Home Article Bose SoundSport Free earbuds sound better than Airpods, but they re still lacking…

Bose SoundSport Free earbuds sound better than Airpods, but they re still lacking…

Bose SoundSport Free earbuds sound better than Airpods, but they’re still lacking

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Bose‘s SoundSport Free wireless earbuds sound better than Airpods, but the design, poorer battery life, and higher price translate into a poor Airpods substitute.

  • Have volume buttons on right earbud
  • Great sound quality with good bass
  • Water-repellent
  • Fit very snugly in ears
  • Audio lag makes them unusable for video
  • Large size
  • Bulky charging case
  • Charging case uses Micro USB
  • Only last up to 5 hours on one charge
  • Quick charging is slower than competitors

If you think Apple’s Airpods look goofy in your ears, you’re not going to like Bose’s SoundSport Free (opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) wireless earbuds. They’re arguably a bigger fashion blunder.

But if you can get over their bulbous size and middling battery life, you’ll find a pair of true wireless earbuds that sound very good — better than Airpods, in my opinion — whether you’re at your desk, running, or working out.

At 200, Bose’s wireless earbuds cost 40 more than the 160 Airpods. So, are they worth spending the extra dough?

Design and comfort

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

Look, I was the first to give Apple hell for making Airpods look so dorky. They still look ridiculous with their stems sticking out, but I’ve stopped caring about how they look. (Though I still chuckle whenever I see how terribly they fit in other people’s ears.)

The same mentality applies for the SoundSport Frees. They’re much larger than Airpods and look silly in your ears. It helps a little that they come in black (also in “midnight blue” with yellow accents and “bright orange” with blue accents) and don’t draw as much attention as the blinding white Airpods, but they’re still abnormally bulbous. Anyway, forget how they look.

Their larger size means they have one thing Airpods don’t: physical buttons. On the left earbud is a power/pairing button; on the right are buttons for volume and a middle button for play/pause/skipping tracks, accessing Siri, and accepting or ending phone calls. By contrast, Airpods have just a touch-sensitive button on the right bud, but it only lets you tap to play/pause or double-tap to call up Siri, which I find very limiting.

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

These buttons all work, but they’re a little stiff. I felt like I was going to accidentally yank the right earbud off when pressing them. This was especially noticeable during runs, as it’s a little more challenging to press them while in motion.

Otherwise, the SoundSport Frees fit pretty well in my ears. They come with three different “StayHear Sport Tips” — an all-in-one ear tip design with the “fin” or “ear hook.” Not gonna lie: I expected the big-sized earbuds to fall out, but they never did.

They’re also water-repellent, so they’ll survive a splash from the rain or a thorough sweating. Just don’t wear them in the shower or in the pool.

Pairing and using the Bose Connect app

Pairing the earbuds to your phone is easy once you’ve downloaded the app. You can also pair them through your device’s regular Bluetooth settings, but I had mixed reliability with it. For whatever reason, my iPhone X and Pixel 2 XL had trouble discovering the earbuds through the Settings apps.

Once the app detects the wireless earbuds, it simply asks you to slide down on the screen, and they’ll connect.

Unlike other headphone apps that usually come with features for adjusting a volume equalizer, the Bose Connect app doesn’t. It’s comparatively spartan.

On both the iOS and Android versions, you can use the “Find My Buds” feature to locate them. Like the similar Find My Airpods feature, the app only shows an approximation of where they were last; it doesn’t show you exactly where you left them. And you still need to play a sound or music to pinpoint them.

The iOS app also connects with Apple Music and shows your music, but I’m not sure why you’d ever do that, since the Apple Music app is right there. The Android app has no such integration with Apple Music.

Bose claims the SoundSport Frees have a 30-foot range from the paired audio source. I was able to get an even longer range than that, maintaining a solid connection between 40 and 50 feet away from my work desk. than that and the connection would drop out. Mind you, the Bluetooth connection connects through the right earbud, so if you lose that one, you’re screwed. Unlike Airpods, you can’t buy a single one of Bose’s earbuds separately. You’ll need to get brand new pair.

I also would have liked to see more detailed battery info in the app. It only shows the battery percentage for both earbuds total, but not for each individual earbud the way an iOS device does for Airpods.

Sound quality

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

Wireless earbuds aren’t usually known for sensational audio quality. As much as I love my Airpods, they’re average at best, barely better-sounding than EarPods.

