Bose earbuds vs airpods: Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Опубликовано: August 26, 2022 в 4:36 pm

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Категории: Miscellaneous

Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

It seems like everyone has the Apple AirPods Pro these days, but plenty of competitors have risen out of the shadows. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are related to their over-ear counterparts, the QuietComfort 35 II and QC 45, and the buds share many of the draws of the AirPods Pro (1st generation). Let’s explore whether one of these competing active noise canceling (ANC) earbuds are the better buy.

Editor’s note: this versus article was updated on June 6, 2023, to add new comparison charts, add more microphone samples, and add a controls section. We also ensured that all information is current and updated the format to match our current style.

Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Which earbuds have a better design?

Lily Katz / SoundGuys

You can quickly switch between devices if you download the Bose Music app.

The Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds take very different design approaches to what makes a good pair of earbuds. The AirPods Pro (1st generation) have stems and includes a variety of silicone ear tip sizes. This combination means they are comfortable and stable in your ears. Each Bose earbud is shaped like a bulky pill. Bose features its StayHear Max wing tips, which are comfortable and maintain a stable fit. The Apple and Bose buds in question have an IPX4 rating, so they make for suitable workout earbuds.

How do you control the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and Apple AirPods Pro?

The AirPods Pro have a lot of helpful touch controls. Rather than administer the controls with taps, you must squeeze an AirPod stem. You can squeeze the stems to activate Transparency Mode — which is like the opposite of ANC — play or pause music, or skip songs.

AirPods Pro controls:

INPUT (stems) ACTION

One press

Play/pause/answer call

Two presses

Next track

Three presses

Previous track

Press and hold

Toggle ANC/Adaptive Transparency modes

“Hey Siri”

Change volume, request directions, playback control, receive messages, and more

The QuietComfort Earbuds also have touch controls and Transparency mode. The biggest difference between the AirPods Pro (1st gen) and Bose QC Earbuds controls are that Bose lets you adjust the volume from the earbuds. To change the volume on the AirPods, you need to say “Hey Siri,” when paired with an iPhone or reach for your phone.

Bose QC Earbuds controls:

Action Left side Right side
Action

Two taps

Left side

Cycle through favorites (ANC modes)

Right side

Pause/play music

Action Left side Right side

Pickup/end phone call

Action

Hold

Left side

Skip song

Right side

Access smart assistant

Action Left side

Check battery level

Right side

Reject incoming calls

Action

Remove/insert

Left side

Pause/play music

Right side

Pause/play music

Action Left side

Auto Transparency mode (remove)

Right side

Auto Transparency mode (remove)

Action

Swipe

Left side Right side

Volume up/down

Does the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds or Apple AirPods Pro have better connection?

The AirPods Pro is hard to beat for iOS users.

The AirPods Pro use Bluetooth 5.0 and supports the SBC and AAC codecs. Connection quality is generally good, but some users have reported issues. Updating the firmware version usually fixes these issues, but if you’re still experiencing problems you’ll need to contact Apple’s customer support. Unfortunately, firmware updates are only available to iPhone users, occurring automatically when the iPhone updates.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds connect the same way to iOS as it does to Android. This uses Bluetooth 5.1, which is slightly more energy-efficient than the AirPods Pro with Bluetooth 5.0. This doesn’t matter much if you’re using an iPhone with the AirPods Pro because the h2 chip works wonders for energy efficiency. Like the AirPods, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds support the SBC and AAC codecs, which means Android users won’t have a reliable, high-quality codec. AAC streaming quality is historically spotty on Android.

One of the main perks of using an iPhone with AirPods is streamlined connectivity.

Connecting the AirPods Pro to an Apple device is very easy, thanks to the embedded h2 chip. Once you open the AirPods Pro case a card on your iPhone will pop up, prompting you to connect the device. After establishing this connection, your AirPods Pro will connect to all devices attached to your iCloud account. Once you do this, you can set up things like Find My AirPods.

Pairing the AirPods Pro with an Android or Windows PC is a little more complicated, but not any more than any other brand of Bluetooth earbuds.

What software features do you get with the AirPods Pro and Bose QC Earbuds?

Lily Katz / SoundGuys

You can easily open the charging case with one hand.

The AirPods Pro are known for their array of software features, most of which are only available to iPhone users. Their Spatial Audio with head tracking mimics the experience of movie theatre surround sound. This feature is pretty advanced, as it can differentiate between you moving your head and the car or airplane you’re in making a turn, and adjusts the sound experience accordingly. Additional features include an ear tip fit test via your iPhone’s Settings app, automatic device switching via iCloud connection, and a battery optimization feature that helps protect the long-term health of the buds’ battery.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds don’t have a lot of specialized features like the AirPods Pro. Still, they have classic premium features like automatic ear detection, varying noise canceling levels, and quick charging. The Apple AirPods Pro also have all these features, except it only has three active noise canceling settings: On, Off, and Transparency Mode.

