The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have an energetic, balanced sound and excellent noise-cancelling capabilities. A strong contender for best-in-class. Over the years, Bose’s QuietComfort sub-brand has become synonymous with sensational noise-cancelling headphones.
The vast majority of its noise-cancelling headphones have previously been on- and over-ear designs, however the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are true wireless earbuds. However, there is no shortage of competition in this space, and they compete with some major players such as the Apple AirPods Pro, Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3, and Sony WF-1000XM4. We have high expectations for these wireless earbuds based on our previous QuietComfort models, but can Bose deliver?
Bose has previously released noise-cancelling in-ear headphones and true wireless headphones, but this is the first time the two technologies have been combine. This means there’s a lot of technology to pack into the QuietComfort Earbuds, resulting in a pair of buds that are quite stocky in appearance. The earpieces do not protrude significantly from your ears, but the overall appearance is larger than that of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 as well as Sony WF-1000XM4. The main section of the headphone is at least curve, allowing it to blend in better with the side of your head.
Even premium wireless earbuds can have a cheap feel in the hand, but not these Boses. The earpieces’ smooth outer surfaces are tactile, and the glossy plastic used for the driver enclosure is durable. The winged ear tips also have a smooth, matte finish, which adds to the overall impression of quality. There are three tip sizes to choose from: small, medium, and large. This may seem stingy, but the tips’ edges are so generous in size that it’s easy to get a good seal. You don’t have to drive them in like tent pegs to get a sense of isolation, which is great for comfort. We also like how simple it is to switch out the tips. Simply slide them on and off the earbuds, and you’ll have a new pair in seconds.
The battery life is claimed to be six hours on a single charge, with the charging case providing an additional two charges for a total of 18 hours. That’s a respectable reserve, but far from exceptional. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3, on the other hand, claims seven hours per charge plus an additional 28 hours from the case.
If you’re short on time, a 15-minute quick charge should get you a couple of hours, and you can charge it with the included USB-C cable or any Qi-certified wireless charging mat. The charging case is also substantial, but it feels solid and well-made. To gain entry, you must press a button on the front, which is strange for a pair of wireless earbuds, as most only have a magnetic lid. A row of LEDs located on the front of the case displays the remaining battery life.
The charging case is also substantial, but it feels solid and well-made. To gain entry, you must press a button on the front, which is strange for a pair of wireless earbuds, as most only have a magnetic lid. A row of LEDs on the front of the case displays the remaining battery life. Open the case and ensure that the Bose Music app (for Android and iOS) ready when you first use the QuietComfort Earbuds. You’ll be asked to pair and walked through all of the important features.
To access voice assistants or decline a call, you touch and hold your finger on the right earbud’s touchpad by default. Toplay/pause and respond, double-tap. To skip a track or check the battery level, press and hold your finger on the left earbud. Some features and controls can be customised based on what you use the most, and thanks to a recent update, users can also control volume by swiping up or down along the surface of the right earbud.
The headphones use four microphones to improve call quality, and they work well together to keep your voice solid and clear. But do the QuietComfort Earbuds deliver on Bose’s trademark noise-cancelling performance? In a nutshell, yes.
Bose designed these in-ears to be as adaptable as possible, allowing you to configure them to cancel noise based on your personal preferences. The noise-cancelling sliding scale in the Bose music app ranges from zero (no noise-cancelling) to ten (maximum noise-cancelling). You can create unique modes that you can switch between depending on your activity.
Quiet Mode and Aware Mode
You can also toggle between Quiet Mode, which also activates ANC, as well as Aware Mode, which acts as a transparency mode, allowing you to hear your surroundings while listening to music. The QuietComfort Earbuds deliver on their promise. Experiment with the different levels to hear the QuietComforts do their thing, cutting out vast swaths of background noise when set to maximum.
Due to the excellent noise cancellation, the Bose’s superb sound quality is unaffected. We start things off with some uplifting drum and bass in Delta Heavy’s White Flag VIP, and we’re hooked from the first beat. The enthusiasm and excitement expressed by the Bose buds is infectious. There is strength, poise, and an incredible sense of dynamism. Bass notes are full-bodied and go deep, and the QuietComfort Earbuds extract a lot of detail.
The quiet background allows the vocal to stand out before the chorus takes this track to new heights. The deep, throbbing bassline is rich in texture. The Bose sound is full of natural warmth and richness, but the music never sounds smothered – even with the noise-cancelling turned up to 11. The QuietComfort Earbuds are also not a one-trick pony. Yes, they can be the life of the party when the song calls for it, but they’re also versatile enough to let emotion and more subtle elements of a song shine through. In terms of outright dynamics and timing, the current class-leading Sony WF-1000XM4 has the edge, but Bose put on a great show.
With Apple, Sennheiser, as well as Sony already offering premium wireless, noise-cancelling earbuds, the onus was on Bose to deliver something competitive – and it’s safe to say it didn’t disappoint. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are excellent all-arounders, with impressive musicality and excellent noise cancellation. They are more than capable of competing with any opponent at this level.