Bose QuietComfort II Buds – Blissful silence

October 18, 2022
3 mins read

The Bluetooth earbud market is a hyper-competitive place where the current champion, Sony, has ruled the roost for quite some time. Now Bose is back with their latest and greatest ear gear, the QuietComfort Earbuds II, to take on Sony.

They’ve launched with adaptive active noise cancellation, Bluetooth 5.3, and advanced sound calibration that delivers vastly improved audio. Lastly, Bose has made the new QuietComfort buds smaller and comfier than the original QuietComfort buds. So, do they have what it takes to unseat Sony, the reigning earbud king?


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Where the original QuietComfort buds and charging case were anything but compact (or for that matter comfortable), the QC II charging case is very pocketable. This time around, people are not going to stop you in the street and say, “Hey, is that a QuietComfort charging case in your pocket or are you just super pleased to see me?”. Similarly, Bose has shrunk the QC II buds. This means they don’t protrude from your ears and are a far more comfortable fit. This is helped with a selection of different-sized ear tips and wing stabilisers to ensure they stay snugly fitted into your ears.

The Bose mobile app (Android/iOS) also has an ear tip fit test to ensure you’re using the right ear tips/wings. They’re IPX4-rated, making them ideal for use in a gym. Like Apple’s earbuds, the QC II buds have smallish wing-like stems that house mics for ANC and making calls/using a voice assistant. Inserting them into my noggin, I rotated them back a tad, locking them into place. It was snug but sufficiently comfy that several hours of wear felt effortless.

Playback controls also include adjusting volume by sliding your finger up or down the bud, which feels far more intuitive than pressing twice to increase volume or three times to decrease it. A shortcut can also be configured using the Bose app, allowing you to opt for control over the listening mode or to summon whichever voice assistant you use.

Like their Sony counterparts, the QC II buds come with wear detection that pauses playback when you remove one or both buds and resumes when they’re re-inserted into your ears. When you place the buds into your ear holes, they emit a test tone. This is what Bose calls “CustomTune”. It calibrates ANC and audio to your ear’s specific shape. With it, the QC II projected a detailed and rich sound stage that packed surprisingly deep bass that you felt and heard, along with an airy top end.

Listening to ‘Crickets’ by French band Air, there was plenty of crisp, sparkly sonic detail. At the same time, the catchy bass riff was delivered with Bose’s trademark warmth and musicality. Firing up Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’ also showcased their dynamism, with the buds holding their own as things went from a gentle and clear tinkle of a triangle to thunderous crescendos. With classical music, the QC II shone. This is no small feat, given most earbuds tend to struggle to convey the subtle detail of a full orchestra in action. That said, Codec support is limited to SBC and AAC. Here’s hoping the next Bose buds come with apt-X and LDAC support for lossless audio playback.

The QC II’s Active noise cancellation is industrial strength. Upon inserting them into my ears, I was immediately engulfed in a startlingly quiet cone of silence. While ANC in earbuds isn’t new, Bose takes it to new heights. While they’re a great compact short/medium haul air travel companion, limited battery life means long-haul use isn’t 100 percent practical.

Battery life was just a hair over Bose’s stated six hours per charge with heavy use and around two days with light to moderate use. The charging case gives four charges, extending their run time to 24 hours. While the case lacks wireless charging, it does support fast charging and 20 minutes of charge gave two hours of runtime.

While the Bose Music app isn’t loaded with lots of bells and whistles like the Sony app, it is sensibly laid out, making it hassle-free, especially when on the move.

Taking the QC II walkies around the congested RF environment of the Wellington CBD, their Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity impressed, with only one drop-out. The built-in mics also did a sterling job of capturing my voice in test calls. While some background noise was noticeable on the receiving end of calls, my voice remained clear.

Last (but not least), the QC II buds can also keep track of the last seven devices they’ve been paired with, which makes using them with multiple devices close to a seamless undertaking.

The QC II buds offer stunning audio and call quality. Their ANC is easily the best I’ve come across in a pair of wireless earbuds. Rounding things out, they’re also super comfy to wear. While I’d have liked wireless charging, spatial audio, and Apt-X support included, the QC II buds are otherwise hard to fault.


Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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