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In the box
Bose SoundSport Wireless
The Bose SoundSport Wireless are good sports headphones. They're comfortable, compact and sufficiently breathable to take to the gym. They also have an above-average sound, a decent battery life, and a good wireless range. However, they don't block as much noise as other in-ear/earbuds which is not ideal for commuting, and their build quality is not as durable as some of the other Bose designs.
See our recommendations for the best Sports Headphones.
- Comfortable and stable fit.
- Lightweight, wireless design.
- Above-average and balanced sound.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Flaws in build quality.
Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless are well-designed wireless earbuds. They have a comfortable fit that's similar but a bit more open than the SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear, which makes them a bit more suitable for runners. They're lightweight and sufficiently stable for most sports. They're also decently built, but they're a little bulky and protrude out of your ears. Unfortunately, some units have been damaged by humidity and were not as sweatproof as expected, which is disappointing and their control scheme can be difficult to use due to the thick rubber coating.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless have a sleek sporty aesthetic. They come in a variety of bright color schemes to suit your taste, including a less flashy all-black model. The headphones look premium and well-designed, but the earbuds are larger than most typical in-ear headphones. They're a little bulky and protrude out of your ears, once you have them on, which is a little disappointing.
The Bose SoundSport have a comfortable earbud tip design. They don't fully enter the ear canal, removing the pain that some listeners often experience with in-ear headphones. Also, these Stayhere+ tips are a bit more comfortable and open than the Stayhere+ tips of the SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear and the QuietComfort 20. Unfortunately, they sometimes move around while walking, which causes slight discomfort and frustration especially, when it affects the audio.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless have an above-average control scheme that lacks good tactile feedback. They provide call/music, track skipping, and volume controls. The buttons are fairly large and heavily rubberized to make them sweat proof. Sadly, this also makes the buttons hard to push, especially the volume controls.
- 100% Avg.Temp.Difference
The Bose SoundSport Wireless, like most in-ear/earbuds, are very breathable headphones. They trap a little bit of heat within the ear canal due to their design, which makes the notch of your ears a little warmer, but it's a very negligible rise in temperature that shouldn't make you sweat more than usual.
The Bose SoundSport wireless are easy to carry around in a pocket bag or purse. They are a little larger than regular in-ear models, but the cable is not too long or thick and doesn't take too much space. This makes them very portable even if they're a little larger than some other wireless in-ear headphones.
The Bose SoundSport come with the same small, circular soft pouch as the wired SoundSport In-Ear. It's a decent case that will shield your headphones from scratches and everyday wear and tear. However, the soft fabric will not protect the headphones from water damage or heavy physical stress.
The Bose SoundSport have an above average build quality. The earbuds are dense and made of a tough plastic that won't get damaged by a couple of drops. The audio cable has a decent thickness, and the in-line control module is coated with a layer of rubber to make them sweat proof. Sadly, the cable isn't flat or additionally rubberized to be more durable. They're also not as sweat-proof as expected and may get damaged by regular exposure to humidity, which is disappointing.
These headphones have a stable wireless design. The Stayhere+ tips fit well within the contours of your ears and won't easily fall out while running or exercising. They're not as stable as some in-ear models with an ear-hook design, but they will comfortably maintain their fit during casual listening sessions or at the gym. Also, the wireless design means, they're less likely to be yanked out of your ears because the audio cable got hooked on something, although they are not as stable as the Plantronics BackBeat Fit.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless are a good sounding pair of semi-open earbuds. They have a very good and deep bass, an excellent mid-range, and a very good and well-balanced treble. They also perform quite consistently from person to person given a good fit/seal, and have low distortion. However, like most other earbuds, they don't have a large and out-of-head soundstage.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless have an excellent bass performance. Their low-frequency extension (LFE) is at 10Hz, which is great. It means these headphones are able to produce very deep thumps and rumbles. The entire bass response (low-bass, mid-bass, and high-bass) is virtually flat, but it is over our target by about 2dB. This results in a very well-balanced bass, with ample kick and punch, which is only slightly north of neutral.
