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Bose Sport Open Earbuds Review

These unique high-quality athletically-inclined earbuds are excellent for high-intensity activity without blocking out your surroundings
Bose Sport Open Earbuds
Credit: Bose
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $199 List | $199.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Unique design, sound quality, battery life
Cons:  No charging case, heavy, no noise cancellation
Manufacturer:   Bose
By Michelle Powell and John Giammona Wilber  ⋅  Jul 29, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 14
  • Sound Quality - 30% 9
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Athletic Performance - 20% 9
  • Battery Life - 15% 8
  • Portability - 10% 5
  • Ease of Use - 5% 8

Our Verdict

Are you somebody who appreciates a bit of eccentricity in their tech? Have you also marched by the beat of your own drum, and do you appreciate products that do the same? Then perhaps the Bose Open Sport true wireless "earbuds" are the choice for you. The Open Sports barely count as earbuds as they don't actually fit into your ear. Instead, the devices hook around and over your ear in a way that is so comfortable and secure during athletic performance that we couldn't think of a better product to award as our top choice for outdoor pursuits.

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Price $199 List
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Pros Unique design, sound quality, battery lifeSound quality, secure fit, water resistance, very portable, battery life, great in-app EQGreat price for high performance, good sound quality, portability, charging caseGood for working out, low profile design, relatively inexpensiveInexpensive for a truly wireless pair, fairly portable
Cons No charging case, heavy, no noise cancellationNoise cancellation only averageBulky, uncomfortable for long periodsMay not fit large ears well, average sound quality and comfort, not true wireless, no charging caseNot comfortable for extended wear, insecure when used for athletic endeavors
Bottom Line These unique high-quality athletically-inclined earbuds are excellent for high-intensity activity without blocking out your surroundingsOur favorite earbuds to recommend combine great sound with a secure fit and impressive battery life to keep up with your lifestyleA quality, high-scoring product with a price tag that won't break the bankDecent performance at a mid range price, this model is likely to have most appeal among athletes who don't mind the wireInexpensive earbuds that work well for light use
Rating Categories Bose Sport Open Ear... Jaybird Vista 2 Amazon Echo Buds (2... JBL Reflect Mini 2 Anker Soundcore Lib...
Sound Quality (30%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
Comfort (20%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Athletic Performance (20%)
9.0
10.0
7.0
8.0
3.0
Battery Life (15%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
4.0
Portability (10%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Ease Of Use (5%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Bose Sport Open Ear... Jaybird Vista 2 Amazon Echo Buds (2... JBL Reflect Mini 2 Anker Soundcore Lib...
Weight (oz) 1.04 0.47 0.47 0.54 0.4
Waterproof Rating IPX4 IP68 buds
IP54 case
IPX4 IPX5 IPX5
Measured Battery Life (hours) 9.5 9 5 11.5 3.5
Claimed Battery Life (hours) 8 8 5 10 3.5
Carrying Case? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charging Carrying Case? No Yes Yes No Yes
Wireless Charging Option? No Yes Yes No No
Microphone? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Protein shake? Drank. Legs? Stretched. Tunes? On. The Bose Open...
Protein shake? Drank. Legs? Stretched. Tunes? On. The Bose Open Sport earbuds provide thumping base and a secure fit to motivate you on your next training session.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sound Quality


The Bose Open Sport earbuds offer some of the best scoring sound quality we tested on true wireless earbuds. These buds sport pretty exceptional clarity- the music sounds balanced, clear, and immersive. You can very clearly hear all the pieces of the music weaving around and through each other and each ear. Despite how impressive the soundscape on these earbuds is, nothing holds a candle to the quality of bass that they use.


Of all of the Bluetooth earbuds that we tested, the Bose Open Sport is most impressive in terms of bass quality. It's fairly amazing—the little bit of distance that comes from the buds sitting outside your ear as opposed to inside seems to lend a fuller and deeper quality to lower tones. If you are a person who tends to listen to bass-heavy music, these earbuds are going to make you very happy. For somebody who demands blow-me-away audio quality from all of their tech, these buds are well worth the investment.

Active Noise Reduction


These buds do not feature ANR which is one of our very few qualms with the product. This is quickly becoming an industry standard. That said, due to the nature of this design, there isn't really a way to create noise cancellation with this pair. It's better to view this pair of earbuds as ones that are used primarily for outdoor exercise or human-powered transportation (i.e., bike commuting), where you can be entertained without losing track of your surroundings. Still, if you want noise cancellation, look elsewhere.

Comfort


The Bose Open Sport Bluetooth earbuds are "open" because they hook onto and around your ear instead of fitting inside of it. While this feature makes for some astounding sound quality, and the buds are designed to comfortably fit almost all ear shapes and sizes, they could feel slightly insecure on smaller ears. They also tend to be a bit uncomfortable for people with especially cartilage-heavy ears, and it's unlikely you could comfortably wear sunglasses and these earbuds simultaneously.


