Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods

Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPodsThe age of wireless headphones is well and truly upon us.  Headphone technology is progressing quickly and now the industry has moved onto cordless headphones.  The Apple AirPods have been leading the way in this field, but there are some strong competitors arriving.  One of the strongest is the Bose SoundSport Free.  Bose’s first foray into the cordless market develops upon the hugely popularSoundSport range.  We did a comparison a while back for the Bose SoundSport Wireless headphones and the Powerbeats3 headphones, and now we will do the same for theSoundSport Free headphones.  So here is my Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods review.

Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods

Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods

Design

When you compare the promotional material for the Bose SoundSport Free and Apple AirPods, it is quite clear who they are designed for.

The SoundSport Free are always shown in the ears of someone who’s sweating and panting in the middle of a work out. The AirPods are usually shown in a variety of everyday situations, not just when exercising.

Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods

The AirPods are have a sleek and futuristic white housing. When they were first introduced they looked a bit different, but now people have started to get used to them.  People will no recognise that you are wearing AirPods and gone are the days where you will get weird looks for wearing them!

The SoundSport Free have a more conventional design, but they still look great.  They do seem to be designed for sport, but I don’t think they would look out of place being worn in other everyday situations.

Both headphones look pretty good and it is a tough call.  So it is a tight first round of the Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods contest.  The AirPods win on originality, but the simple design of the SoundSport Free headphones means they win for me.

Winner Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods: Bose SoundSport Free

Comfort

Because the SoundSport Free were designed with sports and active lifestyle in mind, they are super comfortable and fit extremely securely. The secure and comfortable fit can be largely attributed to the StayHear+ eartips, which come with the earbuds in three sizes.  They give you a pretty good chance of achieving a fantastic fit regardless of how large or small your ears are.

The StayHear+ eartips have a very shallow insert and thus don’t isolate much outside noise. Considering the SoundSport Free are primarily meant for sports, this can be both good and bad. The lack of noise isolation doesn’t help when you want to cover up the music playing in the gym with your own selection of blood-pumping songs.  However, it ensures that you won’t run into someone or something when exercising outside.

Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods

The AirPods are similar to the SoundSport Free with regard to noise isolation.  However, they are a bit hit and miss when it comes to comfort.  As they are designed as a one size fits all headphone, they might fit some people and not others.  You either love them or hate them.  Apple may have tried to design them in order to fit everyone, but this is a pretty difficult thing to achieve.

However, if you find the normal wired Apple EarPods fit you well, then these will probably fit you well too.  Maybe head down to your local Apple shop to give them a try.  If you do, shake your head a bit in order to see how well they stay in your ears.

In conclusion, the winner has to be the Bose SoundSport Free headphones again.  Because of their snug, in ear design they win hands down against the AirPods.

Winner Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods: Bose SoundSport Free

Pairing and Battery Life

The AirPods pairing is very impressive to Apple’s W1 chip. The chip was designed to seamlessly provide a connection to Apple devices with a single tap for the first pairing and no user input at all for every subsequent paring. All you need to do is simply open the charging case, and every Apple device that supports Apple’s new pairing process will recognize the earbuds immediately.  Pretty cool

In the case that you have an Android device the AirPods will pair just like any other Bluetooth earbuds.  The same applies for the SoundSport Free from Bose.

Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods

However, as cool and convenient as Apple’s pairing process is, we don’t think that life’s too difficult without it. After the initial pairing, your Android device will recognize and connect to both the AirPods and the SoundSport Free earbuds automatically.  So all in all pretty simple.

What is more important than the pairing process is battery life.  The one downside to wireless headphones is that you could me int he middle of listening to your favourite song and then the battery runs out.  Not something that would happen with traditional wired headphones.  Therefore a good battery life is essential.  Both the AirPods and the SoundSport Free can last up to 5 hours on a charge.  However, the charging case of the SoundSport Free can only charge the earbuds twice while the charging case of the AirPods manages five charges.

All in all it is pretty close between both sets of headphones.  But due to the superior charging and the nice pairing functionality with Apple device, the AirPods in this round.

Winner Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods: Apple AirPods

Sound

There is a strong possibility you already know what the Apple EarPods sound like.  Most of us have worn the famous white headphone at some point in our lives.  You will there know that they sound average.  They do the job and nothing more, as most people who use them got them free with their iPhone.

However, the AirPods sound noticeably better than the EarPods, but not significantly. They have a fairly wide soundstage and warm, vibrant sound that fits most music genres.  The AirPods do not have a really deep low end with deep bass that really resonates, which is disappointing.

If bass is something that you love, then the SoundSport Free headphones are the choice for you.  Like their Bose SoundSport Wireless sibling, their bass extends very deep and has enough punch to make bass-heavy music exciting and movies exciting. The amplitude of the bass is magnified by the fairly narrow soundstage, which makes you feel as if you were right on the stage with the band.

Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods

The one area where the AirPods obliterate the SoundSport Free is phone calls.  The AirPods are much clearer than the and the microphone does a far better job at capturing your voice.  The SoundSport Free the sound only comes out of the right earbud, and the microphone is just about ok.

The AirPods contain optical sensors and motion accelerometers that work with the W1 chip to automatically control the audio and engage a pair of beam-forming microphones. As a result, your voice always comes through loud and clear, as if you were standing right next to the person you’re talking with.  So pretty cool basically.

However, what do you really buy headphones for? Making phone calls or listening to music.  I personally believe the latter on balance.  So with that in mind the winner of this section has to be the Bose SoundSport Free headphones.

Winner Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods: Bose SoundSport Free

Verdict

Even though the AirPods have been designed with Apple devices in mind, they work great even with Android smartphones and tablets and offer balanced sound, great battery life, and excellent versatility.  Whilst the SoundSport Free headphones are geared towards active people I feel their use can be transferred into all walks of life.

If you have at least one Apple device, then going for the Apple AirPods would be a good move.  Even if you don’t they are still are a great pair of headphones and work well with other devices.

However as you can tell I really like the Bose SoundSport Free headphones.  I love the Bose SoundSport Wireless headphones and feel the SoundSport Free could be just as popular.  They look good, they sound good, they feel good.  What is not to like?

Winner Bose SoundSport Free vs Apple AirPods: Bose SoundSport Free

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