Jaybird Run vs. Bose SoundSport Free: Which Is Best For Workouts?

Cam Secore
Updated 01/07/2019

After months of testing, I determined Bose SoundSport Free are the best true wireless earbuds overall because they sound amazing and perform well with movement. However, if you don’t want to look goofy, Jaybird Run is an option if you can get past the terrible sound quality.

I’ll explain how I reached my conclusion by comparing two true wireless earbuds (Jaybird Run vs. Bose SoundSport Free) while evaluating six categories: sound, software, fit, design, battery, and exercise compatibility.

bose vs jaybird

Bose SoundSport Free

  • Sound: The audio is crisp and clear, but you can hear outside noise, especially wind.
  • Software: They don’t cut out and they’re better at managing multiple devices.
  • Fit: They’re comfortable and seem to fit any ear.
  • Design: They’re bulkier than is ideal and can get caught on things, but everything’s well-made.
  • Battery: You get five hours of playback with an additional 10 hours with the case.
  • Exercise: They don’t fall or cut out and they’re sweat-resistant.

Best for you if...

You want to consistently play crisp and rich audio with minimal cut outs. Bose has its faults with a bulky design and no noise cancelation, but the connection is stronger and the music sounds superior.

jaybird run vs bose soundsport free

Jaybird Run

  • Sound: Music sounds like it’s been compressed 10 times over.
  • Software: The connection between the two buds is shaky, and there are video lag issues.
  • Fit: They’ll fit anyone’s ears, and they’re more comfortable than Jaybird X3.
  • Design: The buttons can hurt your ears when you press, and the buds and case aren’t well made.
  • Battery: You get four hours of playback with an additional eight with the case.
  • Exercise: They won’t fall out no matter how hard you go, but the sound will cut.

Best for you if...

You’re willing to sacrifice sound quality for a tight fit. They sit inside your ear and don’t look as goofy as Bose SoundSport Free, but there are no equalizer settings to make them sound good, and they cut out regularly.

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SoundSport Free


Sound (A+):

  • I prefer the sound on Bose SoundSport Free, but that’s mostly because they don’t require a tight seal to sound great.
  • There’s no noise cancellation. If you’re running or riding a bike ride, the wind can be loud. This design feature is intentional, however, so you can hear your surroundings. It’s a limitation of all in-ear headphones.

Software (B-):

  • There’s no button to turn them on or off, they just work once they’re out of the case. If you don’t touch them for 20 minutes (this time can be edited in the app), they’ll turn off.
  • You won’t experience many cutouts between the buds even if you move a lot. Although, I recommend keeping your phone on your right side so it’s closest to the “master bud.”
  • You can watch videos with them because Bose fixed their latency issues, unlike Sony.
  • Changing audio sources is seamless and the process is superior to Sony, but you can only connect to one device at a time.
  • The app is great. You can see Bluetooth connections, create equalizer profiles and have your SoundSport headphones play a sound with the “Find My Buds” feature.

Fit (B+):

  • These are the most comfortable in-ear exercise headphones I’ve ever tried. I had other friends try both models as well, and they agreed these are the best.
  • It comes with a small, medium and large of their patented Sport Tips.

Design (C-):

  • Everything is exceptionally well-built.
  • The buds have a dedicated volume button on them. It’s not necessary, but can be useful for some.
  • If you’re comparing Bose SoundSport to AirPods or JayBird headphones, they look huge and awkward because they stick out. They can potentially get caught on things or make it hard to wear certain helmets.
  • The case lets the buds snap in easily, so you know they’re charging, but it doesn’t fit in a pocket as nicely because it’s long.

Battery (B+):

  • You get five hours of playback with an additional 10 hours with the charging case.

Exercise (B+):

  • They’re sweat and weather-resistant.
  • They won’t move during exercise because of the special wing tips.
  • They could potentially get caught on something because they stick out far from your ear.
  • They’ll sound great if you’re indoors, but wind gets inside the buds easily and can be distracting.

Jaybird Run


Sound (F):

  • Music sounds like it’s been compressed ten times over. I can’t get a good sound no matter what equalizer settings I use (although some settings are better than others). I’m not sure if this is a speaker quality issue. It might be a tradeoff to maintain connectivity.
  • The sound is something you could get used to, but once you try any of the other three models, you’ll notice the difference. Any reviewer that claims these sound good hasn’t tried anything else.

Software (C):

  • They have the same video lag issue that Bose had, where the video and audio are a second off, but Jaybird hasn’t addressed this yet.
  • The connection between the left and right bud is shaky. The right always stays connected to the phone, but it loses connection with the left frequently.
  • I had lots of issues switching audio sources. When going from my MacBook to iPhone, I’d often have to disconnect from my MacBook, tap “Forget This Device,” and put my Runs into pairing mode before they’d finally reconnect. But sometimes only the left bud wouldn’t sync with the right.

Fit (B+):

  • They fit and stay in well. Jaybird X3s stayed in my ear well too, but I prefer Run’s design because it’s more comfortable and not as stressful on the ears.
  • These go deep into the ear canal and they’re close to flush to the ear.

Design (D):

  • They fit closer to the ear without sticking out like Bose, but I don’t like the feel of the buds or charging case because they’re cheap plastic.
  • I don’t like the location of the buttons because when you push the buttons, you push them deeper into your ear, which isn’t pleasant.
  • The case design is poor too: there’s no way see the battery life, and it’s hard to tell if you’ve positioned the headphones in the dock correctly.

Battery (B-):

  • You get four hours of playback with an additional eight with the case.

Exercise (A+):

  • These aren’t moving from your ears during the hardest of workouts. You have to exert power to pull them out of your ears. But the connection can be shaky during vigorous activity.
  • They’re sweat proof.

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