It’s a brave move to launch a pair of noise-canceling true-wireless earphones on the same day that Apple announces an update to its mighty AirPods Pro buds, but that exactly what audio titan Bose has done with the QuietComfort Earbuds II.
In something of a battle of the buds, Bose opens by not only promising an “unprecedented listening experience” but also claiming that the QC Earbuds II can deliver “world’s best noise cancellation from any headphone – banded or in-ear.”
The true wireless earphones debut something called CustomTune sound calibration, which sounds a proprietary tone every time the earphones are removed from their charging case and popped in a user’s ears. A built-in microphone then measures the acoustic response from each ear canal and automatically adjusts audio delivery and noise cancellation to match the user’s unique hearing profile. And all of this is ready to rock in less than half a second.
The noise reduction technology makes use of that internal microphone plus three external mics in each earpiece, responding to detected noise with an opposing signal in a fraction of a second. And for this outing, Bose says that the system “targets frequencies that were previously difficult to reduce – like voices of nearby coworkers, screaming babies on the bus, or family distractions in your home office – so now they fade away without you ever knowing they were there.”
Noise cancellation performance can also adapt to changing ambient noise levels, and is even able to react to sudden loud noises to shut them out or significantly reduce them for the duration. There is of course a transparency mode included, which allows external sounds to filter through when needed, such as when conversing with friends or listening for announcements at the transport hub.
We’d have to try them out for ourselves before passing any judgement of course, but feel that the new true wireless earphones would certainly have to jump through some significant hoops to best Nura’s sound personalization tech or Sony’s noise-canceling chops.
Elsewhere, the buds are reported to be 33% smaller than the previous model, and come supplied with a two-piece Fit Kit system that includes stability bands and eartips to help ensure a secure seal, confirmed by a Fit Test via the Bose Music mobile app.
Thanks to Bluetooth 5.3 and an updated noise removal algorithm, users can look forward to improve voice clarity during calls, playback control is via capacitive touch on left and right buds – with more functionality on tap through the companion app – and an IPX4 rating should be good for sweaty sessions in the gym or dashes for cover during a downpour.
Each bud’s battery reportedly provides up to six hours of wireless playback per charge, with three more top-ups available from the charging case before it needs to juice up for a full charge in three hours over USB-C.
The QuietComfort Earbuds II are due to go on sale from September 15 for US$299, a little pricier than the AirPods Pro 2 but if Bose’s claims of industry-leading noise cancellation hold water, it might be worth shelling out an extra fifty bucks.
Product page: QuietComfort Earbuds II
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