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We've recently released our Test Bench 1.6 update for Headphones! Read the Latency R&D Article to learn more.

Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Review updated Nov 17, 2023 at 12:35 pm
Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II Picture
6.4
Mixed Usage
7.4
Neutral Sound
6.2
Commute/Travel
6.2
Sports/Fitness
6.5
Office
5.6
Wireless Gaming
7.3
Wired Gaming
6.4
Phone Call

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are closed-back over-ear headphones meant for casual use. They have a wired design with an in-line remote that offers basic controls. Otherwise, they have a simple design with no ANC feature or companion app.

Our Verdict

6.4 Mixed Usage

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are passable mixed-usage headphones. They have a very comfortable design and a neutral sound suitable for a variety of genres. Unfortunately, they also have poor noise isolation, making them unsuitable for use outside of quiet spaces.

Pros
  • Very comfortable fit.
  • Easy to use controls.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Plasticky build quality.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
7.4 Neutral Sound

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are decent for neutral sound. They're comfortable for long listening sessions and have a well-balanced sound that doesn't feel too bass-heavy or bass-light. They reproduce instruments and vocals accurately and are suitable for a variety of genres. However, they have a closed-off soundstage, and like most closed-back headphones, sound seems to come from inside your head and not speakers in the room around you.

Pros
  • Very comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
6.2 Commute/Travel

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are mediocre for commuting. They have a very comfortable fit for long journeys but lack an ANC feature and struggle to block out bass-range noise, including rumbling engines. Like most over-ear headphones, they have a bulky design and might not fit in a bag or purse, although they come with a soft case that offers some protection.

Pros
  • Very comfortable fit.
  • Case included.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Plasticky build quality.
6.2 Sports/Fitness

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are mediocre for sports and fitness. They aren't stable enough to stay in place during workouts and have a wired design, so you risk snagging the cable on something. They have a bulky design, like most over-ear headphones. Their in-line controls are easy to use, so you can adjust the volume or skip a song without pulling out your phone.

Pros
  • Easy to use controls.
Cons
  • Plasticky build quality.
  • Not very stable.
6.5 Office

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are alright for office use. They're comfortable to wear for hours. However, you may still hear the chatter of a noisy office due to their poor noise isolation, and the leakage may be bothersome at higher volumes.

Pros
  • Very comfortable fit.
  • Decent mic recording quality.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
5.6 Wireless Gaming

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are wired-only headphones that aren't suitable for wireless gaming.

7.3 Wired Gaming

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are decent for wired gaming. They have a very comfortable fit for long hours of gaming and don't have any latency since they work via analog. Their sound adds some extra boom into your audio, which helps bring out sound effects in games. However, they have a small, closed-off soundstage.

Pros
  • No latency.
  • Decent mic recording quality.
Cons
  • Plasticky build quality.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
6.4 Phone Call

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are a passable choice for phone calls. Their integrated mic has a decent recording quality, so while it lacks body, speech is easily understandable. They have a comfortable fit and in-line controls for answering and ending calls. However, in noisier areas, your voice can be drowned out. They lack ANC and have sub-par noise isolation, so hearing a call you make in a noisy setting can be difficult.

Pros
  • Easy to use controls.
  • Decent mic recording quality.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Plasticky build quality.
  • 6.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.4 Neutral Sound
  • 6.2 Commute/Travel
  • 6.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.5 Office
  • 5.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.3 Wired Gaming
  • 6.4 Phone Call
  1. Updated Nov 17, 2023: Made minor edits to the text to bring it up to date.
  2. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  4. Updated Feb 16, 2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  5. Updated Sep 28, 2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  6. Updated Aug 10, 2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  7. Updated Mar 01, 2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  8. Updated Sep 29, 2016: Review published.
  9. Updated Sep 27, 2016: Our testers have started testing this product.
  10. Updated Aug 09, 2016: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II come in four different colors: 'Black', 'Blue', 'Charcoal Black', and 'Navy Blue'. They come in different variants for Apple devices and Android devices, and if you use them with a non-compatible device, you won't have access to the mic or remote.

If you come across another variant or your headphones are different, let us know in the forums and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are wired over-ear headphones meant for audiophiles, like the AKG K371 and Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. They have a more comfortable fit for most people and a neutral sound profile well-suited for a variety of genres. However, they have a less natural-seeming passive soundstage than the similarly-priced Beyerdynamic.

If you're looking for more headphones, check out our recommendations for the best closed-back headphones, the best over-ear headphones, and the best wired headphones.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Dynamic

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II share the familiar Bose esthetic of the SoundLink Around-Ear II and Bose QuietComfort 25/QC25. They have a simple design, a relatively slim headband, and large oval ear cups. They're mostly made of plastic, so they don't look as premium as some other over-ear headphones around the same price point. However, the understated look will work for some, and they're well crafted enough to be eye-catching in public.

8.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.38 lbs
Clamping Force
0.59 lbs

They deliver a comfortable listening experience. They're lightweight, the headband isn't too tight, and the padding on the ear cups is impressively soft. This makes the headphones very comfortable to wear for hours without pain or discomfort.

7.2
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
iOS
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Okay
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling Control N/A
Talk-Through
N/A
Additional Buttons No

The controls consist of an inline remote with functions for answering calls, controlling audio playback, and adjusting the volume. Unfortunately, the inline remote is small, and the tactile feedback isn't as good as the Bose QuietComfort 20/QC20's control scheme.

6.5
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 5.8 ยฐC

They trap some heat against your ears, like most over-ear headphones. It's not much of an issue if you're just sitting and gaming, but they can make your ears feel warm if you're exercising.

6.1
Design
Portability
L 8"
W 6.38"
H 1.75"
Volume 89.3 inยณ
Transmitter Required N/A

They aren't very portable, like most over-ear headphones. They do not fold into a more compact format like the Bose QuietComfort 25, but the earcups lay flat to take up less space. They're not too heavy or cumbersome but are still a bit too much of a hassle to carry comfortably without a bag.

7.0
Design
Case
Type Soft case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

They come with a soft but sturdy-feeling pouch that zips closed. It will prevent them from getting scratched or damaged while carrying them in your bag. However, it's still a soft case and won't offer much protection against hard falls.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

They have a decent build quality. These headphones have a good lightweight design and are made of plastic dense enough not to break from an accidental drop. However, they don't feel as well-built as the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. They're also mostly plastic, which isn't as durable as metal.

6.5
Design
Stability

These over-ears are stable enough for casual use and won't fall off your head while sitting at a desk or on the couch. However, the lack of tension in the headband makes these headphones very comfortable, but it also means the ear cups will sway and potentially slip off your head if you move it around, like during a workout. Luckily, the cable is detachable and will disconnect if the cable gets hooked on something.

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

  • Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II headphones
  • Audio cable
  • Carrying case

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-0.87 dB
Treble Amount
-2.75 dB

They have a neutral sound profile, with a rumbly, punchy bass response and clear, detailed instruments and lead vocals. There's some overemphasis in the bass range that adds extra warmth to your audio, but overall, it's well-suited for a variety of genres. However, they lack an app and don't come with sound customization features. Their audio delivery also depends on the headphones' fit, seal, and positioning on your head.

5.9
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.98 dB

They have disappointing frequency response consistency. As opposed to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018, which uses its noise cancelling system to calibrate the bass response, the Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II don't have an ANC system, and have inconsistent audio delivery across the range, depending on the headphones' fit, seal, and positioning on your head.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
9.0
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.53 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
1.33 dB
Mid-Bass
0.03 dB
High-Bass
2.45 dB

They have fantastic bass accuracy. They accurately reproduce the rumble and punch in your audio. The high-bass is overemphasized, which lends extra warmth but can make mixes sound a little boomy.

8.6
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.9 dB
Low-Mid
0 dB
Mid-Mid
0.13 dB
High-Mid
2.65 dB

They have excellent mid accuracy. Instruments and vocals are present, clear, and have a bit of extra intensity because of the overemphasized high-mid.

7.8
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.68 dB
Low-Treble
1.26 dB
Mid-Treble
-1.03 dB
High-Treble
-8.15 dB

They have very good treble accuracy. Instruments and vocals are detailed and articulated. Sibilants like S and T sounds are slightly dull, however.

7.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.47 dB
Dips
1.5 dB

They control their sound profile well. There are some peaks and dips across the range, but most are fairly minor. There's a peak in the high-bass that adds boom to your audio, followed by a dip between the low-mid and mid-mid that nudges instruments and vocals to the back of the mix. Peaks in the high-mid and low-treble add harshness and intensity to those elements. There's a deeper dip and a peak in the mid-treble, so sibilants are alternately piercing and dull.

8.4
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.17
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.84
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.53

They have an impressive imaging performance, which is on par for Bose products and indicates the brand's ergonomics and quality control. The group delay falls below the audibility threshold across the entire range, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. Our unit's left and right drivers are well-matched in terms of amplitude and phase response, although a slight frequency mismatch can create holes in the stereo image. However, keep in mind that imaging varies from unit to unit.

4.9
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
4.67 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
7.3 dB
PRTF Distance
6.24 dB
Openness
4.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.5

The soundstage seems large but closed-off and unnatural. Also, like most closed-back headphones, sound seems to come from inside your head instead of speakers in the room around you.

7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.151
WHD @ 100
0.158

They have a very good weighted harmonic distortion performance. Distortion falls within good limits across the range, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction.

Isolation
5.1
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-12.89 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
0.63 dB
Mid
-9.56 dB
Treble
-30.57 dB

They have disappointing noise isolation. Unlike the more recent Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless, these headphones don't have an ANC feature. As a result, they provide no isolation in the bass range, where you commonly hear sounds like engine rumble. They also do a mediocre job of blocking out frequencies in the mid-range, meaning background conversations are still fairly audible. However, they're much better at reducing noises in higher frequency ranges, like AC and fridge hum.

7.2
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
38.2 dB

These over-ears have a decent leakage performance, comparable to other closed-back over-ear headphones like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. As the leakage isn't particularly loud and concentrated mainly in the lower mid-range, you can listen to audio at high volumes in the office without worrying about bothering anyone around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
N/A
Mic Yes
7.1
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
472.58 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.62 dB
HFE
20,480 Hz
Weighted THD
1.716
Gain
16.05 dB

The integrated microphone has satisfactory recording quality. While it might lack some body, speech sounds natural and easily understandable thanks to a detailed treble response.

6.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
10.82 dB

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II's integrated mic has passable noise handling. It does a decent job of separating your voice from quieter environments. However, using the mic in louder locations like subway stations will mean it struggles to pick up speech.

Active Features
not tested
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving Feature
N/A
Audio While Charging
N/A
Passive Playback
N/A
Charging Port N/A
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS N/A
Windows N/A
Equalizer
N/A
ANC Control
N/A
Mic Control N/A
Room effects
N/A
Playback Control
N/A
Button Mapping N/A
Surround Sound N/A
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
N/A
NFC Pairing
N/A
Line of Sight Range
N/A
Default Latency
N/A
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 5.58 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
0 ms

They come with a 1/8" TRRS detachable cable that you can use for audio and mic support via analog with compatible devices. However, the mic doesn't work with consoles or PCs.

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

You can receive audio from PC and PS4 by plugging the headphones into an audio jack or controller, but you can't use the mic.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No

You can plug the headphones into a controller to receive audio from Xbox One, but you won't be able to use the mic.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A