All this being said, the Bose Open Sports retain a comfortable and secure fit for the vast majority of users. Because they do not need to go inside of your ears, these buds didn't cause the same sort of pressure point induced discomforts that other in-ear buds tend to after periods of long wear. For most users, these earbuds will offer a unique fit that remains comfortable for long periods of wear even during more intensive listening sessions.

The wrap-around design is great for security or anyone who doesn't...
The wrap-around design is great for security or anyone who doesn't like the feelings of wearing earbuds.
Credit: Laura Casner

Athletic Performance


The Bose Open Sports are one of the top performing Bluetooth earbuds in our athletic performance tests. Once you conquer the very quick and easy process of putting these buds on correctly, you can actually hang your head completely upside down and they won't fall off. While extremely secure, these buds aren't the most water-resistance — they sport a middle of the road IPX4 water-resistance rating.


The Bose Open Sport earbuds are very comfortable for a variety of physical activities, however their 1.04 ounce heft has the potential to become uncomfortably heavy towards the end of major distance runs. Overall, these earbuds provide one of the most secure and high quality athletic performances in the market. While athletes engaged in the most intense extended workouts may begin to find them uncomfortable after several hours of use, this is definitely the exception, not the rule, for these very impressive buds.

These buds performed so well during athletic performance tests, our...
These buds performed so well during athletic performance tests, our testers didn't want to give them back.
Credit: Jason Peters

Battery Life


The Bose Open Sport earbuds list a fairly extensive full battery charge usage time of eight hours. We tested this claim by completely charging the buds and then having them play music continually until they ran out of juice. These earbuds actually exceeded their advertised full battery life—we were able to run them for nine and a half hours, a whole extra hour and a half of use from what was advertised. These buds can consistently and reliably hold a charge to extend through your entire workday or work-out.


Even for it being a non-charging case, the Bose Open Sport has a...
Even for it being a non-charging case, the Bose Open Sport has a nice case.
Credit: Jason Peters

Portability


While these earbuds were top-scorers in nearly every other metric, this was not the case for portability, and that's okay. The Bose Open Sports are heavy. They're actually the second-heaviest of all of the Bluetooth earbuds that we tested at a whopping 1.04 ounces. They're also pretty bulky when compared to other wireless earbuds, and if you're in a crowded or cramped area their curved shaped could catch on something. They come with a hard carrying case that, while protective and pocket-sized, doesn't charge the buds (they charge on a separate docking station).


Make no mistake, the Bose Open Sport earbuds, and their accessories, are very well made and high quality. They're just not built to prioritize portability. They're larger than most other earbuds, and their open ear design means that their shape isn't as compact as their competitors. And without a charging case, you only get one battery life out of each charge. If portability is the most important aspect of Bluetooth earbuds for you, you may want to invest in a different pair.

As with most modern Bose products, the look is refine and smooth...
As with most modern Bose products, the look is refine and smooth, even if these buds are necessarily bulkier than their in-ear competition.
Credit: Jason Peters

Ease of Use


The Bose Open Sport offers a pretty comprehensive user interface. There's a physical button, which handles most of the controls, along with a touch sensor you tap up or down to control the volume. For those folks who prefer even more precise control over their tech, a whole plethora of additional functionality and features are available through the Bose Music App. There's a navigation feature on the interface- a double press of the button on the right bud will pull up the next track, and three presses will bring you to the previous track. Overall, these Bluetooth earbuds are very easy to use and very difficult to mess up. Our testers' one criticism is that there could be some more customization options, but if you're somebody who primarily cares about your tech being simple, easy, and reliable, then these buds check all the boxes.


Touch sensors allow users to tap their way through songs, or pause...
Touch sensors allow users to tap their way through songs, or pause as necessary.
Credit: Jason Peters

Value


The Bose Open Sport earbuds are some of the most impressive Bluetooth earbuds on the market. Our testers loved their booming sound quality, secure athletic performance, and the unique over-and-around-the-ear design of the buds. At a middle of the road price compared to other innovative and high-end earbuds, these buds are far from the most expensive model we've reviewed, but they do represent a significant investment. If you are ready, able, and willing to spend two hundred dollars on earbuds, we think these buds represent an excellent value- especially if you're looking to bring consistent high-quality sound to outdoor work or workouts.

Conclusion


With their unique open-ear design, booming bass quality, and ability to stay secure through pretty strenuous activity, the Bose Open Sport Bluetooth earbuds are an excellent piece of technology and are a great choice for outdoor use, from bike commutes to half-marathons.

Michelle Powell and John Giammona Wilber