Skip to main content

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds: Which sport earbuds should you buy?

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

This Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds comparison breaks down two currently popular wireless sport earbuds models, helping you decide which pair best meets your needs and your budget.

The Beats Powerbeats Pro helped popularize the wireless sport earbuds category by making workout headphones even more practical and fashionable. It's earned universal acclaim for its well-rounded performance and sits high on our best running headphones list. The buds also come available in a slew of attractive colorways.

The Bose Sport Open Earbuds is the latest addition in Bose’s true wireless collection and features an open-ear design created for optimized fit. It uses proprietary OpenAudio Technology; the same tech featured in the Bose Frames to deliver full audio without covering your ears. Battery life is also higher than its predecessor, the Bose Sport Earbuds.

What we have are two different types of wireless sport earbuds that each offers its own experience. As for which is the better workout companion, that’s what we’re here to answer. Let’s see if the Sport Open Earbuds has what it takes to beat an industry favorite like the Powerbeats Pro.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds: Specs compared

Beats Powerbeats ProBose Sport Open Earbuds
Price$249.95$199.99
Wireless Charging CaseNoNo
ChipH1Qualcomm (not specified)
Battery Life (Rated)9 hours (24 hours with charging case)8 hours
Water ResistanceIPX4 (can withstand sweat and water, but not for use in water sports)IPX4 (can withstand sweat and water, but not for use in water sports)
Case Size3 x 3 x 1 inches1.6 x 4.4 x 2.8 inches
Case Weight4.58 ounces2.4 ounces
Special featuresAudio Sharing, message announcement, automatic switching, “Hey Siri” voice activation, customizable fit, Fast-Fuel Charging, control music and calls on both earbudsControl customization, how-to guides, on-board volume controls (coming soon)

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds: Price

These are two high-priced items from two premium audio brands. The Beats Powerbeats Pro launched at $249.95, though is currently on sale for as low as $140 on Amazon, and is often discounted around shopping holidays. But whether on sale or at full MSRP, the Powerbeats Pro get you a lot more for the money.

Being the newer release, the Bose Sport Open Earbuds has yet to see any markdowns and remains listed at $199. However, as we'll explain shortly, these buds are a bit overpriced for what they offer as a complete package.

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds: Design

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

There’s no denying that these are two attractive, well-constructed models that almost resemble each other in style, at least from afar. On closer inspection, though, they share very few similarities. As cool as the Sport Open Earbuds’ open-ear design looks, it’s tough to compete with the sleek and sophisticated aesthetics synonymous with the Beats brand.

The Powerbeats Pro is built from hard plastic that keeps the internals highly protected. The nozzles are flexible and sturdy, reassuring you they won’t snap when adjusting to fit. These buds also come with IPX4 water resistance. And what are Beats products without the embossed B logo plastered front and center, along with a wide variety of colorways? Potential buyers have their choice of eight funky options: Black, Cloud Pink, Glacier Blue, Ivory, Lava Red, Moss, Navy, and Spring Yellow.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Bose’s over-ear design is one of a kind in the wireless earbuds category, with a compact and discrete look. Craftsmanship is high-quality with the entire frame made from resilient PC-ABS plastic composite that fends of scratches and scuffs well. The casing comes IPX4-rated as well. It’s a singular, but also polarizing take on wireless earbuds that may or may not catch on with casual consumers. Time (and sales) will eventually determine this. Bose only sells the model in one color: Black.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Both products come bundled with cases. The Powerbeats Pro gives you a charging case that is heavy and ridiculously large, making it the least portable-friendly of the two, but focus on the keyword here: charging. I say that because the Sport Open Earbuds comes with with a standard carrying case that, while charming and easily transportable, has zero charging capabilities. You won’t even find a micro-USB or USB-C port anywhere on Bose’s case.   

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds: Comfort and fit

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Over-ear or in-ear? Pick your preference, but just know that each comes with their own perks and problems. While the Sport Open Earbuds’ (0.49 ounces per bud) approach to comfort and fit seem more feasible, at least in theory, the Powerbeats Pro (0.39 ounces per bud) is better suited for exercising. The angled nozzle wraps around the ear to lock the buds in place, while the tips create a decent seal that provides more consistent isolation. 

