The market continues to grow for truly wireless earbuds since they are popular with runners, cross-fitters and pretty much anyone who plays sports or lives an active lifestyle and wants to be free of earbud cables that get in the way or even get knotted or tangled. Consumers want to be totally wireless but still have earbuds with good sound quality and a battery life that is long enough for even the toughest workout session. Although all these wireless earbuds have their drawbacks and some are better than others, Bose is definitely towards the front of the pack with their Soundsport Free true wireless option.
Bose’s SoundSport Free, the company’s first completely wireless sports earphones. Bose definitely made a solid hit with this new model. While they do have some minor flaws to improve upon which we outline below, they may be the best sports wireless earbuds currently available on the market going into the tail end of 2018.
Just like the Bose SoundSport wireless earbuds, which are not truly wireless because they have a behind-the-neck cable, the Bose SoundSport Free headphones are water-resistant and sound great, but aren’t cheap. Both models have the same open seal style, which means the eartips don’t enter into the ear canals and you can still hear ambient sound. Bose’s StayHear+ eartips don’t give a fully tight seal, but they do help secure the earbuds in your ears.
Bose Soundsport Free Review
Bose SoundSport Free earbuds are equipped with a special sport version of the StayHear tips which are the same as the StayHear tips included with Bose SoundSport Wireless. Rival wireless earbud makers use a variety of ways to keep earbuds in place. For example, Apple Airpods and The Dash Pro use eartips, Jabra Elite Sport Wireless use a silicon jacket, and Sony WF-1000X use earhooks.
Among these competitors, we think the Bose SoundSport Free earbuds have the most stable, comfortable fit for active users.
The earbuds themselves looks somewhat bulky, but they won’t feel as heavy on your ears as they look. Because this model is “truly wireless”, the Bluetooth hardware and battery pack make the housing slightly bulky.
The SoundSport Free earbuds are sweat and water-resistant, but they don’t have a touch control like The Dash Pro. There is a 3-button remote control on the right earpiece that lets you adjust volume, stop/play music, answer and make calls, and access your phone’s Siri or Google Assistant. They offer decent call quality with an integrated dual-microphone located on the right earbud, but the call audio will only be heard in the right earbud and not from both sides.
The Bose SoundSport Free earbuds keep a solid connection with your phone up to 30 feet and their battery is rated at 5 hours, which is standard for this type of small headphone. It’s actually improved quite a bit since the first generation of truly wireless buds that were getting only a couple hours of battery time just a couple years ago. While 5 hours isn’t enough to be out all day on one charge, it’s plenty long for most the average users expectation of a commute two and from work or a long run or workout at the gym.
They come with a simple charging case that has a built-in battery for on-the-go charging. This battery case provides up to 10 hours of battery life or two full charges.
This is a perfect pair for your exercise, especially for running, if comfort and secure fit are your priorities.
The sound quality is good, but if you want something clearer and more detailed Erato Apollo 7 would be an alternative that offers dynamic sound and crisp bass. The sound profile of the Erato Apollo 7 is similar to the SoundSport Free earbuds with plenty of bass and a warm mid-range. Because the SoundSport Free earbuds have an open design, they are better for listening to music outdoors.
It has been years since the first pair of totally wireless earbuds were introduced, but they’ve become mature products with better sound, connectivity and longer battery life. The SoundSport Free definitely reach the fit and comfort level that work for the vast majority of people who need a pair of wireless earbuds for sports. While we’d like to see a longer charge and reduced noise leakage we still think they are at the top of their class
Here’s a quick un-boxing if you want to see a hands on look at the Bose SoundSport Free.
Bose SoundSport Free highlights:
- 5 hours of battery life
- Water and sweat-resistant
- Work with Bose’s free Connect app for Android and iOS devices to track the earbuds’ location and manage connections
- Charging case provides additional 10 hours of battery life
Bose SoundSport Free Wireless Earbuds:
- Package & Accessories: 8/10
- Build & Materials: 8/10
- Comfort & Fit: 9/10
- Sound Quality: 8/10
- Value: 7.5/10
- Most comfortable wireless earbuds
- Fit securely in your ears
- Best sounding wireless earbuds
- Solid Bluetooth connection
- Bulky earpieces
- Battery isn’t great
- Open design lets ambient sound leak in