Bose shows Sony how it’s done
Getting truly superb active noise cancellation in true wireless headphones hasn’t been easy, but Sony managed it with its WF-1000XM series. But Bose isn’t backing down from a fight – the audio brand’s second attempt at a set of true wireless ‘buds are not only leaps and bounds better than the previous SoundSport Free, but the noise cancellation is as good as Sony’s, if not better. And in no way does it compromise on sound quality either.
Considering Bose isn’t known for its true wireless tech, it’s great to see that the three years between the launch of the SoundSport Free and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds were spent in practically perfecting what is arguably one of the best ANC ‘buds on the market right now. Some users may find it a bit bulky, but Bose has made sure each Earbud is well balanced and fits securely by providing different sizes of ear tips and fins.
The company has also taken a leaf out of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 playbook to bring 10 levels of ANC to the QC ‘Buds and, when at max, you’re practically encased in a cocoon of silence that makes it all the more enjoyable no matter where you are. And, as mentioned earlier, the sound quality is just what you’d expect from Bose – you’ll still get that pleasantly bassy sound stage that the over-ear cans are known for. However, Bose doesn’t offer an equaliser – if you aren’t a fan of the sound stage out of the box, there’s really not much you can do about it.
If you plan on using the QC ‘Buds for phone calls, you won’t be disappointed there either. Conversations are crisp and clear, with only windy conditions causing issues if you happen to be outdoors. That said, the QC ‘Buds have been designed for outdoor use, with IPX4 certification, making them slightly more weather-friendly than the Sony counterpart and capable of handling a little drizzle and sweat.
At launch, the QC ‘Buds had limited touch controls, with no volume controls available then. That, too, has been fixed, with a firmware update that was rolled out in December 2020 adding up and down sliding gestures to adjust volume.
Battery life for the ‘buds themselves is about 6 hours, which is quite good considering the power of ANC being added as well. What is disappointing, however, is the additional 12 hours in the case, although fast-charging capabilities are available – a 15-minute top-up will give you an extra two hours of playback. While that might be less than what Sony offers, Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds are definitely heating up the competition.
Verdict: Wireless charging, quick charging, remarkably powerful active noise cancellation, great sound quality and a comfortable fit – the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are feature-packed and well worth the investment. They’re also a slightly more secure, a touch more treble-heavy and a bit more weatherproof than Sony’s WF-X1000XM3.
- The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds was added to the Headphones category in May 2023.
- The lowest price we found for the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is $279.00 from Amazon Singapore.
- Other merchants who stock it are Amazon Singapore.
- This page provides impartial price comparison information to help you get the best deals year-round.
|Type||Noise Canceling, Wireless, Bluetooth, With Mic|
It’s Bose’s second attempt at a set of true wireless headphones, and the QuietComfort Earbuds are leaps and bounds better than the older SoundSport Free. Not only is the design a lot better, the noise cancellation is exemplary. Sound quality is also really very good – albeit a touch less bassy as compared to Sony – with superb clarity. They’re incredibly comfortable and well balanced too, despite their bulky form factor.
Reasons to buy
- + Best-in-class ANC
- + Rich, clear sound
- + Secure, comfortable fit
- + Wireless charging
Reasons to avoid
- - Lacks on-board volume control
- - Bulky charging case
- - Case could offer more charge