the group delay graph, the entire response is below our audibility threshold. This indicates a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally matched. This helps with accurate localization and placement of objects, such as footsteps, voices and instruments, in the stereo field.

2.6 Soundstage
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What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
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What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
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What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
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What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
N/A
Openness
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What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
9.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
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What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
2.7
Correlated Crosstalk
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What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage of the Bose SoundSport Free is poor. This is mainly due to their earbud design, since activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear) is one of the key factors in creating a large and out-of-head soundstage and earbuds don't interact with the pinna. However, they will feel more open and spacious that closed-back in-ears, because of their high openness value. Overall, the soundstage of the Free will be perceived as open, but small and located inside the listener's head.

7.3 Total Harmonic Distortion
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What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.843
Weighted THD @ 100
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
11.065

The distortion performance is decent. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is low and within good limits. However, there is a significant rise in THD between 2KHz and 4KHz under heavier loads, suggesting the treble could sound slightly harsh and brittle at louder volumes. However, the small change in the bass range at 100dB SPL suggests that the Free would be able to take a good amount of EQ boost in the bass range, despite the earbuds design.

4.1

Isolation

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Score components:

The Bose SoundSport Free have the same fit as the SoundSport Wireless, which is a semi-open design that doesn't isolate well against noisy environments. This makes them a bit more suitable for outdoor runners who need to monitor their surroundings for traffic but a bit worse for regular commuters. On the upside, they do not leak much so you can turn up the volume to mask some of the ambient noise, although higher frequency sounds will be audible to those around you at really high volumes.

2.4 Noise Isolation
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What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
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What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-4.66 dB
Bass
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-0.08 dB
Mid
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-2.38 dB
Treble
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-11.63 dB
Self-Noise
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What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
20.48 dB

The isolation of the Bose SoundSport Free is poor. This is expected and due to their earbud design. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sit, they do not isolate at all. They also don't isolate significantly in the mid-range, where the bulk of speech is located. In the treble range, where sharp sounds such as S and Ts occupy, they achieve about 12dB of isolation which is below average. Overall, they are suitable for situations where you'd like to be able to hear your environments and not for blocking it out.

7.6 Leakage
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What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
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What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
36.15 dB

The Bose SoundSport Free have a good leakage performance. The entire leakage is concentrated in the treble range, meaning their leakage will sound thinner and fainter than over-ear headphones. The significant portion of the leakage is between 2KHz and 15KHz, which is a broad range. However, the level of the leakage is not very loud. Overall, the leakage should not be an issue in most situations, unless you are really blasting the music in small and quiet places.

5.8

Microphone

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What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
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What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
In-line
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What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Boom
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What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Detachable Boom
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What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

The Bose SoundSport Free have a sub-par microphone. Speech recorded/transmitted with the mic will sound quite thin and noticeably muffled and lacking in detail. Therefore, speech may be rather difficult to understand with their mic in certain cases. In noisy environments, they do decently in separating speech from ambient noise, but they will have a difficult time doing so in loud environments such as a subway station.

5.0 Recording Quality
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What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
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What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
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What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
285.09 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
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What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
3.29 dB
HFE
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What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
1758.66 Hz
Weighted THD
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What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
50.014
Gain
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What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
43.61 dB

The recording quality of the integrated microphone is sub-par. The low-frequency extension (LFE) of 285Hz indicates that recorded speech will sound quite thin. Also, the HFE (high-frequency extension) of 1.8KHz indicates that voice will lack in detail and sound muffled. This will have a negative effect on the comprehensibility of the speech.

6.6 Noise Handling
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What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Bose SoundSport Free SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
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What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
18.21 dB

The noise handling performance of the integrated mic is about average. In our test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 18dB which is decent. This means that the microphone is suitable for quiet and moderate environments, but the Bose SoundSport Free will struggle in loud environments.

6.4

Active Features

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What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The Bose SoundSport Free have a decent battery life of 4.8 hours of continuous playtime and up to 15 hours in total thanks to the 2 additional charges provided by the case. Unfortunately, they take a lot longer to charge than other truly wireless designs and do not benefit from a quick charge feature like the Jaybird Run. Also, their app is fairly barebones and doesn't provide good customization options like an equalizer or room effects. However, since they have a decently balanced sound, this may not be an issue for some.

