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Bose SoundTrue vs SoundSport Review
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Bose SoundTrue vs SoundSport Review

by Stephen Charlton2016/04/16

Today we’ll put the models through their paces with round 1, Bose SoundTrue vs SoundSport to see which one is worth your hard-earned cash. Bose products are generally more expensive than less well-known brands. However the SoundTrue and SoundSport are still both great products. So if you can get past the brand premium pricing, you’ll find plenty to love about these earphones. Broadly speaking the SoundTrue Ultra is designed for comfort, audio quality and strong noise isolation. The SoundSport, naturally, is intended for workouts and other high-intensity activities. The models are quite similar in a number of ways though.

Several model variations offered

There’s actually a number of slight variations on two main designs, so it’s not as simple as Bose SoundTrue vs SoundSport. The SoundTrue Ultra costs $149.95 and features a three-button remote and mic included. It is available in both iOS and Samsung/Galaxy versions. The different versions are offered to ensure full functionality for the mic and remote. Bose previously offered an earlier edition of the Bose SoundTrue with a different audio balance and eartip shape. It’s a little hard to find this version now so for the purposes of this review we’ll focus on the updated Ultra model.

In-line Controls Soundtrue Ultra

Bose SoundTrue Ultra With In-line Controls

The Bose SoundSport can be picked up in an audio-only format for $99.95. The headset model with three-button remote and mic comes in $129.95. Bose offer both iOS and Samsung/Galaxy versions for the latter model. It’s a smart move by Bose to include the audio-only version for this sport-focused design. Having the remote may be convenient for some users, but not everyone wants the extra weight moving around during their workout. That said, the headset editions of the SoundTrue Ultra and SoundSport weigh in at 17.9g and 17.86g respectively. So they are on the lighter side, even with the remote included.

Related: Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones review

Bose Soundsport In-ear Headphones controls

Bose Soundsport In-ear Headphones with in-line controls

StayHear tips deliver

One feature shared by all models is the shark fin-shaped protrusion on the StayHear tips, which curls around the inside of your ear. The design is a little unconventional but it’s also very comfortable. The tips prevent unwanted movement or the earphones falling out. They are one of the best elements of Bose earphone design.

Stayhear Tips

Stayhear Tips

Bose SoundTrue vs SoundSport: Audio performance

The Bose SoundTrue Ultra have a dual-layer eartip which projects well into the ear canal and provides excellent sound isolation. The earphones produce a clean, balanced sound with clarity throughout the frequency spectrum. If you want big bass, this not the model for you. The quality eartip and seal does help retain the bass that’s there, but they definitely don’t have a particularly prominent low end. Bass-boosted products are so popular now that the average consumer might find it lacking in this area. Unfortunately Bose don’t provide full technical specifications. The product ships with three eartip sizes: Small, medium and large. A clothing clip is also included.

The SoundSport have a slightly older eartip design which is not intended to provide strong isolation. The earpiece sits on the ear rather than entering the ear canal, although the tips do project into the canal to a degree. As a sports model, you don’t necessarily want to be sealed off from the outside world, particularly if you are running in urban areas. The silicon eartips are quite comfortable. The sound is balanced and clear, although they don’t possess the same level of clarity as the SoundTrue Ultra. The SoundSport doesn’t have a massive bass sound but the bass is certainly satisfying. Small, medium and large eartips are included with the product, along with a clothing clip.

Related: Bose SoundTrue Ultra in-ear headphones review

Cable design differs

Both the SoundTrue and SoundSport have a symmetrical 1.22m cable. The remote is located fairly close to the ear. The SoundTrue Ultra has a T-shaped junction where the cable splits. Generally Bose build quality is pretty good, although this particular design feature unfortunately provides an additional stress point which can cause the cable to break internally. The cable can also produce some unwanted noise. The SoundSport has a more traditional Y-shaped junction where the cable splits. Neither model has a tangle-free cable, which is a bit of a disappointment at this price-point. The cable for both models terminates in a straight 3.5mm jack that can accommodate a phone case. They are also both sweat and water-resistant.

The Bose SoundSport ship with a circular soft carry case. It has a karabiner, enabling it to be attached to clothing or a bag. It also has a mesh area to store accessories. The SoundTrue has a wallet-like case with a fashion-conscious look. There’s no recess included for accessories. The iOS SoundSport can be picked up in Charcoal, Energy Green, Frost, Neon Blue and Power Red (yes they really got creative there). Samsung/Android users will have to content themselves with Charcoal however. The SoundTrue Ultra is available in Charcoal, Frost and Cranberry for iOS and Charcoal for Samsung/Android.

Bose SoundTrue vs SoundSport final round

So what’s the verdict when it comes to Bose SoundTrue vs SoundSport? The SoundTrue Ultra features updated noise-isolating eartips and balanced audio performance. They are definitely not a bass-heavy build though and that won’t please everyone. They also have some questionable design choices. The SoundSport has great features for physical activity although it does not provide strong sound isolation. The sound is a little more tailored and has a stronger emphasis on bass. If you don’t need a remote, the SoundSport may be a winner as the SoundTrue Ultra is only available with it included. The SoundSport is more affordable, particularly if you go for the audio-only version.

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About The Author
Stephen Charlton

Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

  • james
    2017/09/26 at 12:18 am

    great review! i have the soundsport (audio only) and was wondering about how it would different from soundtrue ultra; your review is very thorough and has answered my questions. thanks!

    • Stephen Charlton
      2017/09/30 at 4:32 pm

      Thanks 🙂 Yeah Bose’s earphone line-up can be a bit confusing so glad this helped out!

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