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Reviewed on Jul 13, 2018 , Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

Bose SoundWear
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
5.7
Mixed Usage
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:
6.3
Critical Listening
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:
5.4
Commute/Travel
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:
6.7
Sports/Fitness
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:
5.6
Office
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:
5.0
Home Theater
Score components:
5.1
Gaming
Score components:
Type : Wearable
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Bose SoundWear are wireless around-the-neck companion speakers that will not be versatile enough for most use cases. They won't be the best option to use outdoors since they leak like speakers and do not isolate from ambient noise. However, they're a decent option for listening to music, podcast, and audiobooks at home or at the office. They also have excellent breathability and good comfort since they do not cover your ears. They will sound good enough for most listeners but lack quite a bit of bass due to their very open design.

Test Results
Design 7.7
Sound 5.7
Isolation 0.6
Microphone 6.5
Active Features 7.0
Connectivity 3.0
Pros
  • Great breathability and comfort.
  • Tactile bass and unique soundstage.
  • Decent battery life.
Cons
  • No isolation from ambient noise by design.
  • Niche design with limited use cases.

Check Price

7.7

Design

Score components:
Bose SoundWear Design Picture

The Bose SoundWear have a unique design that puts them in a class of their own; companion Bluetooth speakers. They are for personal use like headphones, but since they have no ear cups or buds, they are essentially speakers that you wear around your neck. This comes with a few advantages, like excellent breathability and great comfort since they do not cover or enter your ears. They're decently lightweight but not comparable to other neckband designs, so the slight pressure on your shoulders may get a bit tiring during longer listening sessions. They're stable enough for jogging on a treadmill at home or for a few selected workouts, but won't be the ideal option for sports since they bounce around a lot. On the upside, they look well-made and high-end, and the neckband is surprisingly flexible.

Style
Bose SoundWear Design Picture 2

The Bose SoundWear companion speaker have a unique around-the-neck design that blurs the line between a Bluetooth speaker and a personal listening device like a headphone. They have a large and dense neckband that's covered in a fabric sleeve, which comes in a couple of color variations. It's a very simple design that does not have built-in earbuds like some of the other neckband speaker available on the market. On the upside, they look great for wearing at home or at the office although they won't be the ideal option for outdoor use since the speakers will be bothersome to those around you even if they look cool around your neck.

8.0 Comfort
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 SoundWear Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
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 SoundWear are a comfortable neckband speaker design that will not put any pressure around, on, or in your ears since they're not really headphones. On the upside, the neckband is flexible, easy to wear and coated in a decent fabric that will not irritate your neck during longer listening sessions. They're a bit more lightweight than their size would suggest, although since there are no around-the-neck headphones with this weight, you will feel a slight pressure on your shoulders. For some, this might be an issue, especially when wearing them for a while but compared to most headphones, the SoundWear are more comfortable.

7.2 Controls
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 SoundWear Controls Picture
Ease of use : Above-average
Feedback : Above-average
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
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 SoundWear have a decent control scheme, very similar to most Bluetooth neckband headphones. They provide a three button set up for call/music management, track-skipping, and volume controls. They also have a dedicated power switch and Bluetooth button to easily pair the headphones/speakers to new devices. The buttons are fairly clicky with above average feedback although the layout on the side of the neckband may take a bit of time to get used to.

10 Breathability
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 SoundWear Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0 C

The Bose SoundWear Companion will not make your ears warm since they do not cover your ears. This means they have excellent breathability and will not make your ears sweat more than usual whether you're doing high-intensity exercises or wearing them the whole day. They will make your neck a bit warmer than typical around-the-neck earbuds since they have a bit more surface area. We do not yet account for this in our breathability test but overall the SoundWear will be breathable enough for most sports. Stability and portability would be a bigger issue for that use case.

