Reviewed on Jul 01, 2016

Bose SoundSport In-Ear HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
6.0
Mixed Usage
6.4
Neutral Listening
5.4
Commute/Travel
7.1
Sports/Fitness
5.7
Office
5.2
Wireless Gaming
6.9
Wired Gaming
6.2
Phone Call
Type : Earbuds
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

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.

Test Results
Design 7.8
Isolation 3.4
Microphone 7.0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.6
Pros
  • Comfortable and airy fit.
  • Above-average and open sound.
  • Minimal leakage.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation, by design.
  • Bass-lacking audio reproduction.
  • Sound quality can vary significantly depending on fit and seal.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  3. Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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7.8

Design

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 (see our recommendations for the best earbuds for working out).

Style

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.

8.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.04 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

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.

7.0 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Mediocre
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

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.

9.6 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.4 C
8.8 Portability
L : 3.35 "
W : 1.97 "
H : 0.79 "
Volume : 5.12 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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.

7.0 Case
Type : Soft case
L : 3.54 "
W : 3.54 "
H : 0.79 "
Volume : 9.92 Cu. Inches

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.

7.0 Build Quality

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.

7.0 Stability

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.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

They have a mediocre bass, a decent mid-range and a good treble. Additionally, their bass lacks quite a bit of thump, their mid-range is slightly overpowering, and their treble is on the sibilant side. Also, due to the earbud design, their bass and treble delivery can vary significantly from person to person. On the plus side, due to the open design, they have a relatively open and spacious soundstage.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
6.4
Bass-Heavy
:
2.3
Warm
:
7.6
Bright
:
5.0
7.7 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.54 db
Dips
:
1.01 db
5.3 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
1.5 dB

The frequency response consistency of the SoundSport In-Ear is sub-par. Due to the earbud design, the bass and treble delivery of these headphones can vary dramatically depending on the quality of the seal and fit achieved. We measured more than 3dB of variance in the bass range and more than 6dB of variance in the treble range across multiple re-seats.

7.4 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.25
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
2.8
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.75
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
2.42
2.5 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
9.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.8
7.7 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.143
WHD @ 100
:
0.201
3.4

Isolation

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.

1.3 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-2.68 dB
Bass
:
-0.09 dB
Mid
:
0.85 dB
Treble
:
-8.53 dB

Poor isolation. As opposed to most in-ears that provide extreme amounts of passive isolation like the Fitbit Flyer, these earbuds - due to their open design and minimal seal - have very poor isolation (see our recommendations for the best noise cancelling earbuds). They offer no isolation below 1KHz, and above that, barely achieve more than 9dB of isolation.

7.6 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
36.06 dB

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.

7.0

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
7.9 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
348.96 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.12 dB
HFE
:
19611.72 Hz
Weighted THD
:
1.078
Gain
:
22.3 dB
6.0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
12.21 dB
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

3.6

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The SoundSport In-ear are not Bluetooth compatible. If you like the earbud design and want a wireless variant then check out the Bose SoundSport Wireless or SoundSport Free.

Since these are wired they do not have any latency when watching videos or gaming but will be a little limited on range.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.0 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : No
Length : 3.67 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

The Soundsport in-ear have a typical 1/8TRRS connector that will work with iOS or Android devices depending on the variant you choose.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

These headphones do not come with a Dock or dongle.

In the box

  • Bose SoundSport Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x3)
  • Carrying case
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

6.0 Mixed Usage

The primary usage for these headphones is for sports. The lack of isolation means they won't be versatile enough for loud environments and commuting. On the upside, they deliver a decent enough sound for most listeners, and they're stable, portable and breathable enough, to comfortably run and workout with.

6.4 Neutral Listening

Average for neutral listening. They have a surprisingly open sound for in-ear headphones. However, they lack a bit bass for a balanced neutral listening experience.

5.4 Commute/Travel

Below-average for noisy commutes. They're comfortable and compact but they barely block any ambient noise. They struggle in loud environments.

7.1 Sports/Fitness

The SoundSport In-Ear are good headphones for sports use. They have a stable and open in-ear fit that allows runners to monitor their surroundings. Also, They're small enough to carry around on your person wherever you go.

5.7 Office

Mediocre for office use. They don't leak much but won’t block the chatter of a busy office.

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