Powerbeats 4 vs Bose SoundSport Free (2020): Which Wireless Earbuds Are Better?

Beats has just released the 4th generation Powerbeats, which we will now pit against one of the top-selling truly wireless earbuds marketed towards fitness enthusiasts. How will the Powerbeats 4 fare against the Bose SoundSport Free truly wireless earbuds? Keep reading to find out.

Beats Powerbeats 4 vs Bose SoundSport Free Comparison Chart

ModelBeats Powerbeats4 Wireless EarbudsBose SoundSport Free
 powerbeats 4Bose SoundSport Free
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Earbud DimensionsHeight: 2.2″30.48 x 30.48 x 25.4 mm
Case DimensionsN/A38.1 x 101.6 x 48.26 mm
Active Noise CancellationNoNo
Sweatproof and Water-ResistantYesYes, IPX4
Audio SharingYesNo
RuntimeUp to 15 hoursUp to 5 hours
Charging case:
Up to 10 hours more
Quick Charging5 minutes for up to 1 hour more15 minutes for up to 45 minutes of playtime
BluetoothClass 1 Wireless Bluetooth®Bluetooth 4.1
MicrophoneDual beam-forming microphones1 (right earbud)
Multi-function ButtonYesYes
Voice AssistantYesYes
Color OptionsBlack
Red
White
Black
Blue
Bright Orange
Ultra Violet

Design

The Powerbeats 4 earbuds are connected by a cable while the Bose SoundSport Free are truly wireless

Powerbeats-4-vs-Bose-SoundSport-Free-4 wireless earphones
Both the Bose (left) and the Powerbeats (right) earphones are bulkier than many earbuds

Both the new Powerbeats 4 and the Bose SoundSport Free are marketed towards users with an active lifestyle. While both can be used for working out and while playing sports, their aesthetics are very different. The Powerbeats 4 earbuds are connected by a wire at the end of each earhook so the cables don’t impede movement. Their earhooks also ensure a secure fit and stability when worn.

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The truly wireless Bose SoundSport Free also fit snugly and comfortably. However, they just extend far out of the ears in a rather unattractive way. They also tend to bounce a bit when jumping. With that said, they still stay in the ears well, so wearing them during workouts won’t pose a problem.

Powerbeats-4-vs-Bose-SoundSport-Free-1
Like all truly wireless earbuds, the Bose SoundSport Free (left) come with a charging case

The Powerbeats 4 only come with a small carrying pouch whereas the Bose SoundSport Free include a portable charging case. They also come with different eartip sizes to ensure better fit and seal. It is worth noting that the Bose’s charging case doesn’t quite fit comfortably in the pockets. If you want to take the charging case with you, that’s something to consider.

Sound Quality

Both the Powerbeats 4 and the Bose SoundSport Free deliver stunning audio, but the Powerbeats 4 offer better call quality and audio latency

They both have great seal design, but the Powerbeats (right) offer better passive noise cancellation

When it comes to audio quality, it’s hard to choose between the Powerbeats 4 and the Bose SoundSport Free. They both deliver clear and rich audio that the respective brands have been known for. Pop or hip-hop lovers will like the Bose’s traditional sound signature with a warm bottom end, slightly scooped mids, and solid bass response.

Comparably, the Powerbeats 4 also offer an overall refined and balanced sound profile, with slightly deeper lows than the SoundSport Free. Where the Powerbeats 4 edge over the SoundSport Free is their audio latency performance and better passive cancellation. You won’t experience audio delays when streaming videos with the Powerbeats 4, thanks to their Apple H1 chip that’s also found in the Powerbeats Pro.

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For users who use their earphones for voice calls, the Powerbeats 4 will be a better choice than the SoundSport Free. The Bose only have one microphone in one earbud while the Powerbeats 4 are equipped with dual beam-forming microphones for better vocal clarity.

Set Up and Controls

Both the Powerbeats 4 and the Bose SoundSport Free pair quickly and use multi-function buttons

The Bose SoundSport Free (left) and the Powerbeats 4 still have traditional buttons for playback controls

It’s a breeze to pair and set-up both the Powerbeats 4 or the Bose SoundSport Free. Expect a faster and more seamless process for the Powerbeats 4 if you’re using an iPhone or other Apple devices. They also have similar controls found on the side of the earbuds for volume adjustment. Their multi-function buttons, (the ‘b’ logo for the Powerbeats 4 and the ‘Bose’ for the SoundSport Free) serve as playback controls.

Both the Powerbeats 4 and Bose SoundSport have an app companion that lets you manage playback as well or set-up smart assistants. As the Powerbeats 4 belong to Apple, you can activate Siri through “Hey, Siri” when using an iOS device. For both the Powerbeats and SoundSport Free, prompting the voice assistant can be done through their multi-function buttons.

Additional Features

The Powerbeats 4 and the Bose SoundSport Free are sweatproof and water-resistant, but the Powerbeats have longer battery life and offer Audio Sharing

powerbeats 4 vs soundsport free
Both the Bose SoundSport Free (left) and the Powerbeats 4 are IPX4-rated

An IPX4 rating means both the Powerbeats 4 and the Bose SoundSport Free are sweatproof and water-resistant. While you still can’t submerge them in water for longer periods or use them for aquatic sports, they can easily withstand sweat, splashes, and moisture from working out. Washing them in the sink or using them under the rain won’t pose a problem as well.

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When it comes to battery life, the Powerbeats 4 edges out the Bose SoundSport Free. The new Beats headphones boast playtime of up to 15 hours while the smaller SoundSport Free earbuds can be used for 5 hours. Factoring in the Bose’s charging case gives the Bose an additional 10 hours of usage. Charging your Powerbeats 4 for 5 minutes will give an hour more of usage while it takes the SoundSport Free 15 minutes of charging for an extra hour of runtime.

Another win for the Powerbeats 4 is their Audio Sharing feature. This allows you to pair two sets of either Beats headphones or AirPods and listen simultaneously to the same music, video, or podcast with a friend.

Verdict

The Beats Powerbeats 4 is the clear frontrunner and offer overall better value for money than the Bose SoundSport Free

If you prefer truly wireless earbuds that still offer impressive audio, the Bose SoundSport Free are the obvious choice. However, if you don’t mind the cable, the new Beats Powerbeats 4 is the clear winner for its price, clear and rich audio, updated design, and better overall features. The wire behind the neck doesn’t greatly impede movements and you eventually forget about them when worn for an extended period of time.

Rhodaline Escala-Phelps
Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

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