Meet the Bose Sport Open Earbuds, a pair of true wireless headphones designed for exercise. Instead of the usual in-ear tip, these usual buds feature a flat enclosure that sits above your ear canal, suspended by a plastic loop.
The aim of this rather unusual design is to provide a more secure fit than traditional wireless earbuds like the AirPods Pro or the Bose Sport Earbuds while allowing users to hear more of their surroundings — without sacrificing audio quality.
While the completely open shape of the Bose Sport Open Earbuds might not appeal to those who want a tight seal for noise-cancelling, these buds are not without merit. With fitness-focused features like sweat proofing and Bose’s ear for sound quality, the Sport Open Earbuds could well be a contender for the best wireless earbuds.
Here’s everything we know about them so far.
Bose Sport Open Earbuds release date
Bose announced that the Sport Open Earbuds will come out in “mid-January.” As of January 19 they’re still only available to pre-order rather than buy, but we’ll update this article when they release proper.
You still won’t have to wait very long to see how these stack up against other exercise-focused wireless earbuds like the Jabra Elite Active 75t or Powerbeats Pro.
Bose Sport Open Earbuds price and availability
The Bose Sport Open Earbuds cost $199. This puts them among the pricier end of the sport headphones scale, though they’re at least cheaper than the AirPods Pro, and cost the same as the feature-packed Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, give or take a dollar.
You can pre-order the Sport Open Earbuds right now from Bose. Best Buy is also taking orders to be shipped by February 1.
Bose Sport Open Earbuds specs
As the Bose Sport Open Earbuds are a pair of true wireless earbuds, they connect via Bluetooth 5.1, and can connect to Android and iOS devices alike. Each bud weighs just 0.5 ounces, and battery life is rated at 8 hours per charge.
Of particular interest to fitness fans will be the IPX4 water resistance rating. This means that while the Sport Open Earbuds can’t be fully submerged in water, they’re sweat-proof and should survive splashes of rain.
Bose Sport Open Earbuds features
The most eye-catching aspect of the Sport Open Earbuds is that flat enclosure, which seems to fire sound down your ear without any kind of seal. To maintain quality and prevent sound leakage, Bose is using a dipole transducer — essentially a speaker that fires sound in a single direction — in each bud, so passers-by won’t be able to hear your music or the other end of a phone conversation.
The idea is to allow ambient sound into your idea without the need to engage a transparency mode, though while the open design naturally precludes any kind of active noise cancellation, the Sport Open Earbuds do also include external microphones that can supposedly improve clarity when you’re speaking to someone. That’s a very similar system to the transparency or ambient modes offered by ANC headphones.
One thing you can’t do with the Sport Open Earbuds is charge them on the go, as although a carrying case is included in the box, it’s not an AirPods-style charging case. Instead you get a wired charging base, on top of the which the Sport Open Earbuds fill up until ready to go again. An 8-hour battery life is longer than most true wireless earbuds last, so this might be to compensate for the lack of a charging case.