Open earphones, it’s a new thing we’ve seen for a little while now and it’s gaining traction with Bose going all in on Open with their latest product the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds.

I think the Sony Linkbuds started this trend off in the mainstream in early 2022, then late last year we saw (and heard) the JBL Soundgear Sense at IFA – both these had shared features – great sound, but the ability to hear what was going on around you at the same time. I described the Sony’s as “quite the opposite of Noise Cancelling” and that makes more sense when you realise how Bose sees this style of product.

They call it the “one bud phenomenon”. The company’s Chief product Officer Raza Haider Saying “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.”

To that end, they are designed to be worn all day – they don’t block your ears so you are open to what’s happening around you, but also enjoying music, podcasts or whatever else you’re into.

Here’s the thing though, Bose has thought this through in great detail. They know that many of these open style (like the JBL’s) loop over your ear and hang down – but that makes wearing sunglasses difficult.

Bose’s answer – hang them from your ear. Yep, you heard that right.

The bit that goes over your ear is actually on a flexible arm so it can be slid onto your ear and sit there in relative comfort – just resting on your ear.

Like other brands, Bose is also working on utilising all the fancy Dolby Atmos or Spacial style music tracks out there, allowing you to enable a “motion” mode so the music is always in front of you, but “Still” mode puts the music in one place so if you turn the music direction stays fixed in a virtual space.

There’s a physical button on the top of the barrel for play and pause controls, and within the Bose app there’s an “Auto Volume” option to intelligently adjust the volume based on the sound level around you.

7.5 hours battery means you’re going to have to switch which ear you use across the day, or throw them in the case for a charge while you are in a meeting, with a 10 min charge giving an additional two hours of playtime.

They look like they’re from a sci-fi movie or something – interesting stuff.

The Ultra Open Earbuds are available starting on February 19th for AUD $449.95 on and through select resellers.