6.3 Portability
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 SoundWear Portability Picture
L : 6.7 "
W : 6 "
H : 1.8 "
Volume : 72 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

The neckband design is fairly large and a bit cumbersome but decently portable enough that you can carry them around your neck for most use cases. They won't be the most suitable device for outdoor use since they're basically speakers, but in terms of portability, they are slightly more practical than some over-ear headphones especially gaming headsets. Unfortunately, since they're mostly made for indoor use, they do not come with carrying case or pouch.

0 Case
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
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

The Bose SoundWear do not come with a case and or pouch.

8.5 Build Quality
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 SoundWear Build Quality Picture

The Bose SoundWear have a great build quality that feels durable, but you may have to buy a new fabric sleeve after a while. The neckband design is very flexible yet made with a dense plastic that's sturdy enough to handle multiple drops. The buttons are clicky and responsive, and even the speaker grills, vents, and rubber-line coating on the neckband feels well-crafted and high-end. The sleeve is also well-made although it will get damaged over time by regular wear and tear more easily than the rest of the design. On the upside, they are sold separately on the Bose website so you can always buy a new set.

7.0 Stability
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 SoundWear Stability Picture

The neckband design of the SoundWear makes them stable enough to run with but are not the ideal headphones/speakers for sports. They will be a decent option to run indoors on a treadmill, and they're stable enough for a couple of home workouts. Unfortunately, since their sound is strongly dependent on the position of your head with respect to the speakers, this means that as they move and bounce around on your neck, the sound quality will shift and may be a bit frustrating if you're trying to focus. It's a bit less noticeable on podcasts and audiobooks, but the effect is still there. Also, although you can tighten the neckband, they will not be stable enough for exercises that require a lot of tilting or laying on your back like crunches, and some yoga poses.

Cable
Bose SoundWear Cable Picture
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

These headphones come with a USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
5.7

Sound

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 SoundWear Frequency Response

The Bose SoundWear Companion speaker are mediocre sounding wearables. The bass is almost entirely tactile with a decent amount of punch that is felt through the body. However, it lacks quite a bit of sub-bass thump and rumble. They also have an uneven and recessed mid-range which weakens vocals and lead instruments, but their treble is quite well-balanced which is important for reproducing clear and present vocals. Overall, their bass is not as deep as most headphones, but it is tactile, which is good. Their soundstage is out-of-head and larger than most headphones, but it isn't very natural or speaker-like. So they are suitable for listening to podcasts, audiobooks, or music that is not very bass-heavy, but they won't be ideal for fans of extended and heavy bass.

1.0 Bass
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 SoundWear Bass
Std. Err.
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
:
23.31 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
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
:
380.55 Hz
Low-Bass
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
:
-45.2 dB
Mid-Bass
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
:
-15.06 dB
High-Bass
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
:
-7.7 dB

The bass of the Bose SoundWear is lacking. These wearable speakers don't produce much bass through sound pressure, which is why they have such a low score in our measurements. However, they do transmit a decent amount of tactile bass through the body, but even their tactile bass isn't very extended. So overall they do produce a decent amount of punch on the kick drums, but won't produce any thump or rumble in the sub-bass range. We have plans for measuring the tactile bass of headphones/speakers in the future in order to assess the bass of wearable speakers better.

6.2 Mid
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 SoundWear Mid
Std. Err.
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
:
5.01 dB
Low-Mid
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
:
-3.2 dB
Mid-Mid
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
:
-0.91 dB
High-Mid
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
:
-4.48 dB

The mid-range is below-average. The response is uneven, and not very balanced. Low-mid is lacking around 300Hz, which thins out the vocals a little bit. Mid-mid is decently balanced, but high-mid is quite uneven and recessed. This negatively affects the intensity and projection of vocals and lead instruments.

8.0 Treble
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 SoundWear Treble
Std. Err.
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
:
3.47 dB
Low-Treble
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
:
1.85 dB
Mid-Treble
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
:
-2.12 dB
High-Treble
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
:
-2.25 dB

The treble range performance is very good. The overall response is a bit uneven but well-balanced. Low-treble is overemphasized by less than 2dB. This adds a bit of excess brightness to the overall sound. The dip around 7.5KHz has a small negative effect on the production of sibilances (S and Ts). This will be mostly noticeably on vocals and cymbals.

