It’s been years since we’ve seen updates to both the AirPods Professional or the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds—two of our favourite energetic noise canceling earbuds. Then they each have been formally introduced on the identical day, mere hours aside. And what a day it was.
Each the brand new AirPods Professional (second gen) and the QuietComfort Earbuds II promise (and ship) among the greatest noise canceling we’ve heard but—not solely from earbuds, however from any headphones we’ve listened to. The query is how do they stack up in opposition to each other throughout classes. We put them head-to-head, feature-to-feature to search out out which comes out on high.
The brand new AirPods Professional and QuietComfort Earbuds II are each premium earbuds and priced as such. They have been launched per week other than each other in September of 2022, so discovering them at a reduction isn’t more likely to occur for a short time but. Wanting strictly at every MSRP, that is a straightforward win for Apple; $249 vs the Bose’s $299 value.
Our decide: AirPods Professional
Noise canceling and transparency modes
There have been some good enhancements in noise-canceling know-how over the previous couple years, principally within the midrange right down to earbuds beneath $100, the place top-end efficiency in beginning to trickle down. The high-end adjustments, then again, have been rather more granular.
Whereas the Sony WH-1000XM5 are higher than the WH-1000XM4, it isn’t a “blows them out of the water” state of affairs. Nevertheless it’s a model new world with the second technology AirPods Professional and QuietComfort Earbuds II.
The ANC efficiency of every is jaw dropping, though with the Bose it’s barely extra so. Airplane drones are all however eradicated—the AirPods let a slight midrange hiss and barely extra low rumble by than with the QuietComfort 2.
It’s with vocal chatter that the distinction is most obvious. Whereas the AirPods Professional are higher than our favourite Sony headphones and earbuds of the previous couple years, Bose’s attenuation is stronger and extra focused. Total, much less dialog is heard, and what’s heard is quieter and fewer distracting.
Each pairs listing Adaptive Transparency mode amongst their specs. Transparency mode is nothing new to earbuds, it’s the Adaptive half that’s fascinating, which attenuates loud sounds whereas transparency mode is enabled to guard your ears. In apply, Apple and Bose have totally different philosophies about the way it works.
When Bose’s AwareSense is on and transparency mode is engaged, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II robotically introduce noise canceling to attenuate the intrusiveness of loud sounds within the surroundings. The implementation is a bit disorienting, particularly when a sudden loud sound—equivalent to a canine’s bark—happens in the midst of dialog and the noise canceling rushes in to close out the world round you for a couple of temporary seconds.
If Bose provides an adjustable slider sooner or later, it could go an extended approach to tone down the drama of the second. Because it stands, the characteristic’s efficiency isn’t there but.
Apple, then again, retains the wonderful readability of its Transparency mode and makes use of a limiter to cease sudden loud sounds from getting by and instantly damaging your ears.
The highly effective H2 chip within the AirPods Professional samples the sound round you 48,000 instances per second to rapidly react to the surroundings. That processing energy additionally permits the AirPods Professional to give attention to voices and enhance their intelligibility when issues are noisy. If we’re nitpicking, they aren’t flawless in execution—loud sounds can generally trigger the limiter to distort barely—however the efficiency remains to be spectacular.
That is too near name, as they every do higher at one than the opposite.
Our decide: Draw
Options and controls
Apple and Bose have each been a bit behind the curve in several methods in relation to full-featured performance and management, and there’s nonetheless fact to that. Each the AirPods Professional and QuietComfort Earbuds II lack Bluetooth multipoint pairing, which means you’ll be able to solely join to 1 gadget at a time(though Apple has its Apple-centric iCloud Sharing possibility for Apple units).
The AirPods additionally supply Spatial Audio help with optionally available head monitoring, and comfort options like “Hey Siri” help and monitoring of each your earbuds and case with the Discover My app. However one widespread characteristic Apple nonetheless has but so as to add is any type of EQ management. Bose did lastly add a 3-band EQ, and you may assign entry to your gadget’s voice assistant to an extended press on the Bose earbuds (though it isn’t hand-free, just like the AirPods), however in a “two steps ahead, one step again” transfer, the corporate eliminated wi-fi charging for the case, one thing we see on the vast majority of earbuds at $200 or extra, together with the Professional.
With the addition of quantity adjustment on the AirPods Professional, each pairs have a complete listing of controls. The amount controls are additionally on by default with the Professional, so it really works even in the event you’re not linked to an iPhone. However you’ll be able to solely modify settings from an iPhone. The QuietComfort II then again, are gadget agnostic, with a Bose Music app for each Apple and Android that enables full customizability of options for both ecosystem.
