Bose SoundSport FreeRs 18,990 ($199)
- Great sound
- Comfortable to wear for long periods
- Battery life is immense
- Nifty "find my earbuds" feature
- Solid connection
- Buttons are hard to press
- No customisable equaliser
- No heart-rate monitor
- Design means the buds stick out quite a bit
The Apple AirPods started a revolution in wearable audio, but there are plenty of great alternatives. Although their designs are on the larger side, Bose has meticulously thought about how the SoundSport Free sit in listeners’ ears to make them a comfortable option for long listening sessions. Not stopping there, these Rs 18,990 ($250) earbuds have sound quality that rival wired earbuds with the ability to offer full but not overpowering bass and clean and succinct high notes. The ear hook design will keep them firmly seated while running; however, with only decent noise isolation, using them in a noisy environment like a gym may not be ideal if you are trying to tune out the world. With an easy pairing process, these earbuds are great — if you’re willing to pay a premium.
The Soundsport Free Wireless, which is the non-cable connected version of Soundsport Free, arrived late last year but entered India at Rs 18,990 few weeks ago. You can buy it online.
While Apple Airpods is a fashion-first earbud, the Bose Soundsport Free Wireless is made to appeal those who are fitness-oriented and are into workouts or sports activities. Bose is betting big on this one as it is the US-based firm’s first truly wireless earbuds.
In the past few weeks we have used the Soundsport Free Wireless as our full time audio accessory and here is what we think about it.
The first thing that you are sure to notice is that the Bose SoundSport Free headphones are somewhat large, even though they don’t feel as bulky as some other in-ear headphones. Although they are similar in size to the Erato Muse 5, the Bose earphones use a different design for putting them in your ears.
Unlike the Erato Muse 5, which pushed on my ear if they were properly seated, Bose’s first attempt at truly wireless earbuds were designed to have the bulk of the earbud sit outside the ear canal. A “nozzle” sits in your ear canal, and helps spread out the weight of the earbud.
Additionally, unlike many traditional earbuds that use an interchangeable tip, the SoundSport Free combines a soft silicone sleeve, a silicone tip and a built-in ear wing to keep them in place in your ear. There are three sets of these “sleeves” in the box in small, medium and large.
According to Bose, the SoundSport Free earphones have an IPX4 rating, which means they can be splashed from any direction without suffering any damage – not dunkable but certainly acceptable for headphones that will accompany you to the gym or on a rainy commute home.
When not in use, the buds are stored in a muted plastic oval container that’s about the same size as a roll of quarters and uses magnetic charging.
If you aren’t an audiophile and are just another casual listener who loves their music, the SoundSport Free Wireless will come as a true delight. After lending our ears to these earbuds for hours, we can safely say it as one of the best wireless earbuds we’ve come across when it comes to audio output quality.
Of course, don’t expect it to be as good as some of the wired headphones in the given price range. However, when you compare it with other wireless earbuds, you’ll find Soundsport Free Wireless throwing out better auditory information with near non-existent sound stage. Since these are always connected through Bluetooth, you won’t get the best sound staging levels though.
The Soundsport Free Wireless does focus on deeper bass, giving EDM listeners the much required ‘thump’. The vocals are fairly clear in case you are into acoustic music. Bose too has its own tech stuffed inside that keeps the audio balanced even when heard at high volume. It has a volume-optimised EQ and Bose digital signal processing to make music ‘sound full’.
All in all, the Bose Soundsport Free Wireless is not heavy on bass or focuses more on treble but it does manage to deliver an overall impressive sound signature.
Given the design of the accessory, we did find the earbuds leaking out music outside. At the highest volume levels, the music is audible to those sitting in at least a yard away from you. In addition, the noise cancellation is also not as good as experienced in some other in-ear earphones in the same segment.
On the other hand, the Soundsport Free Wireless is really very easy to connect with the source devices. In your smartphones all you need is the Bose Connect app. It took us less than a minute to set it up, which funnily is also the record time we have achieved till date for connecting any wireless device.
When we talk about the battery, the wireless earbud can be termed as just about reasonable. If you are using it every day for almost a couple of hours, it would run out of battery after almost three days. This is if you are keeping it for charging inside the case. Otherwise on a single charge, the earbud can run for around 4 hours. However, it does charge fast though. Bose claims that the case has a battery that can charge the earbuds fully up to two times. In addition, 15 minutes of recharge does give you enough juice to run the earbud for 30 minutes or a bit more.