VoiceOver users should Avoid the Bose SoundSport Free

Review Category


1 Star


As some may be aware, Bose released their version of the Apple AirPods, which are called: Bose SoundSport Free. I decided to see how they compare to the Apple AirPods, which I’ve found to be the best earphones I’ve ever used.

I’m a person who is blind and uses VoiceOVer on iOS and MacOS.

Unfortunately, it seems that there are major regressions with the SoundSport Free compared to the Wireless or Wired, QC35 II, QC20, etc. THis is in the context as using it as a person who is blind and with VoiceOver.

1. It’s difficult to open the case, as it’s not clear which way it opens via touch;
2.  It’s difficult to tactiley feel which is left, right, or how to insert Bose Buds into ears;
3. There is an almost 1 second lag from the time a VoiceOver gesture is performed to the time speech is heard, which is magnitudes greater than the SoundSport wireless or QC35 II;
4. Audio levels are all over the place as it powers-up, transitions, and powers-down, and makes VoiceOver disorientating;
5. The biggest issue with VoiceOver is the major lag and random audio-levels/quality that makes it disorientating, confusing, unclear;
6. The app is more accessible than it use to be, but the Settings is still inaccessible, as most elements are just labeled as Settings, and content isn’t updated for VoiceOVer when transition occurs;
7. The inability to place one of the buds back into the case is a screen reader issue, as I easily use headphones for 15 hours a day, and it’s unacceptable that it automatically disconnects once one bud is on the charger;
8. It’s difficult to align the buds back into the charger non-visually.

I’ve used and tried lots of Bose products over the past decade or so, and was really hopeful that these would be better than the AirPods. Unfortunately, due to the lack of blind screen reader accessibility in the hardware, software, and UX—the SoundSport Free are inaccessible/unusable compared to Apple AirPods.

Above feedback was sent to: Access_Support@bose.com

Devices Accessory Was Used With



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Submitted by themusicman08 on Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Maybe you should try to update the hardware. I know of the software you speak of. Because I have two Sound Link Color Series II speakers and the app is really hard to mess with. Try going here.
Note: Their is no https, or http://, or http://www.
Just copy and paste the website as shown.

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Saturday, November 4, 2017

Even though Bose and the Media portrayed these SoundSport Free by bose to be AirPods killers.

This was far from the truth from accessibility and usability perspectives.

This is why I ended up returning the Bose SoundSport Free and purchasing a second set of AirPods by Apple.

Hi Kevin,

First off, thanks for generously sharing your findings here.
Speaking of truly wire-free headphones, have you tested the Bragi Dash Pro? I have the first-gen non-pro release and while its accompanying app is a mess in terms of accessibility, I like it and use it on a daily basis. Of course, the $325 price tag might be prohibitive (I understand), but thought I'd mention it here.

Submitted by Yngve Stiansen (not verified) on Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I have been a big fan of Bose for a long time, and was really excited about this model. We all know that firmware updates might resolve issues like described above. Has anyone updated their SoundSport Free, or have anyone heard anything about improvements coming soon?

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I put in my effort from my side by informing Bose of the issue with this model and detailed how it can be resolved via firmware. Concretely, I contacted their accessibility email and tech support via their web form, email/phone support, and representative at show case store.

After no more than an acknowledgement with no commitment to resolving this, I continue to use the Bose QC-35 II, Bose SoundSport Wired, and Apple AirPods.