As if buying a new pair of earbuds wasn’t difficult enough, wireless earbuds complicate things further by introducing several additional variables that you need to account for to ensure that you’ll end up satisfied with your purchase. In this article, we compare the wildly popular Apple AirPods with the SoundSport, which are fitness-oriented truly wireless earbuds from a company you know and whose products have received a lot of praise over the years, Bose.
|Apple||Apple AirPods Wireless Bluetooth Headset||Buy on Amazon|$209(Price as of 06/15/2019 20:49 ET)|
|Bose||Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Sport Headphones||Buy on Amazon|$199(Price as of 06/15/2019 20:49 ET)|
Build and Design
The AirPods and the SoundSport earbuds have completely different designs that will appeal to completely different customers. While the AirPods have a longer body that extends towards the mouth and helps the built-in microphone pick up your voice, the SoundSport are designed to stay largely tucked inside your ears.
The SoundSport earbuds are also designed to survive a lot more sweat and moisture than the AirPods. Bose gives them the IPX4 rating, which ensures protection against splashes of water from all angles. The AirPods have no such rating, but that doesn’t mean they’re not suitable for gym use. Since Apple launched them in 2016, the AirPods have become a common sight at the gym—and for a good reason.
Even though they don’t look like it, the AirPods actually offer a highly secure fit, and their shallow construction guarantees excellent comfort even after an hour or two of use. The SoundSport are designed for fitness, and they come with several sets of replaceable eartips with integrated earwings for added stability. We wouldn’t necessarily say that they are more comfortable than the AirPods, but the wide range of eartips included with the SoundSport make it very easy to achieve optimal fit.
The AirPods use Apple’s W1 Bluetooth chip to offer effortless pairing, outstanding range, and long battery life. Each AirPod has a built-in accelerometer, which allows it to sense when you take it out of your ear or the compact battery case. While the AirPods do work with all Bluetooth-enabled devices, they are most impressive when paired with paired with an iPhone.
The SoundSport are fairly standard Bluetooth earbuds in that they exhibit a slight but noticeable lag when watching movies and online videos. When it comes to music, however, the SoundSport are beautifully warm, detailed, and enjoyable to listen to. The same can largely be said about the AirPods, with one major exception: noise isolation.
Whereas the SoundSport earbuds isolate about 90 percent of outside noise, the AirPods block barely 10 percent. That can be a huge problem when listening to music in a loud environment, but it’s also annoying when listening to an audiobook at a low volume at the office, with people having conversations around you.
The AirPods last about 5 hours on a charge, but the included battery case offers an additional 24 hours of playback time. Bose’s battery case offers only 10 hours of extra juice, but at least the earbuds themselves last approximately the same as the AirPods.
Thanks to Apple’s W1 chip, the AirPods charge extra quickly, and just 15 minutes of charging results in 3 hours of playback. With Bose, 15 minutes gets you at most 45 minutes of playback.
The SoundSport used to cost $250, but Bose slashed their price, and the earbuds now cost $50 less. Still, at $150, the AirPods are considerably less expensive.
The AirPods bring to the table effortless pairing thanks to the W1 chip as well as a minimalist design with wide appeal. The SoundSport have superior audio quality, but their bulky design isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. At the end of the day, the convenience of the AirPods will likely be enough to convince most iPhone owners to choose them over the SoundSport or any other traditional Bluetooth earbuds.