Skip to main content

Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones review

The Bose SoundSport is a decent pair of sporty earbuds at just too high a price

Bose SoundSport review

Our Verdict

Bose's SoundSport in-ear headphones provide balanced audio in a compact, sporty package, but the price is pretty steep.

For

  • Overall balanced sound
  • Sleek, sporty design
  • Sweat- and water-resistant

Against

  • Expensive
  • Relatively weak bass

Tom's Guide Verdict

Bose's SoundSport in-ear headphones provide balanced audio in a compact, sporty package, but the price is pretty steep.

Pros

  • + Overall balanced sound
  • + Sleek, sporty design
  • + Sweat- and water-resistant

Cons

  • - Expensive
  • - Relatively weak bass

With a sporty, comfortable design, the Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones are made for those who need buds that can withstand regular, intense workouts. And, with balanced audio quality, these earbuds are worthy of a spot in the Bose family. We tested out the $129 SoundSport earbuds to see if they were worth sticking in your ears.

Bose SoundSport review: Price and availability

The Bose SoundSport were once $149, a price that has since dropped to $129. That's still pretty pricey for what you get, however.

Nonetheless, if you want to pick up a pair, you have a choice of Amazon, Dell, Sweetwater or Bose itself.

Bose SoundSport review: Design

The Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones look as athletic as the people who would wear them. I buds I reviewed were colored in black and muted cerulean blue, with prominent C-shaped ear tips. The cord is ribboned in black and blue, as is the inline remote, which features a volume rocker and multifunction button for answering calls and pausing music. The earbuds are sweat- and water-resistant.

Bose SoundSport review

Bose provides three different sizes of ear tips, which are crucial to finding the right fit. I settled on the large, as they flexed to fill the openings in my ear. These earbuds don't seal off your ear canal, so you will be able to hear the outside world. In the gym, however, the SoundSport did a good job of blocking the music jamming over the loudspeakers and most of the machines.

Bose includes a round, compact carrying case with an attached carabiner, which makes it easy to clip it to the inside of a gym bag or pocketbook.

It's important to note that there are two models of the Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones. I used the ones made for iOS devices, and there’s another model made for Android devices. They both cost the same, so make sure you get the right ones for your smartphone, so you can make calls and control music from the inline remote.

Bose SoundSport review: Comfort and fit

Like the Street by 50 In-Ear Wired Sport from SMS Audio, the Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones come with silicone tips (which sit in your ear canal) and C-shaped wings, which fit into the side of your ear to better secure the earbuds when you're moving.

While Bose supplies three different sizes of tips, they're connected to the wings. In contrast, the Street by 50 In-Ear Wired Sport from SMS Audio headphones have separate ear tips and wings, giving you more fit options.

The Bose SoundSport felt superlight on my ears, and they never fell out during a workout or when they had to withstand a strong gust of wind. However, the Street by 50 In-Ear Wired Sport earbuds provide a more secure fit and better noise isolation.

Bose SoundSport review: Sound quality

The Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones pump out great sound across all genres. I zoned out to the twangy guitars in Luke Bryan's "Checkin' Out" because I felt like they were being strummed right in front of me. When I switched to Chayanne's "Madre Tierra (Oye)," my ears were treated to a buzzy electric keyboard, punchy drums and the singer's upbeat vocals.

Bose SoundSport review

However, I do wish the SoundSport delivered more bass. In Kanye West's "Love Lockdown," the bass sounded weak until I cranked up the volume to eardrum-crushing levels. SMS Audio's Wired In-Ear headphones were much better in this regard. The drums boomed and vocals roared in Imagine Dragons' "I Bet My Life," urging me to go for a run even when I was sitting at my desk.

Bose SoundSport review: Verdict

Bose's SoundSport in-ear headphones are some pretty sleek earbuds. Their basic yet sporty design will appeal to athletes who want a pair of no-fuss music makers, and their solid audio quality is nothing less than what you'd expect from the Bose name.

However, $129 is pretty steep for wired sport headphones. While they're not as attractive, the SMS Audio Street by 50 Wired In-Ear Sport ($38 to $79 on Amazon) provide stronger bass and more fit options for a much more affordable price. If you trust the Bose brand, these buds will satisfy, but they're not the best value.

Follow Valentina Palladino at@valentinalucia. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide and on Facebook.

Valentina Palladino

Valentina is Commerce Editor at Engadget and has covered consumer electronics for a number of publications including Tom's Guide, Wired, Laptop Mag and Ars Technica, with a particular focus on wearables, PCs and other mobile tech.