Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Review

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II represent the biggest advancement in active noise cancellation we’ve seen in years. With CustomTune technology, you can even customize your ANC every time you stick it in your ears, making them more effective at blocking out ambient noise. It’s a brave brand choosing to launch a product at the same time Apple is attracting the world’s technology journalists for its latest tiny smartphone upgrade. But the boss is nothing if not fearless. The earbuds offer up to 6 hours of battery life and easy touch controls. What else do you need? You get everything here. Let’s find out what other exciting features are included in the QuietComfort Earbuds II.

Things we like

  • Excellent sound
  • CustomTune technology
  • Active EQ
  • Fast charging, USB-C case
  • Good ANC

Things we don’t like

  • No Bluetooth multipoint
  • Bose Music app required to switch between devices
  • Lacks in-app EQ & ambient aware
  • SBC and AAC only, no aptX

Price and availability

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II offers two color variants Triple Black and Soapstone. Although the predecessor comes in three colors namely Sandstone, Stone Blue, and Triple Black colors. However, right now you can buy it only in the triple black color variant. Meanwhile, a white soapstone version supposes to be available later this year. With pre-orders starting now, the Earbuds II will be available on September 15 for $299 at company’s official website bose.com .

Who should have to buy Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

  • Anyone can use the Bose Sport Earbuds because the proprietary ear tips keep the buds in place no matter what. The embedded mics make it easy to take hands-free calls from anywhere, and you can charge the bud and come up in a pinch.
  • Sports persons should get these earphones because they have an IPX4 rating and feature easily operable touch controls.

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Box Content

  • 2 Bose QuietComfort® Earbuds II
  • Bose Fit Kit:
  • 3 pairs of ear tips (small, medium, large) 
  • 3 pairs of stability bands (1, 2, 3)
  • Charging case
  • USB-C® (A to C) cable (12″)
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety sheet

What is the design of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose choose plastic for their QuietComfort Earbuds II, which is a smart step since weight and durability are key to great workout earbuds. The earbuds offer an ergonomic design and look most stylish. You have never seen it before. There isn’t a rough edge or corner to be found on the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II. The oblong shape protrudes from the ear, but it doesn’t draw nearly as much attention as the original QuietComfort Earbuds true wireless earbuds.

The silicone ear tips are one of the best features the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II has to offer. At a glance, the ear tips look intimidating and are much larger than your standard sleeve, but they work wonders. Wear the earbuds for an extended period. If the earbuds don’t feel comfortable or secure, or noise cancellation or sound quality isn’t as expected, try another size ear tip or stability band. You may need to try all three ear tips or band sizes or use a different size ear tip or band for each ear.

The case isn’t anything special, though it’s much more compact than the one included with its predecessor. Unlike most true wireless headset cases, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II case offers a magnet to keep it shut. You don’t have to give much pressure to close the lid. it’s more functional because it guards against accidental openings anytime you drop it.

The LEDs line the outside of the case and indicate the remaining battery levels, while a single Bluetooth pairing button rests inside. This is something you’ll end up pressing a bit because the Earbuds II has its fair share of connection quirks.

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How to operate the onboard controls

The earbuds are free of any buttons, and the outside of each housing serves as a touch panel. Initially, controls were very simple, but Bose has since added the ability for you to use any earbuds to make volume adjustments. You can pause playback with a one-tap of any earbud, or by removing it. Just touch and hold the earbuds for the cycle through the noise cancellation mode. You can also change the noise cancellation mode using the Bose Music app. You can access this option from the Settings menu.

The touch surface is located on the outer surface of both earbuds. It controls media playback, volume, phone calls, noise cancellation, and your Shortcut.

MEDIA PLAYBACK AND VOLUME CONTROL

FunctionsFeatures
Tap an earbudPlay/Pause, Answer a call, Answer a second incoming call and put the current call on hold, Stop mobile device voice control
Swipe up on an earbud.Increase the volume
Swipe down on an earbud.Decrease the volume
Double-tap an earbud.Skip to the next track, End/Decline a call, Decline a second incoming call and stay on current calls
Triple-tap an earbud.Skip to the previous track
Touch and hold an earbud until you hear a tone. Release, then say your request.Access mobile device voice control, Shortcut

Should you get the Bose Music app?

You should get the Bose Music app for firmware updates, and assign a function to the earbud, but otherwise, it’s pretty sparse. You can create a custom EQ; instead, Bose champions its Active EQ software, which can’t be disabled. Bose’s Active EQ is effective, but some tinkerers may be annoyed by this limitation.

You can use the Bose Music app to switch between paired devices. Alternatively, you can just use your smartphone’s Bluetooth settings and disable call and audio streaming, but that is a little more involved than the Bose Music app options. You can also toggle Bose’s voice prompts, if you find them redundant. The app also displays clear battery readings and lets you customize the name of the earbuds. I don’t care for the latter feature, but Bose does have some creative name options.

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How does the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II sound?

