There are two kinds of truly wireless earphones in the market today. Ones that are sleek and fits perfectly, while the second type hangs over the ears. The Sony WF-1000XM3 and the Bose SoundSport Free both belong to the second category. They are a tad bulky. However, that’s not the end of the story. Not only do they sound great, but they also come with good connectivity.
So, it’s only fair that we pit both the earphones against each other and see which one is the real winner.
Let the game begin!
Design and Fit
Let’s talk about the design first. As we mentioned above, the Sony WF-1000XM3 is not one of those discreet looking earphones. But on the bright side, they are stylish and attractive and looks every bit modern.
The body of the earpieces sticks out far from the ear, while the ear tips extend like a nozzle to fit inside the ear canal. Sony packs eight sets of ear tips with the WF-1000XM3 for a better fit.
On top of that, they are constructed using a high-friction rubber surface, which makes sure that your grip on them stays put.
Plus, they come with touch-sensitive control. As many users pointed out in their reviews, the WF-1000XM3 pair is reasonably comfortable in spite of being a tad heavy.
However, the WF-1000XM3 is not water-resistant, and the carry case is on the bigger side. So, if you were thinking of carrying the charging case in your pocket, sadly, that can’t be done.
The Bose SoundSport Free is another chunky, popular pair of earphones. Like many Bose earphones, the SoundSport Free is also equipped with Bose’s proprietary StayHear+ Sport tips.
These ensure a comfortable fit since they lock the buds into your ears, and make sure that they stay put even if you are out running or doing some rigorous exercise routines.
Other than that, they do their bit in sealing your ear canal from ambient noises without really jamming the tips into your ear, which is a good thing.
Here too, the charging/carrying case is bigger.
The key feature of the Sony WX-1000XM3 is its touch-sensitive controls. Each tap (single, double, and triple) takes care of jobs like playback or activating the Google Assistant ad changing the ambient noise levels. And the good thing is that the sides are configurable via the companion app.
All you need to do is tap and hold the bud, to get the job done. And since these are no physical buttons, you do not feel much pressure on your ears.
As opposed to that, the Bose SoundSport Free has physical buttons integrated into the buds. You can control volumes or skip tracks right from there. However, the buttons are small and feel a little stiff, and takes a while to get familiar with.
Audio Quality and Noise Cancellation
Both Bose and Sony have quite a good reputation for the audio performance of their accessories, and as per the reviews so far, the WF-1000XM3 and the SoundSport Free are no different. Not only do they sound great, but they also come with their share of noise cancellations.
When it comes to the WF-1000XM3, it has a clear sound signature with a thumping bass. As per the folks at The Guardian, this earphone “allows you to hear new things in longtime favorite tracks.”
Apart from that, the WF-1000XM3 pack active noise cancellation. The pair filters out most of the ambient noise, thus letting you enjoy your music without distraction. To improve the performance, Sony has added a pair of noise-canceling mics.
On top of that, there’s an option to enable the ambient sound mode. That will filter noise from the outside, whenever you need it. It comes in handy whenever you have to listen to important announcements on your daily commute or when you want to stay aware of your surroundings.
The battery life reduces drastically with ANC
Many users have praised the noise cancellation feature. Naturally, the battery life reduces drastically with ANC.
Unlike the Sony WF-1000XM3, the Bose SoundSport Free does not have Active Noise Cancellation. Though they fit well and manage to seal the ear canal (without being uncomfortable), ambient noise from the surroundings manages to creep in.
When it comes to the audio output, the SoundSport Free has a clear sound and a pronounced bass. However, at times, especially in quiet rooms, the bass can feel a tad bloated.
Bluetooth and Connectivity
It’s 2019, and it’s only natural that these premium earphones have the support for Bluetooth 5.0. That eases the process of connecting these buds to your phone. Plus, there’s the advantage of range.
When it comes to the WF-1000XM3, they support both SBC and AAC Bluetooth audio codecs. However, they do not support high-quality codecs like aptX, aptX HD, or Sony’s proprietary LDAC.
While everything looks great on paper, there have been some reports where either one of the buds loses connection to the other. And once it happens, then reconnecting them together proves to be a tad difficult.
Similar to the one above, the Bose SoundSport Free supports the same codecs. While they don’t have high-quality lag-free codecs like aptX HD, thankfully, there have been no known issues of lags and delays (except for some minor glitches).
User responses have been good for these earbuds. Of course, there are minor quibbles about the earbuds disconnecting from each other from time to time.
Battery Life and Charging
When it comes to battery life, the WF-1000XM3 gets you somewhere around five to six hours of constant playback time. And the charging case takes around 3.5 hours to get fully charged. Thankfully, a single charge adds three cycles of battery life.
As per Samuel Gibbs of The Guardian, a 10-minute charge on the earbuds gives you around 90 minutes of playback. Now, that’s impressive.
On the other hand, the Bose wireless earphones advertise a battery life of 5 hours. The charging case provides two additional full charges, which gives you around 15 hours in total.
As per the folks at SoundGuys, the Bose SoundSport Free delivered a consistent five-and-a-half-hour.
The bottom line is, these earphones will get you through the week of moderate use. All you have to remember is to keep them diligently back into the case after you are done using them.
Apart from the above, both earphones exhibit a few minor differences. For one, Sony lets you map the capacitive buttons based on your usage. For instance, if you are more comfortable with using the left earbud, you can do so with the aid of the app.
Plus, there’s the Quick Attention feature, which pauses the music when you tap and hold the left touchpad. Neat, if you ask me. On the downside, the Sony WF-1000XM3 doesn’t have an IP-rating as its competitor.
On the other hand, the ones from are sweat-resistant and feature an IPX4- rating, meaning that you can easily use them on gym without worrying about damaging them.
Which Are the Right Earphones for You
When it comes to the Sony WF-1000XM3 and the Bose SoundSport Free, the weight and the size is one of the primary concern. They fall on the heavier side, which gives the impression that something is hanging off your ears.
But should you decide that you can live with that, it should not be hard enough to decide which earphones suit your needs the most.
If you tend to sweat a lot or engage in strenuous workout activities regularly, the Bose SoundSport Free are the ones for you. Plus, apart from the IPX4 rating, they sound incredible, and there have been no major issues regarding the connections. And the StayHear+ Sport tips are a welcome bonus. Plus, being an older product, you get to know about the long-term issues and problems.
On the other hand, the WF-1000XM3 gets you a quick 90 minutes of playback time after charging them for merely 10-minutes. Plus, they look stylish, and the audio quality is pretty impressive. Most importantly, the noise cancellation is worth every dollar. However, they are not sweat/water-resistant.
Last updated on 02 February, 2022
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