Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

0
Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

Today we have a review of the latest innovation from the Bose company in the field of audio technologies – Bose Ultra Open Earbuds. In contrast to their previous attempts with the Bose Sport Open Ear headphones, which failed to gain traction in the market, the Ultra Open Earbuds aim to tap into a burgeoning niche: the open ear audio market.

The rise in popularity of open ear audio can be attributed to several factors. Many individuals seek to maintain a connection to their devices while remaining aware of their surroundings, a feat that traditional headphones or earbuds with noise-canceling capabilities cannot achieve. This is a departure from Bose’s usual focus on noise-canceling technology, making the Ultra Open Earbuds a notable departure from their typical offerings.

NEW Bose Ultra Open Earbuds with OpenAudio Technology, Open Ear Wireless...
  • OPEN YOUR EARS TO THE WORLD: Hear all of what’s around you while enjoying rich, private sound; the wireless...
  • BE IN THE MUSIC, ANYWHERE EVERYWHERE: With Bose Immersive Audio spatialized sound, these Bluetooth earbuds feel,...
  • FEELS GOOD, STAYS PUT: The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds feature a flexible joint and a light-as-air-grip, simply hook it...
  • WATER RESISTANCE WITH IPX4: Get splashed on, dripped on, sprayed on. No worries here. The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds...
  • NEVER MISS A BEAT: With up to 7.5 hours of play time (up to 4.5 hours with Immersive Audio)*, up to 48 hours of...

Unlike conventional earbuds that fit snugly inside the ear canal, these earbuds clip onto the ear, directing sound downward into the ear canal using air conduction rather than bone conduction. This design choice allows users to stay connected to their audio while remaining aware of ambient noise—a feature that’s increasingly valued in today’s fast-paced world.

However, the way they clip onto the ear may give them a somewhat unconventional look, akin to earrings rather than traditional earbuds. This unique aesthetic may appeal to some but might take others some time to get used to—a true acquired taste in the world of audio accessories.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds: Video Review

SpecsBose Ultra Open Earbuds
Earpiece DesignOpen-Ear, Open-Back
Active Noise CancellationNo
Full Remote OS SupportAndroid, iOS
Number of Voice Mics1
Bluetooth5.3 + LE
Supported Audio CodecsAAC, SBC
Bluetooth ProfilesA2DP, HFP, BLE
Wireless Range30' / 9.1 m
NFCYes
Maximum playing timeHeadphones - 7.5 hours, case included - 19.5 hours,
immersive sound - 4.5 hours, case included - 12 hours.
Charging InterfaceUSB-C
MaterialABS, Metal, Plastic, Silicone
Dimensions Case2.56 x 1.65 x 1.04" / 6.5 x 4.19 x 2.64 cm
Dimensions Earphones1.07 x 0.73 x 0.67" / 2.72 x 1.85 x 1.7 cm (Each)
Weight Case1.5 oz / 43 g
Weight Earphones0.2 oz / 6 g (Each)
ColorBlack

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds: Design

The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds offer a distinctive design that sets them apart in the realm of wireless earphones. At first glance, they resemble small rubber scrolls, compact and unobtrusive. The absence of any visible branding on the exterior gives them a sleek, minimalist look, while the smooth texture of the material adds to their understated elegance.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

A notable feature of the design is the elastic rubber band that holds the earbuds together when not in use. This band not only keeps the earbuds compact but also doubles as a means of securing them to the ears. The thicker side of the headphones fits snugly behind the auricle, while the smaller, hook-shaped side extends towards the ear canal, housing the speaker.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

Although putting them on may require some initial effort and adjustment, particularly for first-time users, over time, it becomes more intuitive. Despite feeling slightly loose, the earbuds are surprisingly resilient, capable of withstanding jerky movements. However, the durability of the rolling mechanism over extended use remains to be seen, with the rubber band serving as a potential weak point if subjected to wear and tear.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

Unlike some similar designs, such as the Huawei FreeClip, the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds are not symmetrical. As such, it’s essential to pay attention to the labeling on each earphone to ensure correct placement.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

When not in use, the earbuds find their place within the charging case, which boasts a classic black design with the Bose logo and an LED indicator on the front. The simplicity of the case design lies in its functionality, with a small button at the rear initiating the pairing process. Additionally, the charging connector, compatible with USB Type C, is conveniently located at the bottom for easy access.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

In terms of weight, the earbuds are lightweight, with the total weight of 56.5g and each individual headset weighing just 6.4g. This feather-light construction ensures comfort during extended wear.

APP

The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds come with a range of customization options, allowing users to tailor their audio experience to their preferences. One of the key features is the ability to fine-tune the sound profile through the Bose Music app, available for both iOS and Android devices.

The app offers various adjustment options, including immersive audio modes designed to enhance the spaciousness of the sound. These modes, labeled as “Still” and “Motion,” aim to create a more expansive soundstage, which is particularly beneficial for open-ear headphones. The dynamic mode even incorporates head tracking, adjusting the audio based on the user’s head movements for a more immersive experience.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

Testing these modes with different music genres reveals promising results. Tracks like “Jesus Christ” by Brand New and “Donuts” by Mogwai demonstrate a noticeable widening of the soundstage, enhancing the atmospheric quality of the music. However, it’s worth noting that the dynamic mode may lead to disorientation during rapid head movements due to alignment issues.

Additionally, the Bose Music app includes an equalizer feature, allowing users to adjust the levels of highs, mids, and lows to achieve a more balanced sound. While this can improve the audio quality, it’s worth mentioning that the app lacks the ability to save custom presets for individual genres.