The mid-range of the Bose SoundSport Wireless is very good. Low-mid and high-mid are virtually flat and within 0.3dB of our target response, which is hard to beat. Mid-mid, however, is recessed by less than 2dB. The effect of this 2dB recess is very subtle, but it could nudge the vocals and lead instruments towards the back of the mix by giving a bit more emphasis to bass/kick instruments.
The treble range performance of the Bose is great. Low-treble is flat, neutral, and consistent. This ensures that vocals and lead instruments have well-balanced presence and articulation. Mid-treble and high-treble, however, are a bit less consistent, which could make the sibilances (S and T sounds) a bit uneven.
The frequency response consistency of the Bose Soundsport Wireless is very good across multiple users and re-seats, ensuring a consistent delivery of bass and treble. The maximum deviation in frequency response under 10KHz is less than 0.5dB, which is outstanding. This, however, is with the assumption that the user is able to achieve an air-tight seal by choosing an ear tip option that provides the best fit.
The imaging of the of the Bose Soundsport is excellent. Its group delay is among the lowest we have measured, suggesting a tigh bass and clear treble. Also, as shown in the graph, its group delay is consistently below our audibility threshold even in the high-treble region. This is in contrast to some other Bluetooth headphones we have measured, such as the Google Pixel Buds, which has high group delay in both the bass and treble ranges. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched, resulting in accurate and clear placement and localization of objects and instruments (footsteps, voices, drums) in the stereo image.
The soundstage of the Bose Soundsport Wireless is poor. One of the key factors in creating a good soundstage is activating the resonaces of the pinna (the outer ear). Since earbuds/in-ears don't interact with the pinna, their soundstage tends to be small and located inside the listener's head, as opposed to in-front like a loudspeaker. However, since the Soudsport are relatively open earbuds, their soundstage will feel more open and spacious than that of closed-back in-ears.
The total harmonic distortion performance of the Bose is very good. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is within good limits. However, the amount of THD in the low-bass region is slightly elevated. This suggests that the Bose may struggle with producing sub-bass frequencies at extremely loud volumes. This is normal for a relatively open earbud design, but also means that they may not be the best headphones for EQ-ing if you are planning on adding a lot of sub-bass to them. Also, the spikes in THD around 300HZ and 2.5KHz, could make the sound of those frequencies rather harsh and brittle.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless only isolate passively. They're less open than the wired model, and their tip design is similar the SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear. However, they have a looser seal than the Soundtrue, which combined with the already weak passive isolation, make these headphones not ideal for commuting. Runners will be able to hear traffic while running, but frequent commuters may prefer a more isolating design like the QuietComfort 20 or the SoundTrue In-Ear. On the upside, they don't leak much.
The noise isolation of the Bose Soundsport Wireless is poor. This is expected due to their earbud design. The Bose don't isolate at all in the bass range. In the treble range, where the bulk of speech sits, they provide only 5dB of isolation, which is poor. In the treble range, where S and T sounds are located, the Soundsport provide about 16dB of reduction in noise, which is about average. If you would like to be able to hear your surrounding while listening to music or an audiobook, then an open earbud like the SoundSport Wireless is a suitable option.
The sound leakage of the Bose Soundsport wireless is good. As a rule of thump, closed-back in-ears leak the least, and open-back over-ears leak the most. Earbuds sit kind of in between, which is also the case with the Soundsport. Their leakage is present only in the treble range, meaning sounds leaking out of the Bose will mostly consist of S and T sounds (speech, cymbals) and will be very thin. However, the overall level of the leakage is moderately loud, so if you blast your music/podcast in a quiet environment, chances are people around you would hear some of the leakage.
The overall microphone performance of the Bose Soundsport Wireless is mediocre. Recorded speech with the integrated mic of the Bose will sound rather thin and muffled, but still intelligible in a quiet environment. In noisy situations, however, the Soundsport will have a tough time separating speech from ambient noise in moderately loud environments, such as a busy street.
The recording quality of the SoundSport's integrated mic is sub-par. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 285Hz means speech transmitted/recorded with the Soundsport will sound thin. Also, the HFE of 2.2KHz results in a muffled and airless speech transmission. This will have a subtle but negative effect on the intelligibility of the transmitted speech.
