Bose Sport Earbuds Review

by Emma Baker, Senior Editor | Published February 10th, 2024 | Reviewed by Ted Wilson, Systems Engineer

The Bose Sport Earbuds, while lacking in noise cancellation, offer a unique listening experience tailored for those who prefer to stay aware of their surroundings during activities. They are a solid choice for sports enthusiasts who prioritize comfort and sound quality.

In this review, we’ll explore the Bose Sport Earbuds’ features, including their fit, sound quality, and the accompanying Bose Music app. You’ll learn about their strengths and limitations, helping you decide if they’re the right fit for your active lifestyle.

I was particularly impressed with the StayHear Max ear tips, which provided a secure and comfortable fit during my runs and gym sessions. The balanced sound profile, featuring punchy bass and clear mids and highs, makes all kinds of music sound good and kept me pumped during my workouts.

However, I did notice some areas for improvement. The lack of wireless charging for the case was a slight drawback, and I found myself wishing for more fully-fleshed touch controls for easier use during intense workouts. Despite these minor issues, my overall experience with the Bose Sport Earbuds has been positive, solidifying them as a reliable choice for both my audio needs and fitness activities.

Bose Sport Infographic

Design and Comfort

I found the Bose Sport Earbuds to be surprisingly minimalistic, and a great fit for those who appreciate subtlety in their tech.

The Bose Sports are available in distinct colors like Baltic Blue, Glacier White, and Triple Black. 

Their robust build, crafted from high-end composite plastic, is not only tough but also durable. This is complemented by an IPX4 rating, ensuring they stand up to sweat and weather – a feature that I personally think should be required of all earbuds. 

From a technical standpoint, the Bose Sport Earbuds are thoughtfully engineered. They are equipped with StayHear Max silicone eartips, which not only seal the ear canal effectively to block out noise, but also include flexible wings that comfortably fit the contours of the outer ear. 

However, it’s worth noting that while these earbuds are pretty stable during workouts, they do become less comfortable over time. I’ve noticed that the casing can press against my inner ears and cause discomfort, which can be an issue, particularly for those sensitive to prolonged earbud wear. 

Controls

Navigating the controls of the Bose Sport Earbuds can feel like a mixed bag. On the one hand, their touch controls are refreshingly straightforward, but they also leave you wishing for a bit more. The commands available are as follows:

1. Double Tap on Left Earbud: Advance tracks.

2. Single Tap on Right Earbud: Pause music.

3. Tap and Hold on Right Earbud: Access voice assistant.

It’s important to note that there are no volume controls on the earbuds themselves. These controls are fairly limited but responsive, offering basic functionality for music playback and voice assistant access.

Bose Sports Earbuds

Sound Quality of the Bose Sport Earbuds

The most important feature of earbuds for any gym goers – the bass. The bass of the Bose Sports is strong and dynamic, forming a solid base that enhances a wide range of music genres. Importantly, it does this without overshadowing the mid and high frequencies. This ensures that vocals and various instruments come through with clarity and precision, contributing to a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience, no matter what you’re tuned in to.

When using these earbuds, whether I’m amping up my workout with or unwinding with a podcast during a relaxed walk, the sound quality is consistently rich and engaging. While the soundstage doesn’t quite match what you’d expect from larger over-ear headphones, it’s surprisingly broad for earbuds of this size.

Another aspect worth noting is their performance across various volume levels. The audio quality holds up well, maintaining its integrity without any discernible distortion, even when you crank up the volume.

Feature Description
Sound Signature and Frequency Response Balanced sound profile suitable for various genres, effective reproduction of vocals and string instruments, reasonable bass response, slightly under-emphasizes treble frequencies between 5-9kHz.
Bass Quality Punchy but not overwhelming bass, suitable for bass-heavy genres and balanced tracks.
Audio Clarity and Detail Clear and detailed sound, particularly evident in vocals and instruments.
Active EQ Technology Bose’s proprietary Active EQ technology enhances audio quality and listening experience.
Comparison with QuietComfort Earbuds Well-balanced with nice detail and punchy bass, slightly brighter compared to QuietComfort Earbuds.
Performance in Different Genres Effective in handling various musical genres, providing a lively and vivid listening experience.
Call Quality Four-microphone array for calls, reduces low-frequency background noise, may pick up wind noise and some sibilant sounds.

