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Bose Sport Open Earbuds vs QuietComfort Earbuds (2021): Choosing True Wireless Earbuds

Bose has been expanding its audio lineup with excellent additions, among which are the Sport Open Earbuds and QuietComfort Earbuds. Besides being true wireless, these two are distinct from each other. For starters, the Sport Open Earbuds have an open-ear design, while the QuietComfort Earbuds are in-ear.

Clearly, they’re targeted at different users. We compare the two to help you figure out which one you should get, from performance to features.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds vs QuietComfort Earbuds Comparison Chart

ModelBose Sport Open EarbudsBose QuietComfort Earbuds
 Bose Sport Open Earbuds vs QuietComfort Earbuds
PriceCheck Price at Bose.com
Driver16 mm6 mm
Microphone2 (both on the right earbud)4
Active Noise Cancelingn/aYes
Form FactorOpen earIn-ear
Water ResistanceIPX4IPX4
Transparency Moden/aYes
Battery LifeUp to 8 hoursEarbuds: Up to 6 hours
Case: Up to 18 hours
Quick Charging30 minutes for up to 3 hours of runtime15 minutes for 2 hours of runtime
Wireless Chargingn/aYes
Charging ConnectionUSB-AUSB-C
BluetoothBluetooth 5.1Bluetooth 5.1
Weight13.89 g8.50 g
ColorsTriple BlackTriple Black, Soapstone

Design and Fit

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are more comfortable than the Sport Open Earbuds.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds vs QuietComfort Earbuds Design and Fit
The Bose Sport Open Earbuds (in photo) wrap around the ears with their hooks.

Between the two, the first thing that’ll likely jump out at you are their differing form factors. As noted, the Sport Open Earbuds are open-ear headphones, and they sit on top of your ear and use OpenAudio technology to deliver sound directly into your ears. That means these don’t have wings and eartips for a tight seal, though they do stay in place securely. In contrast, the QuietComfort Earbuds are in-ear headphones, relying on wings and eartips to fit right into your ears.

That said, the QuietComfort Earbuds have better sound isolation because of their snug seal inherent to in-ear headphones. In other words, they’re capable of keeping some ambient noise out up to a certain degree even with active noise canceling or ANC off (more on that in a bit). Needless to say, the Sport Open Earbuds let you hear your surroundings at all times. That’s a huge plus when it comes to safety for those who work outdoors.

Comfort is the biggest deciding factor of whether or not you should even consider getting the Sport Open Earbuds. Thing is, they aren’t the most comfy to wear since they have a bit of heft to them and they perch on your ears, but it really depends on the person. When using them during a run or something along those lines, they aren’t a pain to wear and won’t fall out. It goes without saying that the QuietComfort Earbuds are more comfortable, and they’re bundled with eartips and wings that come in different sizes to fit perfectly in users’ ears.

Both of them stick out from your ears, but the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds protrude more than the Sport Open Earbuds. That doesn’t necessarily mean the latter keeps a low profile since they’re pretty eye-catching too.

Sound and Call Performance

Compared to the Bose Sport Open Earbuds, the QuietComfort Earbuds sound better for music and perform better for calls.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds vs QuietComfort Earbuds Sound and Call Performance
The Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds (in photo) have a sidetone feature so you can hear yourself while talking.

In terms of audio quality, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are a cut above the competition. They have punchy bass and produce a rich overall sound. At that, it’s not surprising that they sound better than the Sport Open Earbuds, which has weaker bass in comparison because of its open-ear design.

As for call quality, the Sport Open Earbuds leave a lot to be desired. There are two microphones on the right side, and according to Bose, they’re designed to focus on your voice while minimizing unwanted noise like wind. However, they don’t work as advertised. If nothing else, their design does let you hear your own voice clearly since they aren’t jammed into your ear canals.

