Bose Soundsport review

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Bose SoundSport review
(Image credit: Bose)

With so many smartphones going without headphone jacks these days, it’s wise to invest in a good pair of wireless earbuds. Especially if you want a pair to wear while exercising: you don’t want a cable dangling down your shirt as you run, or try to do sit-ups.

The Bose SoundSport offer a compromise between wired headphones and true wireless earbuds. The in-ear modules connect via a cable that sits behind your head, but otherwise connect wirelessly over Bluetooth. Best of all, they offer Bose’s signature audio quality making them a great set of earbuds whether you're working out or relaxing at home. Keep reading our Bose SoundSport review to find out why these are some of the best Bose headphones you can buy.

Bose Soundsport review: Design

The Bose Soundsport earbuds are some of the bulkiest Bluetooth headphones I've worn. At 0.8 ounces, they're much heavier than the 0.5-ounce Under Armour JBL Wireless Headphones.

Bose SoundSport review

(Image credit: Bose)

Each bud protrudes pretty far, which made me more than a bit concerned they'd go flying out of my ears when I started moving. Much to my relief, they stayed put, even during runs. A small silicone winglet, which hugs the inner contour of your ear, kept the buds in place no matter what. Bose also includes two alternate-size wings for different ear sizes.

Bose SoundSport review

I found Bose's earbuds to be more comfortable to wear than the JBL set, which felt much tighter in my ear, no matter which of the inserts I used.

Bose SoundSport review

Connecting each bud is a wire, which has in-line controls that can be used to raise and lower the volume, and play, pause or advance tracks. If the Soundsport is connected to an iPhone, pressing and holding the middle button on the controls will activate Siri.

Bose SoundSport review

Another small but reassuring feature was a small clip on the wire, which I hooked onto my collar to make sure that even if the buds popped out, they wouldn't go too far. I also found that the clip helped to keep the wire from catching on my neck when I turned my head to the right or left.

MORE: Best Headphones and Earbuds for Enjoying Music

Bose Soundsport review: Performance

I tested the Bose Soundsport in two different scenarios. The first simulated how I would use it on a daily basis: connected to my iPhone 6s, with the phone in my pocket, walking around. Next, I connected the Soundsport to a Samsung Gear Fit 2 (worn on my left wrist), and went for a run.

Bose SoundSport review

With my iPhone, the Soundsport maintained a steady connection no matter what. I never experienced any drops or hiccups in music, even when I turned my head to either side. By comparison, the Under Armour JBL Wireless Headphones would start skipping when I turned my head to the right, and the Motorola Verve Ones+ constantly cut out, no matter what I was doing.

On a run, the Soundsport would skip on occasion, but no more than once every few minutes, and the sound came back within a second.

While the Soundsport is sweat-resistant, some users reported that the headphones stopped working under "heavy sweat" conditions. I took the Soundsport out for a fairly sweaty run, but didn't experience the same issue. However, Bose has diagnosed the problem, and will replace any earphones that have been damaged as a result of excess perspiration.

Bose SoundSport review

I never experienced any drops or hiccups in music, even when I turned my head to either side.

Audio quality, as you might imagine from a Bose product, was excellent. The thumping bass line in Eminem's "Lose Yourself" helped me keep my pace up, without overwhelming me with low-end noise. Like other Bose headphones, the audio profile is balanced, so you won't hear the overblown bass that's common on many other headphones.

Bose SoundSport review

(Image credit: Bose)

A smartphone app for Android and iOS lets you keep the Soundsports' firmware up-to-date, but isn't very useful otherwise. I wish it had a method to switch audio profiles, for instance.

Bose Soundsport review: Battery life

The Soundsports' built-in battery should provide up to 6 hours of playtime; that's 2 hours longer than the Jaybird Freedom, but 2 hours less than the Under Armour JBL headphones.

Bose Soundsport review: Verdict

Despite their bulk, the Bose Soundsports are comfortable to wear, and deliver clean and mostly uninterrupted audio, whether you're on the move or sitting at your desk. And, at $129, they're no more expensive than rivals like the Jaybird Tarah Pro, making this Bose product competitive in more ways than one.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.