The Bose SIE2i is clearly meant for someone who doesn't want to be torn away from their music, no matter if it is raining, or he/she is in the gym sweating it out on a treadmill. It has very good vocal clarity, but bass punch seems to be a little underwhelming. The comfort level varies for every individual, but this one does seem to be a little tougher than the ones following a more "walk down the middle path" route.
While Bose has been making some really good earphones all along, it was surprising that they hadn’t specifically focused on the “sport” category till now.
It is something that their immediate rivals, Sennheiser, has been doing very consistently. However, with the SIE2 and the SIE2i, the focus clearly is widening.
Build & Design
The SIE2’s design is clearly an evolution from the IE2, and one of the additions is the orange and light green colour options. The cable from the two earpieces is pretty small for starters, designed for use with the armband, with no part of the cable flapping around. This is aimed at someone who may be using this during his or her fitness session. There is an extension cable for anyone who wants to use the SIE2i conventionally.
The in-line volume controls are neat, something that we wished more earphones offered. As with the “i” series earphones and headphones, this one also has a microphone.
Some users might not like the way the SIE2i sits in the ear. At no point do you get the feeling that it is completely secure, but in reality, it is very securely fit. The reason for this is simple – it doesn’t seal off the ear canal snugly. If you are used to the ones that tightly fit the ear canal, this will be a fairly different experience to get used to.
Don’t think the SIE2i will appeal to everyone, with the limited colours that are available. Surprisingly, the universally accepted white and black are not options, and don’t know how many people will actually like the orange or the green. Personally, I love the orange, because it truly stands out in any crowd. Once you do select a colour, you can be assured that the build of the earphones is pretty solid, yet very light. Once you have figured out the correct silicon tip for the ear, they will be very comfortable to wear for long durations. It doesn’t completely block the ear canal, which allows for a bit of breathing as well.
Features & Specifications
A Reebok branded armband is one of the add-ons with the SIE2i. There is a surprising amount of space in this to fit in quite a bit of stuff. There is an inside pocket for keys, and dedicated cuts for the earphone cable. The iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4/4S and the iPod Touch fit perfectly. The display will be visible through the transparent window, but the device is pretty well shielded from moisture.
Unlike most in-canal earphones, the SIE2i will project sound slightly outward and not directly into the ear canal. The angled design means it also sits in a unique fashion in the ear, but over a long period, the ears will feel less stress than with an earphone that snugly fits in the canal.
The SIE2i comes with three silicon ear tips, in three sizes – small, medium and large. The medium one comes fitted on the device, with the small and large ones as accessories in the box.
Bose says “The speaker elements on the headphones use hydrophobic acoustic cloth for workouts indoors and out to keep moisture out but let sound pass through”. The in-line volume controls also have watertight controls. Essentially, if you can guarantee the safety of your iPod or iPhone, these earphones will survive even a sharp shower during your jog round the block.
Straightaway, it is clear with the SIE2i that Bose is attempting to keep the sound neutral, so as to not alienate any demographic that may have specific preferences. We feel the main reason for that is that this might also be used for voice calls on the phone, and a bass-heavy set would not have worked well.
In terms of clarity of vocals, the crispness of SIE2i’s sound is indeed very good. This is significant, because there is a lot of ambient noise trickling in, and any muffling of the vocals would have been disastrous. Even the mid range is handled very well, making this pretty much perfect for unplugged and electronica genres.
Bass punch on the SIE2i is certainly on the lower side, and that is a bit of a disappointment. With the clarity of the vocals and the mid-highs, the sound does feel incomplete with lesser than expected bass. Particularly when you may be listening to trance or a David Guetta single, it does sound a bit incomplete. The ear tips that you use will have a huge impact on the sound quality, because the correct size will block out more ambient noise and fit in better, helping with the bass reproduction experience.
Surprisingly, the SIE2i’s sound never feels solid once the volume crosses 50%, but thankfully that just turns out to be an illusion. At every step of increasing the volume, you will feel that audio clarity is about to be ruined by distortion, but that unfortunate destination is happily never reached! Is Bose just having some fun with us, making is paralytically worried, when actually there is nothing to be worried about? All in all, while the sound doesn’t have that solidity to it, in reality, it is pretty much unshakeable even when you are pretty high up the volume slider.
All in all, bass addicts will not like the sound of the SIE2i, but what it does is appeal to the mass market without any leanings. Clarity is quite impressive, and so is the handling of the sound at high volumes. The fact that it can withstand a lot of water showered on it is a real value-add that anyone who has had earphones ruined by water would understand.
Bose does charge a premium for the SIE2 series of headphones, with the “i” version costing Rs. 8,663 in India. However, you do get quite a lot for that much money - good clarity, neutral and widely appealing sound leanings, interesting colours, the water-resistant capabilities, Reebok branded armband and rather solid build. But, if you like a consistent bass and solid noise cancellation, then you may not like this one. Do try these out before making a final choice.