Meanwhile, the QuietComfort Earbuds do a great job at keeping outside noise out and having your voice come through to the other side clearly, owing to their four-mic setup and noise reduction capability. In addition, they have a sidetone feature that allows you to hear yourself through the earbuds. That way you won’t catch yourself shouting at the person you’re talking to and disturbing people around you.

Controls and Features

Both earbuds are IPX4 rated, making them splashproof.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds vs QuietComfort Earbuds Controls and Features
The Bose Sport Open Earbuds (left) have one button on each bud for controls, while the QuietComfort Earbuds (right) have touch controls.

The feature department is where the Bose Sport Open Earbuds fall behind. Obviously, they don’t need a transparency mode or ANC. After all, they don’t block your ears. That said, only the QuietComfort Earbuds have ANC, and they’re impressive in that regard. Bose is considered as one of the pioneers of the technology, and it really shows. In fact, the QuietComfort Earbuds could just be the true wireless earbuds with the best ANC out there right now.

Before anyone asks, the QuietComfort Earbuds let you use only one earbud at a time both for calls and listening to music. Just be sure to use the right earbud since that’s the one that establishes a Bluetooth connection to your device. Another nifty feature they have is transparency mode turns on automatically when you remove one earbud.

Now the Sport Open Earbuds use physical controls. There’s one button on each earbud, where the right earbud has music and call controls and the left one has the shortcut function and access to your device’s virtual assistant. Unfortunately, there are no volume controls at the moment, but Bose says it’ll roll out an update for that functionality in the near future. For the record, the QuietComfort Earbuds have touch controls.

Both have an IPX4 water resistance rating, meaning they can withstand splashes. They’re also sweat and weather resistant, making them the perfect running or cycling companion.

Battery Life

The Bose Sport Open Earbuds last longer than the QuietComfort Earbuds.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds vs QuietComfort Earbuds Battery Life
Here’s a look at the charging base and carrying case of the Bose Sport Open Earbuds.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, the Bose Sport Open Earbuds can go up to eight hours on a single charge, while the QuietComfort Earbuds can go up to six hours. Thanks to their quick-charging feature, the former can get up to three hours of juice in 30 minutes, and the latter can get up to two hours in 15 minutes.

An outlier of some sort, the Sport Open Earbuds go against the grain with a carrying case that doesn’t have built-in charging. Instead, there’s a separate charging dock. The advantage is the carrying case is slimmer and more portable than the norm. However, the downside is it’s a tad inconvenient having two accessories for carrying the earbuds and charging them. 

Probably the bigger issue here is the Sport Open Earbuds don’t automatically turn off when placed in their case, but you could set them to turn off on their own after a specified time of being idle via the Bose Music app.


The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are better overall, but the Sport Open Earbuds do have their audience.

It’s easier to recommend the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds because they’re geared toward general users. They get everything right across the board, from sound quality to features, and they have excellent ANC. However, the Sport Open Earbuds do appeal to runners, cyclists or anyone who exercises outside. They’re safer to use outdoors by design since they let wearers hear their surroundings at all times. The only problem is whether or not they’re comfortable for the user, which is really what’ll make or break them.

In a word, the QuietComfort Earbuds are the better pick for those who want true wireless ANC earbuds for listening to music and making calls—basically things you’d usually do with earbuds. The Sport Open Earbuds are better suited for those with an active lifestyle, particularly those who exercise outdoors.


📌 Can you use only a single bud of the QuietComfort Earbuds?

Yes, you can listen to music or take calls using a single bud of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.

📌 Can you run with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds?

Yes, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are splashproof with an IPX4 rating. They’re also weather and sweat resistant, making them safe for outdoor use.

📌 Do the Bose Sport Open Earbuds use bone conduction?

No, the Sport Open Earbuds use what Bose calls OpenAudio technology to fire sound directly into your ears.

📌 Are the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds worth it?

Yes. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have top-notch active noise canceling or ANC, and they have excellent audio performance both in calls and music.

Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.