Bose's latest earbuds get a useful free upgrade… but not the one you're hoping for

Branding on the stem of a Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2
(Image credit: TechRadar)

We love to see new features get added to existing piece of gear, so props to Bose for adding a handy new feature to its Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II via a new firmware update – even if it’s not quite the added extra most owners will perhaps have been waiting for.

The update, which landed yesterday, gives the user the ability to now use either earbud independently of the other (previously only the right earbud could be used on its own). This now means you’ll be able to be able to use either earbud on its own for taking or making calls, as well as listening to music and videos. It's not a game-changer, but it's useful to have the flexibility.

This update for the best noise-cancelling earbuds also means you’ll be able to switch between earbuds if one runs out of juice, allowing you can to continue listening with without interruption.

The new firmware is available via the Bose Music app and can be installed once the QCE II are connected to your phone. But this isn't the big update Bose has promised, so what's going with that?

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II on wooden table

(Image credit: Bose)

Analysis: A welcome upgrade for the QCE II’s – but where’s the high-res?

We were blown away by the QuietComfort Earbuds II’s best-in-class noise cancellation and balanced sound, earning them a five-star review back in November.

However, while we love this latest handy update from Bose, it sadly still doesn’t address our main issue with the QCE II’s, namely the lack of support for high-definition wireless audio.

Bose promised around their release that an update was on its way for the QCE II that would make them compatible with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound and the aptX Lossless Bluetooth codec for CD-quality sound, but we’re still left hanging for what would be a potentially game-changing upgrade. 

With more and more phones featuring support for these platforms, as well as plenty of rival earbuds now featuring the tech, we’re hoping the update remains on its way for Bose owners – maybe that'll tip you into buying them if you're looking at the best wireless earbuds.

Kevin Lynch

Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. The author of Steve Jobs: A Biographic Portrait, Kevin is a regular feature writer for a number of tech sites and the former Technology Editor for the Daily Mirror. He has also served as editor of and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards. Alongside reviewing the latest AV gear, smartphones and computers, Kevin also specialises in music tech and can often be found putting the latest DAWs, MIDI controllers and guitar modellers through their paces. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, Kevin is also a lifelong West Ham fan for his troubles.