We’ve by no means examined headphones with higher noise canceling, and that’s saying one thing.
The brand new QuietComfort earbuds aren’t simply world-class noise cancelers. They add choices like personalised ear calibration and adaptive noise discount throughout transparency mode for undesirable loud sounds, alongside a a lot slimmer design than their predecessors.
In the meantime their improved lively noise canceling targets the troublesome vocal vary higher than something I’ve heard earlier than. For those who’re seeking to silence the din, these are the earbuds (or headphones generally) for you.
In regards to the Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds
- Value: $299
- Battery life: as much as 6 hours with ANC, as much as 24 hours with the case
- Quick charging: 20 minutes for two hours of listening
- Colours: Triple Black, Soapstone
- Ambient sound modes: Energetic Noise Canceling, Adaptive Transparency Mode
- Audio system: 9.3mm transducers
- Microphones: 4 microphones per bud
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3
- Audio codecs: SBC, AAC
- Mud/water resistance: IPX4
- Weight: 6.2 grams per earbud, 59.8 grams for charging case
- Extras: Auto-pause
The plain packaging wrapped in a cardboard strip asserting the contents is comparable, though not as hefty as the unique QuietComfort earbuds. That measurement lower continues while you open the field to see the black QuietComfort II case that’s 40% smaller and nearly 20 grams lighter than the earlier iteration. At 2.61 x 2.34 x 1.05 inches (HWD), it’s just a little taller, however not practically as vast or thick making it rather more pocket-friendly.
The buds, too, are a lot smaller than the honking danglers that had been the unique QC buds, they usually weigh over two grams much less per aspect—that is fairly important at this measurement. Their new design additionally mimics the stems of AirPods and their many copies.
Below the case is a choice of silicone ear ideas and stability bands that may be blended and matched to seek out the correct match in your ears. There’s additionally a 12-inch USB-C to USB-A cost cable that plugs into the case’s underside. Surprisingly, the case doesn’t help wi-fi charging like nearly all rivals.
What we like
Astonishing noise canceling
From the second they had been introduced, I used to be curious how a lot the noise canceling was improved and the way it will evaluate to the spectacular noise-canceling earbuds we’ve seen for the reason that final QuietComfort buds got here out in October of 2020.
Typically, as a result of their inherent design that utterly covers the ear, over-ear headphones have a better job at noise canceling. It’s one of many causes—along with some wonderful engineering—that the Sony WH-1000XM5 had been dubbed our favourite noise-canceling headphones.
You’d naturally assume the QuietComfort II buds could be at an obstacle. However they aren’t. Throughout the board, the Bose QuietComfort II are pretty much as good or higher at noise canceling than the XM5.
Each just about eradicated the low-end drone of airplane engines from the cabin with our customary check monitor. The distinction is towards the highest of these drone frequencies as they enter the midrange. On the XM5, there’s wonderful attenuation throughout these center frequencies however the Bose buds convey it to a different stage with much less hiss creeping by way of.
The midrange efficiency is much more obvious with crowd chatter and clinking of glasses and plates in a restaurant. Once more, the Sony cans do a greater than commendable job and up till I put the QC II in my ear, I wouldn’t have anticipated it may get significantly better. However the noise flooring is even decrease than the Sony pair.
What’s extra, noise canceling is best focused towards voices than the Sony, so the band of what does get by way of is tighter and fewer obtrusive general. To say I used to be impressed with the QC II as I went backwards and forwards between these two pairs is an understatement. This represents extra than simply an earbuds improve: it’s probably a turning level for all headphones.
When any audio performs by way of the earbuds, you may as nicely be in an isolation chamber. Whereas I sat at my kitchen desk watching Alex Vs America on my system as my spouse did a Les Mills exercise within the subsequent room, I used to be blissfully unaware that she stopped her exercise and walked over to inform me one thing earlier than realizing I had no concept she was there. It wasn’t till she began waving her arms that the movement caught my eye and I switched to Conscious mode.
The brand new Apple AirPods Professional are sitting within the wings, about to be launched, and Apple claims noise canceling is a drastic enchancment over the earlier AirPods Professional, so there’s an opportunity this pinnacle of efficiency might be shared by two earbuds. We’ll you should definitely evaluate the 2 on the earliest alternative, however for now, in terms of ANC, the title goes to Bose.
Clear audio efficiency
For those who’re in any respect acquainted with Bose audio, you’ll have a way of what’s in retailer with the QuietComfort II. There’s a bump to the midrange that accentuates the vocal frequencies, including readability in music in addition to TV/film content material. It could actually typically really feel just a little “in your face” at increased volumes, however a few of that may be tamed within the new 3-band EQ within the app.
The EQ is a primary for Bose’s earbuds, and a welcome change from earlier iterations. It’s not fairly as adaptable as Sony’s EQ, however sufficient to take the sting off whereas nonetheless permitting small particulars to face out and dance across the combine.
Bass is just a little heavy for my tastes by default, however removed from being objectionable. It doesn’t overpower the mids or cowl them in any manner. And in some older recordings, such because the Seaside Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Good” the place the bass isn’t pumped to the identical stage as trendy songs, it provides some good help. Nonetheless, I selected to convey it down a number of notches with the EQ.
I do want there was the power to save lots of EQ profiles so I may change the stability primarily based on the content material. I discovered myself fiddling a bit with it when my shuffle went from the Sneaker Pimps’ “Low Place Like Dwelling” to Weapons N’ Roses’ “Endurance.”
Nonetheless, the QuietComfort II’s general sonic efficiency is nice. Spatial placement inside the stereo sound discipline is suitably vast and efficiency is balanced sufficient for lengthy listening classes.