6.3 Battery
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What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
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What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
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What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
4.8 hrs
Charge Time
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What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
1.9 hrs
Power Saving Feature
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What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
Auto-Off Timer
Audio while charging
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What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
No
Passive Playback
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What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
No

These headphones have a decent battery life with additional 10 hours of charge stored in the case. This gives them a total of 15 hours of playback but only 4.8 hours of continuous playtime between charges. This makes them good for more casual uses, but they won't be ideal for heavy users. They also have an above average standby mode that puts the earbuds in a sleep mode when they are not in the case and not playing any music after 20 minutes which is pretty convenient. Unfortunately, they do not have a quick charge mode like the Jaybird Run or the BeatsX.

6.5 App Support
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What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bose SoundSport Free App Picture
App Name : Bose Connect
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
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What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
No
ANC control
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What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Mic Control : No
Room effects
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What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
No
Playback control
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What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
No
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : N/A

The Bose Soundsport Free support the Bose Connect app which gives them a few features. It provides a standby timer, battery data, an in-app player, and a find my buds option that lets you locate the last known location of the earbuds which is a nice addition. Unfortunately, there are no Equalizer, room effects or alternate control options. We also encountered a few bugs when first trying to pair the earbuds via the app. This makes the app feel slightly less optimized for the truly wireless design, a bit barebones and not as useful as some of the other companion apps we've tested that give you more customization options.

2.7

Connectivity

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What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 32% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The Bose Soundsport Free are Bluetooth only truly wireless headphones. This means they have no other connection options but Bluetooth and unfortunately can not pair with multiple devices simultaneously. They also do not have NFC support for easy pairing with smartphones. Their case/dock has no inputs but does provide 10 hours of additional charge. Their latency performance is much better thanks to the most recent firmware update (1.4.5) but they still won't be the best headphones for gaming or watching videos. 

6.0 Bluetooth
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What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 79% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • 0% PS4 Compatible
  • 0% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : 4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
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What it is: A Bluetooth profile that's allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example switching from your phone to your home or work PC.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
No
NFC
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What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
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What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No
Xbox One Compatible
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What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No

These headphones only connect to other devices via Bluetooth. They are not compatible with consoles, do not support NFC or multi devices pairing simultaneously. However, they store up to 7 devices in memory for auto-pairing when you open the charging case starting with the last synced device.

0 Wired
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What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : N/A
Analog
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What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB
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What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
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What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
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What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
PC Compatible
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What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A

They have no wired option. If you want a similarly designed earbud but wired then check out the Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear or the wired Bose SoundSport In-Ear.

2.1 Base/Dock
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What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 4% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 4% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
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What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
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What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Line In
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What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Line Out
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What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
USB Input
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What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
No
RCA Input
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What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
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What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
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What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
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What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
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What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
USB
Dock Charging
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What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes

The Bose SoundSport Free have a charging case that delivers up to 10 hours of extra battery life. However, it has no inputs and isn't used to pair the earbuds to new devices, which is done by pressing and holding the Bluetooth button on the left earbud.

7.0 Wireless Range
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What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
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What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
29 ft
Line of Sight Range
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What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
72 ft

The Bose soundsport Free do not have the best wireless range even for a truly wireless design. There would be significant connection drops past 30ft when the source was obstructed by walls. In direct line of sight they did a bit worse than the Jaybird Run or the Apple AirPods. We also noticed a few connection drops regardless of the distance from the Bluetooth source. It should be fine if you keep your phone in your pocket but leaving it on the desk and walking around a medium sized office or home will often cause the audio to skip.

1.3 Latency
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What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
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What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
220 ms
aptX Latency
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What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
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What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

The Bose SoundSport Free have one of the worst latency performances for a truly wireless design. This makes them poorly suited for watching video content and gaming.

Update 07/03/2018: Firmware 1.4.5 considerably reduces the latency for the Bose SoundSport Free. They still won't be the ideal headphones for videos but they are within the comparable range for the most bluetooth headphones.

In the box

Bose SoundSport Free In the box Picture

  • Bose SoundSport  Free Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x3)
  • USB charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

Bose SoundSport Free Compare Picture

The Bose SoundSport Free are the first truly wireless headphones from Bose. They have a good and well-balanced sound quality and a sturdy and durable design. However, they're not as portable as some of the other truly wireless designs, they have a few bugs and somewhat high latency which makes them poorly suited for watching videos.

Bose SoundSport Wireless

The Bose SoundSport Wireless are good sports headphones with an above-average sound and a comfortable earbud fit. They're decently compact although not truly wireless but have a better wireless range and latency performance. If sound quality is the most important factor for you then the Free are the better option but the SoundSport wireless are cheaper and have a bit less latency even if they're also not the best headphones for watching videos.