- 100% SpNR
The noise handling capabilitis of the Bose Soundsport Wireless' mic is okay. They achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 19dB, which is average, but better than most Bluetooth headphones we have measured. Nevertheless, the integrated microphone of the Bose is suitable only to quiet environments and they will struggle to separate speech from background noise in moderate and loud environments.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless have a decent wireless range considering their small size but a mediocre battery life. They also have an app, but it doesn't do much except provide basic playback controls. On the upside, the short charge time and auto off timer make them just above-average for active features.
The Bose Soundsport Wireless have a mediocre-at-best battery life that's decent for a wireless in-ear headphone. However, it's not sufficient for long road trips or extended use throughout the day. You also can't use them while charging. On the upside, they take about 1.5 hours to fully charge, which is relatively short compared to full sized headphones. They also have an auto-off timer to save power.
The Bose Soundsport Wireless use the same app as the QuietComfort 35 and SoundLink Around-Ear II, which looks sleek and stylish but only provides a disappointingly small list of features. You get an auto-off timer you can set at different intervals, a bare bones in-app media player and the battery level status but no equalizer, room effects or any other experience-enhancing features that would set this app apart from the others.
- 10% Bluetooth
- 32% Wired
- 10% Base/Dock
- 22% Wireless Range
- 25% Latency
The Bose Soundsport Wireless are Bluetooth-only headphones with no audio cable or base/dock. They do not support multi-pairing like other Bose headphones but do have a limited memory of previous synced devices for auto-pairing when you turn them on. On the upside, they support NFC, which makes them a bit easier to pair with smartphones and they have a great range for a wireless in-ear/earbud. Unfortunately, they also have quite a bit of latency which is noticeable when watching movies or gaming.
- 79% Multi-Device Pairing
- 20% NFC
- 0% PS4 Compatible
- 0% Xbox One Compatible
- 13% Analog
- 9% USB
- 26% PS4 Compatible
- 26% Xbox One Compatible
- 26% PC Compatible
- 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
The Bose SoundSport Wireless do not have a dock. If you want a headphone that's versatile and has a dock, try the SteelSeries Arctis 7. However, it won't be as compact and easy-to-carry around on your person.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless have a better wireless range than most of the other in-ear headphones we've tested so far. They maintained a strong wireless connection up to 40ft when the Bluetooth source was in another room. This makes them a good wireless option to use in a moderately large office or at home without needing to carry your Bluetooth source on you at all times.
These headphones have quite a bit of latency which is not ideal for watching movies and a lot of video content. It's not more than most typical Bluetooth headphones but it won't be suitable for gaming and movies.
In the box
- Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones
- Earbud tips (x3)
- USB charging cable
- Carrying case
Compared to other Headphones
The Bose SoundSport Wireless are good sports headphones with an above-average sound and a comfortable earbud fit. They're compact and have a good wireless range, but their build quality is not as durable as some of the other wireless in-ear/earbuds we've reviewed.
The Jaybird Freedom are a more lightweight and portable than the Soundsport Wireless. They're also good for sports and have a better, more customizable app. However, their battery performance is not as good as the SoundSport wireless, and the charging clip can be a bit bulky and cumbersome.
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 soundsport Wireless due to their one-size-fits-all design.
The SoundSport Free are the first truly wireless headphones from Bose. They have the same comfortable fit of the SoundSport Wireless, a good, well-balanced sound quality, and a sturdy, durable design. Unfortunately, they have a few bugs with their wireless connection and one of the worst latency performances we've measured. They're a bit better for sports than the SoundSport Wireless but they're also considerably more expensive and significantly worse for watching videos.
Questions & Answers
We were successfully able to connect the standard StayHear tips of the SoundSport In-Ear to the SoundSport Wireless. The StayHear tips are also easily interchangeable with the SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear and QuietComfort 20's StayHear+ tips. However, they alter the frequency response.
We tested the SoundSport Wireless with the SoundSport In-Ear’s StayHear tips, and as shown on the frequency response graph there's a significant reduction in bass. This set up had even less than the SoundSport In-Ear. Also putting the StayHear+ tips on the SoundSport In-Ear increases their normal bass response but slightly decreases their mid-range.
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