If you download the Bose Music app for the QuietComfort Earbuds, you can seamlessly switch between source devices and equalize the sound. The AirPods Pro doesn’t allow for customized EQ settings. The Bose earbuds do have a feature called Active EQ which adjusts the earbuds’ sound based on your surroundings. Similarly, the AirPods Pro has Adaptive EQ which adjusts the sound based on the shape of your ears.

Do the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have better noise canceling than the AirPods Pro?

Lily Katz / SoundGuys

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds (left) and Bose Sport Earbuds (right) both stay in place thanks to Bose’s ear tips.

Both the Apple AirPods Pro and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds provide active noise canceling. The AirPods Pro can’t quite keep up with the best on the market, and won’t outperform the Bose QC Earbuds. As you can see in the chart below, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds’ isolation and active noise canceling are more effective than the AirPods Pro out of the water.

Ten levels of noise canceling performance is a handy feature on the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds that allows you to tailor the amount of audio passthrough in any given environment. At the highest level, the ANC successfully blocks out loud droning sounds just as well as anything else on the market.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds block out much more noise across the board than the AirPods Pro.

Remember, active noise canceling is most useful for predictable low-end sounds like the rumble of traffic, or the droning sound of an airplane. For isolation from more dynamic high-end sound, a rubber tip with a good seal is the best defense against unwanted noise. Both the Apple AirPods Pro and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds offer this.

The battery life of Apple and Bose’s earbuds is similar

The Apple AirPods Pro address listeners’ complaints about a lack of seal from the previous generations.

True wireless earbuds are notorious for having poor battery life, and neither the Apple AirPods Pro (1st gen) nor Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are exceptions. The AirPods Pro last 5 hours, 6 minutes on a single charge, and the QuietComfort Earbuds last 5 hours, 29 minutes. Luckily, the AirPods Pro case holds 24 hours of additional charge and supports quick charging. On the other hand, the QuietComfort Earbuds case holds 12 hours of additional charge and supports quick charging.

True wireless earbuds tend to have long-term battery problems because the constant partial depletion and over-charging that occurs in the cases can wear out the battery over time. Apple has tried to combat this issue by including a battery optimization feature on the AirPods Pro, which prevents the battery from charging to 100%, except when you use them for longer listening periods. The AirPods technology learns your usage patterns to plan this out, but you can disable the feature if you don’t want it.

Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Which buds sound best?

Bose and Apple’s earbuds sound similar.

The AirPods Pro and QuietComfort Earbuds take similar approaches, with sound signatures that closely follow our target curve.

As the chart above shows, the measured frequency responses of these two products aren’t actually that different. The Bose earbuds’ response dips slightly below our target in the lower midrange (200-500Hz), which can help with the perception of better bass performance. Above that, the Bose follows our target quite well, before rolling off in the high frequencies slightly earlier than the AirPods Pro; this is unlikely to be audible to most people.

Do Apple or Bose’s microphones sound better?

Lily Katz / SoundGuys

Even cats are fans of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.

The AirPods Pro (1st generation) do a very good job of relaying speech through the microphone. Regardless of the pitch of your voice, you shouldn’t have a hard time coming through clearly. The AirPods Pro also employs a speech-detecting sensor that, combined with the beam-forming microphones, effectively reduces background noise. You should come through fine whether you’re talking inside or on a busy street.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds has a decent microphone, too, though its tone is a bit harsher than the AirPods Pro microphone. The QuietComfort Earbuds mic also sometimes clips audio, which means slight distortion occurs.

After listening to the samples, let us know your preference for each. Then you can see how the rest of the world thinks!

Apple AirPods Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

AirPods Pro (1st generation) microphone demo (Street conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Street conditions):

Which microphone sounds better to you?

13583 votes

Should you buy the Apple AirPods Pro or the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds?

If you’re already neck-deep in the Apple ecosystem, you should probably get the AirPods Pro over the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. Switching between listening to music from your MacBook and answering calls on your iPhone will be effortless, thanks to the h2 chip. Plus, you’ll benefit from battery optimization, firmware updates, and Spatial Audio. Don’t splurge on the AirPods Pro if you have an Android phone.

Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)

Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)

ANC support • Perfect for iPhones • Deep Apple integration

For iPhone users, not much else can compare

The Apple AirPods Pro offers more features and accessories than the base AirPods, including ANC. A worthy upgrade for any iPhone user if you can afford it!

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If you choose the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds instead, you’ll benefit from a more stable, workout-oriented fit in your ears, custom EQ, and Bluetooth 5.1. Save for the Sony WF-1000XM4, the Bose QC Earbuds have the best ANC of any true wireless earbuds, which makes sense, given Bose’s track record.

