Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds review: Spatial audio makes a big difference

Most earphone and headphone makers are beginning to skip the annual replace cycle. Positive, a lot of them launch a brand new mannequin commonly, however as for repairing a earlier product, the timelines are normally longer. Bose made an exception, selecting to reveal QuietComfort Ultra earbuds ($299) together with the brand new QuietComfort Extremely headphones a yr after their predecessor. The brand new earbuds characteristic a well-known design and the identical lively noise cancellation (ANC) characteristic, however the firm can also be promising a significant increase in sound high quality with new immersive audio know-how. For a similar worth because the set they substitute, the QC Extremely Earbuds ship spatial audio with out the necessity or complications of streaming specialised content material.


Bose has made minor modifications to the design, primarily preserving the identical method from the QuietComfort Earbuds II. One main distinction is the touchpad on the skin, which is now silver as a substitute of matching the earbuds (which have been black, grey or white). It is nonetheless plastic, only a totally different shade. Second, the corporate has modified the “stability belts” or correct wings in order that they’re simpler to put in accurately. It is a welcome replace since holding these parts securely in place was a problem with the QC Earbuds II.


Bose QuietComfort Extremely Earphones


  • Wonderful ANC
  • Spatial audio doesn’t require particular content material
  • Updates with out worth will increase


  • The earbuds are nonetheless nice
  • Immersive sound drastically impacts battery life
  • Wi-fi charging prices further

With an virtually fully similar design from one mannequin to the subsequent, Bose hasn’t diminished the scale of the earbuds. Which means that it’s nonetheless very massive at a time when the competitors continues to shrink. Nonetheless, the trade-off is that the exterior touchpad is bigger than smaller fashions from different corporations. This interprets to extra dependable controls on the QC Extremely Earbuds and permits Bose a devoted swipe gesture to regulate quantity, which is a rarity on this class.

applications and options

Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones review

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

All options of the QuietComfort Extremely Earbuds will be accessed by way of the Bose Music app. Right here the corporate provides you the battery percentages for every speaker and the quantity management button on the prime of the primary display screen. Under, you’ll be able to entry controls to toggle listening modes (ANC, Transparency, Immersive Sound), equalizer, detailed settings, earbud seal check and choices to reconfigure the shortcut gesture.

Below General Audio, the app allows you to swap between cease, nonetheless, and movement modes. It is fairly self-explanatory, however I will level out that the movement setting retains the sound in entrance of you once you transfer, so your music, films, and different content material don’t remain in a hard and fast place or sound prefer it’s coming from behind or your pocket once you depart your desk. And since Bose allows you to reconfigure the long-press motion on the earbuds, you’ll be able to select to have one aspect cycle by way of Immersive Sound modes whereas the opposite aspect is ready to shuffle by way of ANC, Conscious, and Immersive.

Sound high quality

Bose’s new Immersive Audio is a big leap in sound high quality over the corporate’s in-ear headphones. The QuietComfort Earbuds II and QuietComfort Extremely Earbuds sound good proper out of the field. However with this Extremely mannequin and its spatial audio know-how, Bose lastly has the audio chops to compete with comparable merchandise from Sony and Sennheiser. Better of all, you do not want specifically created content material or a selected streaming service to open it. Immersive sound works with every part, irrespective of the place it is performed from.

Like most spatial audio apps, Bose’s model takes the inventory tuning and makes it louder. There’s noticeably extra sound presence and quantity, however there’s additionally extra readability and element. The corporate says it achieves this by way of digital simulation know-how that seeks to get rid of the sensation that the sound coming from the earphones is inside your head. As a substitute, it makes it appear to be you are sitting within the “acoustic candy spot” with the audio system positioned in entrance of you. The consequence will not be solely the sensation that you just’re not sporting earbuds in any respect, but in addition a really pure and immersive sound with no need to be dimensionless to have an effect.

