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Bose SoundSport Pulse vs Powerbeats 3

Wireless headphones are on the rise and there is nothing we can do about it.  With the introduction of the Apple Airpods it is clear consumers are being conditioned to ‘go wireless’.  As a result the market has become increasingly flooded by wireless headphone options.  However, due to marketing budgets and brand awareness certain wireless headphones come to mind more than others.  Whilst not a headphone purists choice, Beats by Dre, are very popular and well known.  Bose also have fantastic brand awareness, and are very popular with casual music listeners the world over.  As such this article will be reviewing two popular and very similar wireless in ear headphones.  Those headphones are the Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless and Beats Powerbeats 3.  This is our very own Bose SoundSport Pulse vs Powerbeats 3 review.

Both sets of headphones are designed for the wireless age.  For those who like to listen to music without the hassle of wires, whether in the gym or on the train.  Both headphones are very similar in spec and in style, so this review will hopefully give the ultimate verdict.  Read on to see which headphones are the best in our Bose SoundSport Pulse vs Powerbeats 3 review.

Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless vs Powerbeats 3 – quick comparison

Bose SoundSport Pulse vs Powerbeats 3 review

Sound Performance

This is arguably the most important part of the review.  If the headphones don’t sound very good, then what is the point in having them?  Thankfully both sets of headphones make the grade in terms of acceptable sound performance.

The Powerbeats 3 Wireless are probably the company’s biggest success yet.  They go really loud without distorting, there’s plenty of finer detail, and they’re not overly punchy in the bass as has so often been levelled at Beats products.

With regard to the Bose SoundSport headphones, the sound is very good. It’s rich and smooth, with powerful bass that’s particularly handy if you’re running out in a noisy environment, which can cut down the perceived bass level.  Furthermore, more important than anything else, the SoundSport headphones sound fun.  They are easy to listen to for hours on end, which is great for long workout or commutes.  A focus on enjoyment rather than insight or ultra-precision detail won’t please everyone, but it’s a perfect fit for this style of earphone.

In conclusion, both headphones sound good considering they are both wireless and aimed at the sports and exercise market.  However, on balance, the SoundSport Pulse headphones outshine the Powerbeats 3.  On sound performance alone, the Bose SoundSport Pulse win.

Winner: Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless

Features

The Beats Powerbeats 3 have Apple’s excellent W1 chip inside.  When you turn the Powerbeats 3 on, if you have an iPhone7, it will automatically pick them up.  Gone are the days where you have to go to settings or fiddle around on your phone.  It’s a great feature if you have the right kit.

The Wireless connectivity is also fantastic.  Usually you have to strap your phone to your arm or put it in a bottle holder on a running machine, but with the Powerbeats 3 you can leave it in your locker and still make use of your headphones whilst exercising.  The wireless range is quite impressive

Battery life is 12 hours.  Whilst you are unlikely to use them for that period of time in one go, you can go a whole week with these headphones without the need to recharge them.  That’s a big benefit if you often forget to charge your headphones.  Furthermore if you do find your Powerbeats 3 are dead before a training session, the new Fast Fuel feature means you can get an hour of music from a five minute charge.

Powerbeats 3 - SoundSport Pulse vs Powerbeats 3

With regard to the Bose SoundSport Pulse you can expect around five hours of battery life from the SoundSport Pulse.  That should give you a half a week of commutes, or 4 or 5 gym sessions.  You could squeeze a weeks usage out of the, but it is unlikely.  However, a 15 minute charge should get you one hours use, so you can top them up quickly if you do run out of power.

On balance, given its easy connectivity, better battery life and wireless range, the Powerbeats 3 just about wins in terms of features.  However, it is worth bearing in mind you only really get the benefit of the Powerbeats 3 features if you use it with an iPhone 7 or devices that have the new W1 chipsets.

Winner: Beats Powerbeats 3

Design

Both headphones look clean, modern and attractive.  Both sets of headphones come in a variety of colours.  The Powerbeats 3 for example come in White, Blue, Black, Yellow and Red.

The Powerbeats 3 keep well in your ears through vigorous exercise and movement.  They come with a selection of earbuds so you can find your best fit.  The cable management clip is not that useful.  It is supposed to tighten the band around your neck. Maybe if you feel your cable might get trapped in a machine at the gym, but you can remove it and lighten the load a bit if you don’t need it.  Ditching the rubber charging port cover makes it easier to hook up a micro-USB cable, and sweat or rain getting inside won’t be a problem.

It’s also a shame Beats kept with the micro-USB. It means Apple owners will have to carry an extra cable around, rather than use their existing Lightning cables like they can with the BeatsX wired in-ears.

The RemoteTalk inline mic is also of very high quality. Each button makes a deep, tangible click, so you can always tell when you’ve pressed one.

The SoundSport Pulse use a standard flexible neckband design, with a cable connecting the two earbuds that goes behind your head. Unlike the truly wireless earbuds that are becoming more prevalent, the wire does at least ensure your headphones won’t go missing when moving around.

The familiar Bose wingtips make a return, but the StayHear+ Pulse wingtips are an improvement over older versions by using a more supple material.  The wingtips catch on your outer ear and, alongside the silicone tips that go into your ear canal, ensure the headphones stay put and a clothing clip is included you can use to secure the cable behind your neck.

In conclusion, both headphones look very nice, they are well designed and comfortable for everyday use.  However, on balance the SoundSport Pulse win due to their general look, feel and the effect wingtip design.

Winner: Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless

Comfort

As far as comfort goes, Bose’s wingtips are right up there with the best.  They are secure and never feel like they will fall out in sprints or when exercising.  Each earpiece is reasonably large and protrudes about a centimetre, but the wingtips help offset the weight and lock them in place. A range of sizes are included in the box, so you shouldn’t struggle to find a size suitable for your ears.

Like the SoundSport Pulse the Powerbeats 3 headphones have a selection of earbuds that you choose to fit your ears, however, whilst they are comfortable, just do not feel as nice as the SoundSport Pulse

With a super-comfortable and secure fit, the SoundSport Pulse are one of the most comfortable in ears headphones I have worn.  They can be worn for long periods of time in one go and they are perfect for exercise or everyday use.

Winner: Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless

Bose SoundSport Pulse

Verdict

In conclusion, the winner has to be the Bose SoundSport Pulse headphones.

The Powerbeats3 are probably the company’s biggest success yet. They go really loud without distorting, there’s plenty of finer detail, and they’re not overly punchy in the bass as has so often been levelled at Beats products.  The RemoteTalk mic deserves more praise, too.  It is very effective microphone and can be used with ease whilst running or even riding on a bike where it has to compete with wind noise and traffic.

Beats hasn’t managed to shake off a reputation for shoddy sound quality, whilst the Powerbeats 3 sound great, they are not in the same league of the SoundSport Pulse.

The SoundSport Pulse feel great to wear and they sound great.  Furthermore they are of excellent build quality and have a more refined and stylish look and feel compared to the Powerbeats 3.  The battery time is not as great as the Powerbeats 3, however it is perfectly fine.  The SoundSport Pulse are a great option for fitness enthusiasts and those wanting a great quality set of wireless earphones.

Winner: Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless

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