It's not perfect, though; the Powerbeats Pro can apply unwanted pressure on the concha after about an hour of wear. You likely won’t notice any pain during workouts, but you should still be aware of this if you decide to use the buds for casual listening. Furthermore, pressing the buttons on a consistent basis may cause discomfort since it pushes the buds further into your ears.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

For for the size of its buds, the Sport Open Earbuds isn't exactly light, nor is it made for all ear sizes. You have to squeeze the top flap of your ear through the loop design, which is already difficult for thin and small ears, therefore making it tougher for anyone with thick and wide ears. If not properly adjusted, the buds can also pinch the antihelix and fossa. Even more worrisome is fit, as slight movements like jerking your head or pressing the buttons can cause the buds to slip out on occasion. 

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Controls

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Physical buttons and motion sensors make up the control scheme on both sets of headphones, and the Sport Open Earbuds will apparently support touch functionality at a later date.   

The Powerbeats Pro offers more input methods, with volume rockers and the Beats logo operating as a multifunctional button. Tactility is great on all of the buttons, ensuring that all intended commands are executed with every press. Another awesome control is “Hey Siri” voice activation, so you can fire off voice commands after repeating the phrase and receive results quickly. The Powerbeats Pro also supports Google Assistant, which works well on Android devices.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Bose didn’t put too much thought into the Sport Open Earbuds’ controls, settling for a a multifunction button on the bottom of each bud to perform basic commands through the use of single or multi-press gestures. Button placement isn’t ideal, especially since it affects fit, but one positive is that you get solid tactility and responsiveness with pressing them. 

There are no on-board volume controls, though Bose says that a March software update will add them, stating that “slowly tapping on the center of each earbud” will enable them. This suggests that the buds do already have touch controls, so why didn’t Bose just program them from the jump?   

Siri and Google Assistant are available on the Sport Open Earbuds as well, with Bose’s mic array demonstrating excellent speech recognition. The only complaint is that there is some lag when turning on the feature.   

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds: Audio quality

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

As previously mentioned, these two pairs of buds offer different listening experiences. Audio quality is satisfying no matter which one you choose, but the Powerbeats Pro offers fuller, more energetic sound to appease fitness buffs. Apple did a fantastic job of balancing out the Beats’ sound signature without compromising bass.   

Lows still pack a mean punch, mids are tighter, and highs are more audible on orchestral productions, though they can sound recessed when blasting music at max volume. Vocal reproduction is arguably the most striking sonic detail on the Powerbeats Pro, as musicians sound crisper and aren’t veiled behind the overly loose bass response associated with past Beats releases. This also makes the buds a noteworthy choice for podcasts and video content.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Not having a sound port that slides directly into the ear works against the Sport Open Earbuds, as the music you hear will lack totality. You won’t feel the full impact of certain instruments as you would from an in-ear model. That isn’t to say these earbuds don’t produce impressive sound. Bose’s OpenAudio technology creates a warm sound signature with punchy bass, but not enough to send a shot of adrenaline through your ear canal. Personally, I think the buds are better suited for casual listening, with jazz records being a highlight; instrument separation and reverberation are superb.   

If sound is what you value most, then go with the one model capable of offering more compelling listens, which would be the Powerbeats Pro.   

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds: Special features and apps

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Like the Apple AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro is also integrated with Apple’s ecosystem, granting you stellar performance on iOS/macOS devices as well as access to exclusive software perks on those platforms. However, Beats did create an Android app to check battery life of both the earbuds and charging case, as well as download firmware updates. That’s not much, but the good news is that the buds already come packed with some useful features that don’t require an app, thanks to the H1 chip.   