Which earbuds’ sound you prefer largely depends on your tastes. If you’re looking for strong bass, go with the Bose earbuds, and if you mostly care about vocals, go with the AirPods Pro. There are newer versions of both of these earbuds. The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) ($179.99 at Best Buy) have replaced the first-gen AirPods Pro, and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II ($279 at Amazon) replaced the original QC Earbuds. Bose’s QC Earbuds II have stellar ANC but the default bass response is ridiculous.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Customizable ANC • 5h battery life • Various tip size

Bose QuietComfort earbuds offer high-quality sound. You can choose the degree of noise canceling and enjoy premium features like automatic ear detection.

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Frequently asked questions about the Apple AirPods Pro and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

The ear tips are easier than most earbuds to swap out and fit on the Pixel Buds Pro.

If you have an iPhone, there’s really no point to paying a premium for the Pixel Buds Pro when you won’t be able to take advantage of many of their features. As far as Android earbuds go, the Pixel Buds Pro are a strong contender among ANC wireless earbuds. You get direct voice access to the Google Assistant, excellent ANC, and a more durable build than other options. The earbuds have an IPX4 rating, which is pretty standard, but the Pixel Buds Pro case has an IPX2 rating. We rarely see earbuds’ cases with durability ratings unless it’s something like the Jaybird Vista 2, known for its abnormal toughness.

Some may turn up their noses at the bass-heavy sound coming out of the Pixel Buds Pro, but it has its place. Plus, Google lets you equalize the sound through the Pixel Buds app for Android.

Yes, you can use either set of earbuds in mono mode. You can use either the left or right earbud for mono listening.

No, neither the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds nor the AirPods Pro supports multipoint. You can, however, use the AirPods Pro to seamlessly switch between devices associated with the same iCloud account.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Austin Kwok / SoundGuys

Two recent arrivals in the active noise canceling (ANC) wireless earbuds space, the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are both updates to already beloved earbuds. ANC performance is neck and neck, but earbuds are more than just noise cancellers, they’re music-listening and smart wearable devices. We put both headsets head-to-head to see how they differ, and where the similarities lie.

Editor’s note: this article was published on October 17, 2022, and is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

What’s it like to use the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) compared to the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

The ever-recognizable Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is a glossy white stemmed pair of true wireless earbuds. The case is also white, shaped like a rounded rectangle, and sports a silver lanyard loop and a speaker for locating the case through the Find My app. The earbuds and the case are IPX4 rated to handle water splashes—no problem. The earbuds come with four ear tip sizes, extra-small, small, medium, and large, so you can find the best fit.

Austin Kwok / SoundGuys

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II have quite different industrial designs.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II eschews the thin cylindrical stem for a flatter oval shape. You get three sizes of ear tips and “stability bands” (small, medium, large). The silicone stability bands work with the ear tips, keeping the earbuds secure in your ears. This makes the fit more stable and reliable than the AirPods Pro. While this can be good, we’ve experienced a loosening of these bands, which can cover the charging connectors. If your Bose earbuds aren’t charging properly, check the wraparound stabilizers before contacting support. Bose’s earbuds also merit an IPX4 rating and this, paired with the stabilizers, makes them a better pair of workout earbuds than Apple’s.

Like the AirPods Pro (2nd gen), the Bose case is also rounded and has a pairing/multi-function button on the back. You won’t find a lanyard loop or speaker built into the Bose QC Earbuds II case, though. Unlike the AirPods, which only comes in white, you get your choice of black or white with the Bose QC Earbuds II. You don’t really get to express your style with either set of wireless earbuds.

How do you control the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

Lily Katz / SoundGuys

The pressure-sensitive stems support swipes to adjust the volume.

Controlling the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) requires you to use the earbud stems, which react to various presses and swipes. When paired with an Apple device, saying “Hey, Siri” allows you to make hands-free commands. Controls are customizable in the iOS or iPadOS Settings app.

INPUT (stems) ACTION

One press

Play/pause/answer call

Two presses

Next track

Three presses

Previous track

Press and hold

Toggle ANC/Adaptive Transparency modes

Swipe up/down

Increase/decrease volume

“Hey Siri”

Change volume, request directions, playback control, receive messages, and more

Similarly, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II has a capacitive touch surface on the back of each earbud, using taps and swipes to control it as well. You can change controls in the Bose Music App.

INPUT ACTION (music) ACTION (phone)
INPUT

Single tap

ACTION (music)

Play / Pause

ACTION (phone)

Answer call / hold current call and answer new call

INPUT

Double tap

ACTION (music)

Track forward

ACTION (phone)

End call / Decline incoming call

INPUT

Triple tap

ACTION (music)

Track backward

ACTION (phone)

N/A

INPUT

Swipe up/down

ACTION (music)ACTION (phone)

Volume up / down

INPUT

Long press

ACTION (music)ACTION (phone)

Voice assistant

Should you use the apps of either Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

Edgar Cervantes / SoundGuys

The Bose Music App gives you a few more options to control the performance of the earbuds.

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation), like all other Apple earbuds, uses the iOS or iPadOS Settings app as its software. This means if you use an Android device, you won’t be able to access software features for the AirPods Pro. In the Settings app, you can access an ear tip fit test, toggle listening modes, customize controls, enable personalized Spatial Audio, get firmware updates, and more.

For more universal appeal, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II uses the Bose Music App, which you can install on iOS and Android. Here you can change your EQ, adjust ANC intensity and create custom ANC settings for different places, install firmware updates, and access new features as they come up. Strangely, even though you can adjust ANC levels, you can’t turn it off completely. The best you can do is enable Aware mode with ActiveSense; this is equivalent to Apple’s Adaptive Transparency mode on the AirPods Pro (2nd gen).

If you have an Android phone and want to access software features, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II is the way to go here. The AirPods Pro won’t be as enjoyable on Android devices due to restricted software features.

It’s also worth noting that both earbuds will require some personal data from you, like location data. Features may not work if you deny permissions.

How do the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II connect?

Edgar Cervantes / SoundGuys

Opening the case of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II starts the pairing process.

Both the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II connect using Bluetooth 5.3, and support the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. There isn’t a high-bitrate option on either of these buds. The lack of high-quality codec support isn’t a huge issue, but if you want aptX or LDAC support, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

The AirPods Pro has an h3 chip that supports what Apple calls “high bandwidth connectivity,” but it still doesn’t provide lossless audio. The h3 chip also allows for quick pairing when you open the case near an iOS or iPadOS device, as well as quick switching between Apple devices logged into the same iCloud account.

Pairing the AirPods Pro to an iPhone just requires opening the AirPods Pro case beside the phone, which will prompt a card on your screen to connect. If you’re using another OS, it’s the same as pairing any other Bluetooth device:

  1. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your device.
  2. Open the AirPods Pro case and hold the setup button on the back for 5 seconds, until the white LED flashes.
  3. In your device’s Bluetooth menu, choose the AirPods Pro in the devices list.

To pair the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, the process is similar to any other Bluetooth device:

  1. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your device.
  2. Open the charging case and hold the pairing button
  3. Choose the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II in the devices list to pair.

Is battery life better on the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

Lily Katz / SoundGuys

The case’s Lightning port is next to its speaker.

In our standard battery test, where each product endures constant music playback peaking at 75dB(SPL), the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) lasts 5 hours, 43 minutes with ANC on, just a bit less than Apple’s claim of 6 hours. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II lasts 7 hours, 15 minutes with ANC on, and so is the clear battery life winner.

Both earbuds last a fine amount of time, but neither is particularly impressive. With a short battery life per charge, the overall lifetime of batteries in true wireless earbuds is small due to the number of charge cycles they experience. This quick degradation contributes to battery e-waste. If you care about the environment, it’s better to get earbuds with longer battery life or go for a wired option instead.

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case requires either a Lightning cable or a wireless charging pad, while the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II uses the more common USB-C and does not support wireless charging. The lack of wireless charging on Bose’s buds is surprising given the original Bose QC Earbuds case supports it. Both cases fast charge the earbuds, with the AirPods Pro yielding 60 minutes of playback from 5 minutes of charging, and the Bose earbuds get 2 hours of playback from 20 minutes of charging.

Does the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II block noise better?

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) has better ANC than the QuietComfort Earbuds II for midrange noises.

Both the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II have excellent ANC, and are among the best of what’s currently available. The two products are both strong in this category, although our measurements reveal some performance differences worth considering.

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) does a great job canceling out low-end noise, with good isolation to help block high-frequency noise as well. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II does a better job at dealing with those difficult low-end noises below 100Hz, and a bit of the high end, but there is a significant dip in the mid-range where it doesn’t match up to the AirPods Pro’s abilities.

To get the best noise attenuation from either, you’ll need to make sure you have a proper fit. If your ear tips don’t fit your ears properly, outside noise will leak in. This can lead to you turning up the volume to dangerous levels, which over time can result in noise-induced hearing loss. To avoid this, do the in-app ear tests and try out different ear tips to make sure you’re letting as little outside noise in as possible.

Does the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) sound better than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

That bass boost on the QuietComfort Earbuds II is a little too much for our liking.

In our testing, the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) shows a frequency response that closely follows our target curve, for the most part, providing an enjoyable sound for most people and genres. The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) always has Adaptive EQ enabled, which maintains the sound profile to account for your in-ear fit and ear shape.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II takes a similar approach to the AirPods Pro, adjusting its performance to your ear canal using a test signal. The process is repeated every time you use the earbuds since your fit could change every time you put them in. The frequency response leans very bass-heavy, far from our target range. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II also has EQ presets to choose from, including bass boost, bass reducer, treble reducer, and treble boost. All presets are somewhat similar, with bass being overemphasized compared to our target curve, even in the bass reducer EQ. You can also make a custom sound profile to address this.

Does the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II have a better microphone?

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) has a good microphone in ideal conditions, but background noise definitely causes issues. Voices can drop out completely when the earbuds try to reject background noise, and wind can make voices nearly inaudible.

