Bose’s new ‘open’ sport buds set to ship Jan. 20
Last year Bose released a couple of new sets of true-wireless earbuds — the QuietComfort Earbuds and Sport Earbuds — both of which have a noise-isolating design where the ear tips nestle inside your ears, sealing out a decent amount of ambient sound (the QuietComfort Earbuds also have active noise canceling). On Tuesday the company launched its new Sport Open Earbuds, which feature, as their name implies, an open design without a tip, meaning it kind of sits on top of your ear.
They’re available for preorder now for $200 and scheduled to ship Jan. 21. Initially, they’ll only be available in the US, so no international pricing is available, but $200 is about £150 or AU$260.
Bose says the earbuds are the first to use OpenAudio technology — not bone conduction — the same technology Bose uses in its $250 Frames audio sunglasses. The Frames sound surprisingly good, although not as good as noise-isolating earbuds or full-size headphones. “This unique approach produces clearer, more consistent sound, without the vibrating sensation bone conduction is known for,” the company says.
Because of their open design, I suspect the Sport Open Earbuds may be slightly lacking in the bass department. Just like the Frames, they’ll appeal to runners and bikers who don’t want anything covering their ears for safety reasons. They’ll likely also appeal to people who just don’t like the feeling of having an ear tip jammed in their ear.
The Bose Frames Tempo employ 22mm drivers, whereas the Sport Open Earbuds have 16mm drivers. You’ll probably get some sound leakage at higher volumes, meaning people will be able to hear your music if they are standing near you. That said, with the Frames, when you keep the sound at more moderate volume levels, the sound leakage is fairly minimal.
The earbuds are IPX4 splash-resistant and battery life is rated at up to eight hours at 50% volume. They come with a charging dock and a protective carrying case, but they don’t seem to charge in the case, which doesn’t appear to have a battery inside. That’s unusual but does allow the case to be lighter and more compact.
There are two microphones on the right earbud for making calls. Bose says the advanced microphone system is “designed to focus only on your voice and reduce the sound of wind and other noise around.” The Frames are actually very good for making calls, so I’d expect these to work well as a headset, too.
As soon as I get my hands on a review sample, I’ll post a full review of the Sport Open Earbuds and let you know how they sound and fit.