I’ve seen the most important distinction between inventory tuning and immersive sound on acoustic albums like Zack Bryan’s self-titled launch, and Gregory Alan Isakov’s Appaloosa bones And Noah Kahan Stick season. All three are in a position to harness Bose’s spatial sound impact to the purpose that it generally appears like Zach Bryan is sitting proper in entrance of you as he picks up his guitar. When it is simply strings and vocals, you’ll be able to actually hear what Bose has achieved, but it surely would not simply work for fashionable nation songs or singer/songwriter songs. You possibly can clearly hear the immersive sound impact throughout a variety of genres, together with metallic, hip-hop and digital beats. At first you discover it is louder, however after the preliminary jolt, amplified particulars like texture within the distorted guitars and synths, in addition to reverb on the drums and layered devices, develop into extra obvious.

Noise cancellation efficiency

Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones review

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

The QuietComfort Earbuds II have been our prime decide for pure ANC efficiency in our greatest wi-fi earbuds information since they debuted. Bose has a protracted historical past of stellar noise cancellation and it is nonetheless on the prime of the heap. With the QuietComfort Extremely Earbuds, the corporate stays the most effective at blocking out distractions, and these earbuds are notably good at lowering aircraft noise to close silence throughout flight. This new mannequin does have an issue with sounds, however that is a pitfall for a lot of earbuds and headphones. Nonetheless, once you’re confronted with any form of fixed noise, the QC Extremely Earbuds are in all probability your best option if ANC effectiveness is your prime precedence.

Name high quality

Bose says it made enhancements by way of dynamic microphone mixing and adaptive filters. In response to the corporate, the QuietComfort Extremely Earbuds may prioritize which earbuds get the least quantity of wind interference whereas selecting from various noise filters to maintain your voice clear — all in actual time. Throughout my exams, the sound high quality wasn’t crystal clear, however the earbuds did a terrific job of blocking out background sounds to scale back distraction. Is it the most effective? No. Will it get the job performed with a minimal of fuss? positively.

Battery life

The brand new immersive audio know-how will impression battery life, and Bose is upfront about that. The corporate says that with this spatial audio enabled, you’ll be able to anticipate 2 hours much less playtime per cost. So as a substitute of six hours with ANC, you will get about 4 hours, however that is with noise cancellation and all-round audio playback. Throughout my exams, the QC Extremely Earbuds beat these estimates with the Bose Music app nonetheless displaying 30 p.c remaining after 4 hours. Moreover, there are three further expenses within the field for 16 to 24 hours of use.

The QuietComfort Earbuds II did not have wi-fi charging, and the brand new mannequin would not have it both — at the least not out of the field. If you wish to cost it and not using a cable, you’ll have to buy a silicone cowl for the charging case, Which will cost an additional $50. Positive, that is higher than not providing wi-fi charging in any respect, however it could be good if the corporate built-in it into the product with out requiring one other element and extra buy.

The competitors

Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones review

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

Bose’s major competitors for full-featured, noise-cancelling earbuds is Sony, which debuted its WF-1000XM5 mannequin in July, enhancing what was already a superb method. Merely put, no different firm presents as many options as Sony, and is ready to preserve high-quality sound high quality and ANC efficiency whereas doing so. The M5 is costlier than earlier fashions at $300, however that is on par with the QC Extremely Earbuds. Sony additionally hasn’t improved on the M4’s eight hours of battery life, and a few of these helpful options nonetheless want fine-tuning.

For Apple trustworthy, the second-generation AirPods Professional are additionally worthy of consideration. Apple’s earbuds have options that make them the right companion to your iPhone and different gadgets. The corporate has frequently touted a extra pure Transparency mode and new tips enabled by the H2 chip, like Adaptive Audio, have made the previous mannequin even higher. Nice sound high quality and robust ANC efficiency are additionally a part of the attraction.

It’s contained

The QuietComfort Earbuds II have been really the most effective true wi-fi mannequin Bose had ever made, principally resulting from their superior lively noise cancellation. Add spatial audio that does not require you to leap by way of any additional hoops to make use of it, and the QC Extremely Earbuds are an immediately worthwhile improve. In fact, there’s nonetheless work to be performed on issues like transparency mode, name high quality, and built-in wi-fi charging. However maybe for the primary time, Bose has a line of earbuds that may compete with the most effective not solely sonically however when it comes to noise-canceling options.

Gallery: Bose QuietComfort Extremely Earbuds overview | 11 pictures

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