Like the AirPods Pro, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II sounds okay in ideal conditions, but the microphone isn’t quite as good. It has a similar problem with background noise as the AirPods Pro, making voices very difficult to hear when noise is present.

Neither is good for taking calls outdoors if there’s going to be unpredictable background noise like wind or cars. When using either for phone calls, take things indoors to a quiet space for the best results.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Which microphone sounds better to you?

2939 votes

Editor’s note: Our standardized test setup plays back pre-recorded phrases from a calibrated artificial mouth in our test chamber, either with or without simulated background noises, simulated reverberant spaces, or artificial wind. This means that samples from every product can be directly compared, which makes it far easier to make meaningful comparisons between products in terms of the raw speech quality or the product’s ability to reject noise. While this setup is consistent, it’s unable to allow the AirPods Pro (2nd gen) earbuds to detect speech as they would in the real world (using vibrations), so you’re likely to experience something different than our demos above.

Should you get the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

Austin Kwok / SoundGuys

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and QuietComfort Earbuds II are good earbuds for different people.

One thing that bears repeating whenever discussing Apple products is that you should not get them if you don’t have an iOS device as your daily driver. If you buy the AirPods Pro intending to use it with an Android device, you will miss out on firmware updates, Spatial Audio support, the ear tip fit test, and more—probably not worth it. The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is pretty expensive at $249 USD, and there are many other Android-friendly choices in this price bracket.

That being said, the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is an excellent pair of noise canceling earbuds. The ANC is excellent, the sound profile is versatile and enjoyable, and the h3 and U1 chips bring more great features to the AirPods Pro line. It’s worth getting if you want a pair of earbuds that will perfectly integrate with your Apple ecosystem.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

Impressive ANC • Comfortable fit • Wireless charging

One of the best true wireless earbuds for iOS users

The second generation of AirPods Pro features top-quality active noise cancelation in a water-resistant package.

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The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II is also a great pair of earbuds, though the default sound signature can be polarizing. However, knowing the EQ can be customized, and the software is OS-agnostic, this is a better pair of earbuds for Android users or anyone who wants the ability to change phones without worrying about compatibility. However, it’s more expensive than the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) at $299 USD, so it may still be worth shopping around.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Self-adjusting sound • Bluetooth 5.3 • Bose’s best ANC to date

Bose put its best ANC technology in these earbuds

The QuietComfort Earbuds 2 feature Bose’s best audio know-how. They personalize the sound quality and isolation to fit your ears each time you wear them. They also come with Bluetooth 5.3, USB-C charging, and can last 6 hours on a charge (24 with the case).

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What should you get instead of the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

With so many great true wireless and noise canceling earbuds on the market, finding an alternative to either is easy, with great options out there for everyone.

An IPX4 rating means splashes, sweat, and humidity won’t kill your earphones.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 is easily one of our favorite noise canceling earbuds, with excellent ANC, an OS-agnostic app with great features, and comfortable foam ear tips. It’s expensive at $278 USD, but it goes on sale for cheaper from time to time.

Android users may enjoy the Google Pixel Buds Pro, which is cheaper than all of the above at $199 USD, and has great features like live Google Translate support, good ANC, and Bluetooth multipoint. It also has a water-resistant case and earbuds.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is a great option for Samsung phone owners, with amazing ANC, a good sound profile, and IPX7 water resistance. It integrates best with Samsung phones, allowing you to use Samsung’s 360 Audio and the Samsung Seamless Codec. For $229 USD, it’s more affordable than both the AirPods Pro and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.

Frequently asked questions

Neither have multipoint. The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) can quickly switch between Apple devices logged into the same iCloud account, but there’s no true multipoint here.

No, you will not be able to install firmware updates on an Android device for the AirPods Pro (2nd generation).

Which true wireless headphones are the best?

Bose has just released its latest and most impressive set of true wireless headphones, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. We got them in the studio and compared them to Apple’s flagship AirPods Pro.

Apple offers AirPods as well as AirPods Pro, but the latter costs under $30 for Bose QuietComfort headphones and also offers active noise cancellation. That’s why we decided to compare these two specific models.

design

It’s inevitable: the Bose QuietComfort headphones are significantly larger than the AirPods Pro. This applies to the case, as well as the headphones themselves. Just by looking at them, you can see that Bose is three times the size of the AirPods Pro case. This makes a big difference for a portable device that you carry around with you all day.

Bose QuietComfort Headphone Case vs. AirPods Pro

They both have flip tops, but Bose has a nice feature that we sometimes wish AirPods would use. There is a physical button that must be pressed before the lid opens. We love the fidget factor in the AirPods case, but if you’ve ever dropped one, you know these separate earbuds fly. The blocking mechanism stops this.

If we look at headphones, very few have copied the iconic look of AirPods (other than gray market knockoffs). Most choose to go their own way, as does Bose. The Bose QuietComfort headphones are much more in line with the traditional set of headphones. They are quite large and have wings that fit the ear, as well as an oval tip that fits into the ear canal.

