Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review: the best ANC you can get –

Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds II be offering a complete new stage of silence
MSRP $299.00

“Quiet and comfy in reality are the most efficient phrases to explain Bose’s newest buds.”

  • Very comfy
  • Superb sound high quality
  • Remarkable noise cancellation
  • Superb transparency
  • Adjustable EQ modes
  • No wi-fi charging
  • No Bluetooth multipoint
  • Deficient out of doors name high quality

If there’s one corporate that has develop into synonymous with noise cancellation, it’s Bose. And with the corporate’s newest earbuds — the $299 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II — Bose is obviously having a look to solidify that recognition. It claims that the brand new wi-fi earbuds aren’t simply higher at canceling noise than the first-gen product (which it is going to nonetheless promote whilst provides ultimate) — they’re higher than every other energetic noise-canceling (ANC) headphones or earbuds you’ll be able to purchase.

That could be sufficient to win the corporate a large number of go back trade within the type of upgrades, and perhaps some new consumers too. However there’s extra to a collection of noise-canceling wi-fi earbuds than simply ANC — much more — so let’s see how the QuietComfort Earbuds II stack up, and in the event that they will have to be your subsequent wi-fi earbuds.

What’s within the field?

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Along with the QuietComfort Earbuds II (or QCE II), their charging case, and a brief USB-C charging cable, you’ll additionally to find two additional sizes of oval silicone eartips and what Bose calls “steadiness bands” — small silicone gaskets that are compatible across the frame of the earbuds to provide a extra protected are compatible.

What you gained’t to find within the totally recyclable cardboard field is any more or less actual directions. As an alternative, Bose desires you to download and use the Bose Track app for iOS and Android, which is designed to stroll you in the course of the setup, along with offering quite a lot of settings and customizations.


Close-up of Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.
Simon Cohen /

If you happen to normally preferred the design of the first-gen QuietComfort Earbuds however discovered them slightly cumbersome — as we did once we reviewed them — the brand new style is a huge step in the appropriate course. The entirety about them is smaller and lighter, together with the charging case. The massive, locking clamshell from the 1st era has been changed with a smaller, rounded, flip-top design that appears a bit of just like the Google Pixel Buds Professional case, albeit nonetheless considerably better.

With out the press-button latch, it’s approach more straightforward to open although you run a fairly higher chance of getting it open unintentionally. It’s nonetheless cumbersome when in comparison to the Apple AirPods Professional, Sony WF-1000XM4, Pixel Buds Professional, and Jabra Elite 7 Professional, however you’ll be able to now (simply) are compatible it to your pocket.

Long past are the StayHear Max eartips, which built-in an oval tip with an inner ear fin — the brand new design separates are compatible and steadiness into two items, letting you mix ‘n match till you to find the right mix.

Bose stored the lozenge-like form of the earbuds themselves, in order that they nonetheless protrude out of your ears slightly, however nowhere close to up to ahead of, and it additionally preserved the first-gen’s contact controls — you’ll be able to faucet and swipe any place at the elongated outer floor.

Some other constant function is the IPX4 score. That suggests the QCE II are able to dealing with sweat or some rain, so long as you wipe them blank after a exercise.

With the default guidelines and steadiness bands put in, I discovered them extremely comfy.

However the QCE II lack wi-fi charging, a bizarre omission bearing in mind the first-gen style had this selection and price much less too (Bose presented them at $279). After I requested why, a Bose spokesperson informed me it was once partly as a result of the smaller case design, and since wi-fi charging doesn’t subject to many of us.

Either one of the ones issues really feel ordinary, on the other hand, no longer simplest as a result of merchandise just like the AirPods Professional and Pixel Buds Professional organize to do wi-fi charging in instances which can be smaller than the QCE II but additionally as a result of if wi-fi charging doesn’t subject, why does each and every different set of flagship wi-fi earbuds be offering it?

Convenience, controls, and connections

Man wearing Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.
Simon Cohen /

For me, with the default guidelines and steadiness bands put in, the QCE II are extremely comfy. If you happen to don’t like the sensation of in-ear buds, they gained’t exchange your thoughts, however they do a very good activity of a every so often tough balancing act: getting a nice seal whilst retaining a nice are compatible, and staying put while you stick them in.

If you happen to’re no longer certain in regards to the seal, the Bose Track app has a are compatible check that can verify while you’ve were given it locked.

With the ability to swipe your finger up and down for quantity is extra intuitive than the usage of a unmarried button.

I took them to the health club, out for walks, did a couple of video conferences, and normally stored them in position for a number of hours at a time, and so they by no means afflicted me. They aren’t as rock-solid and protected because the ear-fin-based first-gen earbuds, however I’m OK with that — I discovered the stableness bands to be a superbly applicable change, and so they have been protected sufficient for all of my day-to-day wishes.

