Usually you expect the earplugs to go in your ear canal. Because, you know, that’s what the earplugs do. But today, Bose announces the latest truly wireless earbuds – Bose Sport Open Earbuds – and the company claims that they do not go in, over or on your ears at all.
Well, where the hell are they going?
According to Bose’s press release, sits Bose Sport Open Earbuds above your ear canal thanks to a strangely shaped hook attachment. (Though, if you look at the picture below it sort looks like it “covers” a little bit of the ear canal …) If you read notes, it looks like bass key. Apparently you will be able to hear what you are listening to no matter what volume you want, but without other people listening. Bose says that you should only twist the hook on the outer ridge of the ear, and that it makes a sound with “practically no skin contact” and without squeezing or vibrations. Bose claims that the small dipole transducer in each cabinet makes a clear sound while interrupting other noise, while the microphones are able to isolate your voice from other noise and wind.
In particular, the earplugs are 48 mm wide and 55 mm high – so it seems that these are relatively large boys. The Jabra Elite Active 75t, for example, are 19.4 mm wide and 16.2 mm high. Bose also says that the earplugs “weigh only 14 grams per bud.” OK, but the AirPods Pro is 5.4 grams per bud and the Jabra Elite Active 75t is 5.5 grams. For connectivity, there is both an “etched antenna” and Bluetooth 5.1. The earbuds also have an IPX4 rating and an estimated 8 hours of battery life.
As the name suggests, these earplugs are meant for outdoor enthusiasts – especially runners, walkers and cyclists who want to listen to music while keeping their ear out from ambient noise, such as traffic or a chatty exercise partner. There are bone conduction headphones out there that promise to do the same, but they are generally better for the hearing impaired or less rigorous activity. If you have ever used a pair, the sound quality is not as good as regular earplugs, and depending on the model, they sometimes slip off your head while you run.
We’ve seen this type of open sound technology from Bose before – especially in its Bose frames sunglasses that act as a pair of headphones. When I tested these, they surprisingly delivered the whole “listen to your music, but others can’t hear it”. However, we need to test these earplugs to see if they give you a similar experience, and if the heavier weight and ear hook are comfortable enough to exercise.
Bose Sport Open Earbuds will sell for $ 200, and come in Triple Black, which I guess is Bose’s term for “very black.” You can pre-order online today at BestBuy or Bose’s website, and shipping / availability is expected sometime in the middle of this month.