About the Bose QuietComfort® Earbuds II
The best earbuds for canceling noise...and more
The best earbuds for canceling noise...and more
I've been covering and auditioning headphones long enough to spot a major step forward for the technology. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II defy rules, logic, conventional wisdom, and historical precedent. It's quite the engineering feat. Headphones this small — earbuds — simply aren't supposed to cancel noise this well.
The Bose QC Earbuds II fit discreetly and rest just inside the ear.
Bose has finally gotten us here: earbuds that silence external distractions as well as the finest over-ear noise-cancelers. Not that I'm shocked — they pioneered the category and have consistently improved their noise-canceling circuitry with each release. But the previous-generation QC Earbuds canceled noise so well, I didn't think another leap like this was possible — especially because these earbuds are even smaller and lighter.
Ultra-portable design for travelling light
In fact, their design doesn't resemble any of Bose's earbuds from the past. The QC Earbuds II sat flat in my ears and didn't protrude like the originals. They're also sweat-proof and pack into a pocket-sized charging case, making them a convenient choice for work, exercise, and travel. Music plays wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.3 — a newer, reliable version of the popular wireless technology.
Renowned Bose comfort with redesigned ear tips
Bose also tweaked the design of their soft, silicone ear tips — yet another change for the better. These umbrella-shaped ear tips are smaller and sit a little further in than tradtional Bose StayHear tips. They rest securely and comfortably inside the ear, but not as deep as some other earbuds.
It's a wonderful compromise, creating a better seal for blocking out noise, while upholding Bose's reputation as the "in-ears for people who don't like in-ears." Three sizes of ear tips are included, along with three sizes of optional flexible wings. They help stabilize the earbuds, and I found they stayed in place well as I moved my head.
My hands-on impressions: Top-notch noise cancellation and sound
As fantastic as the noise cancellation is here, I might be even more impressed with the audio quality. These are best-sounding Bose headphones I've heard yet — linear, well-balanced tuning with a fun, forward presentation that's also deeply layered. But first, what I consider to be the headline feature....
Brings silence to all frequencies of noise
I always like to test noise-cancelling circuitry first on its own, without music. The quieting effect was striking right from the moment I put them in my ears — maybe even startling. There was no trace of the rumbling from our HVAC system and large laundry room appliances. I even removed an earbud to ensure they were still running.
And these were the first earbuds so far that've proved to be a match for my 13-year-old Yorkie's sharp, piercing bark. It didn't completely eliminate the high-frequency sound — don't worry, I would never ignore my buddy Herbie — but it did sure did tame it.
Super-powerful when it's loud
These days, most noise-cancelling headphones will do a decent job of reducing constant, low-frequency noises. But the QC Earbuds II are a cut above. Out in the yard, they reduced my lawnmower's large, loud engine to a gentle purr.
With most noise-canceling earbuds, I can listen to podcasts at about 50-60% volume on my phone's slider when I'm cutting grass. With the QC Earbuds II, I could listen to podcasts with the volume almost completely down and still clearly hear the hosts. I was one notch away from turning the volume off.
Likewise, I found them effective at squelching distractions in the office, even with some loud A/C repair work happening around me.
Clear sound that's full, detailed, and layered
I often think of Bose headphones delivering a laid-back sound, but these earbuds came off more up-front and intimate. Percussion and lead vocals seemed to reach out and grab me, demanding attention. With that said, the soundstage never felt cramped, and there was a generous amount of space between instruments.
When I first heard DJ Khaled's "God Did" track, including the four-minute statement verse from elder-statesman Jay-Z, it was through these earbuds. Jay's vocals were appropriately front and centre, but the surrounding background vocals, drum loops, guitar and orchestral samples were larger-than-life and outside-the-head. It added to the gradually building, epic feel of the verse and helped it reach a satisfying crescendo.
And the earbuds excelled on more restrained, straight-forward tracks, too. Valerie June's cover of Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You" is driven by the interplay between the slide guitar, keyboards, and the singer's charming soprano. The groove glides on their complementary twang, and it puts every frequency to the test. These earbuds were able to deliver it all with sparkling detail and substantive deep-end at once.
Solid battery life with charging case
Since the noise cancellation is so strong, I consider these an air travel game changer. Based on my testing, I'm confident they'll silence plane-engine drone, and they take up very little space. You get more battery life from over-ear headphones for sure, but the QC Earbuds II offer six hours of battery life — easily enough to cover a short flight.
The earbuds offer up to six hours of battery life, and the charging case banks enough power to recharge them three times.
When they need more juice, just snap the earbuds into the included charging case. I can palm this small case in my hand, but it packs enough power to recharge the earbuds three times. And just 20 minutes inside the case gives you two hours of playback with noise cancellation.
Touch control for noise cancellation and "Aware" mode
You have touch control over music, calls, volume, and noise cancellation. The controls are snappy, straight-forward, and uncomplicated. I also liked that I could pop in one earbud at a time and listen.
With both in, I could toggle between "Quiet" and "Aware" modes by holding either earbud. "Quiet" delivers the maximum level of noise cancellation, while "Aware" mode lets in external sounds, so you can hear your surroundings. In the Bose Music app, a free download for Apple® and Android™, you can create additional modes and assign a certain level of noise cancellation. (You can choose from 11 discrete levels.)
- Featured in our articles: Best true wireless earbuds for 2023 and Best Bluetooth headphones for 2023
- 100% wire-free headphones
- no connecting cord between left and right earbuds
- built-in Bluetooth 5.3 for wireless music listening and phone calls with compatible smartphones
- detailed, well-balanced sound with depth and presence
- IPX4 sweat- and weather-resistant
Advanced Bose noise cancellation:
- active noise cancellation uses internal circuitry to block out external distractions
- earbud controls let you select full-strength "Quiet" mode or "Aware" mode to hear external sounds
- 11 discrete noise cancellation levels available via the mobile app
- CustomTune technology calibrates sound and noise cancellation to your fit and surroundings
Controls and mobile app:
- touch controls on each earbud let you answer calls and control music, noise cancellation, and volume
- access Siri or Google Assistant voice controls assistants from your phone
- built-in microphone array for taking calls
- mic system designed to better capture your voice in noisy or windy conditions
- sensors automatically stop music and switch to "Aware" in either earbud when removed
- earbuds can be used one at a time or as a pair
- free, optional Bose® Music app for Apple and Android
- customize your sound settings, touch controls, and noise cancellation
- store up to four noise cancellation "modes" to toggle through with touch controls
General information and accessories:
- three sizes of soft silicone ear tips provide a stable, comfortable fit
- three sizes of flexible wings keep earbuds secure during movement
- voice prompts provide information on battery life, device connection, and caller ID
- built-in rechargeable batteries offer up to 6 hours of listening with noise cancellation
- included carrying case banks up to 18 hours of power to wirelessly recharge headphones
- 20 minutes inside case provides enough power for 2 hours of listening with noise cancellation
- USB-A to USB-C cable included for charging case
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # 870730-0010
What's in the box:
- Left and right true wireless earbuds (Triple Black)
- Charging case (black)
- 3 Pairs of ear tips (1 pair installed)
- 3 Pairs of Stability bands (1 pair installed)
- 12" USB charging cable (Type A USB on one end and USB-C on other end)
- Quick Start Guide
- Safety Instructions
More details on the Bose QuietComfort® Earbuds II
Features & specs
|Fit Style||True Wireless|
|Earcup Width x Height||1.265" x 0.734"|
|Mic For Taking Calls||Yes|
|Voice Assistant Access|
|Frequency Response||Not Given|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
Overview: The Bose QuietComfort® Earbuds II feature the world's most effective noise-cancelling technology and Bose's new CustomTune™ Technology that helps adapt the earbuds to your unique ears and ear canals. The individual left and right wireless earbuds come with new soft silicone eartips for all day comfort, and stability bands for a more secure fit. The QuietComfort Earbuds II come with a sleek charging case, USB-C charging cable, three pairs of eartips, and three pairs of stability bands.
Bluetooth 5.3: The QuietComfort Earbuds II feature the latest Bluetooth version - Bluetooth 5.3 - and operate at a range of up to 30 feet from your paired device. They support SBC and AAC codecs.
Fitting the Earbuds: The QuietComfort Earbuds II come with three pairs of soft silicone ear tips. The ear tips rest at the opening of the ear canal to create a comfortable seal for optimal noise cancelling and audio performance. The new Stability Bands rest against the ridge of the ear for better stability. The eartips come in small, medium, and large sizes, while the Stability Bands are marked Left and Right with sizes numbered as 1 (small), 2 (medium), and 3 (large). The medium ear tips and Size 1 Stability Bands are installed on the Earbuds at the factory. An ear tip sizing tutorial in the Bose Music App helps you to find the correct size of ear tip.
CustomTune Technology: A new feature of the QuietComfort Earbuds II is CustomTune technology which optimizes the earbuds to your ear shape. Once you have chosen the best fitting ear tips and Stability Bands, you should run the CustomTune procedure to analyze and learn your ear canal's unique shape. The buds send out a chime which bounces back and gets picked up by the built-in microphones. The Earbuds auto-adjust the noise cancellation and sound performance based on the shape of your ear.
Water/Sweat Resistance: The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II have an IPX4 rating for their resistance to sweat and splashing water from any angle. The inside cavity of the Charging Case is also resistant to water and sweat that may remain on the earbuds after use. The earbuds and charging are not waterproof, and should not be submerged.
Acoustic Noise Cancelling: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II have the same noise-cancelling performance of their best over-ear headphones. It starts with a high degree of passive noise reduction from the soft silicone ear tips that conforms to the contours of your ear canal for a gentle seal. A strong airtight seal not only blocks outside noise, it enhances the bass so your music is more full and vibrant. Four microphones (two outside and two inside) pick up ambient sounds in your environment and inside your ear canal. An equal, but opposite signal is produced in the earbud to cancel out this unwanted noise, leaving only your music content or phone call. The following noise cancelling levels are offered:
- Quiet: The Earbuds use world-class noise cancellation with Bose-optimized audio.
- Aware: The Aware mode lets you enjoy your audio while providing full transparency, allowing you to hear your surroundings. ActiveSense™ technology helps protect your hearing by reducing sudden or loud noises.
- Custom: Using the Bose Music app, you can create two custom noise cancellation modes that are somewhere between full noise cancellation and full transparency, based on your listening preferences and environment.
Note: You can turn off the Bluetooth connection to your mobile device, if desired, and use noise cancellation alone to eliminate noisy distractions.
EQ: The QuietComfort Earbuds II are equipped with a volume-optimized Active EQ feature, which automatically boosts the lows and highs as the volume is lowered. This helps the sound to remain consistently balanced, so your music, videos, and voices are clear and strong, no matter the volume.
Bose Music App: The Bose Music App helps you to enjoy your Quiet Comfort Earbuds II even more. The app aids you in setting up and controlling your earbuds from any smartphone or tablet. In the app, you can select an action, such as checking the battery level or skipping a track, and save it as a Shortcut. The Bose Music app makes pairing easier and faster, lets you choose your voice prompt language, and manage your earbud settings. You can use the app to easily browse your favorite music sources. An equalizer in the app lets you adjust the bass, midrange, and treble to suit your listening preferences. The app is available from the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 14.1 or later, and from Google Play for Android devices (version varies with device).
Touch Controls: Each earbud has a large touch surface area for controlling music playback and phone calls. Tapping or swiping the touch surface of either earbud lets you play/pause your music, skip to the next or previous track, increase or decrease the volume, and answer/end/decline a phone call. Other touch control functions include accessing your mobile device's voice control (Siri or Google Assistant), access a shortcut, or change the noise cancelling mode.
In-ear Detection: Sensors in each earbud identifies when you're wearing one or both earbuds. In-ear Detection is used for automatically triggered actions:
- Auto Play/Pause: During music playback, the audio pauses when an earbud is removed. Reinserting the earbud resumes music playback.
- Auto Answer Call: You can answer an incoming phone call by inserting the right earbud. This feature is enabled/disabled in the Bose Music App.
- Auto Transparency: When listening with Noise Cancelling enabled, removing an earbud causes the remaining earbud to adjust to full transparency. When the earbud is reinserted, both earbuds return to the previous noise cancelling level.
Power Options: The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are equipped with Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries which provide up to 6 hours of playback time on a full charge. The Charging Case also has a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery that can recharge the earbuds an additional three times for a total of 24 hours. The earbuds charge in the Charging Case in approximately 2 hours. A 20-minute Quick Charge provides up to 2 hours of playback time. The Charging Case battery charges in about 3 hours when plugged into a USB power source via the included USB-C cable. LED status lights on the front of the Charging Case indicates the charge status and battery level of the case. You should only charge the earbuds and case when they are at room temperature (46°F-102°F).
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