With Apple’s latest processor at the helm, you get 50% more talk time, instantaneous connectivity, and the aforementioned “Hey Siri” feature at your disposal. Newer additions like Announce Messages, automatic switching, Live Listen, and audio sharing between two Apple or Beats headphones are part of the package as well. Playing around with your iPhone settings will reveal other hidden features like the ability to enable mono or stereo mode, turn Auto Play on/off, and customize audio via Headphones Accommodation toggle. 

The SoundID app also supports the Powerbeats Pro and calibrates each earbud based on several factors (like hearing abilities and listening preferences) to reproduce sound the way musicians intended you to hear it.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Opening the case automatically turns on Pairing Mode, but Beats’ charging case also has a button to perform this operation manually. This is perfect if ever the buds struggle to re-pair with recognized devices; believe me when I say this is incredibly helpful on Android devices.  

As for the Sport Open Earbuds, it does support the rebranded Bose Music app, but none of the software's standout features. Functionality is limited to music and volume controls, how-to guides, and several toggle controls. That means no built-in EQ, Find My Buds setting, or transparency mode. Then again, the Powerbeats Pro doesn't have a transparency mode either, but at least it has more features to work with.

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Open Earbuds: Call quality

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

The Powerbeats series has always rewarded us with serviceable calling headsets, but Beats went on to strengthen the call quality on the Powerbeats Pro. Its beamforming mics block out a decent number of external sounds and allow for both loud and clear communication, though you will want to be mindful of using the buds in high-traffic areas. They struggle with wind as well, but many of the people I spoke to were still able to make out most of what I said when chatting in drafty conditions.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Considering the category-leading performance of the QuietComfort Earbuds, expectations were high for the Sport Open Earbuds to match that same level of calling excellence. Well, prepare for disappointment, again. Bose’s two-mic array doesn’t do the greatest job of increasing the speaker’s vocal presence and reducing background noises. Wind resistance is even worse. Only in silent settings will you be able to take calls on these buds.   

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds: Battery life

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

The Powerbeats Pro set the standard for lengthy playtimes when it originally launched: 9 hours on a single charge. That is double what the AirPods Pro offers, though, in reality, it’s about 8 hours when taking volume and special features into account. Still, this is enough to keep you entertained during daily workouts for about a week. 

There's even a motion accelerometer that automatically enables a power-save mode when placing the buds on a flat surface. What really gives these buds an edge over the competition is the monstrous charging case that holds up to 24 hours and supports Fast-Fuel technology to get you 4.5 hours of use on a 15-minute charge.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Battery life has been poor on all of Bose’s wireless earbuds. The company finally heard our pleas, giving the Sport Open Earbuds the longest playtime of any current Bose model: 8 hours on a single charge. Our testing found this to be pretty accurate, and the buds should suffice for about a week’s worth of listening. 

So, what’s the bad news? Again, there's no charging case, meaning you have no portable solution to recharge the buds if they die on commutes. You only get a wired charging base, which is not something anyone wants to carry around. On top of that, quick charging times are longer (30 minutes for 3 hours of use), and the reported discharge times are inconsistent.

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Open Earbuds: Overall winner

This was a shellacking on behalf of Beats, as the Powerbeats Pro prove to be a far superior pair of wireless sport earbuds on all fronts. Audio is some of the best in the category, greatly improved when compared to older Powerbeats models and the AirPods Pro. We also love that it takes on many of the same features as Apple's premium earbuds, with the exception of signature features like ANC and spatial audio, though there's still lots to play with. The secure wrap-around design and handsome aesthetics add to the value as well.

Beats Powerbeats ProBose Sport Open Earbuds
Price and value (5)43
Design (15)1311
Comfort and fit (10)86
Controls (15)1210
Audio quality (20)1715
Special features and apps (15)115
Call quality (10)86
Battery life (10)96
Total score (100)8262

Credit Bose for trying something new in the sporty and true wireless categories, but the Sport Open Earbuds just isn't equipped to compete with the market’s top offerings. The ultramodern design is an eye-catcher, and the designers deserve some praise for figuring out how to output sound effectively without placing the buds directly into your ears. But the unstable fit, along with mediocre call quality and the extremely limited features, make it a much harder sell.