Designed "not to go in your ears or cover them." That is how Bose describes the benefits of the Sport Open Earbuds, without mentioning the unusual behind-the-ear extension, reminiscent of the early true wireless earbuds — fundamentally inspired on hearing-aids. But there's much more to the Sport Open Earbuds than the design. As Bose explains, they combine Bose OpenAudio technology to keep the user motivated with music, connected to calls, and aware of their surroundings. This exclusive Bose technology explores a unique open-ear design that the company says allows high-quality audio with nothing covering the user's ears. "...you hear the music and your surroundings at the same time. Plus, everyone else hears practically nothing. It’s a totally new experience from Bose earbuds unlike any other."
Made specifically for workouts, the large behind-the-ear protuberance of the Bose Sport Open Earbuds is effectively a contoured earhook, attached to an entirely new kind of enclosure that sits above — not over, not in, and not on — the ear canal. This, Bose repeatedly explains, is not bone conduction. Instead the Bose OpenAudio technology actually relies on two 16mm drivers, which are projecting direct sound through small horizontal ports — one in each earbud — into the ears and cancels the non-direct sound. Bose describes it as "an innovative dipole design," that "minimizes the spread of sound, reducing what others hear."
In Bose's description, we can also read: "Instead of sending sound waves through the wearer’s bones, they send sound waves through the air for a more natural listening experience. Proprietary Bose OpenAudio technology delivers rich, full-range sound while minimizing what others nearby can hear — reducing the issue of sound spillage caused by open-ear designs. Plus, they don’t require a tight fit. They’re designed to rest securely on the natural curve of the ear, while precision-placed acoustic ports channel sound directly into the ears."
Different, they certainly are, but how will the Bose Sport Open Earbuds remain in place during activity? They rely on the molded clip effect of the design to hang-on. With a simple twist, they gently grip the ear’s outer ridge to lock in place with no ear tip, virtually no skin contact, and without the squeezing and vibrations from bone conduction.
And Bose says the Sport Open Earbuds were rigorously designed and tested for comfort and stability. "They’re purposefully molded to follow the natural curve of your ear, resting comfortably and securely in place without covering it. Plus, a matte finish provides additional grip and reassurance that each earbud is secure no matter how much you move. They’re sprint tested and burpee approved."
"Runners and cyclists have been asking us for headphones that let them stay focused on their performance without wires, neckbands, or having to pop out a bud to hear traffic, a training partner, nature, or anything else they don’t want to miss," says Mehul Trivedi, category director, Bose wearable audio. "Our new Sport Open Earbuds solve all these problems — and they’re the only earbuds that do."
Bose also says that even at high volumes, users will be the only ones to hear the audio content or phone call conversations — but others won’t. An advanced microphone system isolates the user's voice, and reduces the interference of wind and noise. Otherwise, they use a robust Bluetooth 5.1 (A2DP, HFP, AVRCP, BLE) design with an etched antenna and conventional Class 2 range up to 30 ft (9 m), with support for SBC and AAC codecs.
The Bose Sport Open Earbuds weigh 14 grams per bud (compared with 8.5 grams of the Bose Sport Earbuds) and both units have actual controls. One small button on the left bud lets users access their phone’s native assistant, and another similar button on the right bud does virtually everything else with push combinations to power on and off; play, pause, and skip songs; or answer, decline, and end calls.
Bose also says these Sport Open Earbuds are built and tested to last with an IPX4 rating - resisting sweat, heat, rain, and snow - and they offer 8 hours of battery life. Again, challenging the industry practice, Bose only offers a simple protective carrying case, with no battery for additional charges. To charge, there's a separate charging base with a cable that ends on a USB-A port.
The Bose Sport Open Earbuds come in black only finish (Triple Black) and cost $199.95, with shipping expected to begin mid-January 2021. Users can also use the Bose Music App to access additional features, and the company is offering bundles with the Aaptiv fitness app that promotes more than 4,000 exercises and classes designed by certified trainers.