Bose QuietComfort Headphones and AirPods Pro Headphones

They are ridiculously comfortable to use. Although they are larger and heavier than the AirPods Pro, due to the large size and the spread of weight on the ear, we had no problems with ear fatigue and were comfortable for hours on end. They have a more secure fit compared to AirPods Pro just because of the wings on the back.

AirPods Pro are not bad for us, they fit perfectly. But because of their stem and construction, they release more easily than Bose.

In terms of controls, Apple uses Force Stems on the AirPods Pro while Bose uses a touch gesture. Both are a bit awkward, but we prefer Force Stems because it’s a bit easier to do. Bose has more options, although favorites can be assigned to left and right ears to control playback.

Battery and power

Both of these true wireless earbuds have Qi-enabled charging cases, allowing you to charge them wirelessly. If you prefer to use a cable, you should use a Lightning cable for AirPods Pro and a USB-C cable for Bose.

Battery life is ambiguous for them. Bose wins in six hours of use without recharging. The AirPods Pro only get four and a half hours, though that can be bumped up to five if you turn off ANC and Transparency Mode. But the AirPods Pro win in total usage time with an additional 19watch in the case, for a total of 24 hours. Bose only 18 watches in total with 12 watches in the case.

Bose QuietComfort Battery Indicators

This was surprising to us considering how big the Bose case is. Due to its large size, we expected the total time to be much longer. When you travel with ANC headphones, you may not be able to continue charging, and this total time can make a difference.

Both feature fast charging: Apple advertises an hour of use after five minutes of charging, and Bose claims two hours of use after 15 minutes.

Connectivity

Bose uses Bluetooth 5.1 against Apple still using Bluetooth 5 for AirPods Pro, but Apple uses its h2 wireless chip which gives it a huge advantage. The h2 chip uses a Class 1 Bluetooth audio signal, which is more energy efficient and produces a more reliable signal than the typical Class 2 audio signal used in the industry.

Because of this h2 chip, AirPods Pro have a huge range of 100 feet, while Bose is limited to the standard 30 feet.

AirPods Pro in Control Center

This h2 chip also allows AirPods Pro to automatically sync with all your Apple devices after initial setup with no effort. AirPods Pro appear instantly on your Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac.

Unique Features

Before we get into the all-important comparisons between ANC and sound quality, we want to take a look at the unique features for each set of headphones.

AirPods Pro 9 features0061

As mentioned, the way to distribute AirPods Pro to all your Apple devices is magical. They are easy to connect by simply opening them next to the iPhone and are very tightly integrated with Apple’s operating systems. ANC and transparency modes can be switched directly from the Control Center on Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad. Even in macOS Big Sur.

Battery life is also displayed in the Apple Watch Control Center and the battery widget on iPhone and iPad. Siri can also be helpful, telling you where your AirPods are, what their battery life is, and for ANC control.

Apple AirPods Pro

When you set up your AirPods Pro, Apple offers a unique fit test that lets you try different tips to see which ones fit your ears the best. Adaptive EQ uses an inward-facing microphone to adjust the audio equalizer so that it sounds best to your ears.

With iOS 14, AirPods Pro received new features such as auto-switching, which moves you between devices as needed without having to pair or unpair, and spatial audio, which recreates Dolby Atmos-style 3D audio. It can also be used by developers in their games and apps for a more immersive experience.

Audio Share is another cool feature that allows you to connect multiple sets of AirPods Pro to your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV at the same time.

Bose QuietComfort Headphones

Bose is unique in that it offers 11 levels of noise cancellation. If you reach zero, you will let all outside noise into your ears, while 11 will block out all outside noise. It’s much more granular than turning AirPods Pro on or off. Since there are 11 levels, Bose allows you to assign your three favorite ANC settings to the left earcup for cycling.

For example, you can set favorites to zero, five, and 11 and press to move between them.

Bose QuietComfort Case

There’s also a neat setting that allows you to automatically answer a phone call when the right earbud is inserted. When a call comes in, you don’t even need to touch the phone, just plug in the earpiece and the call will be answered.

Bose Sound app

All of these can be controlled from the Bose Music app. It shows headphone volume, ANC level, firmware and other settings.

Sound quality

While size, connectivity and other unique features are noteworthy, sound quality and ANC capability should be the deciding factor.

So we can definitely say that Bose wins. The Bose QuietComfort headphones have a bolder, fuller sound with more powerful bass. Since Apple already has a Beats brand with poppy, bass-heavy sound, it decided to make the AirPods and AirPods Pro more neutral. There are no overly heavy basses here, the sound is very clear overall, and the mids are particularly nuanced.

Even then, the Bose, which is larger, produces a more impressive sound. The soundstage is bigger, the bass is stronger and overall better.

Calls between them were good: the AirPods Pro edged out Bose by a hair’s breadth thanks to multiple beamforming microphones.