Smaller buds, nonetheless cozy and safe
The mix of three selections for ear ideas and stability bands permits for a large number of combos to guarantee the newly shrunken QuietComfort Earbuds will match and keep safe in your ears. As soon as the proper mixture is discovered in your form, the buds are simple to place in and I used to be by no means involved with them falling out.
There’s additionally Bose’s CustomTune match check inside the app that not solely checks the seal by working a fast tone that sweeps from proper to left, but in addition adjusts the ANC filters to make sure optimum efficiency. It takes longer to seek out within the menu than it takes to run (and it’s solely a few clicks to get there). I’d advocate it in the event you plan on sporting the earbuds for any prolonged time period.
Complete contact controls
The QuietComfort II have a full complement of contact controls accessible with both earbuds. Pause/play, monitor ahead and again, ANC mode, and system voice assistant can all be accessed with a mixture of brief or lengthy presses.
Quantity is modified by sliding your finger up and down both earbud. General response is nice for contact controls—there have been just a few occasions the buds would pause tracks (one faucet) as a substitute of quick ahead (two faucets) or one thing comparable, however not more than another touch-controlled earbuds I’ve examined. The one factor lacking is always-listening Alexa or Google voice assistant.
What we don’t like
Name high quality outdoor suffers
Indoor calling is one thing all earbuds needs to be nice with, and the Bose are completely acceptable in quiet environments. However while you head outdoors it’s one other story.
Wind and visitors will at all times be an Achilles heel for any kind of headphones, however particularly so with the QuietComfort II. The wind detection algorithm that switches between mics primarily based on the exterior noise works extremely laborious, however finally ends up being distracting to the opposite aspect of the decision. Even the slightest breeze causes a whooshing sound that fills the mid-to-high frequency vary.
As I used to be on a name with one other Reviewed author, somebody a pair hundred toes away enabled their automobile alarm, and the way in which the beep sounded to him was on the verge of distressing and utterly pulled him out of the dialog.
Some lacking options and polish
There are some conspicuous characteristic omissions for earbuds of this caliber. Wi-fi charging circumstances are primarily customary at $200 and up nowadays, however the choice is absent with the QuietComfort II. It’s notably unusual as a result of the earlier model had wi-fi charging when it was extra novel.
The earbuds are additionally lacking Bluetooth multipoint pairing to maintain simultaneous connections to a number of units for straightforward switching. (Sony’s equally dear WF-1000XM4 noise-canceling earbuds additionally skip multipoint pairing, for the document.)
Customizability inside the app additionally doesn’t have the depth present in some opponents, like Sony’s Headphone app. As talked about, there’s no method to save an EQ profile. If you choose one of many presets after adjusting the default, you’ll be able to’t return to what you had earlier than.
Customizability does not have the depth present in some opponents.
You too can solely have a most of 4 ANC modes together with the 2 defaults—Quiet and Conscious. Inside the two accessible modes, the noise canceling is ready with a single slider that strikes from full noise cancelation (as you get with Quiet) to full transparency (as you get with Conscious). There’s no method to modify simply the noise canceling depth or the transparency impact independently and even flip the noise canceling off.
Inside the Conscious (transparency mode) setting is ActiveSense, which is able to mechanically modify the quantity of noise that is let in whereas utilizing transparency mode. It reacts to loud sounds resembling automobile horns or barking canines. In concept, it’s an attention-grabbing characteristic to guard your ears and hold your give attention to no matter you’re doing. However in observe, I discovered it distracting.
Most frequently I’m utilizing transparency mode to have a dialog and when the depth is continually altering, my focus is drawn to it and away from my dialog. If there was an choice to regulate its depth, I’d discover it extra helpful, however that isn’t the case. I ended up turning it off.
They’re nonetheless a bit cumbersome
Even with their slimmed-down design, the QuietComfort II are on the cumbersome aspect when in comparison with opponents like the brand new Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Professional and even tried-and-true choices just like the Jabra Elite 85t.
With the Bose emblem emblazoned on the aspect, no person might want to guess what you’re sporting, which is perhaps a profit for some. I choose one thing with a decrease profile.
Do you have to purchase the Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds?
Sure, if you need one of the best ANC you will get
The Bose QuietComfort II’s lively noise canceling is actually spectacular. The quantity of solitude and focus they ship alone makes them a simple choose for anybody searching for top-notch ANC earbuds. Vacationers particularly will admire how a lot transit noise and dialog they attenuate.
However in terms of the general expertise, they nonetheless lag behind the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds (our earlier prime noise-canceling earbuds) and their vastly superior app customizability. With an MSRP of $299, they Bose are additionally pricier than Sony’s pair (particularly when on sale) and $50 greater than the upcoming AirPods Professional (gen 2), which have the potential to rival Bose’s ANC efficiency and supply higher usability—for Apple customers at the very least.
Nonetheless, there’s no arguing the QuietComfort II are a landmark achievement within the earbuds world. They’re positive to fulfill vacationers, ANC aficionados, and anybody searching for their very own private cone of silence.
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Costs had been correct on the time this text was revealed however might change over time.
Meet the tester
Editor, Electronics & Audio/Video
John is the A/V Editor for Reviewed. He’s an ISF Stage III-certified calibrator with bylines at ProjectorCentral, Wirecutter, IGN, Dwelling Theater Assessment, T3, Sound & Imaginative and prescient, and Dwelling Theater Journal. When away from the Reviewed workplace, he’s a sound editor for movie and musician, and likes to play video games together with his son.
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