The SoundSport Frees are a small step better than Airpods. There’s much clearer separation between the left and right earbuds. It’s especially noticeable on acoustic songs like “Real Friends” by Camila Cabello. The plucking of the guitar strings sounded more distinct and less muddled, even with noisy subway rails grinding in the real world background.

The wireless earbuds also pack just a little more oomph when it comes to bass. Listening to LOGIC — in particular, a track like “Wrist” where the bass pulses — I could really hear the low-end bellow through, even as Pusha T’s spitting his lyrics.

Daft Punk’s Random Access Memory sounded warmer to my ears, with with clearer mids and highs compared to on Airpods. One of my favorite tracks on the album, “Instant Crush,” sounded lighter, probably because of the wider sound stage.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the SoundSport Frees’ sound. They’re no substitute for a great pair of wired earbuds, but as far as true earbuds go, they’re great if sound quality is a top priority. That said, the better sound can be lost if you’re using them during a physical activity like running. It’s hard to hear a difference when you’re focused on pounding the pavement.

The only shortcoming I noticed with the SoundSport Free’s was playback for video. The wireless audio just can’t stay in sync with video at all. Many forum users have complained (opens in a new tab) about this, but Bose’s FAQ page (opens in a new tab) lists it as an issue that customers should be aware of, which pretty much rules out any firmware update from fixing it.

I tried watching YouTube and Netflix on my iPhone, iPad, Pixel 2 XL, MacBook Pro, MateBook Pro X, pretty much every platform available. The audio was always a second or two behind the video.

That’s annoying, and it sucks. If you’re thinking of buying these wireless earbuds and using them to watch video, you should consider a different pair, like Airpods. I’ve never experienced any latency issues using Airpods for video.

Battery life

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

Airpods last up to 8 hours on a single charge. Samsung’s Galaxy IconX 2018 earbuds last up to 5 hours, same as the SoundSport Free’s. Credit: BRIAN WONG/MASHABLE

There’s always a tradeoff when you decide to choose a pair of wireless headphones, and it’s all the more important to pay attention to that when looking for true wireless earbuds.

Because they’re more compact than over- or on-ear wireless headphones and don’t have a cable to attach a battery to — you know the ones I’m talking about, like the BeatsX, or OnePlus Bullets Wireless, or the many “neck buds” designs — the batteries are usually smaller and therefore don’t last as long.

Bose says the SoundSport Frees last up to 5 hours on a single charge, and that’s more or less what I got. Five hours of listening time is the same as what you get from Samsung’s Gear IconX 2018 true wireless earbuds, but it’s nowhere near the Airpods’ 8 hours of continuous battery life.

The charging case provides two additional charges, good for another 10 hours, so the wireless earbuds should be able to last up to a full work week if you’re only using them for a 1-hour commute like I did. But that still pales in comparison to the four extra full charges the Airpods case affords.

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

The SoundSport Free charging case (center) is HUGE compared to the Gear IconX 2018 (left) and Airpods (right). Credit: BRIAN WONG/MASHABLE

One thing Bose could have improved is quick charging. With Airpods, a 15-minute drop in its charging case gives you 3 hours of battery life; a 15-minute charge gets the Gear IconX an hour of battery life; and a 10-minute charge on the OnePlus Bullets Wireless gets you 5 hours of power.

On the SoundSport Free, a 15-minute charge is only good for 45 minutes of listening time. That’s way below its competition and kind of embarrassing when they’re also more expensive.

Good wireless earbuds, but no Airpods

The Bose SoundSport Free wireless earbuds released last fall for 250. At the time, there was no way I would’ve recommended them over 160 Airpods or 200 Gear IconX 2018.

Since then, they’ve dropped down to 200, and you can find them even cheaper online. They’re a better buy now than before, and a good value, considering the sound quality.

It’s been a year and a half since Airpods launched. Hundreds of true wireless earbuds have followed with the goal of toppling them, with myriad designs and price points. Even so, Airpods remain the gold standard if you ask me. They cost less than the SoundSport Free’s, are super compact, have a longer battery life, and work the best with iOS devices.

The reason to choose the SoundSport Free (opens in a new tab) ‘s over Airpods is if you really care for what is, in my opinion, audio that’s only marginally better. Or if you prefer earbuds that aren’t white, or really, really love Bose. None of these are compelling enough reasons for me, but your math may differ.

