Bose didn’t invent the noise-canceling headphone or earphone, but they certainly turned it into a product category that generates billions of dollars in revenue for the brands that dominate the space. The kids are back in school, the colors are changing on college campuses, and commuters are standing shoulder to shoulder on packed train platforms once again. The new Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II take everything they’ve learned about ANC so far and improves upon it.
While the name implies the the new model is an update of the original QuietComfort earbuds, this is a completely new design. The ear shell is 33% smaller and 6 grams lighter than the original, and the new earbud packs a 9.3mm dynamic driver that is actually larger than the original for improved sound quality.
Bose is adding what they call the FitKit with three sizes of tips and and stability bands to help users find a comfortable fit that stays put regardless of what they are doing. The new buds are IPX4 rated so sweat shouldn’t be an issue, but avoid the pool. These will not survive the washing machine test.
Controls are via capacitive touch sensors or the Bose app which adds a customizable EQ and access to manually adjust the ANC modes. Voice assistant support is also included for both Google and Apple devices.
The highlight of the new QuietComfort earbuds II is the new ‘CustomTune’ feature that allows the listener to tune both the sound signature and the active noise cancelling to their ears. This feature extended to cover differences in our hearing between one ear and the other with the tuning options being independent per ear.
The calibration is automatic and begins when the earbuds are removed from the case and placed in the ear. Once the earbuds register they are in the ear they play a test tone that the internal microphone “listens” for and calculates the adjustments needed for each ear canal. All of this takes place within about 1 second of the time the earbud registers as being in-ear. So when you let a friend try these, it automatically adjusts for them and when they hand them back it re-adjusts to your ears. Just remember to wipe them down first.
The “CustomTune” also constantly monitors the environment and adjusts the ANC to the surroundings in order to remove more external noise and let the user hear more of their music and less of what is going on around them. Bose says this is the most effective ANC solution they have ever released so we expect good things.
Even when used in transparency mode, the “CustomTune” is still at work. Here Bose dubs it “Aware mode with Active Sense”. This means that the earbuds constantly monitor outside noises and allow pass-through of average conversations but automatically switch to ANC mode and block out loud environmental noises. Once the noise-floor drops back to something normal, the earbuds automatically return to transparency mode without user intervention.
The new QuietComfort Earbuds II use Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC and AAC support. Battery life is listed as six hours per charge with the case adding another 18 hours to that time.
The case uses USB Type-C charging and supports quick charge so 20 minutes nets a couple hours of listening time. To fully recharge, the buds require 2 hours and charging the case takes a bit over 3 hours if completely drained.
Price & Availability
The new Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds are available either in Black or Soapstone and are available for pre-order now with shipping expected to begin September 15, 2022. Retail price is $299 USD.
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