I have been experimenting with the new Bose SoundSport Pulse earbud-style headphones for a couple of weeks. I have compared them to another quality set of in-ear headphones I use as well as some high-end on-ear headphones.
The end result – The Bose SoundSport Pulse is an excellent headphone. The sound reproduction is very clear. It doesn’t get bogged down with too heavy a bass, nor does suffer from distortion at the higher ranges. The aural template is very pleasing.
I used the Pulse headphones in conjunction with the Bose Connect app on my Android phone. The app is also available on iOS. While the app is somewhat stark, it functions well. When you use the app, you also get heart rate monitoring (relayed to the app on your phone), which seemed pretty accurate based on comparisons to self tests and my Fitbit Surge.
I had hoped the Pulse would include active noise cancelling technology, but it does not appear to, unless I have missed it. I have not found any reference to noise cancelling, and it clearly doesn’t block out most noises around you. I understand the intent is that these will largely be worn during exercise or running, so you need to hear what’s going on around you for safety reasons. Still, there are active noise cancelling technologies that will block loud sounds while allowing normal sounds to permeate the device; this is what I had hoped for with the Pulse.
The Pulse uses an interesting (and comfortable) wing fit to nestle in the ear. Bose calls these StayHear+ Sport Tips. They seem to keep it secure and comfy. It comes with three sets of interchangeable tips to get the right fit for your ear.
The cable connecting the two earbuds has a multi-function volume rocker that works well. I had no complaints about using the Pulse for voice as well as music. The cable also has a clip you can use to secure it to your shirt or neckband.
The Pulse also comes with a nice little carry case that has a smallish carbiner clip. I thought the carbiner felt cheap, but it functions.
The Pulse charges fairly quickly and holds a charge well. I had read battery life is rated for 5 hours, and I consistently got a little better than that.
In terms of design, the Pulse looks bigger and more bulky that I expected, but they were not at all heavy or uncomfortable. I have a bad knee and a bad ankle, so I don’t jog and cannot comment on whether the bulk would be an impediment for wearing them while jogging.
– Quality sound reproduction
– Comfortable fit
– Workout friendly pulse monitoring
– Bulky design
– No noise cancelling
Essentially, this is almost identical to the non-Pulse version except this one adds a heart rate monitor, loses about an hour of battery life, and costs $50 more. It’s a nice headphone. If you find the heart rater monitoring beneficial (and the heart rate monitoring from the ear is supposed to be more reliable than what you might get from a wrist wearable), then go for it. If you don’t need the heart rate monitoring, I might stick with the non-Pulse model by Bose. Regardless, you get great sound with either model.