Bose SoundSport Free Earbuds

  • Spencer Pines, iReviews
  • August 02,2022

Advertising Disclosure: Many or all of the companies featured provide compensation to us. These commissions are how we maintain our free service for consumers. Compensation, along with hours of in-depth research, determines where how companies appear on our site.

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bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

Equipped with Bose’s proprietary StayHear Sport tips for a snug fit inside your ears, the SoundSport Free Earbuds are a next-gen set of wireless headphones “designed-for-exercise.” Still one of the best options for wireless earbuds on the market, wearers are able to experience high-quality acoustics packed in an earbud that weighs only 0.35 ounces (10g).

Wireless Headphone Technology

If you’re someone that requires tunes for motivation during a workout, there’s really nothing more frustrating than untangling a nest of wires tangled at the bottom of your gym bag. Even worse, one over-zealous arm-swing on the treadmill and you get the added bonus of having your headphones unexpectedly rip from your ears.

Thankfully, wireless headphones like the Zero Liberty earbuds, Bragi Dash, Sound and the Air Headphones have revolutionized the wearable industry. Bose, with its newest wireless offering, is targeting consumers with an active lifestyle.

Intelligent Design Features

Compared to last year’s SoundSport headphones which required a cable to connect both earbuds, the 2017 Free model is completely wireless. Armed with a powerful wireless antenna system, wearers are able to pair their Smart devices with the SoundSport Free Earbuds via Bluetooth connectivity.

This can all be done within a 30-foot range – so there’s no more need to rely on your smartphone to enjoy your favorite Pandora station while hitting the weights.

“The SoundSport Free is the closest thing to what people have always wanted in a sport headphone – a technology-packed solution that’s stripped down to just two rugged earbuds that feel great, stay connected, stay in, and sound amazing,” said Brian Maguire, director, Bose on-the-go products.

“We didn’t change anything that people already love – with the Google Assistant built in, and new choices for what you hear, we made it better.”

Earbuds Engineered for Durability

Engineered to “strike a new balance between size, performance, power, and stability,” Bose’s newest earbuds only measure 1.1” high x 1.2” deep. The SoundSport headphones are IPX4-rated sweat and water resistance and come with an action-packed acoustic package.

According to the company, the all-new SoundSport Free Earbuds include Bose digital signal processing, volume optimizing EQ, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. In other words, wearers will get the latest in Bose nano-acoustic technology housed in two miniature earbuds.

Battery Technology

As for battery power, each charge gives users approximately five hours of use, comparable to Apple’s Airpods. Accompanying the earbuds is a magnetic charging case that provides enough power for two additional charges (10 hours total) – so running out of juice mid-workout is really hard to come by – unless you forgot your charging case at home.

Since earbuds are small and are prone to be misplaced or lost, Bose designed a “Find My Buds” feature in its BoseConnect smartphone app. Just simply open the app and it’ll show the spot where your buds were last used.

Like most of Bose’s consumer technology lineup, the all-new SoundSport Free Earbuds have a sleek, high gloss appearance making them look futuristic, yet fashionable. The SoundSport comes in Triple Black. Midnight Blue and Yellow Citron.

The Soundsport Free noise-canceling headphones have all the performance and features of the original Soundsport. They deliver the same industry-defining noise cancellation, audio performance, and up to 20 hours of battery life.

The same controls remain on the right earcup – audio volume, and the multi-function button for incoming calls and accessing Siri. And now, there’s a new Action button on the left earcup to connect to your Google Assistant – without having to grab your phone, unlock it, and find the app.

New Setting for Bose Noise Cancellation

Like its predecessor, the Soundsport Free’s noise cancellation is fully activated when the headphone is on, but the Bose Connect App now lets you choose to keep it on (high), turn it down (low), or disable it completely (off). The Connect App also lets you change the Action button’s functionality, so you can control the noise settings from the ear cup when you want, and switch back to your Google Assistant when you want.

Overall, while still being a couple years old, the Bose Soundsport Free wireless earbuds are some of the best earphones you can get. They can be purchased here on Amazon for 179.

