Now Bose has also ended its long-standing relationship with its cable supplier and it is making its debut with the SoundSport Free Wireless Headphones in the rather new market of True Wireless In-Ears. The American consumer electronics manufacturer wants to appeal to sporty, active individuals who have certain expectations from their headphones: Good hold and good sound, along with a certain robustness, especially against water. The SoundSport Free have all this to offer and can musically support sporting activities for up to five hours. A marathon is, therefore, possible.
Bose likes to deliver in large boxes. In this case, the headphones are framed by glossy pictures of sporty people, immediately placing them in the desired lifestyle context. In fact, you immediately feel that more than headphones are sold here. There is a case, which is the charging and parking station of the earbuds, three pairs of earpieces in S, M, L, the relevant documentation and the charging cable for the case. The earbuds are oval and made out of strong plastic, and are both sweat- and rain-proof.
Typical Bose Sound?
In anticipation of the Bose sound, I install the Bose app, activate it and then switch on the locate function, which is supposed to make lost earbuds findable again (more on that later). Immediately after that, the headphones want to get the latest software, which takes about 45 minutes to update. After that I finally get the chance to listen to some music… and I’m astonished because the sound convinces me after only a few bars.
A nicely wide stereo stage opens and a velvety balanced frequency response lets a pleasant bass, along with fine trebles and balanced mids, flow into the ears. Important to note: When I switch on the iPhone-internal equalizer, if I am listening to an Apple Music competitor, then the equalizer does not engage and the sound is a bit flatter and less nuanced with whining at high levels. Additionally, there are no sound presets to choose from within the Bose app, which surprises me as they tend to come as standard with competing apps. In my opinion, the Americans would be wise to do a little touching up here.
“The Weeknd” by Starboy feat. Daft Punk is bubbling deep and crisp in my ears and I test them with some physical activity. There is no cable to interfere with movement and, thanks to “Stay Hear+” inserts, the earbuds are safe and tight. There is still a sufficient amount of outside noise and air coming through to the ear canal, so you won’t feel completely isolated or constricted, which is definitely an advantage during sweaty activities. To Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA” I tackle double dumbbells, his voice driving me through this part of my circuit with a good amount of pressure, and the treadmill goes much faster with Katy Perry in my ear. It’s the beat that gets me moving and the SoundSport Free handles it very well. Even the most intensive workout doesn’t shake the earbuds loose. That’s why I give them a high score for fit, wearing comfort and sound. There are deductions for the aesthetics of the earphones, which come out of my ears like mushrooms and, thanks to the magnificent orange of our test device, could never be considered discreet.
When the player is securely stowed in my sports bag, the most important activities can be controlled using the remote on the right earphone. This initially takes a little effort because the pressure points of the volume and the central play/stop/skip/assistance buttons are very difficult to access due to the waterproof cover. Also, if you don’t hit them optimally, this will cause one or two operating errors, especially since there is always a delay in the command execution chain via Bluetooth. This can lead to uncontrolled jumps to “too loud” or “too quiet”, especially when volume changes occur. Nevertheless, you do get used to it and, given your activities, you should certainly have enough fingertip power. With SoundSport Free you can also make phone calls and the voice quality doesn’t provoke reactions like: “Where are you? I can’t hear you very well!” In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The left earphone has the main switch for active/inactive and the case offers magnetic support so that the SoundSport Free Earbuds can be pushed into their charging bowls. According to Bose, you should get two full charges before the case itself requires charging. Finally, five LEDs tell you the state of charge of the case, which I think is quite a lot, and the overall size will make the standard trouser pocket bulge.
Lost and Found
If you activate the location release in the app, it remembers the last location of both the left and right earbuds before the Bluetooth connection was cut. It makes sense, because it can happen that one of the two falls out of your pocket and stays in the changing room. If you then look in the app, this last location will be shown on a map and the lost earbud can be found with the help of a swelling beep. This is a realistic and desirable bonus as it is not yet known how much a single replacement earbud will cost. There are some employee statements in the Bose community that sound quite positive, as a replacement during the warranty period seems to be free of charge. If the charging case is lost, a new one will cost about 50 US dollars/50 euros.
The Bose SoundSport Free Wireless lacks very little. After a small adjustment to the equalizer, the sound is powerful and multi-layered with good volume; in other words, there are headphones with cables that sound significantly worse than the SoundSport Free does without them. The earbuds sit well and securely in the ear and allow for energetic movements to or with the music, even in bad weather. Only the somewhat fiddly remote and their strikingly over-obtrusive appearance cast a small shadow on the otherwise extremely successful True Wireless headphones from Bose. They should interest a wide range of users, not just athletes.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight without cable30 g
What's in the box
- StayHear+ sports ear tips in 3 sizes
- USB charging cable
- Transport case with loading function
- also available in black and blue