Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Review: Exceptional Noise Cancellation and Superior Sound

woman wearing earbuds


A great pair of earbuds has become a modern-day staple. Whether you're going for a run or trying to up the sound quality during your Zoom meetings, earbuds can help you get through it. Instead of treating your headphones as an afterthought and resorting to using the pair that came with your phone, you can up your sound experience with a high-quality set, like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.

These noise-canceling earbuds check all the boxes. They have excellent sound quality, offer extra convenience features like Aware Mode (more on that later) and tap and swipe controls, and come in a sleek, waterproof design. Yes, the price tag is a little hefty, but if you've ever experienced the superior sound quality of Bose earbuds, you might already know that it's worth it, even without all the extras.

In this Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review, we'll highlight the pros and cons and dive into everything you need to know to decide whether they're right for you.

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A Quick Look at the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Bose has been a leader in the audio space for the last 50 years, constantly working to improve the user's sound experience through psychoacoustics, the study of how sound is perceived. Bose started with home speakers and while the company has since introduced more advanced products, like headphones, earbuds, and even audio sunglasses, it hasn't ventured away from its original goal: to enhance the way you hear sound.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are one of the company's latest innovations. While they were introduced in 2020, they've gone through several software updates to make them one of the best wireless earbuds on the market right now.

These Bluetooth earbuds are comfortable, intuitive, and offer superior sound quality and noise cancellation capabilities. They're also convenient to use thanks to touch controls on the earbuds themselves. However, if you're looking for a discreet, barely-there set of earbuds, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds may not be right for you.

Here's everything you need to know about the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.

bose earbuds

SPECS

  • Type: Wireless earbuds
  • Earbuds weight: 0.3 oz. each
  • Earbuds height: 1.54"
  • Earbuds dimensions: 1.54"H x 1.02"W x 1.06"D
  • Listening time: Up to 6 hours on a single charge
  • Total battery life: Up to 18 hours with charging case
  • Bluetooth: Yes, up to 30 ft.
  • Charging cable type: USB-C; also compatible with Qi-certified wireless charging mats (not included with purchase)
  • Water resistance: IPX4; designed to withstand sweat and light rain, but not fully waterproof

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Design

When it comes to design, it's clear that comfort was Bose's top priority. These ergonomically designed earbuds have a plastic outer shell, but every part that meets your ear is made of soft silicone, so you don't end up with sore ears after an hour of use. The earbuds are also designed with an umbrella-shaped nozzle and an extended fin to spread pressure evenly over your ear and securely tuck into your ear's ridges. This not only maximizes comfort but also ensures a secure fit so they won't fall out when you're running on the treadmill or doing box jumps.

They also come with three different sizes of ear tips, so you can find the most comfortable and secure fit for you—an important consideration since the right fit is imperative for effective noise cancellation.

One callout here is that these earbuds are fairly large. They're about 30 percent bigger than the third-generation Apple AirPods and weigh twice as much. This doesn't affect the user experience too much—they still feel lightweight and comfortable in the ear—but they're not as discreet as some of their competitors. And while they're sweat- and weather-resistant, they're not waterproof.

Audio Performance

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have excellent sound quality right out of the box, thanks to the Active EQ technology. In short, this technology allows the earbuds to adapt to volume changes—adjusting bass and treble accordingly—so you get nicely balanced audio without any high-pitched tinny sounds or too-strong bass.

If you don't love the sound as-is, you can access a sound equalizer through the Bose Music App. In the app, you can adjust the amount of bass and treble with pre-programmed settings, or you can use the custom option to create your own ideal sound. You can't make any adjustments directly on the earbuds, though.

Noise Cancellation

While the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have excellent sound quality, noise cancellation is where they really shine. The secure fit provided by the silicone ear tips and extended fin set the stage here, but these earbuds don't just passively block out sound; they rely on active noise canceling, or what Bose refers to as Acoustic Noise Canceling technology.

Each earbud is fitted with a hidden microphone that's constantly monitoring environmental sounds and adjusting your sound (or no sound) experience accordingly. When these microphones pick up on outside noises, they transmit a signal to the earbuds to produce a sound that cancels out that specific noise. All of this is imperceptible to you—all you get is superior noise cancellation. This is called Quiet Mode.