  • IPX4 Sweat Water-Resistant
  • 30-Foot Bluetooth Connectivity Range
  • “Find My Buds” Smartphone App
  • Lightweight
  • Magnetic Charging Case
  • 5 Hours of Battery Life

Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless Earbuds review

The Bose SoundSport Free are an excellent sounding pair of wireless headphones with an ultra-reliable connection. They can an easily withstand the abuses of working out, however, their poor fit and open design will turn many casual listeners away.


  • – Awful ambient noise isolation
  • – Earbuds fit loosely and stick out
  • – Comparatively expensive

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The Bose Soundsport Free may be a little older now, but they’re still worth considering if you’re looking for a pair of running headphones that cut out the wire.

True wireless earbuds have come a long way in terms of build quality, reliability, and battery life, and today’s offering of truly wireless headphones have become so good that we can finally recommend them for a majority of people who value the convenience and compact size that these headphones offer.

However, while there has been some major improvements to the form factor, some true wireless headphones are still a mixed bag of compromises, excelling at certain things while failing at others. The Bose SoundSport Free wireless earbuds fall into that latter category, offering great sound and build quality, with a few flaws that you should take into serious consideration.

Wearing them for an extended period of time, you’ll likely feel conflicted about the Bose SoundSport Free. You’ll enjoy the sound quality one minute (usually in a quiet environment) and the next you’ll find yourself unable to enjoy the music. If you can contend with the highs and the lows of these headphones, they’re worth considering. If not, there’s no shame on passing these up for models like the Sony WF-1000XM3 or the Apple Airpods Pro.


There’s no getting around the fact that the Bose SoundSport Free are big earbuds The driver housings are the largest we’ve ever seen from a truly wireless pair of earbuds. Compound this with the fact that they stick out quite a bit and the result is a frustrating user experience.

While the wing tips included in the box help with keeping the Bose SoundSport Free in our ears, they also sit loosely so they’re easily knocked out if we weren’t careful. To give you an idea of how bad this can get, on more than one occasion we nearly lost an earbud on the train simply because we were taking off our scarf or messenger bag.

This loose fit is the result of Bose’s decision to make the SoundSport Free an open pair of earphones, meaning they let outside noise in. This makes the Bose SoundSport Free a great pair of workout headphones, especially if you’re running in the street and want to be aware of your surroundings.

However, this also makes the SoundSport Free terrible headphones for commuters hoping to drown out the noise of a bus or train. If you must have noise isolation because you’re a frequent traveler, or get easily distracted when you overhear chatter around you, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

The charging case features magnetic seats for the earbuds so they stay securely in the case when you’re taking them out. Additionally, you can check the battery life of the charging case by pressing the release button in the front.


All that said, sound quality from the Bose SoundSport Free is excellent. There’s a slight warm tilt and the overall presentation is relaxed and laid back. Bass extends low and offers nice impact without bleeding into the mids. Highs are slightly rolled off to make long listening sessions a breeze and there’s never sibilance.

These are simply great-sounding headphones. at least when you wear them in a quiet environment.

Unfortunately, the sound quality doesn’t matter once you go outside as the open design allows so much external noise in that you’ll never get to appreciate the detail and warmth of the SoundSport Free’s sound. There is literally no noise isolation, so you can carry a full conversation with these headphones in your ears. We wished Bose would allow listeners the option to let outside noise like the Sony WF-1000X or Libratone Q-Adapt In-Ear but, for now, no such luck.

The included charging case is a bit bulker than we’d like, but gives the SoundSport Free a combined battery life of about 15 hours. The earbuds themselves last about 4 to 5 hours in our testing, which is quite good compared to competitors.

Finally, call quality is excellent, with our friends and family reporting that they didn’t even realize that we were wearing wireless headphones. Audio comes in loud and clear, and our voice was able to be picked up outside without problem.


For those looking for wireless headphones that can withstand the abuses of working out, the SoundSport Free are an excellent option, assuming they fit your ears.

However, if you’re not working out and value any sort of noise isolation, you’ll need to look elsewhere as the open design of the SoundSport Free means you’ll hear everything from the outside environment.

It’d be an easier recommendation if they were a bit less expensive but, for 200 / £180 / AU300, the Bose SoundSport Free are not cheap, and its rivals offer fewer compromises – the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, for example, offer outstanding sound quality and battery life for less.

The Sony WF-1000X cost less and offer adjustable noise cancellation, allowing users to choose when and how much sound they want to let in – although we’d recommend checking out the latest in the range, the WF-1000XM3.

