Hands-on Gear Review
Compare sport headphone ratings side-by-side >
Street Price: $120
Pros: Excellent sound quality, tangle-free swivel cord, extremely comfortable, stays in ears, sweat and water resistant.
Cons: Armband too big.
Best Uses: Running, cycling, indoors or outdoors workouts, hiking.
The Bose SIE2 blow all other headphones out of the water when it comes to comfort. The soft and secure earpieces are unparalleled, especially if you plan to wear your headphones for long periods of time. They stay in the ears extremely well during rigorous activity such as running, and are comfortable for hours at a time. They have a shortened cord with a swivel that prevents tangles, and iare great for exercise when a longer would cord bounce and swing with motion. Sometimes we wish this cord was a bit longer, but for those instances it comes with an extension that can be added if needed. Scoring high in almost all categories, we recommend the Bose SIE2 for any type of use, which is why it wins our Editors' Choice award.
Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Bose Soundsport Headphones vs. The Bose SIE2
Bose has confirmed that the SIE2 headphones were discontinued in September of 2014. Check out this quote from Bose:
"Two different, but very similar to the SIE2 headphones have been introduced: the Soundsport Headphones for Apple and the Soundsport Headphones for Samsung. One was specifically designed for Apple phones and the other for Samsung phones. Acoustically, these are very similar to the previous model. The difference is for the two different phones."
The SIE2 headphones originally retailed for $120, while the Soundsport headphones will cost you $150. While we havent tested these headphones, we feel as though our review will still give you a good feel for the Soundsport headphones, as Bose has confirmed that they are similar to the SIE2.
See below for a side-by-side comparison, with the Bose Soundsport for Apple headphones shown on the left, the Bose Soundsport for Samsung headphones pictured in the middle, and the Bose SIE2 headphones shown on the right.
The Bose SIE2 offer outstanding ear comfort and many useful features for athletes, such as the ability to hear ambient noise. While they are on the higher end for price, we think these are worth it for their secure comfort, which is the most important feature of a sport headphone. They fall a bit short in sound quality, but still perform better than most competitors.
The Bose SIE2, while far and away the most comfortable headphones, are lackluster in their sound quality. The sound is rather flat and bland compared to the Klipsch X7i and the Sennheiser CX 685, which were the standout performers in our tests. However, the SIE2 let in ambient noise, which may not be desirable for use in a gym, but is a key feature for exercising outside and makes them perfect for use on trails or busy streets. Both the other top performers block out surrounding sound, making them less ideal for use outdoors. This feature alone bumps them up in our esteem since we find this essential in sport headphones.
Not only do these not fall out during strenuous exercise, but they are comfortable to wear for many hours at a time because of their extra soft ear pieces. Our testers unanimously prefer ear pieces made of cushy materials that sit inside the ear over ear pieces that utilize hard plastic in-ear parts or hangers that fit around the ear. The soft, flexible silicone of the ear pieces of the SIE2 fit inside your ear instead of around the outside, and hook onto the ridges inside your ear to keep them in place. The Monster iSport Intensity has a similar ergonomic in-ear design, but the ear pieces are constructed from a harder material and are less comfortable for long periods of wear.
Features & Accessories
The Bose SIE2 headphones come with several notable features. First, they have three pairs of different sized StayHear tips (S, M, and L) so you can find the ideal size to comfortably match your ears. We cannot stress how much we love these ear tips compared to the competitors. The YurBuds Inspire Duro also have really comfortable silicone ear tips, but the tips on the SIE2 and stay in your ears the best.
With a shorter cable designed to eliminate cord bounce while running, these headphones also come with an extension cord that works great for putting your music device in your backpack on a hike or on a machine at the gym. The Bose SIE2 also comes with a Reebok Fitness Armband that fits iPods and iPhones and has a slot for key storage.
In the era of app-based workouts and internet radio streaming, it is a bummer that at the hefty price of $120 this set of headphones does not include an inline mic and controller like the Monter iSport Intensity or even the fairly inexpensive ME Electronics Sport-Fi S6P. However, for $30 more, you can get the Bose SIE2i, which does include a mic and controller.
We found the Bose SIE2 to be well made. They are sweat and water resistant and can withstand weather as well as a sweat drenching from the user. Along with this, the swivel cord has a burly, durable feel. The StayHear tips are long and the speaker elements are covered with a hydrophobic cloth to protect them over many uses.
However, this was the only pair that we managed to break during testing. To be completely honest, the break was user error (we had them carelessly tossed in a computer bag, and yanked them out while the earpiece was snagged under a book.) This resulted in snapping off the tiny plastic bit that holds the silicone tip onto the ear piece. They were completely unusable after that. One detail to note is that the SIE2 is one of only two pair (the other being the under $20 Sony pair) that did not come with a carrying case — and having them in a case would have prevented this break. That said, we contacted Bose and since we had owned them less than a year, they replaced them for free with minimal hassle. When you spend $120 on a set of headphones, it is reassuring to know that the warranty program is worthwhile and the company stands behind their product.
These headphones can be used for virtually any activity. They withstand use outdoors since they are water and sweat resistant and let in ambient noise, which adds just a bit of safety for activities such as running or road biking that take place on roads shared with cars, or for activities such as trail running and mountain biking on single track trails where hearing someone come up behind you is important. They can be used for long lengths of time since they are extremely comfortable, which further adds to their versatility.
At $119.00, these are well worth the price, even though these are more expensive than many of their competitors. Just the increased comfort and the fact that they stay in ears during fast motion for hours at a time makes them worth the expense. Additionally, the warranty program from Bose makes purchasing these headphones an investment.
The Bose SIE2 win Editor's Choice because of the secure, comfortable ear pieces, decent sound quality that is not noise-isolating, and overall useful and unique features. They cater to every kind of athlete and meet all the qualifications of an athlete for a pair of headphones.
Bose also offers the SIE2i headphones that come with an inline mic and remote for taking calls on your iPhone or iPad at $150.
— McKenzie Long and Lauren Jimison
Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 21, 2015
Table of Contents
Helpful Buying Tips