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Bose Earbuds 500 vs AirPods Pro (2021): Will the Bose Wireless Earbuds Be Worth the Wait?

In 2020, Bose is slated to release the successor of its SoundSport Free, the Bose Earbuds 500. We detail the features from the prototype that Bose released and compare them side by side the Apple AirPods Pro. Should you wait for their launch or should you just go ahead and buy Apple’s noise-canceling wireless earbuds? Our detailed comparison of the two will help you decide.

Bose Earbuds 500 vs AirPods Pro Comparison Chart

ModelBose Earbuds 500Apple AirPods Pro
Bose Earbuds 500AirPods Pro
PriceTo be launched in 2020Check Price
DimensionsTBA0.94″ x 0.86″ x 1.22″
Active Noise CancellationNoYes
ANC LevelsN/A3
RuntimeTBAListening:
Up to 5 Hours
ANC:
Up to 4.5 Hours
Talktime:
Up to 3.5 Hours
Quick ChargingTBA5 minutes for up to 1 hour
Charging CaseYesUp to 19 hours
Wireless ChargingTBAYes
BluetoothTBA5.0
Audio CodecsTBASBC, AAC
MicrophonesTBA4
Touch ControlsYesYes
Voice ControlsYesYes
Sweat and Water Resistant (IPX4)TBAYes
Color OptionsBlack, Blue, Off WhiteWhite

Design

The upcoming Bose Earbuds 500 will be slimmer than the existing Bose earbuds

The Bose SoundSport Free (left) are bigger and bulkier than the upcoming Earbuds 500 (left)

Bose said that the protoype design of the Earbuds 500 is not yet final. One thing is for sure though, they will be smaller and slimmer than the SoundSport Free. Their predecessor’s earbuds and charging case were much bulkier than the AirPods Pro and Bose combats this through thinner earbuds that do not jut out of your ears as much as the SoundSport Free do.

Even with their stem that goes down your ear, the Apple AirPods Pro are still less conspicuous than the Bose SoundSport Free. The upcoming Earbuds 500 claim to be smaller, but we have yet to see the final design once they’re released.

When it comes to comfort and fit, the AirPods Pro and SoundSport Free come with custom tips in three sizes. They fit comfortably and snugly and stay secure even when you’re active. It will be safe to expect the same for the Earbuds 500.

Noise Cancellation

The AirPods Pro have noise cancellation capabilities while the Bose Earbuds 500s don’t.

AirPods Pro
The AirPods Pro have Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode

While the upcoming Earbuds 500 don’t have noise-cancellation features, the Apple AirPods Pros have three ANC levels (ANC, Transparency Mode, and Off) and impressive noise cancellation capabilities. The ANC of these portable earbuds are actually almost comparable to some of the highly-rated over-ear headphones from Sony and Bose.

Each wireless earpiece of the AirPods Pro is equipped with two microphones– outward-facing and in-ward facing–that detect the sound around you. Apple’s Adaptive EQ technology then adjusts the noise cancellation depending on what they detect to deliver a more immersive listening. The AirPods Pro work great in blocking out the hum of the plane’s engine or the conversations around you.

Sound Quality

The Apple AirPods Pro have an excellent sound quality and audio latency

Bose vs AirPods Pro
The SoundSport Free (left) did not fare well against the AirPods Pro (right) when used for watching videos

When listening to music, the Bose undoubtedly provides superior sound quality. However, one of the biggest issues of the Earbuds 500’s predecessor is the one-second lag that many users experienced when streaming videos. The lag that happens when the Bose SoundSport Free are used with audiovisuals can ruin one’s viewing experience.

In contrast, you won’t experience the same lag with the AirPods Pro even when you’re not using an Apple device. They are equipped with a high dynamic range amplifier and their custom-built H1 Chip uses 10 audio cores to provide low audio processing latency.

If you like taking calls or using your wireless earbuds in crowded, noisy places, you’ll appreciate the Active Noise Cancellation feature of the AirPods Pro. When working out at the gym and you don’t like the music or all the banging of the weights, the ANC mode can tune out these external sounds. The Earbuds 500’s predecessor is not noise-canceling and does not work that well with answering calls.

Set up and Controls

Both the AirPods Pro and Bose Earbuds 500 will have touch controls

Bose vs AirPods Pro
Both wireless earbuds are compatible with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa

Apple has been known for its intuitive and responsive controls and they do not disappoint with the AirPods Pro. The pairing process is smooth and effortless, especially when connecting to an Apple device.

When using your AirPods Pro for the first time, you can identify which among the included ear tips will be perfect for your ears using their Ear Tip Fit Test. You can manage tracks and switch modes (from Active Noise Canceling to Transparency Mode) by gently tapping and holding the force sensors in the stem of the AirPods Pro.

As for the Earbuds 500, Bose announced that they will also have touch controls, a function that wasn’t available in the SoundSport Free true wireless earbuds. It is unsure whether they will still have the physical controls that their predecessors have. Something to note though is that many users have reported issues when switching from one device to another with the SoundSport Free, especially when trying to pair them with older Android models. Hopefully, this problem won’t arise in the earbuds on the horizon.

Additional Features

Both wireless in-ear headphones are sweat and water-resistant

The SoundSport Free, the Earbuds 500’s predecessor, and the AirPods Pro have an IPX4 rating. This means they are resistant to water splashes from any direction and are sweat-proof. It is unknown whether Bose will improve the IPX rating of the new earbuds, but they can definitely be used when doing non-water sports and exercises.

Another notable feature of the AirPods Pro is its wireless charging case. On a full charge, the charging case can add up to 19 more hours of listening time in addition to the 5 hours of the listening time of the earbuds. There’s no information yet whether there’s increased battery life on the Earbuds 500 and their charging case, but the Bose SoundSport Free have a listening time of up to five hours and an additional 10 hours through its charging case.

Verdict

The noise-canceling AirPods Pro bring great value for your money

The Bose wireless earbuds have so far been superior when it comes to sound quality alone. However, users have experienced bugs and lags when watching videos using the SoundSport Free. Even if Bose fixes these though, the upcoming Earbuds 500 won’t have noise cancellation capabilities. In contrast, the AirPods Pro remain one of the most solid options for noise-canceling wireless earbuds available in the market. They offer seamless connectivity and listening experience, top-notch noise-cancellation, responsive touch controls, and a wireless charging case, to name a few.

If you end up buying the AirPods Pro and decide you want to switch to the Earbuds 500 once they’re released, you can still easily sell Apple products without significant losses and get your money’s worth.

You can read our detailed comparison of the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 and the AirPods Pro here while our comparison of the Bose SoundSport Free and AirPods Pro can be found here.

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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.