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Bose SoundSport Free vs AirPods Pro (2021): Which Wireless Headphones Are the Better Buy?

The Bose SoundSport Free and Apple AirPods Pro truly wireless headphones are equipped with different features and offered at slightly different price points. While the Bose SoundSport Free was designed with the active user in mind, the AirPods Pro have also been a popular choice among fitness enthusiasts. We deep dive into their features and review their sound quality to help you judge which wireless headphones suit you better.

Bose SoundSport Free vs AirPods Pro Comparison Chart

ModelBose SoundSport FreeApple AirPods Pro
 Bose SoundSport FreeAirPods Pro
PriceCheck Price

at Walmart.com

Check Price

at Amazon.com

Dimensions1.2″ x 1.2″ x 1 “0.94″ x 0.86″ x 1.22″
Active Noise CancellationNoYes
Transparency ModeNoYes
RuntimeUp to 5 hoursListening:
Up to 5 Hours
Up to 4.5 Hours
Up to 3.5 Hours
Charging CaseUp to 10 hoursUp to 19 hours
Wireless ChargingCompatibleYes
Audio CodecsSBC, AACSBC, AAC
Microphone1 (right earbud)2
Touch ControlsNoYes
Voice AssistantYesYes
Sweat and Water Resistant (IPX4)YesYes
Color OptionsBlack, Blue, Bright Orange, Ultra VioletWhite


The SoundSport Free are bulkier than the AirPods Pro

The Bose SoundSport Free are bulkier than the AirPods Pro, but they have more colors to choose from

The Bose earbuds look a lot bulkier and jut out of the ears quite unattractively when used. In contrast, the AirPods Pro’s buds look smaller and their short, white stems are less conspicuous than the SoundSport Free’s. The Bose SoundSport Free are designed specifically for those with an active lifestyle and they do look okay when you’re in fitness garb. However, the AirPods Pro earbuds, with their sleek design, are more versatile and still go well with most attire.

With an IPX4 rating, both are sweat and water-resistant and can be used with most non-water sports and exercises without problems. Both wireless earbuds come with three different sizes of earbud tips for a better custom fit. They both fit snugly and won’t fall off even when you’re doing something active. The AirPods Pro’s tips feel more comfortable to the ears though and feel more secure than the SoundSport Free.

Sound Quality

The Bose have better sound quality, but the AirPods Pro are more stable

Enjoy realtime audio while streaming videos with the AirPods Pro

The Bose have an overall better sound quality and stronger bottom end than the AirPods Pro. BUT. What the Bose make up for its sound, it lacks in connection stability. If you are watching a video or streaming games, there’s a noticeable one-second lag in the audio when using the Bose SoundSport Free. This can significantly affect your listening experience. You won’t experience this lag with the AirPods Pro even when using an Android or Windows with the wireless earbuds.

The SoundSport Free are great for listening to music, but they do not work as well as the AirPods Pro with audiovisuals. The left earbud also gets disconnected from time to time, especially when used under direct sunlight, as this is a safety feature for when the earbuds heat up.

If you like using your wireless earbuds for calls, the AirPods Pro work better as they are equipped with a microphone on each piece and have noise-canceling capabilities. The AirPods Pro are overall simply more versatile than the Bose SoundSport Free.

Set Up and Controls

The AirPods Pro have more responsive touch controls

The AirPods Pro automatically pair with your device when you open the charging case

Pairing either earbuds to your mobile device will be a breeze. Where they differ though is in their controls as the AirPods Pro have more responsive controls than the Bose. The right earbud of the SoundSport Free has a multifunction button on the side that you can press for different controls. The buttons often work fine, but you may encounter some problems with the controls when switching from one device to another.

Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro have touch-sensitive force sensors. You can easily pause, play, skip, or switch between listening modes with a gentle tap or hold of the force sensor on the stem without problems. You do have to remember their controls, but it’s something that you’ll get used to in time.

Additional Features

The AirPods Pro are noise-canceling wireless headphones with Transparency Mode and come with a wireless charging case

Bose SoundSport Free
The Bose SoundSport Free (in photo) are not noise-canceling

Perhaps one of the major differences between the Bose SoundSport Free and the AirPods Pro wireless earbuds is the latter have Active Noise-Canceling and Transparency Mode.

Apple’s newest earbuds are equipped with outward and inward-facing microphones that detect the external and internal sound. The sound is then countered by its noise-canceling technology that results in an immersive listening experience. If you often use your wireless earbuds at the gym, the ANC mode comes in handy when you don’t like the music the gym staff is playing.

When you do not want the ANC mode on and want to hear your surroundings, you can press and hold the sensor on the stem to switch to Transparency Mode. This is particularly safe for when you’re outdoors and need to hear when vehicles are approaching. Meanwhile, the Bose SoundSport Free are just perpetually in transparency mode as they don’t have noise-canceling capabilities and their tips do not completely block off sound.


The AirPods Pro are more reliable and packed with more features

If we are purely talking about the quality of sound, the Bose SoundSport Free will surely win. However, the excellent sound quality and more color options are the only areas where the Bose earbuds trump the AirPods Pro. 

The Apple AirPods Pro have Active Noise-Canceling and Transparency Mode, seamless connectivity, longer runtime, better aesthetics, and they don’t have that lag that the SoundSport Free have with audiovisuals. With all these advantages of the AirPods Pro over Bose’s wireless earbuds, it’s a surprise that the price difference is not much bigger.


📌 Which has the better battery life, the Bose SoundSport Free or AirPods Pro?

Both wireless earbuds can last up to five hours per charge. However, the AirPods Pro’s charging case can provide additional battery power of up to 19 hours. Meanwhile, the Bose SoundSport Free’s only has up to 10 hours.

📌 Do the Bose SoundSport Free and AirPods Pro support Bluetooth 5.0?

The Bose SoundSport Free only support Bluetooth 4.1. On the other hand, the AirPods Pro have Bluetooth 5.0, which should have better speed and range—or so the theory goes.

📌 Do the Bose SoundSport Free and AirPods Pro let you hear your surroundings?

The Bose SoundSport Free have an open design to let outside noise in. However, they don’t have a feature like the AirPods Pro’s Transparency mode or something along those lines.

📌 Do the Bose SoundSport Free and AirPods Pro have active noise cancellation or ANC?

The Bose SoundSport Free don’t have active noise cancellation or ANC, only the AirPods Pro.

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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.