The Bose SoundSport Free is one of the newest earbuds from the house of Bose. Sporting IPX4-certified design and the trademark StayHear+ Sport tips, these sports earbuds are true wireless much like the Apple AirPods.
On the other hand, the Beats Powerbeats3 earphones are not only popular, but they've also enjoyed a far longer run in the earphone market having debuted in 2016.
So, what makes the Powerbeats3 headphones different from the Bose SoundSport Free earbuds? Is it only the design, or is the dissimilarity far greater than that?
In this post, we explore the three key differences between these two earphones to help you make an informed decision.
Bose SoundSport Free & Powerbeats3: A Brief
The Bose SoundSport Free was launched in early 2018 as workout headphones. Unlike the Jabra Elite Sport, this one doesn't come with a built-in heart rate sensor nor does it have active noise cancellation. They carry a price tag of $199.
The gym-ready Beats Powerbeats3 was made available in the latter half of 2016, after the launch of the iPhone 7. It's the third Apple product to bundle the proprietary W1 chip and retails at $139.99 on Amazon.
1. Design: Wire vs. Wireless
If you are someone who loves the design of Apple AiprPods, you might like the design of the Bose SoundSport Free earbuds. They are truly wireless as opposed to the wired PowerBeats3. So, all you need to do is take them out of the casing and stick them to your ears.
Though there aren't any wires connecting both the earbuds, the SoundSport Free is a tad bulky and sticks out from the ear, and end up giving a goofy look. However, that's a trade-off that you'll have to make if you are going for wireless headphones. You need to fit the batteries, and the earpiece is the only option.
When it comes to fit, it sports the in-house StayHear+ Sport tips which are comfortable to wear. Staying true to the tagline of 'sports earbuds,' the SoundSport fit snugly and block out the ambient noise.
In the case of the Powerbeats3, a wire connects the two earpieces. But the good news is that unlike some earphones, these pair comes with a wire management clip using which you can shorten as per your convenience. That means that you won't have additional lengths of wire dangling on your neck while you run or during the workout.
When it comes to the design, the oblong hooks connect the earbuds which you can hook around your ear, thus ensuring that they never fall off no matter how hard you run or jump. It is the same case with the Bose SoundSport as well. It's more about how we perceive the design in our heads.
Another point of difference is the inline control remote. The PowerBeats3 has a small inline remote with pronounced buttons using which you can control the music play. As per the folks at TechRadar, the strong build quality ensures that the remote is easy to use.
In the absence of a wire, Bose has fitted the controls at the top of the earbud owing to the limited space. The buttons are small and can be a bit stiff.
The PowerBeats3 comes with the advantage of Apple's W1 chip which increases the Bluetooth range and also makes pairing devices a cake walk.
It helps to connect the headphone to any Apple device quickly and without the need to go through lengthy pairing sessions. All you need to do is hold the headphones near an Apple product like an iPad, MacBook or an Apple Watch and you'll see the prompt to connect.
The best thing about the SoundSport Free earphones is its case. All you have to do is place them in the case for them to recharge. Furthermore, the earbuds are known to have pretty long battery life. Bose claims that they last for around five-hour in a single charge. On the other hand, the case lasts up to 10 hours meaning that you can charge the earbuds twice.
The earbuds themselves are known to have pretty long battery life
In the real world scenario, these earbuds live up to Bose's claims. Adrienne So from Wired writes, "I got down to 70 percent after three hours, which seems like a slightly longer runtime than stated."
The PowerBeats3 doesn't come with a rechargeable case. The earbuds follow a more traditional method of charging via wires. There is a Micro USB port located at one of the earpieces.
The best thing about this pair of headphones is that you get a whopping 12 hours of battery life. You don't have to worry about charging these on a regular basis.
In conclusion, the cumulative battery life of the Bose SoundSport Free headphones is more or less the same compared to the Powerbeats3. The difference is that with the SoundSport Free you can afford to throw them in the case when the juice runs out. But with PowerBeats3, you'd have to have a wall power socket or power bank handy.
Both earphones are a tad on the higher side of the price spectrum. That said, both the headphones produce impressive audio output. The Bose SoundSport Free though has slightly exaggerated highs and lows. As Amazon user Brain writes,
When it comes to the Powerbeats3, TechRadar puts them as bit bass-heavy.
Also, since the PowerBeats3 don't have a snug fit as the SoundSport, you may encounter ambient noises creeping in, thus making it a tad difficult to listen to songs in very noisy environments.
Which is the Right One?
The Bose SoundSport Free also has two significant advantages - the IPX4 certification and the companion app. One of the key features of this app is the Locate Earbuds features. As suggestive of its name, it helps to locate misplaced buds.
Interestingly, the Beats Powerbeats3 look great on paper. But when it comes to real-world usage, the situation is a bit tricky. These headphones have recently faced criticism due to its overestimated sweatproof and battery claims. Also, as per many users on Amazon, they broke after around six months of usage.
Currently, the Powerbeats3 carries a rating of 2.7 out of 5 stars, while the Bose SoundSport Free has a rating of 3.4 stars on Amazon. On the Apple product page, the Powerbeats3 are rated only 1.5 out of 5 stars.
So, when it comes to picking up a pair of earphones, I'd rather stick to the Bose SoundSport Free earbuds