Bose has just taken the wraps off its latest true wireless earbuds, the $200 Sport Open Earbuds, which feature a non-ear-obstructing design that lets in outside sounds instead of sealing off the ear canal. Pre-orders start today at Bose.com and , and shipping begins mid-January.
The Sport Open Earbuds use Bose’s OpenAudio technology, the same engineering the company used to create the Bose Frames Sunglasses, which let you hear music without the use of earbuds. Bose claims that the Sport Open Earbud enclosures contain a tiny dipole transducer that can deliver clear audio for the wearer, but that “cancels” out everywhere else.
The key benefit of the Sport Open Earbuds is their ability to let people stay aware of their surroundings, something that can increase safety for runners, or anyone else who wants to navigate the world while listening to music. “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,” said Mehul Trivedi, category director, Bose wearable audio. “Our new Sport Open Earbuds solve all these problems — and they’re the only earbuds that do.”
Technically speaking, bone conduction earphones like the Aftershokz Aeropex perform the same function, but Bose claims the Sport Open Earbuds offers advantages to these products. “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,” according to Bose’s press release.
The wrap-around design is IPX4-rated for water resistance which should be sufficient for most workouts, even in rainy conditions.
Unlike most other designs of true wireless earbuds, the Sport Open Earbuds use a charging base instead of a charging case, though they do come with their own soft-shell carry case. This means that battery life, which Bose claims at eight hours per charge, is the longest you can go before needing to physically connect the earbuds to their charging base, which is not battery powered.
From a control point of view, everything is managed through two physical buttons — one on each earbud — with the left button dedicated to accessing your phone’s voice assistant.
Unlike many of Bose’s other headphones and earbuds, the Sport Open Earbuds do not offer active noise cancellation (ANC).