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II features a tame frequency response for workout earbuds, and it reproduces vocals and string instruments well. Typically, anything billed as a workout headset receives a hefty dose of bass emphasis, but here, bass notes sound reasonable. This makes it a bit easier to hear low-end sounds like a kick drum, without introducing much auditory masking. Bose under-emphasizes treble frequencies between 5-9kHz, but it’s otherwise not far off the mark of our ideal.

Lows, mids, and highs

Devon Cole’s song July For the Whole Year opens with a C-E-Am-F chord progression, which is produced to sound quiet and distorted. While these chords are strummed, finger snaps ring through clearly, thanks to the exaggerated upper-midrange response. Cole begins the chorus at 0:42, which happens to be when the initial bass drops. Despite Cole’s high vocal range, her voice remains audible on the downbeat. A great example of this is when she sings the phrase, “and the days got colder,” at 2:35.

During the final chorus, Cole harmonizes with herself while singing the lyrics, “July for the whole year.” Her background vocals are easy to hear, even amid the din of the song’s outro, which is an impressive feat for workout earbuds. Again, the bass notes may feel a bit underwhelming for your taste, but to get the best bass response, all you have to do is find the best-fitting ear tips.

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How well does the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II block out noise?

ANC performance is excellent, or even good. Bose prioritized comfort and stability with its ear tips over blocking out all the external noise it could. This is a good thing in the context of music earbuds because it allows you to remain aware of your surroundings. Even if you exercise at the gym instead of outdoors, it’s important to be aware of what your fellow gym mates are doing, and could save you from injury.

Can you use the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II for phone calls?

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II has a four-microphone array, which is impressive, but it’s still an embedded microphone system. Low-frequency sounds are heavily attenuated to reduce the proximity effect, but it’s taken to an extreme and can make those with moderately and extremely low voices sound “off.” Bose deserves credit where credit is due, though: the mics do a great job at reducing predictable, low-frequency background noise like the hum of a microwave.

The QuietComfort Earbuds II does a good job of prioritizing your voice in windy conditions, though it still picks up the noise. It also tends to sometimes catch some sibilant sounds (those and sh sounds), although it isn’t distracting.

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What Bluetooth codecs does the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II support?

Both the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs are supported, which is good news for iPhone owners since AAC plays well on iOS. If, however, you have an Android phone, your handset may have trouble maintaining high-quality AAC streaming to the Bose Sport Earbuds. If connection issues become too egregious, sometimes the best option is for you to force SBC streaming from the developer settings of your smartphone.

The Bose Sport Earbuds operate via Bluetooth 5.3 firmware. At first go, connection quality was unstable, but Bose fixes this with an update to the firmware version.

How long does the battery last on the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Upon subjecting the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II to a constant 75dB(SPL) output, the earbuds last 5 hours, 30 minutes before the batteries depletes. This is above average for truly wireless earbuds, and you can always fast charge the earbuds when in a bind: 20 minutes in the case provides two hours of playback. It takes two hours to fully charge the earbuds and three hours for the case. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II case doesn’t support wireless charging, so you can keep that Qi charging mat tucked away.

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Conclusion

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II goes unchallenged as the most comfortable music earbuds you can buy. Bose’s proprietary StayHear Max ear tips create a secure fit, without causing any discomfort from a strong suction-like sensation.

Even though Bose’s earbuds are very good, the company shouldn’t grow complacent: there are plenty of improvements it can make to its earphones via firmware updates. We’ve seen other companies release big feature drops after the initial release of a product, and Bose already added features and improved connection stability, which is a good sign. I hope to see an EQ module added to the Bose Music app for these earbuds.

Though there’s plenty of room for improvement, there’s a lot to love about Bose’s second-generation wireless workout earphones. If you want a versatile pair of earbuds that sound very good, you might want to snag this on promotion. Anyone interested in the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II but wants something bone conduction-esque should consider the Bose Sports Open Earbuds.

What should you get instead of the Bose Sport Earbuds?

The competition is stiff these days in the market for workout-friendly true wireless earbuds. Newer models appear to directly challenge the QuietComfort Earbuds II, but the QuietComfort Earbuds II Earbuds still make our list of best wireless music options. What else is out there, you say?

If you don’t have a budget problem, then consider buying the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd-generation). The Airpods Pro offers a balance and loud sound. Plus, they come with an ANC and transparency mode to reduce background noise more easily. The Spatial audio gives you a new level of sound experience. The touch controls offer to adjust volume with just a swipe. And a leap in power delivers 6 hours of battery life from a single charge. Everything you need is in your hands with the all-new AirPods Pro (2nd generation).

If you have a budget problem, then you should go with OPPO Enco Buds2. The rounded earbuds are small in size, yet very sturdy. Which offer powerful bass. With reference to predecessor, these buds improve in all the aspect. They offer a large titanium drivers, stereo sound, and AI deep noise cancellation for clear calls. The OPPO Enco Buds2 come with a Low latency with Bluetooth 5.2, for faster and more stable wireless connection. You also get 24 hours of playtime. Overall, they are awesome in every aspect.

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