Bose, the brand that began the craze for noise-cancelling headphones in the first place, is aiming to take the technology to the next level with the launch of its new true wireless model, the QuietComfort Earbuds II.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are available from September 29, with pre-orders starting September 8. They're priced at $299 / £279 / AU$429. They will be initially available in a ‘triple black’ finish with an alternative ‘soapstone’ colour variant to follow.
The QuietComfort Earbuds II see the debut of a new Bose technology that intends to calibrate both sound and noise-cancelation to the unique shape of every individual ear. Yes, even yours.
‘CustomTune’ sound calibration is activated each time the QuietComfort Earbuds II are taken from their charging case and positioned in the wearer’s ears. A proprietary tone plays, and a mic inside the earbud assesses the ear canal’s acoustic response. The information is used to tailor both audio and noise-cancelation performance in under half a second.
As far as audio performance is concerned, ‘CustomTune’ optimizes frequency response according to the distinctive properties of each specific ear – so however the shape of your ears alters the sound, the earbuds will tweak their audio to compensate.
For noise cancelation, ‘CustomTune’ targets the frequencies that usually prove most resistant to noise-canceling algorithms – and it continuously examines the wearer’s environment, adapting to its changes in order to ensure optimum performance.
One internal and three external microphones per earbud listen for external sounds, which are then countered by Bose's ANC tech in a fraction of a millisecond. The particular methodology is exclusive to Bose, the company says.
The intelligent personalization of ‘CutomTune’ even extends to the Quietcomfort Earbuds II’s transparency mode. It’s now called ‘Aware Mode with ActiveSense’ - which in practice means a transparency mode that responds instantaneously to loud and/or sudden external sounds by switching on noise-cancelation for as long as might be necessary. It's a clever idea – it'll help you hear more, but will also protect your hearing.
Bose has shrunk the size of the QuietComfort Earbuds II by around a third over the model they replace, and at 6g each they’re also much lighter. Despite that, you're still getting large 9.3mm drivers producing the sound.
Comfort is further advanced by the Bose ‘FitKit’, which is the way the company describes the three sizes of eartip and three sizes of stability bands included in the packaging. This means there are a total of nine fitting options for each earbud, which should be ample.
The QuietComfort Earbuds II use Bluetooth 5.3 for wireless connectivity, and are compatible with the standard SBC Bluetooth audio codec, as well as AAC. There's no aptX or other lossless audio support.
They’re IPX4-rated for moisture-resistance, which should make them suitably sweatproof – it's the same as the Beats Fit Pro. The earbuds have six hours of battery life – their charging case contains a further three full charges. 20 minutes hooked via USB-C to power provides another couple of hours of playback.
Control is available via capacitive touch-controls on each earbud, and the Bose are compatible with any source player’s voice assistant. They also work with the company’s Music control app, meaning EQ adjustment, access to noise-cancellation modes and other customization options are available.
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Simon Lucas is a senior editorial professional with deep experience of print/digital publishing and the consumer electronics landscape. Based in Brighton, Simon worked at TechRadar's sister site What HiFi? for a number of years, as both a features editor and a digital editor, before embarking on a career in freelance consultancy, content creation, and journalism for some of the biggest brands and publications in the world.
With enormous expertise in all things home entertainment, Simon reviews everything from turntables to soundbars for TechRadar, and also likes to dip his toes into longform features and buying guides. His bylines include GQ, The Guardian, Hi-Fi+, Metro, The Observer, Pocket Lint, Shortlist, Stuff T3, Tom's Guide, Trusted Reviews, and more.