Wireless Sports Audio Part 4 - Bose SoundSport Wireless

July 14, 2016

It is refreshing to see that Bose has finally spruced up its SoundSport series with wireless offerings in their June product launch. The Bose SoundSport Wireless (SGD 239 / USD 150) marks the company's first wireless in-ears.

As Part 4 of the Wireless Sports Audio series of articles, we give you the full review of the Bose SoundSport Wireless. 
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Aqua
Credit - Bose
Updated article with Performance results - Oct 2016 
Pros (+): Snug fit; Intuitive voice prompts; App support.
Cons (-): Minimal noise isolation.

Unboxing
Out of the 2 color schemes (Black / Aqua), we were provided the brighter looking unit. Citron will only be released in September.
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Black / Aqua / Citron
Credit - Bose

We mentioned that the Bose QC35 is starting a new packaging identity. The SoundSport Wireless follows this with the new font type splayed right on the top.
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Box

Sliding off the outer cover, we open up the inner black box to reveal the earbuds.
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Packaging contents

Under the plastic layer lie the full suite of accessories. 
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Packaging contents

So what's on the checklist?
  • Bose SoundSport Wireless
  • Charging cable (micro-USB)
  • StayHear+ buds (S / M / L)
  • Clothing clip
  • Carry case
  • User Guides

Bose SoundSport Wireless - Packaging contents

Design
The Bose SoundSport Wireless is approximately 22g, slightly meatier than similar under-ear wireless buds like the B&O BeoPlay H5 (18g) and Jaybird X2 Wireless (13g). 
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Aqua

The buds exterior has a gloss circle with 'Bose' smack in the centre. The size of each bud appears excessively large but understandable given it's very convenient to adjust the huge elliptical sides when jogging. 
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Aqua

The circular carry case is conveniently fitted with a carabiner on the outside and a fishnet inner pouch within. 
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Carry case

Features
The Bose buds have sweat and water resistance. There's no IPX rating outright stated but so far, we've had no issues with usage on-the-go be it jogging or during light drizzles. 
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Black
Credit - Bose

The in-line remote controls lie on the right side. The layout is similar to other buds - a multifunction button (Play / Take calls) flanked with the volume buttons. Skipping tracks is still restricted to double (or triple) tapping the centre button while it would have been sweeter for users if they implemented holding either volume buttons to do the same. While the buttons are large and easy to access, they require a rather large effort to actuate.
Bose SoundSport Wireless - remote

You can pair to your device through Bluetooth or NFC. To link via NFC, you need to activate Bluetooth on your player, power on the buds and press the remote (see the 'N') to the NFC touchpoint of your deviceFor Bluetooth pairing, hold the power button until the LED indicator flashes blue. Select 'Bose SoundSport' from your device to complete the pairing and the LED will give a white glow. The Bose can connect to up to 2 devices simultaneously. You can manage it by stopping music playback on one and then start music on the second.
Bose SoundSport Wireless - remote

Voice controls have been and continue to be Bose's forte. They range from informing the power level, pairing status and even support up to 11 languages. 

There is a supporting app called Bose Connect that supports also the QC35 and AE2 SoundLink
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Bose Connect app

You can adjust the product name, power down timing, voice prompt language (out of 11 options) and the most useful is the pairing management to other devices. It's quite standard with others eg. Plantronics BackBeat GO 3 app.

Performance
We test these sports earbuds in three areas when jogging:
1. Fit - Did it fit into the ears snugly? Did the weight of the cord tug on ears causing it to fall out?

2. Noise Isolation - We checked out the degree to which external noise is blocked. This is what you'd deem as 'passive noise cancelation'. 


3. Microphonics - This is basically the sound of the cable rustle when there's any kind of friction, be it wind friction or the cord swishing when running. 
Bose SoundSport Wireless - StayHear+ tips

The fit is amazingly snug. The M-size StayHear+ tips are the same as the ones used on the Bose QC20 and they do not disappoint. Upon insertion, I found they were gentle on the ears and yet were not easy to dislodge. Jogging really makes you appreciates the fit even further as somehow, they stay in your ear. This is something that joggers will really need as you'd just want to focus on your run without reinserting the buds every other minute. 
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Aqua
Credit - Bose
On the other hand, noise isolation is really minimal as ambient sound can be heard with ease. In terms of cable rustle, I used the clip to fasten to the back of my shirt for my run. Somehow Bose manages to make the microphonics negligible though the in-line remote may rub your shirt on occasion. On my side, I found the right earbud may get warm with extended usage.
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Black
Credit - Bose

Sound Quality:
The sound quality is inclined toward the low frequencies, which to me is good for a pair of sports earbuds. Sure you get relatively decent vocals but the bass that emanates from these buds is mighty enough to give you that added motivation during your jogs / workouts. 
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Aqua
Credit - Bose
Battery Life:
There's 6 hours of power on a full 2 hour charge, definitely enough to last your evening jogs or commutes to work. This is an average number when compared with other wireless sports audio devices like the Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless (6h) and the UA Headphones Wireless (8h).
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Aqua

Overall
These are a solid pair of wireless earbuds for your runs. The Bose SoundSport Wireless definitely goes easy on the ear in terms of fit. If you want to shut off ambient sound, this ain't the pair for you but if you're going for bass-inclined sports buds that give intuitive voice prompts with sweat resistance, these Bluetooth buds will really make your day. Guaranteed.
Bose SoundSport Wireless - Pouch

Where To Buy
You can buy the product from bose.com (US - USD 150). 

Alternatively, if you like this review or it has helped you in any way, please do support us by buying from Amazon. Here are the affiliate links for the Black and Aqua variants. 

Credit to Bose and Atlas for an evaluation unit.

Wireless Sports Audio Series
Part 1 - Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless
Part 2 - Sony NW-WS413
Part 3 - UA Headphones Wireless - By JBL
Part 4 - Bose SoundSport Wireless 
Part 5 - Jaybird Freedom Wireless F5
Part 6 - The Verdict (TBA)

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