Dark Light

Review: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Wireless Earbuds (on sale for Cyber Monday) Leave a comment


I recently got the chance to try out Bose’s new QuietComfort Ultra products at a splashy reveal event in Williamsburg, New York, and right away I was excited to try out these noise-canceling headphones and earbuds in the wild. So far, I’ve had the chance to spend 45 wonderful days with the Bose Ultra earbuds, and they’ve become my new go-to buds for air travel, music, and work calls.

These earbuds were officially released in October for $299 (and they’ve already gotten a Cyber Monday markdown to $249). You can buy these headphones on Amazon (and wherever earbuds are sold), but you’ll have to head to Bose to get the exclusive baby blue color, although I think I look pretty good in the black.

the author wearing bose quietcomfort ultra earbuds

Salt and pepper not included.
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

First impressions: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

Out of the box, the new Bose wireless earbuds were very easy to set up and pair with my devices. I haven’t had any issues to date connecting these buds to my iPhone or MacBook, and I don’t think you will either. When the earbuds are in your ears, a robotic voice announces the device you’ve connected to. This is helpful, though I do wish Bose would follow Sonos’s lead and stop using the robot voice. (Sonos uses the smooth, gravely voiceover of Giancarlo Esposito, which is vastly superior.)

bose quietcomfort ultra earbuds in their packaging on artificial grass

Unboxing the Bose QuietComfort Ultra earbuds.
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

My initial testing session with the Bose earbuds was focused on the new Immersive Audio feature, which is Bose’s 3D spatial audio technology. I was excited to get these charged up and explore.

Playing with Bose’s new Immersive Audio technology

So, what is Immersive Audio? It’s Bose’s version of 3D spatial audio. Basically, it’s surround sound, but just for your ears. On any stereo music track, the sound is piped directionally into the left and right buds for a fuller, more lifelike sound. For TV shows and movies with Dolby Atmos and similar soundscapes, the sounds you hear will sound like they’re moving all around you.

Spatial audio is becoming a standard feature in high-end wireless headphones and earbuds, and on its own, it’s not enough to justify upgrading to the Bose earbuds. What sets Bose’s Immersive Audio apart from the competition? When the Immersive mode is activated, the earbuds will recreate the experience of hearing music live or listening to a speaker.

It sounds like your music is right in front of you. As you turn and rotate your head, the sound shifts around you, compensating for your movement. There’s also a secondary movement mode, which maintains this experience when you’re up and walking around. I liked but didn’t love the Immersive Audio. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really cool feature and it can improve your listening experience, it’s just not my favorite feature of these earbuds.

screenshot of the bose music app

Activating Immersive Audio in the Bose app.
Credit: Screenshot: Bose Music app

screenshot from the bose music app

The settings available in the Bose app.
Credit: Screenshot: Bose Music app

Earbuds with fantastic noise cancellation and comfort

On the other hand (the other ear?), I loved the noise cancellation on these earbuds. I’ve tested noise cancellation on Beats, Apple, and Jabra earbuds, and so far these Bose earbuds have them all beat. Bose’s noise cancelation is so good that I often use these earbuds when I’m not even listening to music.

When I want to take a nap on a plane or focus on my work, I pop in these earbuds and let the noise-canceling cocoon wash over me. Do they offer 100 percent sound dilution? No, but all but the loudest and closest sounds should disappear. On airplanes, they significantly reduced noise, making it much easier to take a nap. I have to warn my partner when I’m putting on these earbuds, otherwise she’ll think I’m giving her the silent treatment.

The earbuds are also extremely comfortable, and that’s partly why the noise cancellation is so good. In addition to the standard ear tips, Bose has also added customizable stability bands. Essentially, this is an extra layer of cushioning for both comfort and a better ear seal. I was able to wear these on a six to seven hour flight with no ear fatigue whatsoever. I would definitely say these are some of the best noise-canceling earbuds for travel, in particular.

If you look closely in the picture below, you can see the stability bands on the side of the buds.

bose quietcomfort ultra earbuds in an open hand

Notice the stability cushions around the middle of the buds.
Credit: Bose

What about the overall audio quality?

The audio quality on these earbuds is everything you’d expect from a Bose product. If you don’t know what to expect from a Bose product, let me tell you: These earbuds offer strong bass, clear mid-tones, and a great overall balance. “Stellar” is the word that comes to mind. Typically, I test audio products by listening to Radiohead’s “National Anthem” and Florence and the Machine’s “Between Two Lungs,” and both songs sounded better with Bose.

Are there any downsides to these earbuds?

So far, I’m happy to report that I don’t have any big complaints, and that’s after an extensive testing period. Besides the lack of Giancarlo Esposito, my issues are more like minor quibbles.

First, and this might just be a me problem, but I find it somewhat difficult to remove the buds from the charging case. It’s not like you need to break out a pair of pliers, but I’ve had to do some fumbling when I reach for these in the dark. Second, the charging case has already suffered some wear and tear, which is annoying.

Bose quiet comfort ultra earbuds with charging case

Notice some light wear and tear on the case.
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

Are the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Wireless Earbuds worth it?

Absolutely. In terms of audio quality, noise cancellation, and battery life, I’m more impressed the longer I use these earbuds. Bose promises the earbuds battery life will last six hours (24 hours with the charging case), and I can verify that claim. A lot of companies exaggerate their battery life, but I haven’t found that to be the case with Bose.

With a full price of $299 (and occasional seasonal discounts to $249), these wireless earbuds are 100 percent worth the investment. I definitely recommend adding them to your gift wish list, and they’re already proving to be one of the top tech gifts of the year.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *