Most wireless headphones are designed for two things — for music listening and to provide you with the convenience of not having to deal with long wires. In the case of Bose, they want it to do something else and the result is the SoundSport Pulse equipped with a heart rate sensor. It’s designed for music lovers with active lifestyles who also want to see how well their heart is doing.
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Design and Construction
As its name suggests, the SoundSport Pulse features a sporty look that will suit people with active lifestyles or fitness buffs. If you’re into running, biking, dancing, or going to the gym, the SoundSport Pulse will definitely look the part.
It’s not the sleekest, or most discreet-looking wireless headphones out there, though. Its housing is larger compared to other products in the market, but not bad-looking. It’s understandable considering the components it carries inside. We’ll talk about that in a bit.
The build is mostly made of plastic but of high quality. The exterior has a soft rubber finish with a Bose badge in the middle. The inner part has a glossy finish which accommodates the silicone earbuds with an extended wing.
Looking at the right earbud, placed here are the power button, LED indicator for power levels and Bluetooth, and microUSB charging port hidden by flap underneath. On the left earbud, just near the nozzle is the built-in heart rate sensor from PerformTek, thus the Pulse in the name.
Connecting both buds is a rounded wire with the inline microphone and controls at the right-hand side. Also found here is the NFC for easy pairing with NFC-enabled smartphones.
On the ears, the SoundSport Pulse is surprisingly light even with its bulky build. The silicone in-ear buds and wing tips are comfortable on the ears even with hours of use. They’re soft but can keep the whole thing snug and secure regardless of your activity as long as you’re using the right size of earbuds.
As expected of a headphone of this design, the SoundSport Pulse can resist sweat and moisture. It’s also weather-resistant so you don’t have to worry if you’re caught in a drizzle during a run.
Setup and Features
Like with most Bluetooth-enabled headphones, setup is pretty simple with the SoundSport Pulse. Just press the power button to power on and just connect your smartphone or tablet to it via Bluetooth. A voice prompt will let you know its current battery level and if it has successfully paired to your mobile device.
From there you can already start listening to your tunes, but if you want to monitor your heart-rate or take advantage of its other features like Music Share (stream same music between two Bose headphones), you will need to download the Bose Connect app.
The Bose Connect app is available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Upon launch, it will start checking for your heart rate and will display it on the screen. It will keep checking on the changes in your heart rate as long as you keep the app open.
On their own, the SoundSport Pulse and the Bose Connect app don’t do much aside from showing your current heart rate. The good news is you can sync your heart rate data to popular fitness apps like Map My Run, Runkeeper, Endomodo, UA Record, and Strava, to give you more insight on your physical activity.
As with previous Bose products we reviewed before, the sound quality is top-notch with powerful lows and clear mids and highs. While most sporty headphones are bassy types, the SoundSport Pulse tends to be balanced.
The bass is powerful and punchy without becoming overwhelming. The mids are lush with good detail, while highs are crisp and clean with just the right amount of edginess. That said, we enjoyed pretty much all kinds of tracks we threw at it, from Hip hop, club, jazz, rock, pop, and R&B.
If there’s one thing we’d like the SoundSport Pulse to have is noise-canceling. Loud ambient noise is very noticeable like the electric fan, vehicles passing by, or the music being played inside a bus. Not unless you’re cranking the volume up, which at that point, is no longer comfortable. But considering that this headphone will be used outdoors, it’s not a bad as well considering it’s safer if you can hear your surroundings while you’re out for a run.
Battery life is, sadly, short on the SoundSport Pulse. Bose claims up to 5 hours of listening which is pretty understandable considering it is also powering a heart rate sensor, but we’d trade that off for longer music playback.
During our use, we manage to get around a little over 4 hours of listening. It’s good enough for a couple of long commutes in a day or workout sessions. Not long enough though for long haul flights, but you can just charge it using a power bank.
The Bose SoundSport Pulse is a pair good-sounding headphones that can do more than just deliver music to your ears. It’s also packed with a heart-rate sensor that some fitness buffs might find useful. However, at Php11,900, it’s pricey and some might just consider getting an affordable fitness band and a good-sounding wireless headphones at a lesser price.
There’s an alternative as well called the Bose SoundSport Wireless which is the same device but without the heart-rate monitor for Php8,900. But if you really want the pulse monitoring and you have the budget, the SoundSport Pulse can certainly deliver.
Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones specs:
Headphones: 1.1″ H x 0.9″ W x 1.2″ D (2.25 oz)
Case: 3.5″ H x 3.5″ W x 1.4″ D
Clothing clip: 1″ H x 0.33″ W x 0.5″ H
USB cable: 12″
Wireless range up to 30 ft (9 m)
Up to 5 hours battery life
In the box:
SoundSport Pulse wireless headphones
Extra silicone buds (S/M/L)
USB charging cable
* Good sound and build
* Built-in heart-rate monitor
* Support for popular fitness apps
* Comes with carrying case
* Short battery life