Bose SoundSport Free - Theres Still Room For Improvement

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One of the reasons it took me so long to review the Bose Soundsport Free wireless ear buds is because I thought $250 was way too much to pay for Sports Wireless earbuds given that there are so many options out there. And it looks like Bose finally caught on and they lowered their price. So lets checkout the Bose Soundsport free, are they really better than AirPods?

The Bose Soundsport Free were released in the Summer of 2017 and they initially retailed for $250… But now they’re going for the low low price of $200. In a highly saturated market like the sports wireless ear buds segment these are on the pricier end of the scale. If you want to check these ear buds out I’ll have a link in the description below and if you use the link it really helps out the channel. 

Regarding what you get with the Bose soundsport free… you don’t really get much. You get the charging case which is very well put together, a micro usb cable for charging and a total of 3 pairs of silicon ear tips. Thats it. But first I just want to say that I don’t feel the Bose Soundsport Free or other sports wireless ear buds for that matter should be compared directly to the AirPods. Say what you will about their design, but the AirPods are tiny and meant to be used day in and day out. But they aren’t the best for the gym cause they aren’t water resistant, and they let a lot of ambient sound in compared to other sports wireless ear buds. And on the other hand, sports wireless ear buds like the Bose Soundsport Free shouldn’t be used outside of the gym, have you seen guys trying to pull these off while walking around the city wearing a suit? The Bose SoundSport Free are so big they basically make them look like Frankenstein’s Monster walking around. 

Ok, now that I got that out of my system lets get back to the matter at hand. Even though the Bose ear buds are very expensive both the ear buds and case have very good build quality. If you press the front button then the 5 LEDS will light up and show you your current battery status. And if you press even harder then the case will open up and the lid has a very well designed hinge. The case itself is able to supply the earbuds with 10 extra hours of battery life and the ear buds them selves are able to hold a 5 hour battery life. So the Bose Soundsport Free have an advertised total battery life of 15 hours. I go to the gym 4 times week for 2 hours and the Bose typically last me 6 full workouts. So almost every week and a half I charge them up. They’re decent. 

But the case isn’t without its problems. First off, yeah it pretty big… but since I just throw it into my gym bag it doesn’t really matter. My main issue with the case is that the button is so hard to press. Since the case is so smooth and since I have to press really hard to open it up I find myself frequently dropping the whole case on the gym floor. The front button is just complete mush, I feel that Bose needs to go back and redesign this mechanism so it takes less effort to open and you get better tactile feed back. I also feel Bose should have used a USB C Port instead of a Micro USB port for charging. 

Ok, now lets talk about the ear buds… these things are huge. I found that each bud weighs in at 9 grams with the medium ear tips. For comparison, each ear bud on the jaybird run and soul X-Shock weighs in at 6 and 5 grams respectively. For the most part runners say that the Bose Ear buds have a tendency to wiggle out when they’re out training. Obviously I’m not a runner, but when I do get on the treadmill and do my post workout cardio the Bose SoundSport Free do like to wiggle out. But when I’m weight lifting the Bose Soundsport free stay securely in place. Except for when I touch down when I’m done doing pull ups or dips. But when it comes to customization options you don’t really have much to choose from, you only have 3 ear fin sizes to choose from. And no matter which of the three ear tip you choose from, the Bose SoundSport Free don’t create a seal in your ear canal, they rest right out of it. So they do let in a good amount of ambient sound in. Some people will like for safety reasons and others like myself just want to block everything out at the gym. 

But the sound quality on the Bose Soudsport Free is pretty good. The main thing they have going for them is clarity. Theres almost no tinning and the lows get surprisingly deep. I think they sound better than both the AirPods and Powerbeats 3. They don’t get as loud, but they get loud enough. 

Connection quality on the Bose SoundSport free is also very good. Keep in mind the right is the master and the left is the slave and they can only be connected to one device at a time. They have a range of about 30 feet and I haven’t had any issues with them. But they do have a good amount of latency when watching youtube videos. Not as bad as the Jaybird Run, but I feel Bose should be able to do better. 

But when you decide to go with wireless ear buds you also sacrifice the connivance an inline controller like the one on the Powerbeats 3 or jaybird X3 offers. So with most wireless ear buds like the AirPods or Jaybird Run you don’t have full control over your music playback so you either have to rely on your voice assistant or you have to whip out your phone more frequently. Bose decided to put a full set of buttons on their right ear bud. And this is great, without having to take out your phone you can adjust your volume, play or pause your music, skip a track, go back a track and you can also activate your voice assistant. On paper this sound great! But unfortunately the buttons on the right ear bud are so hard to press I just naturally end up defaulting to using my phone again. Pressing the buttons on the right ear bud is a workout in it self. Bose also included another button on the left ear bud and pressing this will only tell you which device the buds are connected to. And I think this is a missed opportunity on Bose’s part. Obviously Bose needs to make pressing either of these buttons much easier. But I also think Bose should make the left button on these ear buds activate google assistant just like the extra button on the Bose QC35 Series 2 does. This way the button on the left ear bud is way more useful. 

The Bose SoundSport Free also connects to the Bose Connect app. And it doesn’t really do much. You can up date their firmware, adjust some settings and control your music playback. You cant adjust their EQ  or anything like that. But they do have a find my buds feature. As long as you’re in range you can ping either of the buds so you can find. Even if they’re in their case you can still ping them which is a good feature to have. But other than that the Bose connect app doesn’t really do much for these ear buds. 

So to wrap things up, the Bose Soundsport Free are good… but I would still shop around. Im glad to see they’re selling for $200 now but I would like to see them come down to at least the $170 mark. Again, I wouldn’t consider these over the AirPods for day to day use but if you’re a weight lifter at the gym then these are ok. They have very good build quality, they sound very good, and their battery life is decent. But for the Bose Soundsport Free series 2 Bose needs to shrink the buds down, fix the buttons on the ear buds, fix the button on the case, and they should integrate google assistant.