Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review

Bose QuietComfort

I’ve had the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds for a few days now. I mainly use the headphones for sports, but also sometimes when I am out and about or at home. I use an Apple iPhone 11 Pro or an iPad mini as the source for the earbuds. For stationary music enjoyment at home, I run sony’s over-ear headphones on my headphone amplifier. So, I have certain expectations when it comes to sound and wearing the comfort of headphones. We have spent a lot of time with this product and know all the good things about it and now we will be able to give you an accurate review.

Things we like

  • Pleasant, balanced and bass-strong sound
  • high quality
  • very well working ANC
  • very good fit and high wearing comfort

Things we don’t like

  • Using touch control (no adjustment of the volume and) no jumping back to the previous track possible
  • Perceptible and sometimes annoying noise when ANC is deactivated or in transparency mode

Scope of delivery/packaging:

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are stored and delivered in well-protected packaging. The presentation is kept very chic. In addition to the headphones, the scope of delivery includes the charging case, a USB type A to USB type C cable, two pairs of ear tips in sizes S/1 and L/3, safety instructions, and a quick start guide. When delivered, the ear inserts are mounted in size M/2.

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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Processing/design

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are made entirely of plastic. But this is now the case with almost all devices in this price range and is not that bad. The workmanship leaves no reason for criticism. You will look in vain for sharp ridges, unclean fits, or the like. Overall, the QuietComfort, like the SoundSport free wireless, is impeccably processed.

The design has become a little more pleasing and is somewhat reminiscent of the Sony WF-1000XM3. I personally like the design. It is modern and kept relatively simple. The SoundSport has always been criticized for sticking out so far from their ears. This is no longer the case with the QuietComfort Earbuds. Here Bose has responded to the criticism of many buyers.

The charging case is also very well made. Charging can be done using a USB type C cable or wirelessly. The earbuds sit securely in the case and are easy to remove. Compared to the charging case of the Apple AirPods Pro, however, it looks quite clumsy. Despite all this, the case should fit in every pocket.

As a result, it can be said that the QuietComfort offers a modern and simple design and are very cleanly processed.

Touch controls

The QuietComfort Earbuds no longer have any haptic controls. Here the control takes place via touch elements on the device itself.

To start or pause playback, just double-tap the right earbud. Alternatively, playback pauses or starts when you take one or both earbuds out of your ear or reinsert them. This also works very well. Playback stops as soon as an earbud is removed from the ear. If you put it back in, it will continue. The setting of the automatic playback

To answer or end a call, you also need to double-tap the right earbud. If a call is to be rejected, it is sufficient to touch the right earphone and then briefly release your finger. The voice assistant also starts by pressing and holding the right earbud.

The left earphone is used to adjust the noise cancellation. Here you can create three favorites in the app. The respective level of the ANC is then set by tapping twice. You can also skip a track by holding your finger on the left earbud or alternatively have the battery status announced.

All in all, the QuietComfort Earbuds are very well implemented using touch controls. Operation via voice control also works without any problems. The missing setting options will probably be later submitted via an update from Bose.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: App

The Quick Start Guide already points out that you should load the Bose Music App onto your playback device/smartphone. However, it should be noted here that the operation and connection of the earbuds to the playback device are also possible without the app. But then there are no settings, such as B. setting the touch control (favorites) possible.

To be able to use the app, you have to register with Bose and create a user account. You can easily do this after downloading and starting the app. The obligation to register is a small negative point. Especially if you don’t want to keep the headphones after a test and want to send them back. (Update: You no longer have to create a user account to use the app. The headphones can be set up immediately after installing the app. This eliminates this negative point.)

After registration, the headphones are first paired with the app. To do this, simply press the connection button in the charging case. Pairing is then done in a few seconds. After the pairing, you will receive various instructions regarding the control of the earbuds. In the app itself, you can then make some settings. This includes i.a. adjusting the volume, adjusting the level of noise cancellation, or setting favorites for touch controls. You will also receive some product tips with explanations and visualizations. However, the app does not include an equalizer.

Overall, the app is very clear, modern, and user-friendly. Compared to the Apple AirPods Pro, it has been said that Apple has a slight advantage here because no extra app is required for the AirPods. With the AirPods, the settings are made directly in the Bluetooth settings on the iPhone. But these are not as extensive as with the Bose Earbuds.

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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Wearing comfort/fit:

A not-unimportant point with in-ear headphones is the right fit. Bose supplies a total of 3 ear inserts in sizes S/1, M/2, and L/3. There really should be the right size for everyone. I personally use size M/2. Putting it in the ear works without any problems. A big advantage of the Bose headphones is the headband. As a result, the headphones have a very good and comfortable fit in the ear. Even when doing sports, the headphones fit great and you don’t have to worry about the earbuds falling out.

In contrast to the SoundSport, Bose didn’t have to change much with the QuietComfort. Were they just perfect in terms of fit and comfort? In my opinion, the latter sit even a bit more firmly and securely in the ear. This is particularly noticeable during sports. If you perform fast movements or exercises, such as burpees, the QuietComfort slips a little in the ear and may have to be pressed back into the ear. That doesn’t happen with SoundSport. The AirPods Pro also sit very securely in my ear and is on par with the QuietComfort. However, both Bose models convey a more secure feeling through the ear hook. But that’s probably just a purely subjective feeling.

