Sony WF-1000X vs. Bose SoundSport Free: Best True Wireless 2018?

Cam Secore
Updated 07/09/2018

sony wf-1000x vs bose soundsport free

After a month of testing, I determined Bose SoundSport Free are the best wireless headphones because of their consistent connection, crisp sound, and stability during exercise. Sony WF-1000X earbuds have excellent noise-cancellation and audio, but the sound will cut out with minimal movement.

I’ll compare and contrast two true wireless headphones (Sony WF-1000X vs. Bose SoundSport Free) by evaluating six categories: sound, software, fit, design, battery, and exercise compatibility.

Bose SoundSport Free

10
  • Sound: The audio is crisp and clear, but you can hear outside noise, especially wind.
  • Software: They don’t cut out and they’re better at managing multiple devices.
  • Fit: They’re comfortable and seem to fit any ear.
  • Design: They’re bulkier than is ideal, but everything’s well-made and thought out.
  • Battery: You get five hours of playback with an additional 10 hours with the case.
  • Exercise: They don’t fall or cut out and they’re sweat-resistant.

Best for you if...

You want a pair of true wireless headphones that consistently plays crisp, rich audio. Bose has its faults with a bulky design, no noise cancelation, and Bluetooth limitations. But you get the freedom to listen away from your desk. No other true wireless headphone on the market has better sound.

Sony WF-1000X

6
  • Sound: They’re noise-canceling, with fantastic audio, but that’s only if you don’t move.
  • Software: Setup is challenging, and the buds don’t stay connected.
  • Fit: They need to be deep inside the ear canal to properly seal, which is uncomfortable.
  • Design: The buds stick out of your ears more than Bose and don’t snap into the case.
  • Battery: You get two hours of playback (real-life testing) and seven hours with the case.
  • Exercise: They cut out when you move and can’t even handle a casual walk.

Best for you if...

You want more noise cancellation than Bose offers and plan on using them while seated. While they won’t cancel noise like a pair of over-ear headphones, they’re better at eliminating noise than Bose. The downside is you can’t move with them because the audio cuts out. You can’t watch video either.

 

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sony earbuds vs bose earbuds

Bose SoundSport Free

10

Sound (A+):

  • I prefer the sound on Bose SoundSport Free, but that’s mostly because they don’t require a tight seal to sound great.
  • There’s no noise cancellation. If you’re running or riding a bike ride, the wind can be loud. This design feature is intentional, however, so you can hear your surroundings. It’s a limitation of all in-ear headphones.

Software (B-):

  • There’s no button to turn them on or off, they just work once they’re out of the case. If you don’t touch them for 20 minutes (this time can be edited in the app), they’ll turn off.
  • You won’t experience many cutouts between the buds even if you move a lot. Although, I recommend keeping your phone on your right side so it’s closest to the “master bud.”
  • You can watch videos with them because Bose fixed their latency issues, unlike Sony.
  • Changing audio sources is seamless and the process is superior to Sony, but you can only connect to one device at a time.
  • The app is great. You can see Bluetooth connections, create equalizer profiles and have your SoundSport headphones play a sound with the “Find My Buds” feature.

Fit (B+):

  • These are the most comfortable in-ear exercise headphones I’ve ever tried. I had other friends try both models as well, and they agreed these are the best.
  • It comes with a small, medium and large of their patented Sport Tips.

Design (C-):

  • Everything is exceptionally well-built.
  • The buds have a dedicated volume button on these. It’s not necessary, but can be useful for some.
  • If you’re comparing Bose SoundSport to AirPods or JayBird headphones, they look huge and awkward because they stick out, but they still look better than Sony WF-1000X.
  • The case lets the buds snap in easily, so you know they’re charging, but it’s thicker than Sony’s, so it doesn’t fit in a pocket as nicely.

Battery (B):

  • You get five hours of playback with an additional 10 hours with the charging case.

Exercise (A):

  • They’re sweat and weather-resistant.
  • They won’t move during exercise because of the special wing tips.
  • They could potentially get caught on something because they stick out far from your ear.
  • They’ll sound great if you’re indoors, but wind gets inside the buds easily and can be distracting.

Sony WF-1000X

6

Sound (A):

  • They have noise cancellation and something called “Adaptive Sound Control” that detects your activity, such as walking or sitting, then adjusts the sound settings accordingly. Neither of these features does precisely what’s intended, but that’s due to the size limitations of the buds.
  • If you get a tight fit and aren’t moving much, they sound amazing. They block out more surrounding/outside noise than any of the others I tried.

Software (F):

  • Setup is challenging, not intuitive, and Sony’s guide isn’t helpful. You need to sync the left bud first by pressing the power button for seven seconds, but the power must be turned off for it to work. Then, you sync the right bud to the left, but it doesn’t often work the first time.
  • The left and right bud stay in sync and don’t cut out, but only if you don’t move and your phone’s not in your pocket.
  • The new firmware update might fix some of the cutout issues. But after four tries, I haven’t been able to get the update through my phone. The download fails halfway through.
  • The audio lag on video isn’t as drastic, but it’s still there.
  • This happened twice: I stopped using them, paused the music, disconnected from my MacBook, and placed the buds in the case. Ten minutes later, I played a YouTube video and the Sonys were used as the audio source while still in the case.
  • Switching sound sources means powering off and repairing, which is always a tedious process and it’s tough to sync the buds.

Fit (C):

  • The earbuds go inside your ear canal. There are seven different earbud tips of various sizes, some made of silicone and others foam. The foam tips feel better, but I couldn’t get a tight seal. They don’t sound good without a tight seal, so I stuck with the silicone tips, which were uncomfortable. But that’s just my opinion. Some people like that tight fit inside the ear canal.

Design (F):

  • The buds stick out more than the Bose, which looks goofy. I like the sleek charging case, but the buds don’t always snap in well and there’s no battery indicator.

Battery (D):

  • You get three hours of playback (closer to two hours in my real life testing) and an additional nine hours (closer to seven) with the case. That’s not good enough.

Exercise (F):

  • They’re not waterproof or sweatproof.
  • They cut out when you move, even during a casual walk. It’s better if your phone is out of your pocket and if it is in your pocket, it had better be the left one.
  • Because the ear wings are small, the buds fall out easily. These shouldn’t be used for any activity more than a light stroll.