The controls are also superb. I normally desire bodily buttons, however I admit that with the ability to swipe your finger up and down the QCE II’s floor is a much more intuitive procedure for adjusting quantity than the usage of a unmarried button. It sounds as if, Apple thinks so, too, because it has added the similar function to its second-gen AirPods Professional.

Bose doesn’t help you alter elementary controls like play/pause, observe skip ahead/again, or name reply/finish, however you’ll be able to make a decision what the long-press (Bose calls {that a} shortcut) does on every earbud. You’ll select between converting ANC modes and activating your voice assistant.

There’s, on the other hand, very good regulate over the wear and tear sensors. By means of default, they are going to auto-pause and resume your tune (which matches in reality neatly) or you’ll be able to flip them off solely. You’ll additionally make a choice to permit auto call-answer, so in case your telephone rings, you’ll be able to merely insert an earbud to pick out up the decision.

The QCE II use the newest chips from Qualcomm, with the newest Bluetooth model, and the relationship could be very strong, well beyond the 20-foot level indoors and as much as 30 toes outdoor. That’s the great phase. The not-so-good (or possibly simply ordinary) phase is that Bose is just using what Bluetooth 5.3 can do. There’s no toughen for LE Audio and its corresponding new codec, LC3, there’s no Bluetooth multipoint for simultaneous instrument connections, and no Google Rapid Pair or Microsoft Swift Pair. There’s a workaround for multipoint, however it’s no longer as chic: the Bose Track app permits you to transfer between in the past paired units with no need to dive into your instrument’s Bluetooth menu.

Granted, the earbuds’ firmware will also be up to date, and Bose hasn’t dominated out including those options one day. However there’s no phrase on if or when that can occur.

Sound high quality

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II sit in their case.
Simon Cohen /

The massive new technological innovation at the QCE II as opposed to the 1st gen is a function referred to as CustomTune. Once you pluck the earbuds from their case and put them to your ears, they carry out a just about immediate check of your ears, measuring how they channel sound for your eardrums. In keeping with Bose, this shall we the QCE II successfully reply to the small variations in everybody’s ears, each and every time you put on them, and also you don’t need to create an account, undergo a listening check, or carry out any duties in any respect in an effort to have the benefit of it. It simply occurs.

You get four useful presets (Bass Spice up, Base Reducer, Treble Spice up, and Treble Reducer), to fit your tastes.

CustomTune is meant to beef up ANC and transparency (extra on those in a second) in addition to sound high quality.

Does it paintings? I will’t let you know, and I believe no one else can both as a result of there’s no approach to disable it in an effort to do an A/B comparability. Must you care? I don’t assume so, as a result of the hot button is that those earbuds sound in reality nice, whether or not CustomTune will get the credit score or no longer.

As with the 1st gen, Bose has given the QCE II a a laugh and colourful sound signature that balances heat, resonant bass with transparent highs and relatively detailed midtones. I feel there were enhancements too (possibly it’s the CustomTune?), with much less noticeable distortion at decrease volumes. What hasn’t modified is that those buds most likely gained’t have audiophiles making a song their praises — I feel you’ll get a extra correct efficiency from different fashions just like the Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3, the Sony WF-1000XM4, the Technics EAH-AZ60, and the Astell & Kern AK UW100.

The truth that Bose hasn’t ventured past SBC and AAC codec toughen reinforces that it’s no longer after that crowd anyway.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II be offering the most efficient noise cancellation I’ve ever skilled.

However what’s new, and what I feel makes the entire distinction, is that Bose now contains the power to regulate the earbuds’ EQ throughout the Bose Track app. You get four useful presets (Bass Spice up, Base Reducer, Treble Spice up, and Treble Reducer), however you’ll be able to additionally alter every of those (or get started from a impartial EQ) to fit your tastes the usage of a three-band set of sliders. Sadly, there’s no approach to save those personalised settings, one thing I feel Bose will have to believe including now that it has come this some distance.

With those changes, you now not wish to simply settle for the manufacturing unit tuning, so bass-heads get extra of what they prefer, whilst lovers of podcasts or diva vocalists can emphasize the sounds they like. I nonetheless discovered myself sticking with the impartial EQ more often than not, however it was once great realizing I may just transfer it up if the temper struck me.

Noise cancellation and transparency

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Apple’s second-gen AirPods Professional weren’t to be had on the time of this writing, so it’s conceivable I will be able to wish to re-examine this commentary. However as of presently, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II be offering the most efficient noise cancellation I’ve ever skilled. Higher than the first-gen QC Earbuds, higher than the first-gen AirPods Professional, and higher than Sony’s flagship WF-1000XM4 earbuds and WH-1000XM5 headphones. It’s in reality remarkable.