Raw Frequency Response
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:
7.2 Frequency Response Consistency
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 SoundWear Consistency L Bose SoundWear Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
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
:
0.57 dB

The frequency response consistency of the SoundWear is above-average. Due to the design of these speakers, the user doesn't need to worry about achieving an air-tight seal in order to get a consistent bass delivery. However, since these speakers transmit a big portion of their bass through the body, it is important not have very thick clothes between the speaker and your shoulders as it will negatively effect the tactile sensation of their bass. The treble range is also quite consistent and only affected by different neck lengths and body shapes. The slight variations in bass delivery in our measurements is also due to the different neck lengths and body shapes of our human subjects.

7.4 Imaging
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 SoundWear Group Delay Bose SoundWear Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
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
:
5.15
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
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
:
0.32
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
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
:
4.06
Weighted Phase Mismatch
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
:
136.81

The Bose SoundWear have an above-average imaging. Weighted group delay is at 5.15 which is quite high. The GD graph shows that the high group delay only happens in the bass range, where the speakers don't produce much sound pressure. Most of the bass is tactile and transmitted through the body. So the actual experience of their bass isn't too bad. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were decently matched in frequency and amplitude, but showed a big mismatch in phase response. This seems to be intentional and is Bose's way of creating a wide stereo image by creating phase shifts in the treble range.

7.4 Soundstage
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.
Bose SoundWear PRTF
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
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
:
2.4 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
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
:
-1.67 dB
PRTF Distance
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
:
14.15 dB
Openness
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
:
9.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
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
:
10
Correlated Crosstalk
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
:
2.73 dB

The soundstage is above-average. Due to the fact that the speakers are positioned on the shoulders rather than the ears, they get near perfect scores for openness and acoustic space excitation. Also, it seems that the Bose has a cross-feed circuit which is always enabled, meaning some of the L channel signal comes through the R channel and vice versa. This replicates the crosstalk that occurs in an actual stereo speaker setup. However, they didn't perform very good in the PRTF tests, probably due to them being position below the ears, as opposed to in-front. They show very little pinna interaction/activation, but a decent 10KHz notch. Overall the soundstage is open, immersive and out-of-head, but doesn't feel very large, natural or speaker-like.

4.5 Total Harmonic Distortion
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 SoundWear Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
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
:
1366.299
Weighted THD @ 100
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
:
1631.32

The harmonic distortion performance is sub-par. The overall amount of harmonic distortion produced is elevated, especially around 1.5KHz and 6KHz. This can make the sound of these regions a bit impure and harsh. We also noticed that there is significant dynamic range compression present, even at 90dB SPL, especially in the bass range. This could result in pumping and compression artifacts.

0.6

Isolation

Score components:

The Bose SoundWear have a neckband speaker design that does not have ear cups or buds that cover or enter the ear. This means they provide no isolation from ambient noise, by design, and everyone in your immediate vicinity will be able to hear what you're listening to.  They are best used indoors at home or in private at the office where the leakage level will not be too distracting to the people around you and conditions are quiet enough that you can clearly hear the speakers and aren't bothered by the ambient noise.

0.8 Noise Isolation
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 SoundWear Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
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
:
-0.08 dB
Bass
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
:
-0.1 dB
Mid
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
:
-0.1 dB
Treble
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
:
-0.03 dB
Self-Noise
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
:
20.74 dB

The isolation performance is poor. Due to their wearable design and lack of active noise cancelling, it is normal for them to provide no isolation since they don't cover the ears at all. However, this can be considered a desirable feature if you want to be fully aware of your surroundings.

