The New Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Serve Up Incredible Immersive Audio
8 mins read

The New Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Serve Up Incredible Immersive Audio

The new Bose Ultra Open Earbuds have auntie wearing style that offers superb immersive sound.


If you haven’t bought a pair of wireless earbuds recently, you might not know about the latest trend towards open-style earbuds. This new type of earbud doesn’t fit inside the listener’s ears, but perches just outside the ear canal so you can still hear what is going on around and can be aware of hazards or still hear conversations.

Nearly every audio brand has recently released or plans to release a pair of open-style earbuds and they seem to be incredibly popular, especially for sporting use. The latest big name to jump into the open earbud water is Bose. The venerable U.S. audio brand has launched its Bose Ultra Open earbuds and they really are rather special. And I say that as someone who isn’t keen on open earbuds.

Bose describes its new Ultra Open Earbuds as a breakthrough in audio wearables that lets you hear the world around you while still enjoying music in high-quality sound. The new Bose Ultra Open Earbuds feature an innovative cuff-shaped design that works so much better than most of the ear hook designs on the market.

The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds clip on to the rim of the wearer’s ear and are much easier to wear than … [+] the usual style of open-style earbuds.


Imagine a pair of earbuds that clip onto your earlobe almost like a pair of clip-on earrings. The Bose Ultra Open earbuds have small speakers that sit just at the entrance of the ear canal and project the sound forward. They look stylish and are so much more comfortable to wear than most open-style earbuds. They are also easier to adjust, even if you have larger ears. What’s more, the unique design is extremely comfortable to wear for long periods.

The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds have been made for all-day wearing. They don’t isolate you from what is going on around you so you can still hear if a colleague is calling you or if there is a car approaching when you are about to step into a street. All the while, the music is still projected with an immersive and engaging presentation that has a genuine wow factor. So, whether you are walking the dog or want to know if a cyclist is coming up behind you, you can still be fully aware of your surroundings. The open-style concept is also excellent for running, working out in the gym, or tapping away at your keyboard.

The Ultra Open earbuds feature polished and soft edges with a brushed metallic finish. They almost look like a pair of chunky earrings. Because they clip on the rim of the ear just about the ear lobe, they are so much easier to wear with glasses, a hat or jewelry. The buds have a special flex arm coated in soft silicone that connects the speaker unit to the battery compartment. The clip pressure is soft enough not to hurt the ears but firm enough to ensure they don’t drop off. It’s a clever piece of design.

A full charge of the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds provides up to 7.5 hours of playtime. That figure … [+] reduces to 4.5 hours with the Bose Immersive Audio turned on.


The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds provide produce amazing sound. I got my daughter to give them a try and her first word was: “Wow!” The earbuds use Bose’s proprietary OpenAudio technology. The powerful transducer delivers an incredibly clear sound that’s like an in-ear design. Amazingly, even at high volumes, the sound doesn’t leak so people sitting nearby can’t hear your music. The bass is incredibly convincing, especially if you consider there’s no acoustic seal created as you have with in-ear earbuds.

These new earbuds are powered by proprietary digital signal processing software and an onboard IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit). The Ultra Open earbuds also feature Bose Immersive Audio, creating the virtual effect of placing the listener in an acoustic sweet spot to create a realistic soundstage, almost as if you are listening to focused speakers rather than earbuds.

The spacious soundstage created by Bose’s Immersive Audio feels wide and creates more space around individual instruments for three-dimensional and layered listening that Bose claims can mimic the way we hear music in real life. The feature works on any audio platform or device meaning anyone can experience spatial audio.

The battery in the Bose Ultra Open Earbud charging case can provide up to 19.5 hours of backup … [+] charge.


There are two Bose Immersive Audio options: Still or Motion. The Still mode works best if you are seated at a desk or on an easy chair. The Motion option is the better choice when moving around because it enables the audio to move with you, so it’s always out in front of you. It is a clever feature and is available via the Bose smartphone app.

The new earbuds are available in black or white smoke and have a physical button on the top of the battery chamber that sits behind the wearer’s ear. That single button can control play, pause, skip, adjust volume, and many other functions. There’s also an option — via the Bose Music app — to switch on Auto Volume. This intelligently adjusts the volume level of the music based on how noisy the surroundings are. The feature keeps the music at the correct level.

As you’d expect from sporting earbuds designed for moving around, the Bose Ultra Open have some resistance to water or sweat thanks to an IPX4 rating. A full charge of the earbuds provides up to 7.5 hours of playtime with Bose Immersive Audio turned off. With the feature turned on, you can expect around 4.5 hours of Immersive Audio listening. The charging case provides up to 19.5 of extra playtime (or 12 hours with Immersive Audio). The buds take an hour to charge while a 10-minute burst charge can deliver two hours of playtime.

The clever clip-on design of the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds makes it much easier to get great sound.


Snapdragon Sound Technology Suite is supported by the Bose Ultra Open earbuds which includes the aptX Adaptive audio codec with compatible Android phones. The earbuds can also work with Google Fast Pair, making them easier to pair with Android devices. Each earbud also includes two beamforming microphones for picking up the user’s voice when making phone calls or issuing voice commands.

The Bose Ultra Open earbuds also work with Bose’s SimpleSync technology. This enables them to pair with select Bose smart soundbars and speakers for a personal listening experience. Independent volume controls enable the volume of the soundbar to be lowered or muted while keeping the earbuds at the volume level required.

Verdict: As I said at the beginning of this review, I am not a fan of open-style earbuds but I can see why increasing numbers of people like them. The Bose Ultra Open earbuds are the best in class and the most impressive open earbuds I’ve ever tested. In fact, they are the only pair of open-style earbuds I would use because they are the only ones with a design that works with my ears. The sound is superb with a fulsome bass, beautifully articulated treble and sufficient volume. I have a feeling these earbuds are going to be incredibly popular. Great job, Bose. Highly Recommended.

Pricing & Availability: The Ultra Open Earbuds are available starting today for $299 / £299 / €299 from and through select resellers.

More info:

Tech Specs:

  • Model: Bose Ultra Open Earbuds.
  • Water resistance: IPX4.
  • Battery life: Up to 7.5 hours.
  • Charging case battery life: 19.5 hours backup charge.
  • Charging method: USB-C.
  • Earbud charging time: 1 hour.
  • Microphones: 4.
  • Bluetooth: Version 5.3.
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound: Yes.
  • Audio codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive.