Bose Takes A Bite Out Of Apple’s Spotlight With QuietComfort Earbuds II Announcement
— Updated on 29 January 2023

Bose Takes A Bite Out Of Apple’s Spotlight With QuietComfort Earbuds II Announcement

— Updated on 29 January 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

In case the tech world wasn’t already buzzing from Apple’s ‘Far Out’ event this morning, where the Californian company announced the iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8 models, and the new AirPods Pro 2, Bose has come out with a cheeky announcement of its own. And it’s no lightweight drop either, lifting the lid on the anticipated QuietComfort Earbuds II with an ambitious promise of the best noise cancelling in any pair of wireless earbuds to date.

But of course, that’s the promise these brands make whenever they release a new flagship. The difference here is that Bose has quite an impressive track record of aligning marketing with real-world performance. And so when the US company says “best noise cancelling ever,” it usually means it.

Much like what Apple is doing with the AirPods Pro 2, it seems that Bose really wants to focus on personalised sound signatures that are better suited to the individual listener based on more than just their EQ inputs. The headline technology is Bose CustomTune sound calibration, which the company promises will have the earbuds considering the unique shape of every ear before fine-tuning the listening experience accordingly and, ideally, delivering bespoke audio that’s optimised for your ears.

The way technology works is by using a proprietary tone that’s played every time the buds are removed from the charging case and placed in the ears. This tone works with a microphone inside the earbud that measures your ear canal’s acoustic response and uses that data to tailor both the audio and noise cancellation within less than half a second. This should optimise the sound stage to the properties of your ear with the goal of letting you hear music the way the artist intended with a balanced signature that’s clean, detailed and rounded.

This CustomTune process should also make noise cancellation work much better, targeting frequencies that were previously too tough to cancel out – like the high-pitched shrill of a newborn on a flight – and using onboard mics to reduce the unwanted noise to nothing. That means, in theory at least, that both AwareMode and ActiveSense will work much better.

Considering the Apple AirPods Pro 2 places great emphasis on a smarter and more nuanced “transparency mode,” it will be interesting to see if the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are able to provide the same level of positional transparency in real-time to reduce background noise only when it’s present in the environment.

The way noise cancelling and transparency works with most modern earbuds is fairly all-or-nothing, and manufacturers have been trying to find a way to deal with this for years. Your earbuds first cancel a sound, and then the sound is no longer there, but the earbuds continue to maintain the same level of noise cancellation regardless. ActiveSense means the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II should be smart enough to adjust noise cancellation as a function of background noise more efficiently.

In terms of design, each bud is around one-third the size of the original Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. With a weight of fewer than 7 grams, they should be comfortable over long periods. This also means the charging case is smaller and can actually fit seamlessly into a pocket.

While they are lifestyle earbuds, I still would expect Bose to be able to manage more than a paltry IPX4 rating by now. Much like the AirPods Pro 2, these will only handle very minimal splashes so don’t go thinking these are sports-friendly. Although, this is the same case as with the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Sennheiser Momentum 3 True Wireless earbuds.

Other specs for the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II include compatibility with high-quality Bluetooth 5.3 and a battery life of up to six hours with three additional charges in the case, totalling 24 hours. The charging case should be able to completely charge the buds in just one hour, although if you are in a rush then you’d get away with leaving these in for just 20-minutes for a good two hours of playback. The case itself will charge via USB-C and go from 0-to-100 in three hours.

Bose’s original QuietComfort Earbuds didn’t quite have the same impact as the QuietComfort headphone series did. They arrived two years ago at a time when just about everyone was split between Sony and Apple. It sounds like the US company is stepping in the right direction with these, but then again the market is still so packed full of great options that are much less expensive now.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II will be available in Australia in Triple Black from September 29 at a retail price of $429. Orders are open from today. A Soapstone colour variant will arrive later this year.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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