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CNET First Look
Bose SoundSport Free earbuds are excellent AirPod alternativesThese totally wireless sports 'buds sound richer than AirPods and fit more securely, but they do cost more and aren't exactly discreet.
Remove the cord from Bose's popular and highly rated SoundSport Wireless earphones, and you're left with SoundSport Free, the company's new totally wireless earphones that come in two color options and cost $250. Yes, that price is $90 more expensive than Apple's AirPods, which have dominated the totally wireless headphone market, and the wireless headphone market in general But the SoundSport free are a compelling alternative to the AirPod because they sit securely and comfortably, deliver rich sound, and are as easy to operate as the AirPods with almost flawless, wireless performance. My only gripe is at the same one levelled at the SoundSport Wireless. The buds stick out rather conspicuously from your ears. While they aren't equipped with Apple's custom W1 bluetooth chip, Bose claims that like the Air Pods, they'll deliver up to five hours of battery life, and the included charging case Provides two additional full charges for up to ten additional hours of battery life. They're sweat resistant with an IP X4 water resistance rating and there's a new Find My Buds feature son the Bose Connect app. It displays the last time and place they were used to help locate them should they get lost. The integrated remote is on the right ear bud and I didn't have a problem skipping tracks forward and raising and lowering volume. You can also use the multifunction button to answer and end calls. It's worth noting that when making calls the sound only comes out of the right ear bud but it does work well as a mono headset. These are fuller sounding than the AirPods delivering more bass and letting in less ambient noise, thanks to the more sealed off design of the included StayHear+ sport tips which come in a few different sizes. In fact like the SoundSport wireless, the bass is a little bit accentuated. And may seem too pronounced and loose for some people when listening indoors in a quiet environment. But these are designed to be used outside or at the gym in noisier environments where you can lose some base competing sounds. So they sound more balanced when your walking or running with them outside. I personally like the Airpods but they don't stay in my ears as securely as they do for some people who can even run with them without a problem. If you're in the same boat, these are an excellent, totally wireless alternative. They really perform like the sound sport wireless but leave off a cord. That's hard to do. [MUSIC]