Apple isn’t the only audio giant promising to deliver the best noise canceling earbuds: Just a few hours after the AirPods Pro 2 launched, Bose unveiled the QuietComfort Earbuds II headphones. It’s a really big deal, as previous QuietComforts were at the top of our guide to the best noise-reducing buds, taking the bar so high that not even Sony’s gorgeous WF-1000XM4 could reach it. So how do you compare these two sets of ANC flagship earbuds? Let’s find out.
AirPods Pro 2 vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II: price and release date
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II headphones are available September 29 with pre-orders starting September 8. Their price is $ 299 / £ 279 / $ 429. They will be available initially in a “triple black” finish, then in an alternative color “soapstone”.
AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are available for order now and will be available on September 23. They cost $ 249 / £ 249 / $ 399. You can be any color as long as it’s white.
AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II: Features
The AirPods Pro 2 promise better battery life than before – 6 hours separate and 30 hours with the charging case, which now works with the Apple Watch charger and has a lanyard loop to make it easier to lose. The chip here is the new Apple H2 which Apple says offers better sound quality and better noise reduction. The case now has a speaker, making it easier to find, and the capacitive touch buttons on the earbuds now let you swipe up and down to adjust the volume.
QuietComfort Earbuds II in-ear headphones feature new Bose technology that calibrates both sound and noise reduction to the unique shape of each ear. This “CustomTune” audio calibration is activated each time QuietComfort Earbuds II is removed from the charging case and placed in the user’s ears. The recorded sound will be played back and the microphone inside the earbud will evaluate the acoustic response of the ear canal. The information is used to adjust sound performance and noise reduction in less than half a second. It then adjusts the frequency response to match the contours of your ears, with one internal and three external microphones listening for external sounds for ANC processing.
Another new feature is “Aware Mode with ActiveSense”, a smarter transparency mode that responds instantly to sudden sounds to protect your hearing. 48,000 readings per second.
QuietComfort Earbuds II and AirPods Pro 2 also have Bluetooth 5.3 for wireless connectivity, but no aptX or other lossless audio support. The battery life of the Bose QC Earbuds 2 headphones is six hours (again, same as the new AirPods Pro), plus another three charges via the USB-C charging case.
AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II: sound
We haven’t had a chance to test any pair of earbuds yet, so we can only follow what the manufacturers say. Apple promises better sound quality with a new H2 chip and a new low distortion driver and amplifier. There’s the same camera-based surround sound setup we’ve already seen on the AirPods Max, and this adaptive transparency mode promises to filter out invasive sounds like road exercises while reducing up to twice as much ambient noise.
The original AirPods lagged far behind last year’s QuietComfort headphones in terms of noise reduction, but the claim in the AirPods Pro 2 is double noise reduction on the inaugural AirPods Pro (yes, really), so we can’t wait to compare the two newer models.
The lack of aptX adaptation in the Bose headphones is a surprise (less in Apple products), but the previous generation are fantastic-sounding earbuds, so we don’t worry too much about sound quality. What we’re interested in is noise canceling that has already led the group – and if it’s as effective and as responsive as Bose claims, it could make these the best ANC headphones you can buy.
AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II: design and fit
Bose has reduced the size of the QuietComfort Earbuds II by about a third compared to the model it replaces, and weighing in at 6 g, each is much lighter. There are three different ear tips and three different stabilizer straps, providing nine different fit options for each earbud. They have IPX4 water resistance, so they should be suitable for fitness and unfavorable weather conditions.
The AirPods Pro 2 are virtually identical to their predecessors, except for a new, ultra-small silicone tip that should be more comfortable for people with smaller ears. Despite the supposedly design changes, the stalks remain, although they now have a volume slide control.
AirPods Pro 2 vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II: conclusion
It would be unfair to pass any verdict when we haven’t had a chance to thoroughly test these earbuds yet – although we do have a preliminary hands-on review of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 headphones for your enjoyment.
Based on what we know about existing models, the Bose in-ear headphones are likely to sound a bit better and have better noise canceling than Apple’s in-ear headphones, and we expect the same to be true for the second-generation QuietComforts and AirPods Pro.
The Bose earbuds are a bit more expensive, but the Bose doesn’t have the same retail iron grip as Apple, so it shouldn’t be long before we see some discounts.
With all of these things in mind, it looks like the second-gen QuietComfort earbuds will be the ones to beat, but of course we won’t know for sure until we’ve had them in our ears for a decent amount of time – and that’s Apple’s double ANC claim. is at least interesting …