Welcome to the future. The year is 2019 and wired earphones are going extinct. People using wires now live in fear. They use their earbuds in the dark for fear of being judged and victimized. And in the face of this turmoil, many lords have risen all with one purpose. To take charge of this wireless revolution. But these are brutal times and so, many lords have fallen. And yet there are two that remain strong. They are the leaders of the revolution. They are the infallibles. Their names, Jabras and Bose.
Yes, in case you were not aware, Jabras and Bose are two of the biggest names right now when it comes to making truly wireless earphones. And nothing speaks more of their rivalry than the Jabra Elite 65t and the Bose SoundSport Free. Both excellent products created with adrenaline, sweat, and energy in mind. Perfect earbuds for workouts, jogging, and sporting.
Both are products that even the most elite sportsmen will swear by. And yet, you can only have one.
Which then leaves many in a dilemma. Which is the best of the two? Well, this is the bone we will be cracking in this post. The Apple Airpods are also very popular true-wireless earbuds but compared to these two, they simply do not stand a chance. Especially when you look at it from a work out perspective.
The one area where I think the Airpods outshines these two is in regards to the connection with Apple devices. And that is just because they are, well, Apple Airpods.
Here is a rundown of the features and performance analysis of these two competing buds. Naturally, they will be alike in many aspects but it is those areas that they defer that we are more concerned about. By comparing the differences then we can put this discussion to rest and crown the winner.
Design and Build
It is clear that both companies put a lot of effort to ensure that their earbuds are physically attractive and that they are the right fit for the consumers. They even included extra accessories to help with different ear types. The Jabra 65t comes with three sets of EarGels tips and the SoundSport have two pairs of ear fins.
When you place these two buds side by side on a table the Bose SoundSport free comes off as the more attractive one. However, once you wear them, the Jabra 65t have a more elegant look. They are more compact which means they align perfectly with your ear. The SoundSport Free, on the other hand, have a big outer bud that protrudes outside your ears to give you a dorky look.
The Elite 65t buds have a twist and lock mechanism that allows them to remain firmly attached to your ear even when performing rigorous exercises or going on a run. The SoundSport buds, on the other hand, come with an ear hook to facilitate stability but when running the protruding buds felt bobbly which made me feel like they would fall off. Though they didn’t.
The carrier bag which also serves as a charging case is also a matter of concern. The SoundSport case is significantly big. Almost the size of a spectacle holding case. Which did not make sense to me. I use true wireless buds because of convenience. Therefore, stuffing them in a big box that I can’t even fit in my pocket defeats that whole purpose.
I prefer the Elite 65t carrying case which is just a few inches bigger than a ring box. But I still have to commend the Bose box design. It looks like something out of a spy movie used to carry one of those cool tech gadgets. Which come to think of it, is what these earbuds are.
The Bose case also holds the buds into place through integrated magnets, unlike the Jabra case where you just squeeze them into place. Both cases provide two full charges to add 10 hours of playback to the 5 hours that the buds can go for. They also have a fast charging feature through which charging your buds for 15 minutes will give you 45 minutes of use time for the Jabra and 1.5 hours of use for the Bose buds.
The Jabra Elite 65t took the least time to connect to my mobile phone. They activate automatically when removed from the charging case and from there, all I had to do was scan for available Bluetooth devices and pair. The procedure is still the same with the Bose SoundSport but it took some few more seconds to connect successfully
This remained true even when connecting the buds to my PC. Both earbuds will notify you via voice when they have paired with a device successfully. The Jabra voice notifications use general terms like ‘Device 1’ but the Bose is more specific and will refer to your device name based on the Bluetooth name. This adds a personal touch to it.
Video Audio Performance
One of the biggest disadvantages of using the truly wireless earbuds is the latency when watching videos. The sound is almost never in sync with the lips movement and these two earbuds also have the same setback.
However, it usually varies depending on the video platform you are using. I tested the earbuds on the YouTube app, Netflix and on my PC media player and here is what I concluded. The YouTube app had the most latency of the three although not in a painfully large scale. Still on YouTube, there were some audio lags present with the Bose SoundSport that I did not see when using the Elite 65t. I did not experience any latency issues on NetFlix.
I also tried the tests using a Galaxy S8 which is compatible with Bluetooth 5 and the decline in latency was evident.
Due to the small nature of the true-wireless earbuds, it’s usually not easy to implement physical controls on them. That said, both Jabras and Bose have done a decent job with their control system. It still has its drawbacks but it will simplify work a little for those times you can’t physically get to your phone.
For the Bose SoundSport, the left bud has the volume buttons and a multi-function button between them. And here is where it gets a little complicated. Tapping this button once will play or pause audio. Pressing and holding it down will activate virtual assistant. Tapping it 2x will perform a forward skip and 3x will execute a backward skip. To fast forward through a song you need to tap it twice and hold and to rewind you need to tap it thrice and hold. Told you so. The left bud only has the power/pairing button.
The Jabra’s controllers are less intricate but still awkward to use. The control button is right in the middle of the bud. Pressing it once will end/receive a call or play/pause audio. To enable virtual assistant then all you have to do is double press it. On the left bud, you will find the volume buttons that can also be used to forward or rewind music when held. There is no option to skip the audio.
Credit be given where it is due. Bose has the best sound between the two. I mean, it is Bose after all. But this does not by any means mean that the Jabra Elite 65t has a bad sound quality. In fact, unless you have both the Bose SoundSport and the Jabra Elite 65t to compare, then the sound performance will not be an issue. But the good thing about Jabra is that their supporting app has an Equalizer feature. You can use it to adjust the bass, treble and other audio components to suit your preference.
In regards to call sound performance, the JABRA 65t is, unsurprisingly the better of the two. The microphones have effective noise cancellation for crisp audio capture even in the noisier places. It’s also one of the few earbuds that let you hear a call from both buds.
If its complete noise Isolation you are looking for then the Jabra elite 65t is your best bet. It has an airtight seal that ensures there is minimum sound leakage both in and out of the buds. However, seeing as these earbuds are made for sports activities this may be a problem. Especially if you are using them for running.
So what Jabra has done is to include a HearThrough mode on their app that lets you regulate the amount of noise that the earbuds let through. But if you want something that will let you hear the outside environment without many technicalities then the Bose SoundSport will be perfect.
Water and Dust Resistance
The Jabra Elite 65t has an IP56 rating meaning that it is resistant to sweat, dust and high-pressure water. I did try rinsing them on a running tap twice after an exercise and they still stayed strong. I would not advise you to go swimming with them though. The Bose is also resistant to dust and water but with an IPX4 rating, it’s still below the Elite 65t.
At the time of writing this, the Jabra Elite 65t is available on their online retail shop at $169 and the Bose SoundSport Free will cost you about $199 from their online retail shop.
I don’t know about you but I would say that the Jabra Elite 65t has emerged the better of the two. I am sure the pure audiophiles will disagree and I understand that. The Bose has a better sound. But is that enough to make you blind to all the other positives that the 65t has over the SoundSport? I don’t think so.
I may like music that packs a good punch but I would also like to complete my workouts without the constant worry that my earbuds may come off at any time. Then there is the price point. Don’t forget that the 65t is cheaper than the SoundSport. But that’s just me. Which do you think is the better of the two?
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Prices taken/valid at the time of review.