They may not last as long on a charge as the SoundSport Free but their flexibility and fit make it a better trade off.

If you’re after a pair of great sounding in-ear headphones and don’t mind the ambient noise coming in, these headphones might work out. If not, there’s no shame in seeking out some of the competition.

Bose cuts the wires and dials up the bass with its SoundSport Free

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

“With good battery life and sweatproofing, Bose’s SoundSport Free are a solid first entry into the fully wireless headphone market.”

  • 5 hours of battery life
  • IPX4-rated waterproofing
  • Good bass response
  • Comfortable

As the industry leader in active noise-cancelation and a longtime pioneer in the world of digital signal processing, Bose has a history of incorporating the latest and greatest audio technology while still offering products with a high ease of use that appeals to even the most tech-petrified shoppers. You typically pay a premium for products with the Bose logo on them, but anyone who has spent time with the company’s offerings knows that, while better values exist, Bose simply doesn’t sell anything bad. Whatever you get will set up quickly, sound good, and function exactly as advertised — and that equates to peace of mind.

The company’s first ever fully wireless headphones. the SoundSport Free, follow this template. With five hours of battery life, IPX4-rated waterproofing, and impressive bass, they are a solid first foray into this exploding segment. In typical Bose form, there are better options on the market for less money — the SoundSport Free debuted at 250, and have since been dropped to 200, but that’s still 40 over Apple’s Airpods and 15 over Jabra’s more compact, better waterproofed, and superior sounding Elite Active 65t.

That said, though they offer a bit less performance for a bit more money, the SoundSport Free easily rise above most fully wireless options, and we absolutely wouldn’t balk at a friend or family member if they told us they’d copped a pair.

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound
bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound
bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

Out of the box

The SoundSport Free come in a small white box that houses the headphones inside a big, black pillbox of a charging case. Opening the case reveals oval-shaped fully wireless earbuds, which look a bit like plastic mushrooms that sprout from your ears when you put them on. Along with the charging case (a staple for nearly all fully wireless earbuds), accessories include a charging cable, a user guide, and three sizes of eartips.

Features and design

The SoundSport Free come in either all black or a gradient blue with neon yellow accents. A large disc along each earpiece houses the battery, antenna, and various other mission-critical functionality, suspended fairly far out of your ears when you have them in. Like the Sony WF-SP700N, the rather bulky outer section is well supported when you actually put them in your ears, thanks to a clever use of silicone.

The earbuds look a bit like plastic mushrooms sprouting from your ears.

The combined sport fin/eartip section on the end of each earphone easily keeps them in your ears, where they balance nicely, despite their large form factor. We had no problem wearing them for hours on end, which isn’t something we can say about many fully wireless in-ears.

As with most true wireless in-ears, there’s a basic array of controls on the top of each earpiece to keep you from reaching for your cell phone. The right earpiece has a set of three buttons — volume up and down with a multifunction play/pause button in the middle – while the left simply sports a Bluetooth pairing button.

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

It takes about two hours to charge the headphones in the case, granting around five hours of playback before needing to be returned to their plastic home. The case will get you two more full charges on the go, for a total of 15 hours of juice. For comparison, Apple’s industry-leading Airpods offer the same five hours of playback time and 24 hours of charging time from the case.

The SoundSport Free are sweatproof enough for even the stickiest summer workouts.

One of the SoundSport Free’s cooler features is their voice-prompted battery check which tells you how much battery level you have left each time you pull the earphones from the case and put them in. The charging case itself is an unassuming clamshell with a micro-USB port and the Bose logo on top. It’s a bit larger than cases from the likes of Apple and Jabra, likely owing to the sheer size of the headphones that need to fit inside.

Workout enthusiasts and fellow Pacific Northwest natives will love that the SoundSport offer an IPX4 rating, meaning they’re certified against water splashes for five minutes — and sweatproof enough for even the stickiest summer workouts.


Pairing the headphone is simple and easy. Thanks to included voice prompts and the Bose Connect App, your phone or other Bluetooth-enabled device will quickly latch onto the earbuds, and the earphones always quickly re-paired when we popped them out of the charging case.