Noise Cancelling

The noise-canceling capabilities of the Bose Sport Earbuds are somewhat limited, which is a point worth considering based on your preferences. Personally, I like to be fully immersed in my music while running or hitting the weights, blocking out any outside noises entirely.

But, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Many users appreciate being more attuned to their surroundings, especially in outdoor or public settings, and find the earbuds’ lack of isolation features to be a non-issue. It really boils down to individual preference and usage scenarios.

Key Points on Battery Life

  1. Battery Duration: The Bose Sport’s battery life stands at around 5 hours on a single charge, aligning them with the battery performance of Apple’s AirPods. This duration fits well within the average range for today’s true wireless earbuds market.

  2. Charging Case Capacity: The accompanying charging case boosts the total playtime to about 20 hours, contributing an additional 15 hours. While this is quite handy, it’s worth noting that it falls a bit short when compared to some rivals like the Jabra Elite Active 75t or the Powerbeats Pro, both of which offer more extended battery life.

  3. Battery Drain Rate: I’ve noticed that the earbuds tend to lose charge a bit quicker than anticipated, especially when used at higher volume levels or for continuous, lengthy sessions. The drain rate seems to hover around 10% to 15% per hour, indicating that under certain conditions, you might not get the full 5-hour stretch out of them.

  4. Charging Case Design: As for the charging case, it’s notably more compact and easier to carry around than previous models. However, it misses out on the convenience of wireless charging, a feature that’s increasingly common and might be a letdown for users who prefer the latest in charging technology.

The Bose Music App

The Bose Music app offers just a handful of customization options for tailoring the earbuds and sound to your preferences. The app includes essential controls, displays the battery levels, and provides some useful tips on how to wear the earbuds correctly.

As of my last check in November 2023, the app held a rating of 4.8 stars on the App Store.

However, delving into the more recent reviews reveals a common thread of feedback about the app being “buggy.” Though I haven’t personally seen these issues, other users frequently mention issues with the app’s connectivity, often citing sporadic and unreliable links between the app and the Bluetooth earbuds. 

Phone Calls

The Bose Sport Earbuds are equipped with a four-microphone array, which I found quite effective for clear voice transmission. These microphones did a great job at minimizing background noise, making sure my voice stood out during calls. This was especially helpful when I was in noisy places like busy streets or crowded cafés.

That said, there are a couple of aspects that could be improved. When I was in windy conditions, the earbuds did a decent job of keeping my voice clear, but they also tended to pick up wind noise, which could be a bit distracting. Additionally, I noticed a slight tendency to capture sibilant sounds like ‘s’ and ‘sh’. While this was noticeable, it wasn’t too distracting to my calls. It’s also important to note that all the microphones are located in the right earbud, meaning that if you prefer using just one earbud, particularly the left one, it won’t be possible for calls.

The Bose Sport Earbuds are great for both workout enthusiasts and people who just love listening to music every day. They’re really comfortable, have great sound, and are practical for everyday use. They could be even better with some updates, like adding wireless charging to their case and improving the touch controls.

But even without these, the Bose Sport Earbuds stand out as a strong choice in the world of sports earbuds. They have a good enough battery life, and even though they don’t cancel noise, the quality of the sound they deliver is above and beyond what I need for my workouts.

FAQs:

How to pair Bose Sport Earbuds:

To pair your Bose Sport Earbuds, first ensure they are charged and within range of your Bluetooth device. Open the charging case, press and hold the Bluetooth button until the LED light blinks blue. On your device, go to Bluetooth settings, select ‘Bose Sport Earbuds’ from the list, and follow any prompts to complete the pairing.

How to reset Bose Sport Earbuds:

To reset your Bose Sport Earbuds, place them in the charging case and close the lid. Wait for 5 seconds, then open the case. Press and hold the Bluetooth button for about 10 seconds until you see the LED indicators blink white and then blue. Your earbuds are now reset and ready to pair.

How to clean Bose Sport Earbuds:

For cleaning your Bose Sport Earbuds, gently wipe the earbuds and StayHear Max ear tips with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. Avoid using liquids or cleaning agents. For earwax buildup, carefully remove the ear tips and clean them with a mild soap solution, then dry them completely before reattaching.

How to find lost Bose Sport Earbuds:

If you’ve misplaced your Bose Sport Earbuds, check the last connected location on your phone’s Bluetooth settings. Unfortunately, Bose Sport Earbuds do not have a built-in tracking feature like some other wireless headphones, so you may need to retrace your steps or check common areas where they could have been misplaced.