ANC

ANC is another big deciding factor and once again Bose has the upper hand. As we said earlier, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have 11 levels of noise cancellation. It is very nice to customize them to your liking.

Before we boarded the plane, we did limited testing in the studio and outdoors, and Bose impressed them more. We had an old Mac that was rendering 4K video and the fans were running full blast right above our heads. When Bose had 11, we didn’t hear the fan at all.

We tested various white noise sounds played at high volume through our speakers, and the AirPods Pro did a great job, but let in just a little more background noise than Bose did.

Decision time: which is better?

The Bose QuietComfort headphones are the clear winner in terms of noise reduction and sound quality. They sound better and have superior noise cancellation capabilities.

Bose QuietComfort and AirPods Pro Headphones

They also have features such as case lock, standalone app and 25% longer battery life.

At the same time, we acknowledge the inexpressible qualities of AirPods Pro that make them adored by all who use them. They work seamlessly and integrate into the Apple ecosystem like no other.

Where to buy

Apple AirPods Pro vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: What is the difference?

77 points

Apple AirPods Pro

78 points

Noise Cancelling 700

Comparison winner

179

vs

59 facts in comparison

Apple AirPods Pro

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Why is Apple AirPods Pro better than Bose QuietComfort Earbuds?

  • 1. 8mm more driver?
    11mm vs 9.2mm
  • 1.63x longer battery life in charging case?
    19.5h vs 12h
  • Dolby Atmos?
  • Charging time 1.5h less?
    0.5h vs 2h
  • 6.2g lighter?
    10.8g vs 17g
  • Has an infrared sensor?

Why is Bose QuietComfort Earbuds better than Apple AirPods Pro?

  • Battery life 1h longer?
    6h vs 5h
  • Wingtips included?
  • Has USB Type-C?

    Apple AirPods Pro

    vs

    Marshall Motif ANC

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    vs

    Beats Studio Buds

    Apple AirPods Pro

    vs

    Xiaomi Redmi Buds 4 Pro

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    vs

    Bose Sport Earbuds

    Apple AirPods Pro

    vs

    Sony LinkBuds S

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 9000 3

    vs

    Sony WF-1000XM4

    Apple AirPods Pro

    vs

    Apple AirPods (3rd Gen)

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    vs

    Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 3. 0

    Apple AirPods Pro

    vs

    Status Audio Between Pro

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    vs

    Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ

    Apple AirPods Pro

    vs

    Marshall Minor III

    Bose QuietComfor t Earbuds

    vs

    Marshall Motif ANC

    Apple AirPods Pro

    vs

    Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    vs

    Beats Powerbeats Pro

    Apple AirPods Pro

    vs

    JBL Live Pro 2

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    vs

    JBL Live Pro 2 Comfort Earbuds

    vs

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

    Apple AirPods Pro

    vs

    JBL Tune 230NC

    Price Matching

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Product Store Price
    Bose QuietComfort® Earbuds Noise Cancell… schwarz €179
    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds mit Lärmreduzi. ..Bose QuietComfort Earbuds mit Lärmreduzierung – Vollkommen Kabellose In-Ear-Kopfhörer mit Bluetooth, Soapstone. Die weltweit effektivsten Noise-Cancelling-Earbuds, Silber, Einheitsgröße 9Apple AirPods Pro Pods Pro

    8.0 /10

    31 User reviews

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    3 User reviews

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    9.3 /10

    3 User reviews

    Features

    Build quality 9Sound quality

    8.1 /10

    28 votes

    10.0 /10

    3 votes

    Design

    8.7 /10

    29 votes

    9.3 /10

    3 votes

    Comfort

    8.6 /10

    29 votes

    9.0 /10

    3 votes

    Battery Life

    7.7 /10

    29 votes

    8.7 /10

    3 votes 90 003

    Sound quality

    has active noise cancellation (noise isolation)

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    This type of device allows you to listen at lower volume levels, resulting in less ear fatigue because you don’t have to crank up the volume to drown out background noise. Ideal for use on airplanes and morning transport.

    is passive noise isolating

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Sealed device acoustically isolates your ears from the environment, and sound is not heard by those around you.

    driver block size

    A driver is a component that plays sound in a device. The larger the drivers, the more powerful they are and can reproduce lower bass.

    lowest frequency

    Lowest frequency at which the device produces sound. The lower the low frequencies are set, the stronger and richer the bass.

    highest frequency

    20000Hz

    20000Hz

    The highest frequency at which the device produces sound. The higher the high frequencies are tuned, the cleaner and more collected the treble.

    Dolby Atmos

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✖Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology that lets you interpret sounds as three-dimensional objects. Thus, Dolby Atmos provides sound in all 360 degrees.

    sound pressure level

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Apple AirPods Pro)

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Bose QuietComfort Earbuds)

    Devices with higher SPL tend to be louder.

    resistance

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Apple AirPods Pro)

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Bose QuietComfort Earbuds)

    Electrical resistance of the device to waves passing through it. The lower the resistance, the easier it is to get louder sounds and the less power is required.

    has neodymium magnet

    ✖Apple AirPods Pro

    ✖Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Devices with neodymium magnets are lighter and more powerful than those using ferrite magnets. They also have more bass and cleaner highs.