I can’t say anything negative about the wearing comfort. Even after a few hours, I have no pain or an uncomfortable feeling in my ear.

In terms of fit and wearing comfort, Bose has once again done a great job. Compared to the SoundSport free wireless, however, the QuietComfort has to admit defeat, as the former offers an even better and tighter fit. Compared to the AirPods Pro, it’s a draw.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Audio Quality

Bose QuietComfort

Now we come to the most important chapter in headphones, the sound. I tested the headphones with a wide variety of materials and genres. This included ALAC, MP3, and AAC files, as well as tracks from Spotify Premium in the dance, house, electro, pop, and classical categories.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have a very good sound. In contrast to the SoundSport free wireless, Bose has raised the treble slightly and slightly reduced the bass. This tuning has a positive effect on songs with a lot of singing. The basic tuning of the Bose QuietComfort is good for my taste. The headphones are very balanced, without any frequency range being too dominant. The voices sound very clean and the bass performance is also completely convincing for in-ear headphones of this size.

 In contrast to the QuietComfort Earbuds, the SoundSport free wireless is slightly warmer with slightly more reserves in the bass range. As a result, they don’t sound quite as clear as the earbuds. However, this difference is only noticeable if you compare the two headphones directly with each other. The AirPods Pro is third in the sound chapter for me. These don’t sound bad and also have a good sound, but I’m missing the last bit of bass with the AirPods. The Bose headphones are better positioned here.

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Now we come to a not unimportant point of criticism of the QuietComfort headphones. The noise. As soon as you turn off the ANC (level 0 of 10), i.e. activate the transparency mode and no music is playing, you can hear a noticeable noise. This can no longer be heard until the noise suppression is set to level 4 out of 10 or the music, the film or the audio book is turned up a little.

When playing music, however, the hissing is hardly noticeable when the ANC is deactivated, but when playing an audio book (at low volume) or a film with quiet passages, the hissing is annoying in the long run. Sensitive listeners may not be entirely happy here. If you always use noise suppression at at least level 4, you shouldn’t have any problems, because then the QuietComfort are absolutely quiet. I hope that Bose will improve this with a firmware update in the future.

All in all, the Bose QuietComfort can convince in terms of sound. The sound never sounds tiring and in connection with the excellently functioning ANC you can completely immerse yourself in your music. Unfortunately, the noise in transparency mode clouds the otherwise great overall sound impression.

Active Noise Cancelling:

The active noise canceling of the Bose QuietComfort works really well. The noise suppression is adjustable in 10 levels. At the highest level, you are really cut off from the rest of the environment. Even conversations that are being held in the immediate vicinity are almost imperceptible. In nature, the Bose also do great. Road traffic is completely faded out and even wind noises only occasionally penetrate the ear. Apple’s AirPods Pro work at an almost similarly high level here. Ultimately, however, they have to admit defeat to the QuietComfort Earbuds.

You can tell Bose has years of experience in the field of active noise cancellation. If you want, you can almost completely shut out your surroundings and immerse yourself in your music.

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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Connectivity, Pairing and AI assistant

In terms of connectivity, Bluetooth 5.1 provides a strong, consistent connection to your device within 30 feet. Whether you take the earbuds into the great outdoors or listen from your home office, you don’t have to worry about connection drops. Compatible with iOS and Android – Simple setup & custom settings available through the Bose Music app.

Like all modern wireless Boss headsets, QuietComfort Earbuds supports two Bluetooth codecs: SBC and AAC. This is great news for iPhone owners as iOS easily handles high-end AAC codecs; Android, on the other hand, has trouble streaming continuously on AAC. If streaming quality incompatibilities become too frustrating, you can always force SBC out of your Android phone’s developer settings.

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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Battery support

The battery performance of the QuietComfort is absolutely fine. After about 2 ½ hours of listening to music with a full battery at medium to almost full volume with ANC active, the battery level was still 75%. When the battery was almost empty (almost 10%), the charge level in the charging case was 80% again after 30 minutes. One thing I have yet to watch is self-discharge. The right earbud was not in the case overnight and the next morning both earbuds only had a 10% battery level, although there was no playback. So the case didn’t charge the left earbud and it was probably also connected to my iPhone all night.

Verdict

With the QuietComfort Earbuds, Bose delivers a product that is very successful in many respects and has only a few weak points. For an RRP of €272.90 you get a perfectly finished pair of headphones with a sleek and modern look. The sound can score with an overall coherent picture with clear highs and deep basses. Compared to the SoundSport free wireless, Bose has opted for a more natural sound with the QuietComfort Earbuds, with cleaner highs and a slightly less powerful bass. Here you have to decide what is more important to you.

Unfortunately, one criticism of the sound is the noise when ANC is deactivated or in transparency mode, since this occurs when listening to e.g. B. audio books or quiet film passages and can also be perceived as annoying for sensitive listeners. The operation runs smoothly via the touch control. Unfortunately, some commands are still missing, e.g. B. skipping back to the previous track or controlling the volume. Bose should improve this point with a firmware update. (The volume can now be controll via the right earbud by swiping). The app offers a good range of functions, is clearly build, and easy to use.

However, a user account must be created with Bose to use it. Overall, I give a good 4 stars for a great product from Bose. The one-star deduction is due to the noticeable noise in transparency mode and the obligation to register for app use (registration obligation lifted).

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