Control

The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds offer a convenient and intuitive control scheme, with each earbud featuring a prominent, round button on the back. Positioned for easy access, these buttons allow users to manage playback, answer calls, and toggle immersion mode with a simple press. Additionally, through the Bose Music app, users can customize shortcuts for these buttons, enabling actions such as activating voice assistants or seamlessly switching between Bluetooth sources.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

The list of working methods is as follows:

  • Play/Stop – press left or right side once
  • Next song – double tap left or right side
  • Previous song – press left or right side 3 times
  • Increase volume – press side R once, then press and hold a second time
  • Decrease volume – press side L once, then press and hold a second time
  • Enable immersive audio – press and hold side R
  • Switch modes – press and hold side L
  • Voice assistant – configured through the application
  • Switching equipment – configured via the application
  • Entering pairing mode – With the headsets in the case, press and hold the button on the back of the charging case.

Although the Ultra Open Earbuds lack multipoint functionality, users can create and switch between different Bluetooth sources directly through the app. However, it’s worth noting that switching sources involves disconnecting from the current device before connecting to the new one. Despite this limitation, the earbuds deliver a stable connection experience, supported by Bluetooth 5.3 technology and a selection of codecs including aptX Adaptive, SBC, and AAC. Particularly noteworthy is aptX Adaptive, which promises low latency and adaptive audio quality tailored to the connection’s conditions.

Sound quality

The sound profile of the Ultra Open Earbuds can vary depending on factors such as the user’s ear canal placement and positioning. In terms of bass, these earbuds provide a punchy response, particularly when inserted deeply into the ear canal. However, achieving pronounced bass requires positioning the earbuds correctly, as having them sit higher on the ear may diminish bass response due to increased distance from the ear canal. Despite this, there is a subtle bass vibration reminiscent of bone conduction, providing a tactile sensation to complement the auditory experience.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

In terms of midrange and treble frequencies, the Ultra Open Earbuds excel in clarity and detail. The earbuds offer excellent clarity, allowing users to discern subtle nuances in audio content. Additionally, the earbuds can reach extremely high volumes without significant distortion, providing an immersive listening experience akin to traditional earbuds with isolation.

One notable advantage of the Ultra Open Earbuds is their minimal sound leakage, even at higher volumes. While some open-ear earbuds may inadvertently broadcast audio to those nearby, the Ultra Open Earbuds minimize this issue, making them suitable for use in quiet environments such as workplaces without disturbing others.

Regarding soundstage and imaging, the Ultra Open Earbuds excel in creating an expansive audio environment. The open design contributes to a sense of spaciousness, enhanced further by immersive audio mode. This immersive experience allows you to pinpoint the direction of sounds with precision, offering a compelling audio experience for various activities, including gaming and multimedia consumption.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

When it comes to using the Bose Ultra Open Headphones for phone calls, I have mixed opinions regarding the quality of the microphone. While the earbuds do an adequate job of blocking out ambient noise, there are noticeable drawbacks in terms of the mic’s performance. During the test, I heard my voice sound a little muffled or distant when talking through the headphones. This may affect call clarity, especially in noisy environments.

Battery life

In terms of battery life, the Ultra Open Earbuds provide approximately 7.5 hours of continuous use on a single charge, extending to nearly 27 hours with the charging case’s additional 19.5 hours. However, enabling immersive audio mode reduces this to 4.5 hours of usage. While these figures may seem modest compared to some competitors, they still offer sufficient longevity for daily use. Furthermore, the inclusion of quick charging functionality ensures that a brief 10-minute charge can provide up to two hours of playback time, making it convenient to top up the earbuds’ battery on the go.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Great sound and comfort but expensive

Additionally, the design of the Ultra Open Earbuds encourages prolonged use, with the open design allowing users to keep the earbuds in their ears even when not actively listening to music. This feature further extends the earbuds’ battery life, providing nearly 48 hours of standby time without music playback.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds: Conclusion

In summary, my overall impression of the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds is mixed. While they offer a unique design and some innovative features, I find it challenging to justify their $300 price tag. The sound quality, while decent, may not meet the expectations of audiophiles accustomed to more immersive audio experiences. Additionally, the lack of noise cancellation and wireless charging for the case seems like a missed opportunity, especially considering the premium price point.

NEW Bose Ultra Open Earbuds with OpenAudio Technology, Open Ear Wireless...
  • OPEN YOUR EARS TO THE WORLD: Hear all of what’s around you while enjoying rich, private sound; the wireless...
  • BE IN THE MUSIC, ANYWHERE EVERYWHERE: With Bose Immersive Audio spatialized sound, these Bluetooth earbuds feel,...
  • FEELS GOOD, STAYS PUT: The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds feature a flexible joint and a light-as-air-grip, simply hook it...
  • WATER RESISTANCE WITH IPX4: Get splashed on, dripped on, sprayed on. No worries here. The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds...
  • NEVER MISS A BEAT: With up to 7.5 hours of play time (up to 4.5 hours with Immersive Audio)*, up to 48 hours of...

For those primarily seeking a way to listen to music while remaining aware of their surroundings, the Ultra Open Earbuds may offer a compelling option, particularly for fans of Bose’s aesthetic and design choices. The clip-on design provides a comfortable and unobtrusive fit, allowing users to almost forget they’re wearing earbuds. However, for individuals prioritizing audio quality and functionality, there are likely better alternatives available on the market.

Ultimately, the decision to invest in the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds will depend on personal preferences and priorities.

You can also check out the best-selling Open Ear Headphones on Amazon:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *