The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds are finally official

Model wears the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds
(Image credit: Bose)

After months of rumours, an expected CES announcement that never materialised, and a soft launch via a collaboration with US fashion brand Kith, the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds are finally official.

As we saw with the Kith collab, the open-ear buds offer a cuff-shaped design that clips onto the outer ear and fires music directly into the ear canal, without blocking it. This allows wearers to stay aware of their environment while still listening to their music or podcasts.

They were developed, Bose says, because of what it calls the “one bud phenomenon” – where people are using just one earbud or one earcup, in order to remain tuned in to their surroundings.

For example, this could be for safety when exercising outside, listening out for announcements on a train or just being able to dip in and out of office conversations.

They join a growing market of headphones offering an alternative to bone conduction headphones, like the recently reviewed Huawei FreeClip

Bose has been keen to make these an all-day wearable product, so comfort has been considered, as well as the design. The most difficult part of the design process, Bose told us, was getting the flexible silicone arm that wraps around the ear and sits gently on the skin just right.

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds in white

(Image credit: Bose)

The buds come in a choice of Black or White Smoke with a brushed metallic finish on their outside edge, and – just as their all-day wear claim would warrant – 7.5 hours of music playback from a single charge.

The charging case offers another 19.5 hours of additional charge, with a fast charge of 10 minutes for two hours playtime.

For playback, they use Bose’s proprietary OpenAudio technology, which combines a powerful transducer with a tightly controlled acoustic structure to precisely deliver sound into the ear canal with minimal sound leakage to those around you. 

Sitting behind the ear is a small physical button on each side, which can be used for music playback and volume, as well as controlling listening modes.

That’s because, like other headphones in the Ultra range, the Open Earbuds also offer Bose’s Immersive Audio mode, which offers a wider, more spacious soundstage when switched on. There are options for Still and Motion, to suit whether you’re sitting at a desk or on the go.

The buds also feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound Technology Suite, which includes support for aptX Adaptive with compatible devices, alongside Bluetooth 5.3 compatibility. There’s also Google Fast Pair for easy connection with Android phones plus Bose SimpleSync technology, for hooking them up to Bose speakers and soundbars.

The Bose Open Earbuds are available now for £299 / $299, and you can read our full review now.


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Verity Burns

Verity is a freelance technology journalist and former Multimedia Editor at What Hi-Fi?. 

Having chalked up more than 15 years in the industry, she has covered the highs and lows across the breadth of consumer tech, sometimes travelling to the other side of the world to do so. With a specialism in audio and TV, however, it means she's managed to spend a lot of time watching films and listening to music in the name of "work".

You'll occasionally catch her on BBC Radio commenting on the latest tech news stories, and always find her in the living room, tweaking terrible TV settings at parties.