Audio Performance

Bose has never been known as a company that offers truly flat or transparent sound signatures, instead tending towards the kind of boosted low end and sparkling treble that tend to make songs seem more vibrant and energetic — if occasionally a bit muddy. While we typically prefer the more clinical performance of competitors’ over-ear headphones when compared to Bose over-ears like the QC25, we actually quite enjoyed the SoundSport Free earbuds, which easily keep up with their competitors in the fully wireless space.

When put up against tamer sound signatures like that of the Jabra Elite Active 65t, the SoundSport Free bring a more robust punch in the bass that really makes classic hip-hop and soul music pop. On the other end, the sound profile doesn’t seem quite as sharply sculpted as we typically hear from the company’s products.

bose, soundsport, free, earbuds, sound

We great enjoyed that punchier low-end during workouts, when we often listen to more beat-driven music. Jamming out to AC/DC, Chance The Rapper, and other workout favorites was always enjoyable.

That said, we did wish for more midrange clarity when listening to favorites like Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, a stalwart favorite in our testing library. We just didn’t get the same depth in the acoustic guitars offered by Jabra’s Elite 65t (our favorite fully wireless earbuds).

Still, the SoundSport Free hold their own; as with other leading examples, they sound comparable to banded Bluetooth headphones that run about half the price, and at this point, that makes their sonic talents pretty competitive.

Warranty information

Bose offers a one-year warranty for U.S. buyers (two years in the EU) that covers manufacturer defects.

Our Take

With five hours of battery life, limited waterproofing, and good sound, the Bose SoundSport Free are a well-made entry into the fully wireless headphone market – especially if you’re a bass lover. Still, you can get better fully wireless headphones for cheaper.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes. For our money, the Jabra Elite Active 65t — which offer identical battery life, more robust waterproofing, and a cleaner form factor, all for less money than the Bose SoundSport Free — are a better value.

For those who don’t mind slightly worse audio performance, Apple’s industry leading Airpods are also worth considering, offering solid connectivity, ease of use, and better battery life from their charging case.

How long will it last?

Bose is a well-known brand with a reputation for quality products, and the SoundSport Free fully adhere to that legacy. We expect you’ll get years of use out of them before any issues arise.

Should you buy it?

For most listeners, probably not. While we like the Bose SoundSport Free enough not to knock anyone who we see wearing them, we simply prefer the more affordable and better-looking Jabra Elite Active 65t. Unless you’re a huge bass-head, we suspect you will, too.

Editors’ Recommendations

Parker Hall is a writer and musician from Portland, OR. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin…

Lindsay has a research paper on the laws of thermodynamics due at 1:00 p.m. sharp the next day so she’s holed up at the school library because, by all accounts, it should be the quietest place on campus to get her work done. Unfortunately, Chad and Karen are two tables over giggling at memes on Reddit and the noise is driving her crazy. She pops in her aging Apple Airpods, but the battery is trash and, besides, they don’t do squat to shield Lindsay from Karen’s high-pitched giggles.

If only Lindsay’s folks had known that noise-canceling headphones are the single most important tool for a good education, then perhaps they would have opted to get her a set of Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 or Sony WF-1000XM4 headphones as a back-to-school gift instead of an ergonomic laptop backpack, which is doing a great job of preventing Lindsay from experiencing premature sciatica, but doing absolutely zero to help her get her work turned in on time.

Master Dynamic (MD) has just released the 349 MW08 Sport, an almost identical set of true wireless earbuds to the company’s MW08, which it debuted earlier this year for 299. So what makes the MW08 Sport so er, sporty? And why do they cost 50 more than the regular MW08? It pretty much comes down to weight and wireless charging.

The original MW08 are a stellar set of active noise cancellation (ANC) earbuds, with fantastic sound quality, battery life, and ergonomics. But their slick-looking all-metal charging case, at 2.8 ounces, weighs considerably more than most charging cases and it doesn’t support wireless charging.

Bose has just taken the wraps off its latest true wireless earbuds, the 200 Sport Open Earbuds, which feature a non-ear-obstructing design that lets in outside sounds instead of sealing off the ear canal. Pre-orders start today at Bose.com and BestBuy.com, and shipping begins mid-January.

The Sport Open Earbuds use Bose‘s OpenAudio technology, the same engineering the company used to create the Bose Frames Sunglasses, which let you hear music without the use of earbuds. Bose claims that the Sport Open Earbud enclosures contain a tiny dipole transducer that can deliver clear audio for the wearer, but that “cancels” out everywhere else.

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