Gear

Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset review

Bose is a brand associated with the high-end audio equipment. Now they have produced two iPhone specific versions of two of their popular headphones. The Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset is based on the Bose TriPort that has been around for several years. I took a look around before venturing into this review to see how well the TriPort scored, and much to my astonishment Bose hasn’t updated the design to reflect the concerns raised back in 2007. I already had a fair idea of how to rate the Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset, and I also saw the same shortcomings to the design that were evident for the TriPort as well.

ov_mobile-in-ear_prod_tcm61-26355Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset is an in-ear headset that doesn’t force the ear buds into the ear canals. Instead it relies on the friction, and contact between ear bud and ear. This makes the ear buds comfortable to wear for extended sessions ranging up to six hours without removal. The headset comes with three different sized ear buds, and most users will find a size that works well. You might even have to use different sizes for the left and right ear. Using friction, and contact as the only means of holding the ear buds in place is ok when I sit, lie and walk. When running, or making quick movements such as pushups or sit-ups they start to loosen up. This reduces both quality of audio, as well as the actual volume. Most of all it is really annoying having to adjust the ear buds when in the middle of a workout. If I don’t adjust them properly right away they will fall out. This is a shame, as I want to be able to use a headset when in motion as well. This makes the Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset redundant if you are looking for a headset if you have an active job. Thankfully Bose has included a clothing clip that lets you attach the cord so at least the headset won’t fall to the ground when the ear buds fall from your ears. I have to mention the included lanyard as well even though I hate using them it of course helps you keeping the headset from falling to the ground.

The actual silicone tips for the ear buds are really comfortable, and they are easily removed and cleaned. This is both a blessing and a curse as they also fall off when I least want them to. I have had to search for these quite hard to see silicone tips on more than one occasion. On the other hand they collect a lot of dirt from the ear, and having the chance to really clean them easily is important.

tw409While we are at it I must add another shortcoming of the Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset. They lack noise isolation, as they don’t block the ear canal. They are a bit better than the stock Apple headphones that come with the iPhone/iPod Touch, but can’t be compared to any of the in-ear headphones I have tested. The only way to counter noise is to crank up the volume, and thankfully the Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset can take a load of volume without getting any distortion at all. Thankfully Bose didn’t go for active noise cancellation, as it isn’t a compatible technology for use in a headset. It also helped keeping the retail price down.

The sound quality of the Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset is really good with a strong overall representation of sound across the entire sound spectra. The focus is on the massive bass, and if you want your music to be felt the Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset is one of the most powerful in-ear headsets. Being able to crank the volume without getting any distortion makes for a pleasurable listen to any bass heavy music. You are also able to listen to less bassy music such as classical without it being distorted as well, but without the massive bass boost it feels weak. Listening to podcasts and audio books also work quite well, but of course poorly recorded podcasts with a lot of background hum get that background hum boosted as it lies in the lower range.

The Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset comes packaged three 2.5 mm adapters, 3 pair of ear tips, a lanyard and a nifty leather bag. The leather bag can be used as your iPhone/iPod Touch case. You can even have another case on the device, and still fit it in the bag. It looks good with a leather shine, and Bose imprint. It doesn’t protect as much when it comes to impact, but it is definitely good for avoiding scratches when in your pocket or backpack.

ie_mobile_headset_intheboxThe cord for the Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset is cool with a vertigo influenced black and white swirling along it. The cord is prone to entanglement due to a high level of friction in the same vein as the stock Apple headset. With the added lump at the lower part of the cord, and the clothing clip it turns into a real knot when I put it in my pocket. When not in use it is important to hang the headset, or keep it attached to my clothes to avoid minutes of de-knotting.

The Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset has got a really good omnidirectional microphone. I have never had any complaints about audio quality from the receiver. The microphone picks up the sound of my voice without adding background noise.

Summary

Pros
Great omnidirectional microphone.
Good sound quality even at high volume levels.
Powerful bass.
Carry case that fits an iPhone is included.
Nothing inserted into the ear canal.
Unique look, and design.

Cons

Poor noise isolation.
Cord prone to entanglement.
The ear buds tend to fall out of the ears.
The silicone tips tend to fall off the ear buds.

Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset has got some good things going for it, and it could have been a real must if Bose had updated the shortcomings the TriPort had. If you want to get the most bass out of your in-ear headset the Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset is definitely the one to get. For most users though there are better options available at a much lower cost.

Final Rating

3-stars

Bose® Mobile In-ear Headset at the US Apple Store $129.95

Bose Mobile In-Ear Headphones with Mic at the UK Apple Store £99.95

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  • Tim

    That’s disappointing.

    Torbjorn, can you recommend some headsets for someone who wants noise reduction and comfort, hopefully for $50 or less? If there’s nothing worthwhile at that price point, then feel free to recommend higher-end models. I might be able to justify a $70 headset to my wife . . .maybe. I would really really appreciate it!

  • Torbjorn Kamblad, Sweden

    @Tim
    I would go for something like the Scosche IDR350md Increased Dynamic Range Earphones at $49.95 then. I have not tried them out yet myself but they seem to offer the best value for 50 bucks. Will contact Scosche to see if they are interested in a review. If you already have a set of headphones you enjoy a microphone from Bose is a good solution to turn it into a headset. It comes at the expense of a long cable unless you have headphones with detachable cord.

    I have had some bad experiences with cheaper headsets such as the horrendous Koss iSpark, and the correlation between cost and quality is really high.

  • Tim

    I appreciate it Torbjorn. :) I will hold off until I hear if you’ll be writing a review on those, but I checked those out online and they look nice–pretty much exactly what I’m looking for!

  • Marcel

    These must be the most modest looking headphones Ive ever seen.

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