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HOME / Audio / Bose SoundSport Free vs JBL Free – True Wireless Earbuds
Bose SoundSport Free vs JBL Free – True Wireless Earbuds
Which are the better workout wireless headphones?!
Bose and JBL both make great audio products. You probably already know that. In this post, we are going to focus on the major differences and advantages that each of these true wireless earbuds offer. If you want the nitty, gritty details for either of these headphones be sure to check out our full reviews:
We think the Bose SoundSport Free offer better audio quality than the JBL Free. The sound with the Bose earbuds is very crisp and clear. Sometimes it can sound a little raspy but for the most part it’s very clear. The bass is average to above average and the highs are solid. Overall, the audio quality is pretty darn good. It’s exactly what we’d expect from Bose. However, on the flip side, we were a little disappointed with the audio quality of the JBL Free. The sound is a little shallow and the bass is lacking. We were expecting more from JBL.
Bose also wins out when it comes to track management and volume controls. On the right earbud, you have a multi-function button where you can pause/play music, take/end calls, skip tracks and access Siri. Then there’s also separate buttons for volume (up and down) on the right earbud as well. Compare that to the JBL Free where there’s just one multi-function button on each earbud. On the right earbud, you use a series of tapping gestures to take/end calls, pause/play music, access Siri and pair each earbud. The left earbud is where you can skip a track or go back to the previous one. Missing with the JBL Free is volume controls. That means you have to use your phone to crank your tunes, which is kind of a bummer. Bose is the easy winner here.
We Prefer The Track Management And Volume Controls Of The Bose SSF
Bose also gets the slight edge with battery life. With the SoundSport Free earbuds, expect to get around five hours of playback on a single charge vs four with the JBL Free. However, JBL doesn’t take a complete loss here though. The portable charging case of the JBL Free offer 20 hours of extra juice vs just 10 with the Bose charging case. Plus, JBL’s quick-charge feature is slightly better than Bose. Pop the JBL earbuds in the charging case for 15 minutes and you’ll get an hour worth of playback (vs 45 minutes with Bose). So all things considered, I guess it’s more of a tie in this department.
Bose also offers a couple features that JBL does not. First is an auto-off timer. Via the Bose Connect mobile app, you can set the earbuds to automatically turn-off after 5, 20, 40 minutes, 1 hour or 3 hours of inactivity. That may be helpful for some forgetful people out there. Next, Bose offers a Find My Buds feature, similar to what we saw with the Jaybird Run, in case you lose the earbuds. Basically, through the mobile app you can see the last place the earbuds were used to help you locate them.
More Secure Fit
The Bose SoundSport Free offer a more secure fit. They come with three different size ear tips/fins so you can find the right fit. With that being said, because the SoundSport Free are so heavy and large, they do weigh on your ears and bounce a lot during running and dynamic workouts. The JBL Free aren’t much better though.
The JBL Free have a more traditional earbud design in that they are naked – there’s no ear fins or wings, just ear tips. As such, when you shake your head around, you can definitely feel the earbuds moving around a little in your ear. But that’s if you’re shaking your head violently. For jogging and most mild workouts, you’ll be just fine with the JBL Free. Still, Bose gets the nod here.
Very Secure Fit With The Bose SoundSport Free
Bluetooth Stability & Range
The Bluetooth stability and range is very good with the Bose earbuds. Walls, doors and people didn’t interfere with the signal and we were able to go around 70-80 feet before encountering any disruption. With the JBL Free, we kind of had mixed results. At times, it was just as good as Bose but other times not so much. In one of our tests, I couldn’t go more than 40 feet without the connection between the two JBL earbuds cutting out. So just from a consistency standpoint Bose wins.
The JBL Free also win when it comes to sound isolation. When I had the JBL earbuds in, I couldn’t really make out what Payne Train was saying to me when he was sitting about 10 feet away. When I had the Bose earbuds in, I could hear everything he was saying. But of course, sound isolation is a personal preference thing. I know a lot of runners out there actually prefer it when they can hear their surrounding environment for safety purposes.
Pretty Good Sound Isolation With The JBL Free
This may be a minor point but the JBL Free are IPX5 rated while the Bose SoundSport Free are IPX4 rated. Both ratings mean the earbuds are sweat and water resistant so at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. Neither are completely waterproof – you can’t submerge them in water or go swimming with them. According to the technical definition, IPX5 rated headphones will have no harmful effects from water projected by a nozzle from any direction. See…who cares.
Smaller & Lighter
Last up, the JBL Free earbuds are much lighter than the Bose SoundSport Free. The Bose earbuds weigh 0.5oz each – ouch. The difference in weight is pretty noticeable, even when they’re just sitting in your hand. The Bose earbuds also stick out of your ear quite a bit, which can be a little annoying.