0 Leakage
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 SoundWear Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
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
:
88.57 dB

The leakage performance of the Bose SoundWear is bad. This wearable speaker is not advertised to a have low leakage, so it was expected that they would perform more like portable speakers than headphones. The significant portion of their leakage is spread between 40Hz and 20KHz, which is the broadest we have measured so far. The overall level of the leakage is also the loudest we have measured. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 89dB SPL and peaks at 98dB SPL.

6.5

Microphone

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
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
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
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
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 microphone of the Bose SoundWear has an average quality. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, muffled, and lacking in detail. However, it'll still be decently comprehensible. In noisy situations, it is able to separate speech from background noise in a moderately loud environment, like a busy street.

6.0 Recording Quality
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 SoundWear Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
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
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
:
364.41 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
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
:
2.03 dB
HFE
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
:
3044.37 Hz
Weighted THD
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
:
9.271
Gain
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
:
17.84 dB

The recording quality is mediocre. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 364Hz means that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) is at 3KHz, which results in a speech that lacks detail and sounds muffled. However, the response between the LFE and HFE points is flat, which is good.

6.9 Noise Handling
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 SoundWear SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
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
:
19.91 dB

The microphone of the Bose SoundWear is decent at noise handling. It achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 20dB in our SpNR test, indicating that it is able to separate speech from ambient noise to a good degree in moderately loud environments. This is partially due to the proximity of the microphone to the mouth since the SoundWear sits on the shoulders.

7.0

Active Features

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 SoundWear have a decent 12hr battery life but a barebones and limited app. They should easily last you the whole day if you take occasional breaks during your listening session and they have a great and adjustable auto-off timer that will automatically shut the speakers down when inactive to conserve power. Unfortunately, their app is bland and lackluster. It looks good but does not provide as many features like the and EQ, or mic options.

7.0 Battery
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
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
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
:
12.1 hrs
Charge Time
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
:
2.7 hrs
Power Saving Feature
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
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
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

The Bose SoundWear have a decent battery life of about 12.1 hours. This means you won't have to charge them as often throughout the day. They also have an adjustable timer that helps prolong the battery life. Unfortunately, you can't use them while they're charging and they also take a quite bit of time to charge at 2.7 hours.

6.5 App Support
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 SoundWear App Picture
App Name : Bose Connect
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
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
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
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
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.
:
Yes
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : N/A

The Bose Connect app looks fancy but doesn't have a lot of features. It only allows you to connect, rename, and update your SoundWear but doesn't provide you with an equalizer or any other sound enhancing features. On the upside, you get the battery level status, an auto-off timer you can set at different intervals and an in-app player that gives you some playback control but that's pretty much it.

3.0

Connectivity

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
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The Bose SoundWear are a Bluetooth-only companion speaker that do not come with a 1/8" TRRS audio cable or a base/dock. They have a good wireless range and can connect simultaneously to two devices which allows you to quickly and easily switch between your Bluetooth sources like your phone and PC. Unfortunately, like most Bluetooth audio devices, they have a bit too much wireless latency to be a suitable option for watching movies and gaming.

6.8 Bluetooth
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:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : 4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
2 Devices
NFC
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
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
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

The Bose Soundwear Companion, like most bose wireless devices, can be paired with two devices simultaneously so you can easily switch between your phone and PC/tablet. Unfortunately, they do not have NFC pairing.

0 Wired
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
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
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
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
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
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

The SoundWear are Bluetooth only companion speakers that do not come with a regular audio cable.

0 Base/Dock
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:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% 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
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
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
:
N/A
Line In
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
:
N/A
Line Out
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
:
N/A
USB Input
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.
:
N/A
RCA Input
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
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
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
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
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
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
:
N/A
Dock Charging
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
:
N/A

The Bose SoundWear Companion do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

8.4 Wireless Range
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
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
:
43 ft
Line of Sight Range
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
:
141 ft

The Bose Soundwear Companion have a good wireless range. They reached up to 43ft when the Bluetooth source was obstructed and in another room. They also do quite well in direct-line-of-sight reaching up to 141 ft. They should have enough range to casually walk around your home or office when paired to a fixed Bluetooth source like your PC or TV and will rarely have any connection drops if you're using your phone and it's in your pocket.

