The Bose SoundSport Free headphones offer that premium Bose audio quality you can't find anywhere else, with a snug and customized fit, which help the earbuds stick in your ears better. However, the battery life could be better and the bulky design isn't everyone's cup of tea.
- Snug fit.
- impressive sound quality.
- IPX4 rating.
- Less battery life.
- Bulky design.
With a seamless iPhone pairing process, and a case that holds up to 24 hours of charge, there's no reason not to carry the AirPods with you everywhere. The audio quality is lower than the Bose, and the design of the earbuds lets a lot of outside sound into your ears while listening.
- Automatically pairs with iPhone.
- Charging case with 24 hours of battery life.
- Wireless charging case
- Hey, Siri compatible
- Auto pause.
- Poorer audio quality.
- No sound isolation.
When you break down the specs of both these devices side-by-side, the differences are mainly in the battery life, connection style, and water-resistant categories.
AirPods have the advantage when it comes to battery life, in almost every way. While both devices are quoted for five hours of battery life for the earbuds, both the SoundSport Free and the AirPods comes with charging cases that hold additional battery power. The case for the AirPods clocks in at an impressive extra 24 hours of battery, while the Bose SoundSport Free's only offer about 10 hours. Furthermore, the AirPods can give you up to three hours of listening time from a quick 15-minute charge in its case while the Bose can only get a measly 45 minutes.
Bose's biggest advantage on specs is its IPX4 water resistance rating, meaning it's sweat-resistant giving you the peace of mind you need to know you can break a sweat at the gym with the earbuds getting damaged. AirPods have no such classification, so while you can wear them at the gym, you do so at your own risk.
Bose also beats the AirPods in another category. Though neither the Bose SoundSport Free or AirPods have official noise-cancellation technology, the Bose pair of wireless earbuds come much closer than AirPods Their super-customized silicone earbuds offer a variety of fits for small and big ears alike, which allows the Bose SoundSport Free to isolate the sound from the outside world. It's not true noise cancellation, but Bose offers a better experience while listening to music in a crowded and noisy place.
A big win for the AirPods is their Apple-specific features thanks to the H1 chip. Pairing is an absolute breeze, and the AirPods offer Auto Pause when you remove an earbud, and that same accelerometer technology lets the AirPods automatically connect when you remove them from their case. If you plan on using your wireless earbuds with an iPhone, AirPods are the most seamless and simple to use option out there.
|Bose SoundSport Free||AirPods|
|Battery life||5 hours||5 hours|
|Battery life of case||10 hours||24 hours|
|Fast charging||15 mins = 45 mins||15 mins = 3 hours|
Of course, there are the differences you can't really put on a spec sheet, like just how seamless the AirPods integration into the Apple ecosystem or just how fantastic the Bose SoundSport Free sound.
Although the design is a bit bulky and may not be everyone's cup of tea, the Bose SoundSport Free truly sound amazing. Bose has been in the audio game for a long time and their balanced, rich soundscapes that provide wonderfully warm bass and crisp treble tones are truly remarkable. Earbuds often get a bad rap for sounding bad as a whole, but the SoundSport Free's challenge that notion in a big way.
If you plan on using your wireless earbuds solely (or mostly) with your iPhone, AirPods 2 are an incredible piece of technology that Apple has worked hard at making the ultimate audio accessory. The H1 chip provides a smooth and seamless experience when it comes to not only pairing but controlling your whole iPhone from the AirPods.
If you want sound quality over price, go with Bose
Bottom line: The Bose SoundSport Free has the superior sound quality due to a more snug fit in your ear, and if you don't plan on using them with an iPhone, you won't ever miss the H1 chip.
IPX4 and a customized fit
The snug fit, great sound quality, and IPX4 certification make the SoundSport Free a great option if you're in the market for truly wireless workout earbuds. They're not exactly affordable at $200, but you're getting your money's worth.
AirPods have a better all-around package, especially for Apple users
On the flip side to that argument, the battery life, fast-charging capabilities, and the sheer usefulness that the H1 chip provides iPhone and iPad users is so fantastic, that if sound quality isn't the single most important thing to you, the AirPods are worth some serious consideration. PLus, if you don't feel like you need the wireless charging case for your AirPods, you can pick these up for $40 less.
Superb for Apple users
With all the polish and style that only Apple can provide, AirPods offer a fantastic balanced sound and a charging case that can provide you with power for an entire day. With superb voice-control through Siri and excellent microphones for audio calls, you never have to take the AirPods out of your ears.
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.
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