Bose has finally taken the wraps off its answer to the best-selling Apple AirPods Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. The company, which is known for its astounding active noise-cancellation on the likes of the Bose QuietComfort 35s and the Bose 700 series, is bringing its audio smarts to wireless earbuds.
According to Bose, its new AirPods Pro competitors are “the world’s most effective noise-cancelling earbuds”. Dubbed the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds – clearly Bose believes its QuietComfort branding is stronger than 700 Series one used on its latest top-tier over-ear headphones – the ‘buds are available to pre-order right now for £249.95. That’s a little pricier than rivals like Apple’s AirPods Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM3, which both retail at £220, but can be found for a little cheaper now they’ve been out for a little while.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds boast adjustable levels of noise-cancellation. To be precise, there are 11 different levels of noise-cancellation available with these earbuds. According to Bose, that means you’ll be choose exactly “how much of the world you let in or keep out”.
There’s also a dedicated Transparency mode that allows the sound around you flood into your ears – perfect if you need to quickly listen to a tannoy announcement in the airport, train, or quickly talk to someone at the supermarket checkout but don’t have the charging case to hand to drop the ‘buds in.
The levels of noise-cancellation aren’t handled on the buds themselves. While there are touch-sensitive panels on the outside of these wireless earbuds, those are reserved to control music playback and to summon the voice assistant baked into your smartphone (Siri for iPhone owners, Google Assistant or Alexa for the vast majority of Android devices, and Bixby for the Samsung users who insist on using Bixby).
Like most similarly-priced earbuds (and a few of the more affordable ones) the earbuds will automatically pause playback as soon as you remove it from your ear.
As well as its renown noise-cancellation coming to these diddy buds, Bose has promised to bring stellar audio quality to the QuietComfort Earbuds. The audio firm promises to deliver “constantly balanced sound” – even when listening at low volumes.
According to Bose, “as you lower the volume on most earphones, the bass tends to disappear, leaving your music sounding tinny and small”. This is something Bose claims to have fixed thanks to its Volume-Optimised Active EQ Technology, which dynamically changes the EQ to boost the lows and highs whenever you change the volume on your QuietComfort Earbuds.
Of course, we’ll have to give these new ‘buds a listen to see how it works in practice, but this sounds very promising. The combination of Volume-Optimised Active EQ and active noise-cancellation should mean you’re able to get a full sound from low volumes – without any disturbance from the coffee machine / office printer / aeroplane engine rumbling in the background.
Connectivity is handled by Bluetooth 5.1, which should provide a hiccup-free connection up to 30ft from your device. So, you’ll be able to leave your smartphone on charge in the kitchen and still wear these earbuds while doing the gardening outside.
Each QuietComfort Earbud has six hours of battery life, with the carry case offering an additional 12 hours – for a total of 18 hours of listening before you’ll need to plug these back into the socket. It doesn’t sound like these new Bose earbuds are going to be contenders for battery life champions (that accolade still rests firmly with the Samsung Galaxy Buds+) but there should be enough here that you won’t need to charge them every single night.
Alongside the QuietComfort Earbuds, Bose has also launched a new redesigned pair of Bose Sport Earbuds, which ship with an improved silicone tip to ensure a better seal inside your ear – cutting off the outside world. While there’s no clever active noise-cancellation to be found here, Bose is confident that its so-called StayHear Max Tip (the same as found on the costlier QuietComfort ‘buds) are enough of a barrier that you’ll still be able to listen without distractions.
The Bose Sport Earbuds will set you back £179.95 and are rated IPX4 for sweat resistance.
Both the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and Sport Earbuds are available to pre-order right now and will start landing through letterboxes on October 5, 2020.
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AirPods, Apple, Bose QuietComfort 20, Active noise control
World news – US – Bose finally sets its sights on Apple AirPods Pro with all-new noise-cancelling earbuds