Rich, crisp music, yet keeps you rooted

I don’t enjoy listening to music on earphones, especially not if it’s the latest fad — wireless pods. I dislike the way they transport me to some uncanny space of technological wizardry, cutting me off from the world. Naturally, I was a bit sceptical when asked to  review the Bose SoundSport Free, a wireless, in-ear headphone.

By Prasun Chaudhuri
  • Published 3.09.18
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GADGET: Bose SoundSport Free

TECH SPECS: In-ear stereo, remote control (answer/end, play/pause, next/previous track), run time up to five hours, quick-recharge batteries

PRICE: Rs 18,990 

BEST FOR: Listening to music, wirelessly  

I don’t enjoy listening to music on earphones, especially not if it’s the latest fad — wireless pods. I dislike the way they transport me to some uncanny space of technological wizardry, cutting me off from the world. Naturally, I was a bit sceptical when asked to  review the Bose SoundSport Free, a wireless, in-ear headphone.

In the four weeks that I have been using them, I’ve become a reluctant convert. The earbuds fit snugly in my ear canals but do not shut me off from my surroundings. They look cool to boot. 

And, the sound they produce is exhilarating! The moment I tuned into my favourite piece of music — a piano rendition of Chariots of Fire by Richard Clayderman — the music ran thundering through my veins, reviving nostalgic feelings. The depth and clarity of sound is unbelievable and the bass translates really well. They are good to sync with movies too.

But the best part is that they allow ambient noise to seep through, keeping you rooted to the real world. It’s useful if you are outdoors, especially in the midst of traffic. This attribute may not have many takers among music enthusiasts who want to drown in sound but music-loving joggers will appreciate the link to their surroundings. 

I could wear the buds comfortably for more than a couple of hours. The rubber blueberry beads rested nicely in my ear canals, holding the buds securely. Apparently, the earbuds have a five-hour run time. This makes them the perfect accessory for joggers or gym freaks who can’t move a step without music. It’s resistant to sweat and water to a large extent (IPX4 rating for water resistance) .     

These are so tiny — 1.5 inches (3.8cm) deep and 1.25 inches (3.1cm) tall — that I took extra care to always replace them in their cosy pod (which also stores charge and recharges them), lest I misplace them. I mean to return them immediately after the review and was on tenterhooks, until I discovered that Bose has got a companion app to locate the precious buds if they are ever mislaid.

VERDICT: The Bose SoundSport Free is truly wireless — there are no audio drops — and the sound is crisp and rich. But unfortunately, very few can afford it because of its price.

POP PICK 

Earphones for sports lovers

• Jabra Elite Active 65t: The sound output is excellent, the earphone performs quite reliably and is great for making calls, with two microphones in each earbud. They feature enhanced wireless connectivity, high sound and call quality and have up to 4.5 hours talk or music time plus an additional nine hours of charge in the portable charging case. With customisable fitting options, the cord-free earbuds stay securely in place. You have the option of wearing one or both buds, depending on what you are doing. 

They also have an in-ear precision heart rate monitor that works with an integrated Jabra Sport Life app to track and analyse your fitness as well as provide personalised audio coaching on fitness.  

With adjustable EQ profiles and settings, you can use the app to personalise your music settings. The waterproof design comes with a three-year warranty against sweat. You can also use its accelerometer or motion sensor to count steps in its companion Sound + app for iOS and Android. In short, if you are a sporty type, this one suits you better. 

Price: Rs 15,799