    Power

    Battery life

    Battery life (when used) as specified by the manufacturer. With a longer battery life, you will charge your device less frequently.

    Charging case battery life

    Charging case battery life is specified by the manufacturer. A charging case with a longer battery life allows you to charge your headphones multiple times on the go before recharging the case itself.

    charging time

    Time required to fully charge the battery.

    battery capacity

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Bose QuietComfort Earbuds)

    Battery charge, or battery capacity, is the amount of electrical energy stored in the battery. The higher the battery charge, the longer the battery life.

    has wireless charging

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Supports Qi standard wireless charging. To charge your device, you just need to place it on the charging pad.

    has a battery level indicator

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    The indicator indicates that the battery level is low.

    has battery

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    The device battery can be charged and used again.

    Connectivity

    Has USB Type-C

    ✖Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    USB Type-C has reversible connector orientation and cable routing.

    Bluetooth version

    Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard that allows you to transfer data between devices in close proximity using shortwave radio waves. Newer versions provide faster data transfer.

    yes LDAC

    ✖Apple AirPods Pro

    ✖Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    LDAC is a codec developed by Sony for Bluetooth audio. It supports a very high bit rate of 990 kbps, which provides high resolution audio. It can also automatically adjust the lower bitrate of 330Kbps or 660Kbps to improve stability.

    yes aptX Adaptive

    ✖Apple AirPods Pro

    ✖Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    aptx Adaptive is an audio codec for Bluetooth devices developed by Qualcomm. It has a variable baud rate (from 279kbps up to 420 kbps), which means it can adjust the bit rate under various scenarios such as listening to HD audio or reducing interference from other devices.

    Low Latency aptX

    ✖Apple AirPods Pro

    ✖Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    aptX Low Latency is a codec developed by Qualcomm. It uses Bluetooth 5.0 technology to provide low latency audio (about 40ms), which is useful when you want to avoid audio latency (such as when playing games).

    yes aptX HD

    ✖Apple AirPods Pro

    ✖Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    aptX HD is an audio codec for Bluetooth devices developed by Qualcomm. It supports high quality 24-bit audio (with a bit rate of 576 kbps).

    has aptX

    ✖Apple AirPods Pro

    ✖Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    aptX is a codec used for Bluetooth wireless audio transmission. It is developed by Qualcomm and supports 16-bit audio at 384 kbps.

    audio delay

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Bose QuietComfort Earbuds)

    Latency refers to the time it takes for the audio signal to reach the headphones/earbuds. Lower latency reduces audio latency, which is important when playing games or watching videos.

    maximum range (Bluetooth) bluetooth

    The device can connect to another device over a long distance using Bluetooth/IR.

    Features

    has Ambient Sound Mode

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    When in Ambient Sound Mode, the microphones will pass ambient noise just enough to still be heard. This comes in handy when you want to listen to music but be aware of what’s going on around you, such as when you’re running but still want to hear cars passing by.

    “Auto ear detection” function

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Sensors can detect when the earbuds are out of your ears, music playback will be paused, saving battery life.

    Find your headphones

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    To find your headphones, you can use an app that unmutes your headphones and locates them.

    Supports fast charging

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Fast charging technologies such as Qualcomm’s Quick Charge or MediaTek’s Pump Express are used to reduce device charging time. For example, with Quick Charge 3.0, the battery can be charged up to 50% in just 30 minutes.

    MPI number

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Apple AirPods Pro)

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Bose QuietComfort Earbuds)

    Multipoint allows you to connect more devices via Bluetooth and easily switch between them. For example, you can easily switch calls from one device to another without turning them off and on manually.

    has a mute feature

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    The device has the ability to mute/unmute the conversation directly from the device.

    can be used as a headset

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    The headset is a single earbud or a pair with a built-in microphone. Can be used for applications that require communication, i.e. Skype, voice chat games, mobile phones, etc.

    control panel built into the device

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    The control panel is on the device so you can easily access and control the volume control without interacting with the cable or other connected to it , device.

    warranty period

    1 years

    1 years

    When the product is under the manufacturer’s warranty, in the event of a malfunction, a replacement can be obtained. Depends on the region.

    Microphone

    number of microphones

    The more microphones your device has, the better it filters out background noise and improves the overall sound quality.

    has noise canceling microphone

    ✔Apple AirPods Pro

    ✔Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    These microphones are designed to filter out noise from the desired sound. Especially useful in noisy environments.

    microphone sensitivity

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Apple AirPods Pro)

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Bose QuietComfort Earbuds)

    This is the highest volume that the microphone can pick up.

    highest microphone frequency

    20000Hz

    Unknown. Help us offer a price. (Bose QuietComfort Earbuds)

    The maximum frequencies that the microphone can pick up.

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