To take it a step further, Bose equipped these earbuds with another noise cancellation feature called Aware Mode. When in Aware Mode, the noise cancellation is still active but turned down a notch. This feature lowers the volume of outside noises while still allowing you to hear them. The ActiveSense technology in this mode monitors outside sound and adjusts the level of noise cancellation to bring distracting noises down to a more manageable level, without shutting you off from the outside world. This is an excellent feature during times you need to stay in touch with your surroundings but want to hear your music or podcast, too.

Battery Life

With the Bose earbuds, you'll get up to 6 hours of listening time on a single charge, an hour more than AirPods. The keyword here, though, is listening. If you're talking (read: You're using them during Zoom meetings or on phone calls) that charge time will drop considerably since the earbuds will be using more battery power. The exact usage time depends on what you're doing with the earbuds.

The earbuds come with a battery-powered case that, when fully charged, can juice up the earbuds two more times. There's a light indicator on the front that tells you how much battery power the case has, and when that runs out, you can recharge the case with the included USB-C cord. The case is also compatible with any Qi-certified wireless charging mat, but you'll have to purchase one separately if you want to go that route.

Connectivity

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds connect to devices via Bluetooth version 5.1. They have a 30-foot range, so you don't need to keep your phone right on you, as long as it's nearby. The earbuds don't support multi-point connections, so you can only connect to one device at a time. That means if you're connected to your PC, you won't be able to answer calls through your earbuds. You can easily switch between devices, though, and the earbuds store up to seven devices in their memory, so you won't have to reconnect them every time you want to use one.

Other Features

One standout feature of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is the touch controls. You can adjust the volume, switch between modes, and answer calls by tapping and/or swiping right on the earbuds themselves. While the earbuds come preset with some of these controls already in place, you can adjust them to your preferences via the connected app, which lets you turn certain touch features on or off.

The earbuds also have an intuitive turn-off feature—when you remove them from your ears, they automatically pick up on the change and pause whatever you're listening to so you don't have to turn them off manually.

Warranty

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are backed by a one-year warranty, which isn't especially impressive, but it is pretty standard in the category. Apple and Jabra earbuds both have one-year warranties, as well. The warranty covers defects in materials and/or workmanship when you purchase the earbuds directly from Bose or an authorized reseller.

bose earbuds

PROS

  • Noise cancellation is superior
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Aware Mode allows you to stay in touch with your surroundings
  • Touch and swipe controls
  • Case charges earbuds twice

CONS

  • Oversized and a bit bulky
  • Don't support multi-port connection
  • High price point

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Final Thoughts on Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

There's a lot to love about the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. They're comfortable, fit securely in your ear, and come with three different sizes of ear tips so you can get the ideal fit for you. The touch controls on the earbuds itself make it easy to turn the volume up or answer a phone call, and the noise cancellation technology is top tier. The earbuds also deliver beautiful sound, with equalizing options available in the app so you can adjust the bass and treble to your personal preferences.

They are a bit bulkier and pricier than other models in their category, but if you're after the ease of use, superior noise cancellation, and expertly balanced sound, the trade-off is worth it.

FAQs About Bose QuietComfort Earbuds


Are Bose QuietComfort Earbuds worth it?

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds come with one of the highest price tags in the category, but the comfortable design, exceptional noise cancellation, and superior sound make them worth the extra money. For added peace of mind, Bose offers a one-year warranty that protects against defects.

Are Jabra or Bose Earbuds better?

Jabra earbuds are another highly rated option, but as for which one is "better?" That depends on your needs. If noise cancellation is high on your list of priorities, the Bose earbuds are the way to go. The Bose set also wins for sound quality and extra features, like automatic sound adjustment and the addition of Aware Mode, which lets you control how much of the outside world you hear. Users report that the Jabra earbuds are more comfortable and, of course, they come in at a more budget-friendly price. They also have decent sound quality but fall short of the Bose earbuds there.

Can you wear Bose QuietComfort Earbuds to bed?

You can wear the Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds to bed, but they aren't designed for overnight use. While the slim design may make them tolerable to sleep in, even for side sleepers, it might not be a good idea since they're not designed for the tossing and turning that can accompany sleep and they do still protrude outside of the ear. If you're looking for earbuds specifically designed for sleep, Bose makes a pair called the Sleepbuds II. These earbuds nestle inside the ear and are more secure, thanks to a loop that secures in the crevices of your ear. They also utilize noise-masking, a sound technology that can actually help you fall asleep faster.

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