The job of the high-end modern Bluetooth in-ear headphone can be split into four parts. They need to sound great, have competent noise cancellation, ample battery life, and stay in your ear. And the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds boasts big ticks next to all four of these categories.
In short, they’re very good in-ear headphones.
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I love the sound the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds produce. Typically, in-ear headphones – particularly Bluetooth ones – struggle to create any oomph on bass notes. Not these. The bass here is confident and ample.
The mids and highs come through neatly too – it’s just a really enjoyable sound. Listening to Tennesse Whiskey by Chris Stapleton is a go-to of mine for testing audio, and the EarBuds performed really well. The steady, meaty bassline came through with power, as intended, without dulling the vocals or mid-range guitar. The sound stayed pure when I switched genres to something more engineered; it handled the track, everything I wanted by Billie Eilish with ease, creating a smooth, precise sound.
I’d even go as far as saying the produce a better, more enjoyable, audio than Apple’s excellent in-ear AirPods Pro. And the AirPods Pro have been the headphones I’ve reached for the most throughout 2020, due to their balance of sound quality, comfort and flexibility. Now, I think I’ll be reaching for the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds instead.
The design is the only negative. This, of course, is subjective. But I’m not a fan of the bulky “buds”. I think they look clumsy.
That’s not to say they’re ugly, or poorly design. Because they’re not. The QuietComfort Earbuds are the best in-ear headphones I’ve used in terms of comfort and in-ear stability. I just wish they were a bit more subtle and less Frankenstine-y.
There are some benefits to the bulk though – touch controls are easy to use. On the right bud you can slide your finger up or down to adjust the volume, double-tap to play/pause, and long press to activate your device’s voice assistant – you can skip tracks with a long press of the left bud too.
The EarBuds are sweat and weather resistant (IPX4-rated earbuds) too, which means you can workout in the gym, or a light rain shower, with these in too.
Industry-leading noise cancelling
Bose has always been an industry-leader with noise cancelling. And that continues with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, easily capable of blocking out road-noise, other people talking, or the hum of a jet engine when you’re on a plane.
Also, if you download the Bose Music app – and I recommend that you do – you get a great level of control over how much noise cancelling these buds do. It puts you in control, on a slider that goes from 1-10, of how much noise cancellation you want.
The app gives you control over a few other things too, allowing you to configure shortcuts for touch inputs and a wicked feature called “Self Voice”, for example.
This is a feature I love. Here you can select how much of your voice you want to hear – Low, Medium, High, or Off – when you’re on a call with both Earbuds in.
Over the past year, I have been on more video calls than ever before. Usually, I go on these calls with a slightly lop-sided set up – just one earphone in. The reason is simple. I can’t handle not hearing my voice when I’m on a call. Self Voce is an excellent solution for people like me who suffer from this problem, enabling users to talk like a normal person again without the fear that we’re shouting (or whispering) at colleagues.
Battery life is good
You get about 6-hours of continuous listening, and you can fully recharge the buds twice via the bulky case that comes bundled. Which is fine. And expected.
The reality is that battery life is a direct correlation to the size of the battery. And because we, the consumer, all want small and lightweight devices, we have to compromise on battery life.
Which, like I said, is fine.
Rarely will you listen to headphones for more than six hours continuously. Unless you’re on a plane. Which is the exception that proves the rule. And if that’s the case, a 15-minute charge will give you up to 2 hours of battery life – so it’s no biggy.
The wireless charging case also has five LEDs that indicate how much charge they have. And it’s compatible with any Qi-certified wireless charging mat too. Both are wins.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are great. Anyone who buys them is going to love the sound, comfort and features they offer. The only thing I’m not wild about is their Frankenstein’s monster-inspired design. But that’s just my personal opinion on fashion, which admittedly, is rarely asked for. From a technical perspective, they’re the best in-ear headphones of 2020.