Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 overview: the brand new noise-cancelling benchmark | Headphones

A Bose QuietComfort earbud on a table.

Bose is again with its most-effective noise cancelling earbuds but – an enormous improve which might be smaller, sound higher and will knock Sony off the highest spot.

The QuietComfort Earbuds II value £280 ($279/A$430) and are on the high finish of the market, competing instantly with the likes of Apple’s AirPods Professional and Sony’s WF-1000XM4.

The brand new earbuds are 30% smaller, quite a bit lighter and extra discreet than their predecessors. They’ve brief, flat stalks that stick down in the direction of your mouth, which make them look just a little like old-school Bluetooth headsets.

They’re very comfy and steady within the ear, include three sizes of silicone ear suggestions and three sizes of stabilising wings that may be blended and matched to get the best match. The Bose Music app can run a match take a look at to be sure you’ve bought a very good seal in your ear.

A Bose QuietComfort earbud on a table.
The silicone earbud suggestions and stabiliser wings could be shortly swapped independently to get one of the best dimension for every ear not like their predecessors. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Every stalk is touch-sensitive for playback, noise cancelling and swipe quantity controls, which work effectively. Take away a bud and the music pauses and switches into transparency mode.

The earbuds final for about six hours of playback and magnetically clip right into a flip-top case. The case can totally recharge the earbuds thrice. It’s a lot smaller and simpler to pocket than its predecessor, however continues to be 50% bigger than one of the best available on the market.


  • Water resistance: sweat resistant (IPX4)

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3, SBC, AAC

  • Battery life: 6 hours (as much as 24 hours with case)

  • Earbud dimensions: 17.2 x 30.5 x 22.4mm

  • Earbud weight: 6.24g every

  • Charging case dimensions: 59.4 x 66.3 x 26.7mm

  • Charging case weight: 59.8g

  • Case charging: USB-C

A composite image showing the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 case from various angles.
The case fees through USB-C in about three hours. Placing the earbuds in it for 20 minutes supplies sufficient cost for 2 hours of playback when low. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Prime-class noise cancelling

The earbuds calibrate their sound and noise cancelling on your ears every time you flip them on, enjoying a brief violin strum tone while you insert them, utilizing microphones to gauge the form of your ear canal.

It’s exhausting to know if this makes a cloth distinction as a result of you may’t flip it off, however the earbuds positively sound higher than their predecessors and have the simplest in-ear noise cancelling I’ve examined.

They dramatically cut back all the standard deep rumbles, hums and roars that rivals handle, however additionally they do a significantly better job at decreasing the mid and excessive tones which might be essentially the most troublesome for lively noise cancelling to deal with. Conversations, keyboard clicks and different larger tones are masked rather more successfully, performing virtually in addition to one of the best, huge over-ear noise cancelling headphones. They deal with wind noise very effectively, too, which might’t be stated for all their opponents.

The noise-cancelling degree could be customised utilizing completely different user-configurable modes from most blocking to full consciousness. The transparency mode can be superb and has a characteristic much like the latest AirPods Professional 2 that reduces sudden and really loud noises robotically, stopping you being overwhelmed by the screech of prepare wheels, for example.

The Bose Music app showing noise cancelling modes for the QuietComfort Earbuds 2.
You may alter the noise-cancelling degree and create your personal modes within the Bose Music app. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

A great deal of bass

The audio high quality can be improved. It retains Bose’s trademark clear and managed sound, which might come throughout just a little medical in some extra uncooked genres, however typically they do a very good job with a variety of music types.

They’re very bass-heavy at default settings which is nearly an excessive amount of typically. A fast adjustment on the equaliser within the Bose Music app to show it down a smidgen made them a bit extra balanced. In any other case they’ve good element within the mids with barely softened excessive notes, making them nice easy-listening earbuds. They don’t sound fairly nearly as good as one of the best from Sony or Sennheiser, although.

Name high quality is nice with my voice coming throughout loud and clear in quiet environments and nonetheless audible out on the road with solely a faint little bit of background noise leaking by in very loud locations.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 case held in fingers.
The case simply matches in a pocket however isn’t fairly as compact as one of the best available on the market. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The earbuds assist customary Bluetooth 5.3 with the common SBC and AAC audio codecs. In use with numerous telephones, tablets and computer systems, the earbuds typically had a robust and steady connection, even in troublesome environments reminiscent of prepare stations, however often skipped when unlocking a telephone.

The Bose buds solely join to at least one system at a time, however can swap between as much as six paired units. Solely the best earbud can be utilized by itself for calls.


Bose estimates that the batteries will final in extra of 500 full cost cycles however they aren’t replaceable and the earbuds should not presently repairable, finally making them disposable.

Some replacement parts together with ear suggestions (£15) and a charging case (£90) can be found. The earbuds don’t include recycled supplies. Bose provides reductions for returning damaged merchandise. It doesn’t publish particular person product environmental influence experiences however does publish annual sustainability reports.


The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II value £279.95 ($279/A$429.95) and can be found in black or white.

For comparability, the Sony WF-1000XM4 value £159, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3 value £220, the Google Pixel Buds Professional value £179, the Beats Match Professional value £220, Apple AirPods Professional 2 value £249 and the Nothing Ear (1) value £149.


The second iteration of Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds are a giant improve throughout the board on their predecessors.

They’re smaller, lighter, extra discreet and simpler to suit and carry about. They’ve good controls, strong battery life and are steady and cozy to put on for prolonged intervals. They sound higher with good, easy-listening audio and loads of bass, although they nonetheless have Bose’s signature “clear” sound which might’t match the sonic highs of the perfect obtainable.

Essentially the most spectacular bit is the noise cancelling: they set a brand new benchmark, decreasing extra undesirable noise than every other earbuds, together with the troublesome larger ranges reminiscent of voices.

They’re expensive in contrast with rivals, so store round. Regardless of having spare elements obtainable, they’ll’t be repaired and the battery can’t get replaced, finally making them disposable and shedding a star.

Execs: class-leading adjustable noise cancelling, strong battery life, respectable case, good sound, customisable and cozy, sweat resistance, good controls, respectable name high quality.

Cons: costly, solely SBC and AAC not larger high quality audio codecs, no multipoint connectivity, solely proper earbud can be utilized by itself.

The outside of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 showing the touch-control surface.
Slide your finger up and down the Bose emblem to regulate the quantity. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian