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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Nov 27, 2020 at 07:51 am
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless Picture
7.4
Mixed Usage
7.4
Neutral Sound
8.0
Commute/Travel
8.2
Sports/Fitness
6.9
Office
5.9
Wireless Gaming
5.8
Wired Gaming
7.5
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless are premium in-ears with a great ANC feature. They're very well-built, decently comfortable, and offer over seven hours of continuous playback time. While they don't isolate noise as well as over-ear headphones such as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018, they can cut down quite a bit of sound around you. However, the trade-off is in their bulky look, which slightly sticks out of your ear. If you're looking for a pair of truly wireless headphones that deliver a solid ANC feature, they offer versatile performance and a neutral sound profile that should please most users.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed Usage

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are decent for mixed use. These comfortable headphones do a great job of reducing ambient noise like bus engines when you're commuting or ambient chatter at the office. They're also stable enough for working out and have an IPX4 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. Thanks to their neutral sound profile, they're also well-suited for most audio content. That said, while they have roughly seven hours of continuous playback time, they may just barely get you through your 9-5.

Pros
  • Great ANC feature.
  • Well-balanced sound profile that's suitable for a variety of audio genres.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design for truly wireless earbuds.
  • No EQ.
7.4 Neutral Sound

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are decent for neutral sound. They have a fairly neutral sound profile, although they lack a bit of low-bass and their treble is a bit underemphasized. They also deliver audio consistently. However, they have a closed-off soundstage and they don't have an EQ to further tweak their sound.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile that's suitable for a variety of audio genres.
Cons
  • Closed-off soundstage.
8.0 Commute/Travel

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are great for commute and travel. These well-built headphones have a great ANC feature that helps to reduce bass-range noise like bus and plane engines. They're also comfortable enough to wear for long commutes to work, but their 7.3-hour battery life may not be enough if you're on a long-haul flight. Still, they're portable and lightweight, which makes it easy to take them with you wherever you go.

Pros
  • Great ANC feature.
  • Well-balanced sound profile that's suitable for a variety of audio genres.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design for truly wireless earbuds.
8.2 Sports/Fitness

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are great for sports and fitness. Although they have a bulky design, these comfortable and well-built headphones are portable enough to take with you on-the-go. They're stable, so they shouldn't fall out of your ears. They also have an IPX4 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile that's suitable for a variety of audio genres.
  • Stable in-ear fit.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design for truly wireless earbuds.
6.9 Office

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are fair for office use. While they're comfortable enough to wear throughout a workday, their continuous battery life may not be enough if you're using them all day long. That said, they have a great ANC feature that can help cut down ambient chatter around you and they have a standby mode to help conserve battery life when not in use.

Pros
  • Great ANC feature.
Cons
  • No EQ.
5.9 Wireless Gaming

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds aren't recommended for wireless gaming. While you can connect them to a Bluetooth-enabled PC, the latency is likely to be too high for gaming. They also aren't compatible with Xbox One or PS4 consoles.

5.8 Wired Gaming

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are Bluetooth-only earbuds and can't be used wired.

7.5 Phone Calls

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are good for phone calls. While the integrated mic's recording quality results in your voice sounding thin and a bit distorted, it does an excellent job of separating your voice from ambient noise. Thanks to the ANC feature, you can focus on your call rather than noise around you. The companion app also offers a 'Self Voice' feature so that you can better hear yourself during a call.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile that's suitable for a variety of audio genres.
  • Integrated mic has excellent noise handling.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design for truly wireless earbuds.
  • 7.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.4 Neutral Sound
  • 8.0 Commute/Travel
  • 8.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.9 Office
  • 5.9 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.8 Wired Gaming
  • 7.5 Phone Calls

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are bulky oval-shaped truly wireless in-ears. They're vertically-oriented, which makes their design stand out from other truly wireless headphones. They're also quite large, so they're easily noticeable. They come in two color variants: 'Triple Black' and 'Soapstone'.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are decently comfortable. The tips and stability fins feel good and don't go too deep into your ears. However, the buds stick out a bit and could get in the way if you're wearing a hat.

7.2
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Okay
Feedback Okay
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control Adjustable
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have decent touch-sensitive controls. The left earbud controls only the ANC feature and with a double-tap, you can cycle through your favorite settings set via their companion app. The right earbud controls everything else. You can swipe up or down to raise or lower the volume, or double-tap to play/pause. You can also touch and hold for a voice assistant. There's good sensitivity when tapping controls but there's no audible feedback for volume or play/pause. There are no controls for skipping tracks, either. It can also be a bit tricky to register a touch slide to adjust the volume.

9.2
Design
Portability
L 2 "
W 1.5 "
H 1 "
Volume 2.9 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

These headphones are outstandingly portable. Although they're much larger in size than a lot of other truly wireless earbuds, they can still fit into most pockets. Their carrying case can also fit into a larger pocket or bag.

7.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 3.5 "
W 2.0 "
H 1.4 "
Volume 9.4 Cu. Inches

The carrying case is good. It has five LED lights to indicate your battery level as well as a Bluetooth pairing button. There's also a lock mechanism to help keep the headphones from falling out. However, some users may find it a bit bulky.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

They have a great build quality. They feel durable, dense, and sturdy, so they should be able to survive a few accidental drops. The case is pretty durable too, though it's a bit bulky too. The headphones are also rated IPX4 for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this.

8.0
Design
Stability

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are very stable headphones. Thanks to their stability wings, they don't move around, which makes them well-suited for physical activity. However, they slightly stick out of the ear and can get hooked on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Bose QuietComfort Earbuds headphones
  • 3x Stability fins/tips
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.64 db
Treble Amount
-1.42 db

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have a very neutral sound profile. Although they're lacking a bit of thumpy low-bass and can sound a little dull or dark, they're suitable for a variety of audio content.

9.4
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.13 dB

These headphones have an outstanding frequency response consistency. Like most in-ears, if you can achieve a proper fit using the included stability tips, their bass and treble response should be the same each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
9.0
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.37 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
21.81 Hz
Low-Bass
-2.11 dB
Mid-Bass
-0.84 dB
High-Bass
-1.24 dB

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have outstanding bass accuracy. Although they're slightly underemphasized across the range, resulting in less thump and rumble for genres like EDM and hip-hop, the range is still fairly flat and even. They have present punch and boom, which makes them suitable for most audio content.

9.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
0.92 dB
Low-Mid
-0.13 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.27 dB
High-Mid
0.68 dB

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have fantastic mid accuracy. The range is very flat and even, so vocals and lead instruments sound present and detailed.

7.6
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.15 dB
Low-Treble
0.56 dB
Mid-Treble
-2.39 dB
High-Treble
-5.53 dB

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have good treble accuracy. Vocals and lead instruments are present and detailed, but the dip in the mid-treble makes sibilants sound dull and lispy.

8.4
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.08 db
Dips
0.86 db

These headphones have great peaks and dips performance. While there are a few very minor peaks and dips, the peak between the high-mid and low-treble makes vocals and lead instruments a bit harsh. The dip in between the low-treble and mid-treble also dulls and weakens sibilants like S and T sounds.

8.6
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.17
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.53
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
11.15

These headphones have great imaging performance. Their weighted group delay response falls below the audibility threshold, ensuring tight bass and transparent treble. The L/R drivers of our unit are also well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase response, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

0.9
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
1.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
1.8

Like most in-ears, they have a bad passive soundstage. By design, these earbuds bypass the outer ear altogether, which is a big factor in creating a speaker-like and out-of-head soundstage. Since they also have a closed-back design, they feel less open and spacious than open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No

These headphones don't have a virtual soundstage feature.

8.2
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.167
WHD @ 100
0.092

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds' weighted harmonic distortion performance is great. Although there's a couple of spikes in the treble range, all frequencies fall within good limits, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
1.0.7-9846+620b71c
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
High
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. Our results are only valid when using these settings.

Isolation
8.4
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-22.31 dB
Bass
-20.03 dB
Mid
-17.03 dB
Treble
-29.31 dB

These headphones have great noise isolation. Thanks to their ANC feature, they can cut down quite a bit of bass-range noise like bus and plane engines. They can also reduce some mid-range sound like ambient chatter as well as high-pitched noise such as the hum of an AC unit.

8.4
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
30.95 dB

The leakage performance is great. A significant amount of the leakage is concentrated in the mid-mid to treble range and sounds thin. Even if you're listening to your audio at high volumes, you shouldn't disturb those around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

The Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds have an integrated mic.

6.5
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
184.86 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
6.89 dB
HFE
7782.91 Hz
Weighted THD
1.863
Gain
9.2 dB

The integrated mic's recording quality is just okay. Your voice sounds bright, although a little static-like and unnatural.

8.7
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
38.23 dB

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds' microphone's noise handling performance is excellent. It can separate your voice from ambient noise, even in loud environments like a busy street.

Active Features
6.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
7.3 hrs
Additional Charges
2.0
Total Battery Life
21.9 hrs
Charge Time
1.5 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have an okay battery performance. Although they're advertised as having six hours of continuous playtime, we measured seven hours, which is roughly on par with other truly wireless headphones with an ANC feature such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Truly Wireless. Luckily, they also into standby mode when you remove the earbuds from your ears so that you can conserve battery life. The carrying case comes with two additional charges, which should help when you're on-the-go.

8.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Bose Music
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
Adjustable
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
Yes
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
No

The Bose Music app is a great companion app. While it doesn't offer an EQ, you can see the battery and volume level as well as adjust the ANC level. You can also save three ANC presets that you can cycle through. You can also set particular commands such as play and pause to automatically trigger depending on whether the earbud detects your ear or not. There's also a 'self voice' feedback feature, which allows you to hear your own voice during a call.

Connectivity
7.1
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.1
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
219 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
329 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
23 ms
Android Latency
49 ms

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have decent Bluetooth connectivity. They support Bluetooth 5.1 but unfortunately, don't have either NFC or multi-device pairing. Although they have very high latency on PC, their latency on iOS and Android is a lot lower, which makes them suitable for streaming video. That said, apps and devices seem to compensate for latency differently, and your mileage may vary in real-life usage.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These are Bluetooth-only earbuds.

0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds can't be used wired. They come with a USB-C cable to charge their carrying case.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

These earbuds can only connect to Bluetooth-enabled PCs and aren't compatible with PS4 consoles. Because of their very high latency on PC, they aren't recommended for gaming.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

These earbuds are Bluetooth-only and aren't compatible with Xbox One consoles.

2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB-C

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds come with a charging case that holds two additional charges. It can be recharged using its USB-C cable or wirelessly via Qi-enabled chargers. It doesn't have any additional inputs.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds come in two color variants: 'Triple Black' and 'Soapstone'. You can see their label here. We expect both color variants to perform similarly to our test unit.

If you come across a different variant, let us know in the discussions and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are premium truly wireless headphones. Although they're bulkier than other similarly designed in-ears, they house a powerful ANC feature that helps cut down a great amount of ambient noise around you. They also deliver a neutral sound profile that's suitable for a variety of audio content and offer roughly over seven hours of continuous playtime. Check out our recommendations for the best noise cancelling earbuds and in-ear headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones, and the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless are better headphones than the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2. The Bose are more comfortable and stable. Their sound profile is better-balanced and their ANC feature can significantly reduce more noise than the Sennheiser. Their integrated mic and battery perform better overall. However, the Sennheiser offer a graphic EQ and presets via their companion app, which is nice if you like to tweak their sound to your liking.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless have different strengths and you may prefer one over the other depending on your usage. The Apple headphones are more comfortable and have a better performing ANC feature. However, the Bose are slightly better-balanced, their ANC is still great in comparison, and they have a better overall performing integrated microphone. The Bose also have a better companion app and a lower latency on iOS and Android, although some apps compensate for latency differently.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless. The Bose have a significantly better ANC feature and have a better-balanced sound profile. Their in-ear fit is more stable too, and their mic has a better overall performance. However, the Sony have an auto-off timer and you can customize their sound profile using their graphic EQ or presets in their companion app.

Bose Sport Earbuds Truly Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless are better headphones for most uses than the Bose Sport Earbuds Truly Wireless. The QuietComfort Earbuds are better-balanced, they have a great ANC feature, and the mic has a better overall performance. They also have better battery performance. However, the Sport are better for physical exercise as they're more comfortable and stable.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Truly Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless are better headphones than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Truly Wireless. The Bose are better-built, have more consistent audio reproduction, and their sound profile is better-balanced. They also have a better ANC feature, leak less sound, and their integrated mic does a better job overall. However, the Samsung have EQ presets available via their companion app. 

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