Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear Headphones
Build Design & In-Line Remote8.0/10
Long-Lasting Wearing Comfort9.5/10
For Active & Casual Use8.5/10
- Proprietary StayHear Tips Are Extremely Comfortable
- Clear Mid Range & Vocal Clarity
- Noise Isolation Makes Them Ideal For Portable Use
- In-Line Remote Is Very Easy To Use
- Compatible With Both Apple & Android Devices
- Audio Quality Isn't Very Well-Rounded
- All-Plastic Build Design
- No Wireless Option
Out of all the competition – the SoundTrue Ultra are almost always one of the top-selling in-ear headphones! What makes them so special? Do they use a Bluetooth or wired connection? Can you use them at the gym? Are they compatible with both Apple and Android devices?
If you’re someone who’s looking for a quality (but affordable) in-ear headphone, you came to the right place! Throughout this review, we’ll do our best to help you understand the best and worst features they have to offer, as well as hopefully answering any questions you have!
If you’re anything like us, you probably agree with the importance of having all the facts before you make your decision! Keep reading our Bose earbuds review of the SoundTrue Ultra in-ear headphones to see if they’re the right fit for you!
Bose Earbuds Review
Basic Features & Technical Specs:
- In-ear canal wearing design
- Features an in-line remote (w/built-in microphone)
- Compatible with Apple & Android Devices
- Connectivity: Wired
- Includes: Carrying case, shirt clip, and 3 sizes of StayHear Ultra tips
- Colours Available: Charcoal or Frost
- Frequency Response: Not specified by the manufacturer
- Dimensions: 0.88 x 1 x 48 inches
- Weight: 0.64 ounces
Before you move on, take a quick look at the links below that you can use to navigate our review. Each section will provide an in-depth analysis of each individual performance aspect.
Here are the 4 most important features you’ll want to consider before making your decision:
- Build Design & In-Line Remote
- Comfort For Active & Casual Use
- Sonic Performance – How Do They Sound?
- Are They The Right Fit For You?
Now that you’ve taken a quick look at the technical specs, let’s start by examining two of the most important features – build design and the in-line remote!
1. Build Design & In-Line Remote
As you can see in the picture above, these headphones look like they were designed for active use. Before we get into more details about how they perform at the gym, let’s take a look at their build design!
To start off, keep in mind that they are available in two different versions – one for Apple and another for Android devices (which we’ll link to below). Both versions have the exact same build design. The only difference is that you won’t be able to fully-utilize the in-line remote if you don’t use the appropriate version for your specific smartphone.
Both earpieces are made of plastic and there isn’t any metal in sight. The housings, nozzles, and cable all feature the same outer plastic material. There are left and right indicators on each earpiece which makes it easier to put them in your ears when you’re in a hurry.
On the back of each housing, you will see 2 vents. Each vent is designed to act as a sort of bass port for the lower frequencies (which we’ll cover in more detail below). Does the headphone cable have any special features worth noting?
What You Need To Know About The Headphone Cable
The headphone cable feels fairly durable when you hold it in your hands, although it’s definitely not designed to withstand any extreme punishment. On the bottom end, it has a straight 3.5 mm connector. Some people prefer the straight connector, while others prefer a right angle jack.
If you’re planning on using these with your phone while you’re walking around, you might prefer to use a straight connector. The main reason being that you can keep your phone (or other portable players) in your pocket without worrying about the cable disconnecting.
You’ll also notice that the cable is somewhat short (with a length of only 48 inches). A slightly shorter length will only make a difference if you plan on using them for running – or other situations where you’ll need more freedom of movement.
Consider The Slim ‘T-Split’ Design
It’s also a little bit thinner than the cable used on the QuietComfort 20 noise-cancelling model. It’s not only noticeably slimmer but also features a different layout. Instead of the more standard y-split, this cable has a t-split design. In theory, it’s supposed to be more practical and ergonomic than the more commonly-used y-split.
While you’re wearing them, the t-split design does feel slightly more secure, for the most part. There is one minor downside to the material used on the outside of the cable. When you’re listening to music (while moving at a pace faster than regular walking speed) – there is some noticeable cable noise.
Whenever the cable brushes against your shirt or jacket, you’ll be able to hear it make contact as it moves around. For most people, this isn’t necessarily a complete deal-breaker but is definitely worth keeping in mind. Now, let’s take a look at the in-line remote functions!
In-Line Remote Functions
The in-line remote design is pretty standard and allows you to control your music without reaching into your pocket and adjusting the volume. It has a basic 3-button layout and built-in microphone on the back. Here are the basic functions for each button:
- Top button – volume up
- Middle button – pause/play and answer/decline calls
- Bottom button – volume down
Each function is pretty straightforward and probably won’t take you very long to get used to. When you’re using the built-in mic, the call clarity is also pretty standard. It isn’t exactly disappointing or mind-blowing. It should be adequate for most uses (unless you’re talking in an extremely busy or noisy area).
Is The Cloth Carrying Case Reinforced?
You will also receive a small carrying case made of cloth. Keep in mind that it’s not reinforced or hard shell. It has a zipper all the way around that will ensure everything stays safely stored inside. The case included with the charcoal ‘buds has a black strip on the bottom (with the Bose logo) and the upper area is a darker charcoal gray.
The case included with the frost color option also features a matching color scheme (with a baby blue strip and frost color on the upper portion). To some, a carrying case may not seem very important. The reality is that storing your ‘buds in their case is one of the first steps you can take to prevent unnecessary wear and tear in the future.
Proper storage also affects their overall cleanliness and playback performance. (You can read more about how to clean your earbuds here if you’re interested.) Now that we’ve covered their overall design, you probably want to know how they feel when you’re actually wearing them!
