Looks like my initial impression of these things was a bit premature; my BOSE SoundSport Free Bluetooth earbuds are going back to Amazon as soon as I can find a box that will fit them. I’ll detail the issues I had and you can decide for yourself if they have any merit.
First, a reminder of the good stuff: I found the earbuds to be incredibly comfortable and liberating, as there’s no pesky cable running between them. The sound—for Bluetooth—was fantastic, and after finally getting around to piping some music through them I can say that there’s certainly no lack of bass. Battery life was as advertised, and the charging case convenient.
The deal-breaker for me turned out to be an intermittent connection issue, exacerbated by the lack of a pesky cable connecting the buds. There always seems to be one or two hiccups that occur over the course of an hour-long walk, but when it happens it’s maddening—sound will cut out for a moment on one side only, and when it comes back it will take another second or two to sync back up with the other side. You just wouldn’t have this problem with earbuds connected by a cable, or “neckbuds” as I’ve heard them called. They’re not as truly wireless as two separate units, but you’ll never have to worry about out of phase audio, either.
Another, more minor, issue is the approaching Canadian winter: the extra room required for their batteries and radios make the earbuds stick out and hard to wear with a hat. To be entirely fair, neckbuds will almost certainly present the same problem. The solution? A pair of svelte, olde-timey cabled earbuds… the only special equipment required is a headphone jack on your phone. Go figure. 🙄