These new earbuds don’t go in your ears, so you can stay connected to your surroundings. Great for outdoor exercise.

After discontinuing their Sport Open Earbuds and Frames range, Bose are back with a new take on open earbuds.

The one bud phenomenon is real. We know people want a way to listen to their music while still being connected to the world around them. We set out to completely reimagine the future of wearable audio and deliver a better, more beautiful, and comfortable solution to provide the best of both worlds. The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds do just that. Now you can enjoy your music and life, all at the same time.

Raza Haider, chief product officer, Bose

The new Bose Ultra Open Earbuds feature a truly unique design. A flexible joint hooks around the back of your ear, while the speaker driver shoots audio towards your ear canal. With the help of OpenAudio technology, Bose hopes to avoid any obvious tradeoffs when comparing these to traditional earbuds, such as lacking audio quality and sound bleed.

The flexible joint is strong enough to provide a solid hold, without being uncomfortable after hours of wearing, which is promising for exercise use. Speaking of exercise, the Ultra Open Earbuds are IPX4 water and sweat resistance. These earbuds are supposed to not only fit well, but look good too. There’s no Bose logo visible on these when worn.

Image Credit: Bose

Of course one of the main lacking features here is noise cancellation of any sort. The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds are almost the anti-ANC earbuds, however not having the option can be restrictive in some situations. Being a distance away from your ear canal, there is a slight reduction in bass response when compared to in-ear options, but if you’re primarily a phone call, podcast and audiobook listener, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

As with other recent Bose headphones, the Ultra Open Earbuds feature Immersive Audio. This is Bose’s spatial audio option, which features two main options – Still and Motion. Still is best for listening in one place, with sounds stuck in virtual space around you. Motion on the other hand is best for when you’re on-the-go, with the audio placed in front of you.

Each earbud features a physical button on the cylindrical element behind your ear. This can be customized to play, pause, skip, adjust volume and more.

Image Credit: Bose

The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds will support multipoint via a software update later this year, allowing you to connect the earbuds to more than one device simultaneously. They support Qualcomm aptX Adaptive codec, providing increased audio quality and lower latency capabilities. Google Fast Pair will ensure you can quickly connect to your Android device.

Download the Bose Music app on iOS and Android for additional controls, such as adjustable EQ settings, customization of controls and Auto Volume. Auto Volume adjusts the volume of your music based on the volume of your surroundings. Enter a busy environment and the volume will subtly increase, not to drown out the noise, but rather to keep your audio audible. Return home and the volume will decrease.

Battery life on the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds is good for 7.5 hours of play on a single charge, which is on the higher end. This is reduced quite dramatically to 4.5 hours with Immersive Audio turned on. You can get up to 19.5 hours of battery in the charging case. Just 10 minutes in the case will be good for up to two hours. Unfortunately the charging case does not support wireless charging, which is usual for a product at this price.

Image Credit: Bose

The Bose Ultra Open Earbuds come in Black or White Smoke, for a hefty $299 on Amazon. This is a very expensive price for a product marketed at a very specific audience. While they will be great for some exercise users, at this price, many will likely go for other open and one-ear options.