There’s nonetheless a bit to be desired from each earbuds; EQ choices for the AirPods Professional, wi-fi charging functionality for the QC buds, and multipoint pairing for each. This class is a wash.
Our decide: Draw
Design and match
Bose fortunately decreased the dimensions and improved the match of the QuietComfort Earbuds II, which now stylistically look nearer to the AirPods Professional than the unique chunky QuietComfort earbuds. The brand new QuietComfort are additionally greater than two grams lighter per earbud than the outdated iteration. As an alternative of a mix eartip/wing design, the brand new QuietComfort embody a number of interchangeable eartips and stability bands that provide extra customizable match choices than earlier than.
The AirPods Professional design is similar because it ever was, though now with an added extra-small eartip, bringing the whole variety of choices to 4. Though the Bose are almost three grams lighter at 6.2 grams per bud, the AirPods Professional are lighter nonetheless at 5.4 grams per earbud. It won’t sound like loads, however in relation to long-term consolation, each little bit helps.
In the end, which match design works greatest for you depends in your ear measurement. Nonetheless, the truth that the AirPods Professional are a bit lighter and smaller in design fingers this class to them.
Our decide: AirPods Professional
Sound and Name Efficiency
Whereas Bose’s new EQ is solely three bands (bass, mid, and treble), Apple nonetheless has no EQ possibility. Nonetheless, Bose’s EQ is a bit flawed. There’s no approach to save a customized preset, so in the event you go out of your modifications to one of many 4 included presets, your settings are gone.
However even with the 3-band EQ changes I made, I barely most well-liked the sound of the AirPods Professional. They aren’t the perfect sounding earbuds on this value vary (that honor nonetheless goes to the Sony WF-1000XM4, with some app tweaking), however they’ve improved over the earlier AirPods Professional. The bass specifically is full and supportive with out blowing away the midrange readability, and there’s good sparkle to the highs.
That isn’t to say the Bose don’t compete. There’s a little bit of a midrange push, however general I loved my time listening to them. When you’re somebody that prefers a bit extra mids and high-end to your music, the QuietComfort II will serve you properly. The 2 earbuds are shut in sound high quality.
With outside calls, although, it isn’t even a contest. The AirPods give attention to the voice and dutifully filter out extraneous noise, so whoever you’re speaking to can clearly and simply take heed to the dulcet tones of your voice. When Managing Editor Ryan Waniata was on a name whereas strolling by development alongside the Seattle pier, he was simply capable of keep on a telephone dialog with out the opposite celebration even conscious of how shut he was to the development din.
In the meantime, the Bose have bother taming a average breeze or automobile alarm from a half block away. Site visitors causes a shushy midrange whoosh that pulls focus away from the voice.
Each the out-of-the-box sound high quality and the distinctive name high quality of the AirPods Professional give this class to Apple.
Our decide: Apple AirPods Professional
Neither earbuds are best-in-class in relation to battery life. Actually, they’re barely center of the pack, however not less than each have improved over their predecessors. The AirPods Professional now rise up to six hours of battery life with ANC turned on with as much as a complete of 30 hours from the case. The Bose additionally rise up to six hours with ANC on, and their case ups that to 24 hours complete.
Regardless of which you select, they’ll want a noon cost in the event you plan on utilizing all of them day. Apple’s quick cost is twice the pace as Bose. That, paired with the additional 6 hours from the case offers this class to the AirPods Professional.
Our decide: Apple AirPods Professional
And the winner is …
For Apple gadget customers, the AirPods Professional are a no brainer. They’re the last word Apple cell peripheral. The noise canceling is a lot better than earlier than, the Adaptive Transparency mode is superb and improves general usability, and the sound profile is detailed and properly balanced. The Apple-centric options all enhance the consumer expertise, and so they’re $50 cheaper than the Bose.
The large argument in favor of the QuietComfort Earbuds II is their noise-canceling efficiency. It’s only a bit higher than the AirPods Professional, particularly within the troublesome chatty midrange. In addition they work the identical irrespective of the gadget you’re utilizing, which is a crucial distinction for non-Apple customers.
When you’re wanting particularly for the best possible noise canceling you may get, significantly in conditions the place you’re surrounded by dialog, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are the standout decide. However in all different conditions, the Apple AirPods Professional are nearly as good if not higher than the Bose. They match a various way of life in methods the QuietComfort can’t, which makes the AirPods Professional among the greatest all-around earbuds out there.
Costs have been correct on the time this text was revealed however could change over time.