1.7 Latency
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
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
:
210 ms
aptX Latency
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
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

They have a bit too much latency to be the best option for watching TV or gaming. Also, since they are Bluetooth only headphones with no low latency codecs they won't be the ideal choice for a home theater set up.

In the box

Bose SoundWear In the box Picture

  • Bose SoundWear Headphones
  • USB cable
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

Bose SoundWear Compare Picture

The Bose SoundWear are in their own class of personal listening device, so they are not really comparable to any of the headphones we've tested so far. They do not cover your ears so they have excellent breathability and great comfort. They also have a wide, spacious but unnatural soundstage since they are basically speakers you wear around your neck that do not block any noise. Unfortunately, this also means they will not be versatile enough to use outdoors and their sound quality isn't quite as good as a real speaker setup or headphones close to your ears that are able to reproduce bass a little better. They're a niche device that won't be for everyone but will be exactly what some listeners are looking for, especially if you work from home.

Conclusion

5.7Mixed Usage
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:
Sub-par for mixed usage. The Bose SoundWear have a very niche design and appeal. They are a personal listening device but provide no isolation of room ambient noise and leak a lot since they are pretty much speakers. This makes them a decent choice to use at home or in an isolated office since their breathability and comfort is very high. They also have a decently balanced sound although they may lack a bit of bass. Unfortunately for everything else they are poorly suited and would not be ideal to use outdoors since you will most likely distract everyone around you and won't be able to focus on your music and or podcast.
6.3Critical Listening
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:
Average-at-best for critical listening. The SoundWear have a unique soundstage since they are basically speakers that you wear around your neck. This gives them a good ambiance that some critical listeners may like, however, their sound quality is not the most balanced. They have a decent representation of instruments and vocals, and they do not sound too sharp on already bright tracks. Unfortunately, they do not pack a lot of bass but it is tactile so you do feel it in your body. The speakers sit relatively far from your ears, especially when compared to headphones, and since they do not create a seal with ear cups or an in-ear/earbud fit, they have a difficult time producing a lot of bass. Moving the neckband closer to your ears somewhat mitigates this issue, but it's not a practical fix and will not be ideal for everyone. If you listen to a lot of bass-heavy tracks then they won't be the ideal choice but for podcasts, audiobooks and vocal/instrument heavy songs, they should be good enough for most.
5.4Commute/Travel
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:
Not suitable for commuting. They provide no isolation from ambient noise and they leak loud enough to be distracting to everyone around you even on a busy bus.
6.7Sports/Fitness
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:
Average for sports. They have excellent breathability since they do not cover your ears. They're comfortable and have an easy to use control scheme. Unfortunately, they are not the most stable option for more demanding exercises as they move and bounce around a lot and may fall off your neck if you workouts involve a lot of tilting and laying on your back. On the upside, they should be stable enough to jog and would be a decent option to use on your treadmill at home.
5.6Office
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:
Sub-par for office use. Unless you work alone or in an isolated office, the leakage level will be too bothersome for those around you. Also, since they do not block any noise, you will hear all the ambient sounds in your environment fairly easily, even when listening to music at higher-than-average volumes.
5.0Home Theater
Score components:
Below-average for home theater. The Bose SoundWear are Bluetooth only companion speakers that have a bit too much latency to be suitable for watching a lot of video content. Also since they are speakers that leak quite a lot, it may be simpler to just watch your TV with the volume on.
5.1Gaming
Score components:
Sub-par for gaming. The Bose SoundWear have a bit too much latency for gaming and since they are Bluetooth-only speaker that will not work with your consoles. They also do not come with a cable to reduce latency. They're leaky and provide no isolation so they won't be the best option for most gaming environments unless you game alone.

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