The QuietComfort Earbuds II have a confirmed price of £279 / $299 / AUD $429, putting them squarely in line with the world’s top true wireless competitors. And if the (admittedly short) time spent listening to them and having a tech explain something to you is anything to go by, then you have to worry about the best true wireless earbuds on the planet. Unlike the original QuietComfort Earbuds (no shyness), his new QC Earbuds II are sized more realistically across the board.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II were unveiled in Manhattan (good) in partnership with New York Fashion Week (equally good) on the same day as Apple’s latest launch (ahem, bold). Somehow, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are the company’s only his second attempt at true wireless noise-cancelling earbuds (although they’ve launched a few sports-focused models as well), Spoiler alert. With big boys like Apple AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM4.
Bose uses Bluetooth 5.3 for wireless connectivity and is compatible with SBC and AAC codecs. The company’s high-profile involvement with Qualcomm gave us hope for Snapdragon Sound compatibility, but that wasn’t the case at launch. Bose informs me that any number of upgrades will be available via over-the-air updates in the near future, but nothing specific. Audio is delivered through a pair of his 9.3mm full-range dynamic drivers (one per earbud, of course).
They are from the ‘Dangly Stem’ design school, but the stem is short, comfortable and secure thanks to numerous ear tips and ‘stabilizer fin’ options is no problem. It is quite light for this type of earphone. The build quality is a) what you would expect from a product of this kind at a cost, and b) everything you would expect from a Bose product. At launch, the QuietComfort Earbuds II will come in a “triple black” finish (which, to be honest, is indistinguishable from “black”), followed by a “soapstone” variant.
The earbuds themselves have a battery life of 6 hours, and the (newly compact) charging case allows for 3 more full charges. Charging is via USB-C, and after about 20 minutes, you’ll have enough power to play for hours.
Bose, per their convention, doesn’t specify a frequency response, but listening to his QCEII in action, I appreciate that it ranges from “very low” to “certainly very high”. The QC Earbuds II aim to match the characteristics of both audio reproduction and noise cancellation to the wearer’s individual ear canals using a signal that is reproduced each time they are placed in the ear after leaving the charging case. I’m doing it. Bose calls this system “CustomTune”.