These days every commuter and his (or her) iPhone is flaunting a set of Air Pods. Wireless, sensuous and sultry, Apple’s tangle-free product occupies a large chunk of the market, with those who can afford it buying it (and those who can’t saving for it). In light of this, they have been extensively reviewed by Silicon Valley pundits and technology guru’s all around the world.
Same goes for the more accessible knock off versions, which we—in a moment of madness—purchased (and reviewed) last week. But, (largely) missing from this conversation, until now, has been a frank discussion of similar range alternatives and higher-end products.
Enter: Bose’s wireless SoundSport offering, which at $254 comes in $30 more expensive than Apple’s Air Pods (which go for roughly $225). In the name of science (and gym-cred) we decided to try them out for a week to see if spending the extra 30 gold ones is really worth it.
Here’s what we found.
The SoundSport Is Infinitely Better For Exercise
Spend an extra $30 now and hear the sweet audible (karmic) honey roll in. Forego it and forever hold your peace (and stress about sweat). While Apple’s Air Pods may look better in your #fitspiration posts, the SoundSport earbuds sit far more comfortably (and securely) in your ear during exercise. You’ll also reap the mental benefit of not worrying about rain squalls, water bottle showers and your propensity to sweat rapid-fire bullets.
The SoundSport May Make You Feel Self Conscious
With Apple Air Pods still being a relatively new phenomenon, be prepared for some even more curious looks as you strut your stuff in the (again, relatively) underground Bose ‘Buds. Especially if you have long hair, it is important to remember that when the mouth of someone near you is moving, it’s possible they are trying to talk to you. Lest you come off as anti-social, it is helpful to tap the Bluetooth button (which has the added bonus of letting you know how much battery life you have left) so they realise you aren’t blanking them on purpose, you’re blanking them because you’re listening to Rage Against The Machine. If they still don’t get it, add a few head bangs into the mix.
The SoundSport Buds Aren’t As Sleek As Apple’s Air Pods
If Apple’s Air Pods are sleek sex sticks that f*ck your ears, Bose’s SoundSport Buds are sofas that softly spoon them. Think ‘chiselled Armani model’ vs. ‘well-read Dad bod’. Both great for different things: Apple’s offering raises your Geek Chic status to a 10, while SoundSport’s lets you get down to that bass. While Apple has a history of manufacturing jewellery that connects to the internet, Bose is renowned for its musical prowess.
But The SoundSport Case Is Tenfold Sexier Than Apple’s
In this aspect, Bose have outdone themselves (and Apple). While there’s nothing wrong with Apple’s cute little package, Bose have somehow combined the adjectives tasteful and futuristic—a rare feat. That said, the button to open it doesn’t always work, especially when your hands are sweaty (and clumsy). Though we are willing to admit this may not be a design fault…
The Battery Life Is Excellent
Although Bose’s bad boys and Apple’s sleek girls have similar battery life, for the extra $30 you’ll spend on the SoundSport you net yourself an extra hour of charge (with 6 vs. 5 hours of listening time respectively).
The Volume Control Is Not Intuitive
This may be another human error on our part, but we are yet to figure out how to pause a track or change the volume via the SoundSport headphones. Note to any potential buyers: don’t immediately recycle the manual, or you may end up having to listen to every Youtube ad that crops up during your workout playlist.
In an ideal world, you would have a pair of Bose SoundSport headphones for the gym, and a set of Apple Air Pods for your morning commute. But the reality is, if you are only going to buy one pair, your decision should be guided by what you mostly plan on using them for.
If you have a sweaty old pair of headphones you are happy to trash at the gym and you’re keen to save your wireless babies for conference calls and leisurely podcasts then go for the Air Pods. On the other hand, if you want to maximise sound quality and plan on also using your wireless headphones to work out with, then the Bose SoundSport is worth the extra dough.