It seems like ages ago when Bose announced that they were finally going to release noise cancelling earbuds. Some thought that the huge delay had to do with quality control issues, perhaps similar to the Sleepbuds. But this weekend, the $279 (!!) QuietComfort Earbuds arrived in stores, and they may be worth the price.
I’ll start with the annoying things, which aren’t deal breakers, first. There is the annoying bloated big case. The case can fit in your pocket, but will have people wondering if you are really happy to see them. Another annoying thing is that you have to press your fingernail against a very small button in order to open the case. However, at least the case won’t fly open when it’s dropped, causing your buds to spill all over the place.
The buds fit in their battery-charging spots with barely any effort thanks to the powerful magnets. And you get six hours of battery life, so the big case does serve it’s purpose. At least it’s made of high quality materials.
The Bose earbuds themselves are quite large and look like they might hurt your ears. But once you put them in, you’ll realize that these are, perhaps, the most comfortable earbuds on the market. In fact, I slept with them for two nights and barely had any comfort issues. They come with three sets of ear pieces, so you have to make sure you use the correct ones in order to guarantee the best listening experience.
Of course, the most important thing you look for in earbuds is sound, and the QuietComfort buds have that typical Bose signature sound — sculpted bass, decent mids, and effective highs. Audio purists aren’t big fans of Bose, but most people will find that these the best-sounding earbuds on the market.
The noise cancellation takes wireless earbuds to another level. It’s as if Bose copied the noise cancellation in the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and pasted it in their new earbuds. There are also 10 levels of noise cancellation that can be set. When you set it at 0, you get a very natural-sounding transparency mode that lets you hear the world as you would if you didn’t have the earbuds in.
I tested three different phone calls and voice memos to test voice quality. Everybody on the other end said there was no way they could tell I was talking through Bluetooth earbuds, and they could barely hear surrounding noise. The voice memos were also very high quality, even if slightly robotic.
Bose claims that you can get up to 6 hours per charge, and that is about accurate. With noise cancellation fully enabled, I was able to get over 5 hours of use. With noise cancellation set halfway, I went over 6 hours. I would love it if Bose was able to put in a couple more hours given the buds are so big. Still, the battery life is very satisfactory.
One may balk at the $279 price tag, especially since you can get the AirPods Pro for $219 in some places. However, you pay for what you get, and with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, you get more than what has ever been offered by previous earbuds.