Step aside, AirPods. There’s a new ANC champion in town

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II execs and cons Execs Noise cancellation high quality is unparalleled Easy Contact characteristic is intuitive and efficient Suits comfortably within the ear for hours on finish The app has an adjustable EQ for a customized listening expertise Cons Poor microphone high quality Cumbersome design and charging case Need to navigate the … The post Step aside, AirPods. There’s a new ANC champion in town appeared first on Ferdja.

May 26, 2023 - 22:00
Step aside, AirPods. There’s a new ANC champion in town


Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

execs and cons

  • Noise cancellation high quality is unparalleled
  • Easy Contact characteristic is intuitive and efficient
  • Suits comfortably within the ear for hours on finish
  • The app has an adjustable EQ for a customized listening expertise
  • Poor microphone high quality
  • Cumbersome design and charging case
  • Need to navigate the app for optimum use

extra shopping for selections

September was a giant month for wi-fi earbuds. Apple was on Samsung’s heels after the discharge of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, positioning the AirPods Pro 2 because the flagship buds to beat. And now, Bose is right here to play… and it is not settling for second. 

With the three main manufacturers, amongst others, contending for a spot in your ears, the heated competitors brings a wealth of latest know-how and enhancements for all customers to get pleasure from. With Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds II, the corporate is banking on energetic noise cancellation (ANC) supremacy for fulfillment. 

I have been testing the QuietComfort Earbuds II for the previous week, going about my justifiable share of subway rides in ever-so-lively New York Metropolis, working in an lively newsroom setting, and exercising at a gymnasium that insists on placing Ed Sheeran on loop. On practically all fronts, these earbuds aren’t simply frontrunners, they’re in a league of their very own. 



4 in every earbud 


Earbuds: 1.2 x 0.68 inches

Charging case: 2.6 x 2.34 inches 


Bluetooth 5.3


As much as 6 hours with a single cost |earbud charger time: 1 hour | charging case time: 3 hours 


Earbuds: IPX4 

Bluetooth vary

As much as 30 ft 


iPhone, iPad, and Android gadgets through the Bose Music App. Guide setup accessible for MacOS and PC gadgets. 


Triple Black and Soapstone 



Design and match

Let’s tackle the plain: These earbuds sound their half and look their half, too. The QuietComfort Earbuds II do not have the “snipped-off headphones” look that AirPods have, or the stylish pebble-like form of Google’s and Samsung’s. As a substitute, they give the impression of being rectangular and extra like old-school Bluetooth earpieces. Which means the earbuds are a tad cumbersome within the ear however distinguishable and sensible. Not like the AirPods Professional 2 that merely dangle on my ear, the Bose buds match snugly inside.

Bose QuietComfort II earbuds and case

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II exterior the charging case. 

Christina Darby/ZDNET

The inside design carefully mimics the form of a typical ear canal, serving to to lock in each the earbuds and the sound. Like a puzzle piece, the earbuds completely match within the ear while not having to be consistently adjusted. For enhanced consolation — therefore the namesake — every bud is supplied with a comfortable ear tip across the innermost speaker and a comfortable stability band that tapers the outer earpiece. Each the ear ideas and surrounding cushion are available giant, medium, and small sizes — I used to be significantly enthusiastic about that final one. Everybody’s ears are completely different, in any case. 

With in-ear headphones, there generally is a noticeable quantity of strain that builds up within the ears after sporting them for hours on finish. Surprisingly, the QuietComfort earbuds felt much less intrusive than different wearables I’ve examined and there have been loads of moments after I’d really feel so immersed within the passive noise cancellation that I might unintentionally ignore my boss’ greetings. (Sorry, Jason!)

Extra: Samsung Galaxy Buds Professional 2: The most effective earbuds for Galaxy customers

A touchpad that works… virtually too effectively

The earbuds’ extensive floor space is not only for seems to be; it doubles as a touchpad for controls and gestures. I discover that characteristic particularly useful after I’m lugging groceries round city and easily have to faucet the earbuds to play, pause, skip, and even reply cellphone calls.

The actions solely require a delicate contact to play and pause, and after I scroll up and down, the amount adjusts with precision — one notch at a time. The one negatives I’ve skilled with the touchpad are as a result of consumer error greater than anything. I’ve a behavior of resting my hand on the aspect of my face after I’m concentrating and infrequently discovered myself by chance pausing the audio. In case you’re a pure hand-rester like me, be forewarned of the touchpad’s sensitivity.

putting the Bose QuietComfort II earbuds in the charging case

ZDNET’s Emery Wright placing the earbuds again of their hefty charging case.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

An enormous case for charging

One design alternative that I am not the fondest of is the charging case. It is a chunky capsule, particularly as compared with practically each different wi-fi earbuds case I’ve used. Positive, I will tuck it right into a again pocket or backpack. However when you sometimes slide your earbuds case in your entrance pocket, do not count on to have room to suit anything. 

Bulkiness apart, I’ve discovered the Bose case simpler to seek out than, say, the AirPods Professional 2 case, particularly after I’m fishing round my bottomless backpack or within the depths of my sofa cushions. The bigger case additionally lends itself to a better battery capability for charging.

Efficiency and sound high quality

Now, the query of the hour: How do these earbuds sound? As somebody who’s (newly) a sound snob, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are one of the best that I’ve heard. A lot in order that, after receiving them, I’ve compelled everybody I’ve interacted with to slide the earbuds in, hearken to The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights,” and indulge within the readability and rumble of the opening synthesizers. In reality, ZDNET’s Sabrina Ortiz described the sound high quality as a “membership in my ears.”

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II next to ZDNET logos

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II within the charging case. 

Christina Darby/ZDNET

The bass is noticeable and heavy by default, however it’s also possible to use the Bose Music app to regulate the equalization of all frequencies. What I used to be most impressed with when it comes to the Bose’s audio efficiency was how even after turning base ranges up, different devices and vocals weren’t blown out. The identical utilized to adjusting the amount. Dialing up did not essentially trigger the output to sound tinnier, and dialing down did not worsen the general readability.

Subsequent-level ANC

For the last word QuietComfort expertise, you may need to toggle on Quiet Mode, Bose’s interpretation of energetic noise cancellation. As soon as it is on, your setting switches to silent, and that track, film, and even audiobook that you just’re listening to takes heart stage. At simply half quantity, I could not even hear the conversations that came about just a few ft away or New York Metropolis’s fixed soundtrack of chaos from exterior my window. The audio and my ideas are on the forefront of my thoughts and ears. 

Bose says it might obtain such a feat by its CustomTune know-how. The sound check performs a chime in your ears, which is picked up by the microphones and offers the buds an thought of your ear canal form. From there, the ANC is tailor-made to how your ears soak up sound. 

Bose II earbuds in case held up in front of taxi

Confirmed: The earbuds can block out New York’s signature “hustle and bustle” sound. 

Christina Darby/ZDNET

The Bose Music App means that you can set a number of Modes in which you’ll be able to hotfix noise cancellation ranges to suit your wants. I personally drown out the sound of the treadmill after I run, so I’ve a Exercise Mode that turns noise cancellation to virtually full capability. 

There’s additionally a default Conscious Mode that is just like the Ttransparency mode on competing earbuds. Whereas the setting dials down ANC simply sufficient for ambient listening, I discovered myself turning down the amount a good quantity — normally two to 3 notches — to totally hear somebody speaking to me or the subway conductor asserting stops.

Additionally: The most effective earbuds you should purchase proper now

Microphone high quality

For myself, my household, and my coworkers, virtually all our cellphone or Zoom calls are filtered by wi-fi earbuds. That makes good microphone high quality a should for me. Sadly, that is the place Bose’s earbuds let me down. Not solely did I’ve to show my quantity virtually all the best way as much as hear my cellphone calls — regardless of the setting — each particular person I referred to as had bother listening to me as a result of quantity issues or the earbuds selecting up an excessive amount of background noise.

Higher than the AirPods Professional 2?

Apple’s AirPods Professional 2 made their debut simply two days after the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II turned accessible for presale. Naturally, there’s going to be some comparability, and I’ve had the fortune of testing each in latest occasions.

For me, the AirPods Professional 2 do two issues higher: Transparency mode and microphone high quality. Whereas Consciousness Mode on the Bose earbuds is ok, the AirPods’ Transparency mode means that you can hear each audio and your environment with readability and with out drastically adjusting the amount. Whereas the AirPods’ microphone high quality is not good, they do a greater job of filtering out background noise and capturing a livelier sound. 

In all different camps, Bose takes the cake. The sound high quality and noise cancellation sound extra subtle, making each synthesizer tone sizzle and each frequency seamlessly move out and in of your ears. In case you simply have to drown out distractions, the QuietComfort II earbuds have the consolation and high quality that Apple simply hasn’t achieved, but.

Evaluate: AirPods Professional 2 supply two large upgrades however connectivity chaos hasn’t been tamed

Backside line

In a hotly contested wi-fi earbuds market, Boses’ newest contribution marries consolation and high quality whereas establishing a brand new benchmark for energetic noise cancellation. Whereas the QuietComfort Earbuds II could not have one of the best microphone high quality or a case that does not bulge out of your pants, when you slip the earbuds in, you may be enwrapped in an audio expertise that makes the shortcomings a bit of extra forgiving.

Alternate options to think about

In addition to the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, these are the wi-fi earbuds you need to contemplate:  

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