Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Review
Bose has struggled in recent years despite dominating the noise-canceling headphones industry. Apple, Sennheiser, and Sony have invaded Bose’s territory. Consumers are also receiving more for their money as noise-canceling hardware becomes more inexpensive. This may make Bose’s new noise-canceling earphones struggle. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II is one of the most expensive wireless earbuds we’ve tried, but they promise to deliver unprecedented active noise-canceling (ANC). Let’s see whether they can deliver if they want to be among the best-in-class, especially with the new Sony WF-1000XM5.
- Sound that pulls you in with its rich lows and crisp highs.
- Superb at blocking out both low and high frequencies
- Activated Self-Awareness Mode
- Constructed to be watertight
- There is no way to completely disable the noise reduction system.
- Wireless charging is not compatible with this case.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Specs
|Battery Type||Lithium Ion (Li-Ion)|
The QuietComfort Earbuds II fit differently than previous Bose buds. The business replaced their StayHear winged ear tips with a two-piece system. Three pairs of stability bands use your ear concha to attach the earbuds. You receive three sizes of ear tips (S, M, L). Like other earbud manufacturers, Bose cautions that your left and right ears may be different enough to require various tip and stability band configurations. I used medium stability bands in one ear and big ones in the other with large ear tips.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II was launched on September 8, 2022, with the iPhone 14 and AirPods Pro 2. It was launched at New York Fashion Week with some excitement. Triple Black is the only color choice, with Soapstone coming later. The QCE II costs $299 / £279 / AU$ 429 at launch, more than the Sony WF-1000XM4 and AirPods Pro 2, which can compete with the Bose.
The QCE II’s advancements over its predecessor justify its higher pricing, although global inflation rates might also be considered. It’s still expensive, but the Bose QC Buds were lowered quickly during huge sales events, and we expect the same with the second-gen model. If you’re not in a hurry, wait for Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday to save. Bose coupon codes are always worth checking.
Bose has customized the QCE II’s acoustic response and noise reduction to each user’s ear canal. The company’s unique CustomTune technology employs an audio signal picked up by a mic inside each bud to tailor ANC and sound frequency to your ear automatically. Bose doesn’t define the frequency response, but after using the QCE II for a while, we estimate it goes from ‘extremely deep’ to ‘very high indeed.’ Each bud has a 9.3mm full-range dynamic driver and Bluetooth 5.3 for cordless sound.
Due to Bose’s partnership with Qualcomm (the QCE II uses the Qualcomm S5 Audio processor), we expected Snapdragon Sound compatibility. However, only SBC and AAC are supported. That may change with over-air firmware upgrades. The first significant firmware upgrade included Independent Single-Bud Use. This lets you use one bud to listen to music or accept calls without halting. This lets playing continue if the Bluetooth connection between buds drops. Finally, change buds to keep listening if one runs out of juice first. You can change ANC settings with a single bud, but it’s pointless because you can hear your surroundings.
The new QuietComfort Earbuds II are more realistically proportioned than the original, which were absolute units. This reviewer has used the earlier type as her daily headphones since they were released; the new ones are a revelation! Bose states that the second-gen buds are 30% smaller than the first, indicating a new redesign. The ‘dangly stem’ QCE II are pleasant and secure owing to three ear tips, ‘stability band’ choices, and a short stem. They didn’t seem secure when we initially started wearing them, and it took several physical tremors and leaps to assure us the buds wouldn’t fall out.
The Bose Music app has a fit test, but it takes time to feel secure. While you may know your ear tip size from prior buds, choosing a stability band is difficult. We had to try them all with our preferred ear tip and adjust each bud in the ear with each band to decide. This may seem tiresome, but finding the proper fit is quick. As indicated, the appropriate fit optimizes sound stage and ANC performance, so explore. The 6g per earbud weight (compared to 8.9g earlier) may make you feel insecure, but it doesn’t hurt and is light for this type of bud. Even the ear tips and stability bands are soft, making the QCE II easy to use for long durations.
Bose increased sound quality with the QCE II and excellent ANC. The earlier model lacked bass in our testing, which Sony handled effectively. That’s fixed now, and CustomTune’s magic makes serenading the new buds delightful. The soundstage is well-balanced and has much more detail than the previous buds. In the bottom range, kick drums and double bass attract a lot of emphasis. You can hear the double bass between the piano (mids) and saxophone or percussion when listening to Miles Davis or John Coltrane. Bass drums don’t drown out blues, pop, or rock vocalists; most instruments hold their own. In no way did the instrumentation drown out the voice.
How are QuietComfort Earbuds II and Ultra different?
The Bose QuietComfort Ultra has spatialized audio for more immersive listening than the II. Snapdragon Sound certification, Qualcomm aptX Adaptive, and Google Fast Pair are new features. A new metallic finish on earbuds and a notch/key alignment function for stability bands make QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds easier to switch out.
Are QuietComfort® Earbuds II sweatproof?
Yes. The IPX4-tested Bose QuietComfort® Earbuds II are safe from perspiration and splashing water from any angle. The charging case’s interior is water-resistant, however the outside should not be exposed to water.
What if my eartips or stability bands don’t fit?
To get a soft seal and a solid, comfortable fit, try different eartip and stability band sizes. Left and right ears can differ in form, therefore sizes may not match. Mixing and matching eartip and stability band sizes is possible (e.g., tiny eartip with #3 stability band). Bose Support sells extra-small and extra-large eartips and stability bands.