Whilst on a brief flight from New York Town to Toronto aboard a De Havilland Sprint 8 — an attractive noisy dual turboprop airplane — I were given an opportunity to place the QCE II in an immediate comparability with the Sony WH-1000XM5 and the just lately launched Google Pixel Buds Professional.

The Sony providing, whilst very good for a collection of ANC headphones, couldn’t contact the QCE II. They let in what I perceived as kind of two times the volume of sound. The Pixel Buds Professional faired higher, as you could be expecting from earbuds that completely seal your ear canals, however they too couldn’t moderately obliterate the ones engines the way in which the Bose may just.

That was once ahead of looking to play tune. When I added in some tunes, even at average volumes, I used to be blissfully ignorant of any cabin sound in any respect. Apparently, you’ll be able to every so often locate the ANC algorithms doing their magic as new sounds develop into a part of your atmosphere — they could also be extra noticeable in the beginning however then recede into the background over the following moment or two.

As superior because the ANC is, you could need to make the most of the power to cut back its energy underneath sure cases. First, at most power, I discovered that I used to be acutely aware of the “sucking” sensation that some people are delicate to. Backing it down a degree or two eases that feeling. 2d, should you’re already in a fairly quiet position and also you’re no longer being attentive to any tune or different content material, you’ll pay attention a slight background hiss.

Transparency mode, or “conscious” mode as Bose calls it, additionally is superb. It nonetheless falls simply shy of the not-wearing-any-earbuds sensation you get from the first-gen AirPods Professional, however it’s completely able to letting you pay attention the outdoor global. With Bose’s non-compulsory ActiveSense machine, any surprising loud sounds that happen when you’re in conscious mode will probably be routinely lowered. It will save your listening to, but additionally your middle charge — as I used to be strolling previous a building web site ultimate week, a surprising, very loud bang made me nearly soar off the sidewalk. I want I’d been sporting the QCE II.

A large development over the first-gen is the power to cycle between ANC and conscious modes with out going thru a 3rd mode. You’ll nonetheless do that if you need — the Bose Track app in truth permits you to outline as much as four modes of noise cancellation — however you don’t need to,

Name high quality

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Sooner than I speak about the QCE II’s name high quality, I wish to deal with what we stated in our authentic evaluation of the first-gen earbuds, as it wishes some context. When Caleb Denison carried out his name high quality check of the QCE, he did it indoors simplest. On the time, it gave the look of the appropriate, ahem, name.

And once I examined the QCE II for this evaluation, I additionally discovered the indoor name high quality to be very good. Alternatively, I then took them outdoor and repeated the check, with very other effects. Outdoor, relying at the quantity of noise from site visitors or wind, your voice can sound far away, compressed, and every now and then very tricky to listen to. Worse nonetheless, the ones background noises are nonetheless moderately audible.

I used to be stunned by means of this (particularly ahead of I spotted Caleb’s feedback have been in line with indoor utilization) so I grabbed the first-gen QCE buds and took them outdoor as neatly. They carried out extra poorly than the second-gen, so a minimum of Bose has accomplished some development in out of doors high quality, however in no way sufficient that I will suggest them for outdoor use. Actually, I’m no longer certain they are able to be reliably used for any scenario with a large number of background noise — a fairly large sadness given each their value and their very good ANC.

Battery lifestyles

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II charging case.
Simon Cohen /

Traditionally, Bose hasn’t positioned a heavy emphasis on battery lifestyles. The corporate’s flagship Noise Cancelling 700 Headphones simplest get 20 hours of use (putting them close to the ground of the headphone heap together with the AirPods Max) and the first-gen QC Earbuds simplest possessed as much as six hours in line with fee and a complete of 18 hours while you integrated their charging case capability.

There hasn’t been any exchange at the earbuds’ facet of the equation (the QCE II nonetheless simplest stand up to six hours) however the charging case now holds three complete fees as an alternative of two, for a complete of 24 hours, which a minimum of brings them into AirPods Professional territory for overall time.

However surprisingly, it in truth takes longer now to quick-charge them: 20 mins will purchase you two additional hours, while, at the first-gen, that simplest took 15 mins.

The base line

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are an up to date set of wi-fi buds that completely ship at the two guarantees that Bose makes proper within the product identify: They’re very comfy and supremely quiet — quieter than the rest available in the market. And possibly that reality on my own justifies their upper $299 value, however their loss of now-common options like wi-fi charging and Bluetooth multipoint, plus disappointing out of doors name high quality prevents them from incomes our unqualified Editor’s Selection score.

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