Jaybird Run

The Jaybird Run are more lightweight and portable than the Bose SoundSport Free. They're also better for sports with a more stable design and a customizable sound profile via their app. However, their battery performance is not as good as the SoundSport Free, and they do not sound as good out-of-the-box. For purely sports, go for the Jaybird Run but if you want a better sounding headphone, then the Bose are a good alternative. 

Apple AirPods

The Apple AirPods are truly wireless headphones with a decent sound and good active features. However, they're more optimized for iOS so there are a few missing features on Android. Unfortunately, although they're better built and have a more stylish design, they're a lot less stable than the Bose SoundSport Free due to their one-size-fits-all design. They also lack quite a bit of bass. Overall, the AirPods are a little better especially when watching videos on Ios devices but the Bose have a more balanced sound.

B&O PLAY E8

The BeoPlay E8 are premium and well-built truly wireless headphones for most use cases. They're a bit more compact than the soundsport Free and they're more suitable for commuting since their in-ear fit passively blocks ambient a lot better than the Bose earbud tips. They're also a bit more customizable thanks to the BeoPlay app which provides an equalizer. However, the Bose sound much better even when you EQ the E8 so if sound quality is the most important aspect for you then get the Bose instead of the BeoPlay. 

Conclusion

6.7Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
The Bose Soundsport Free are somewhat decent mixed usage headphones. They're good for sports, and they're one of the best sounding wireless headphones we've tested. They're also quite comfortable and well-built but their design is bulky, and their case takes up a lot of space which is not ideal for a truly wireless design. Unfortunately, they do not isolate well against ambient noise due to their semi-open earbud fit and have relatively high latency, so they're not the best headphones for gaming or watching videos.
7.7Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Good for critical listening. They have one of the most balanced frequency responses that we've measured so far. They have a good amount of bass and instruments and vocals sound clear without but a bit forward. They're comfortable enough to wear for extended listening sessions but unfortunately, their small earbud design does not create a spacious and open soundstage which might not be the most ideal audio reproduction for more critical listeners. On the upside, their sound is satisfyingly good for most listeners.
6.3Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
Average for commute and travel. They're comfortable but have weak noise isolation which won't be ideal for the loud environments involved in commuting. They also have a stiff control scheme and a somewhat bulky design for a truly wireless in-ear/earbud which slightly reduces their portability.
7.8Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
The Bose SoundSport Free are good headphones for sports use. They're truly wireless and decently compact enough although their case does add quite a bit of bulk when carrying them around. On the upside, they have a stable and semi-open fit that allows runners to monitor their surroundings.
6.5Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Average for office use. They don't leak much so you can play your music at higher volumes but they also do not isolate much so you will hear some of the ambient chatter in a lively office.
5.6Home Theater
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Score components:
Sub-par for home theater. The Bose SoundSport Free have a bit too much latency for watching videos. Also, they have no wired option to alleviate some of the latency issues which makes them worse than some of the other Bose headphones we've tested for home theater use.
5.2Gaming
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Score components:
Poor for gaming. The Bose SoundSport Free have relatively high latency which is not suitable for gaming. They also have a sub-par microphone and aren't as customizable as most gaming-oriented headsets.
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Questions & Answers

3 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
2
I have the SoundSport Free and their lag was really bad. They did an update on the device somewhere in January through the Bose Connect App and the lag was reduced by 2/3. Is the test for lag done here with the update or without?
We've updated the firmware for the Bose Soundsport Free and it indeed fixes some of the lag issues. The initial measurements for latency were between 320 and 340ms and now it measures much better at 200 to 220ms. They still won't be the best headphones for watching videos or gaming but it puts them within the range of regular Bluetooth headphones which is considerably better. We will update the review with the new measurements and text accordingly.
2
In terms of sound quality how do the soundsport free compare to the soundsport wireless(corded version)?
They are very close, and it is possible that they are supposed to have the same frequency response. The difference in our measurements are quite small and within the manufacturing tolerance margin.
1
I’ve seen a lot of reviews on amazon complaining about how they consistently drop connection. Have you guys experienced any such issues?
Yes, we mentioned their spotty connection a couple of times in the review but since we do not yet have a wireless reliability test, we cannot confidently penalize the headphones for these drops. Adding wireless reliability in a future testbench update is one of our goals.
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