2. Comfort For Active & Casual Use
As we briefly mentioned above, these look like they were specifically designed for active use. Just because a pair of in-ears look like they’d be great for jogging or working out, doesn’t always mean that they are! Keep reading to see if they’re better for active use or casual listening at home!
Right after you put both earpieces in, you’ll notice how securely they fit inside your ear canal. Although shaking your head from side to side (or up and down) isn’t the most scientific test, it’s usually a pretty good fit indicator.
Luckily, these pass both tests with flying colors. Both earpieces stay very securely in place without disrupting the tight seal between your ear canal and the StayHear tips. This also means that they won’t accidentally fall out of your ears – no matter how you choose to use them.
StayHear Ultra Tips
These ‘buds come with proprietary StayHear Ultra tips. The ear fin tips not only help them stay in place but also improve passive noise isolation. Since they don’t move around too much, they are able to form a tighter seal between your music and the world around you.
You will receive 3 total pairs of clear white silicone ear tips. They come in small, medium, and large. The tight seal is also great for keeping your music to yourself. They leak very minimal sound (if any at all). This makes them ideal for use in quiet environments where you don’t want to disturb the people around you.
A Few Real Life Examples
If you need to stop by the library, get some work done in your office, or sit next to someone in a public area, it will definitely come in handy. Since the StayHear tips are made of silicone (not rubber or plastic) they provide a very soft and comfortable listening experience.
They don’t cause any noticeable discomfort on the upper part of your ear where they rest (even after keeping them in for an hour or longer). Lightweight comfort and secure ear tips are two of the most important factors in this area, but a water/sweat-resistant design would be the cherry on top!
Although these don’t have an official water-resistant rating (at least one that’s technically specified) they are designed to withstand light exposure to sweat. They can easily be used for activities like working out, jogging, or running.
Since they don’t have an official water-resistant rating, we don’t recommend you try pushing their limits. They’ll easily survive most workouts but definitely aren’t built to be worn underwater or during a heavy downpour.
Overall, most people find that these are much more comfortable than other similar models and even outperform some of the best in-ear monitors under $200 (in terms of long-lasting comfort). Now that you know what to expect in this area, let’s take a closer look at how they sound!
3. Sonic Performance – How Do They Sound?
Many of the headphones from this company are fairly well-known for producing above-average audio quality. Although you shouldn’t expect the best audio quality known to mankind, they usually perform pretty well across the board. You may be disappointed if you expect the absolute best sonic performance. (That is unless this is your first upgrade since you received that free pair of Apple ‘buds with your iPhone.)
Minor issues with volume seem to be one of the most common concerns in this area. You may find that the volume doesn’t go quite as loud as you’d like it to. Some people speculate that the StayHear tips form such a tight seal that Bose felt the need to dial back the volume just a bit.
What do we mean by ‘volume concerns’? Well, if you’re someone who likes to turn your music all the way up with every other pair of headphones you’ve ever used – you may be left wishing for slightly more. If you fit that description, you might enjoy taking a look at our Sennheiser HD1 Free Review instead.
If you don’t think the volume will be a major issue, read our detailed breakdown of the bass, mid-range, and treble below!
Unique Bass Response
Unlike other ‘phones from this company, the bass has gotten pretty mixed feedback. It ultimately boils down to how much bass you like to hear. On most songs, the bass response is more laid-back than usual.
With that in mind, you’ll also notice that the bass can become noticeably stronger on other recordings. All in all, you will probably be satisfied with the amount of bass produced by these ‘buds. It’s not necessarily booming or too quiet. It usually sits somewhere in the middle.
Clear Mid Range & Vocals
For the most part, the mid-range is fairly smooth and easy-going. On tracks like “Church” by Alison Wonderland, you can easily hear the subtle background vocals and other details added by the producer.
You can listen to the full audio for “Church” below to get a better idea:
The treble is surprisingly clear when listening to most styles of music. It sounds especially smooth on tracks like “Gold On The Ceiling” by The Black Keys. You can listen to the full audio for “Gold On The Ceiling” below to get a better idea:
When you’re listening to hip-hop or electronic music, the treble can become slightly overshadowed (unless you prefer loud, booming bass over smooth highs).
Overall, these in-ears have a sonic performance that produces above-average detail and clarity in the mid-to-upper range. Although they don’t exactly produce ‘audiophile-grade’ sound quality – they do succeed at providing an enjoyable listening experience. If you made it this far, you’re probably wondering if they’re the right fit for you!
4. Are They The Right Fit For You?
These ‘buds have some pretty clear strengths and weaknesses. One of their best qualities is their lightweight build and versatile wearing design. They would make a great companion for working out or going for a run. They also work well for everyday use at home or on-the-go. You could say they have one foot in both worlds.
In our eyes, their main drawback lies in their sonic performance. (For some of you, the fact that they use a wired connection may also be a little disappointing.) The reason we don’t absolutely love their audio playback is that it puts a few limits on the styles of music you can really enjoy.
For instance, they usually perform much better for listening to acoustic, alternative, classical, or rock music. If you don’t enjoy any of the genres listed above, these probably won’t be your #1 choice. That being said, if you don’t consider yourself an audiophile, these would definitely make for a pretty solid upgrade.
Take a quick look at the review table below to see the main pros/cons as well as how we calculated their final rating out of 10.
Now that you’ve read our entire Bose earbuds review of the SoundTrue Ultra, what do you think? Are they seriously worth considering, or should you keep looking? Will you be satisfied with their overall performance? Can you see why they’re almost always one of the top-selling in-ear headphones?
If you’d like to see more information before you decide, click one of the links below!
Let us know what you think by leaving a question or comment in the section below! We always do our best to respond as quickly as we can! Thanks for stopping by to take a look at our review, we look forward to hearing from you!
Sonic Elevation: Ride The Waves.