In this guide

  • Review
Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review: Better in every way

  • Avatar


Quick verdict: Bose has not-so-subtly refined its already excellent QuietComfort Earbuds with a better shape, a simpler case and improved audio quality.


  • Great ANC
  • Smaller case is easier to carry around
  • Improved shape doesn’t clog your ears up

  • Lacks wireless charging
  • Bose Music app is a buggy mess
  • Limited codec compatibility

In this guide

  • Review

In the premium true wireless earbuds space, there's been stiff competition recently between the likes of Sony, Apple, Samsung and Bose.

Bose's flagship effort, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds were among my favourite true wireless buds of 2021, offering the best ANC I've hit in simple buds by a wide margin, along with solid audio performance and battery life.

This isn't to say that they were perfect because there was clearly room for improvement, especially in terms of overall bud and case size.

It turns out Bose was listening to those kinds of criticisms because its newest model, the aptly named Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, grab everything that was great about the original models while shedding considerable bulk and improving in nearly every way.

Design: Not quite so bulky (but still big)

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II come in either a Triple Black – no, I have no idea where the triple bit comes in either – or Sandstone finish, although the latter won't be available to consumers until November, so it's the Triple Black model that I've been testing out.

If you're not a fan of the all-white obsession of so many true wireless buds as pioneered by Apple, the colour choices here are nice.

What's especially welcome here is how Bose has managed to shrink down both the case and bud size from the original model. It's now a lot more pocket friendly than the original version, although at 5.94x6.63x2.67cm and 59.8g, it's still on the larger side. If you favour a tighter pair of pants, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II case is going to stand out.

Opening the case up, you'll find the buds with ear tips and stability bands preinstalled. Bose supplies 3 different sizes for both bands and tips to allow you to mix and match based on your own comfort and fit.

For what it's worth, I didn't find the need to change from the default bands, but everyone's different. I'd be more worried if there wasn't the option to switch around for size in any case.

Performance: Great audio, but sort out your app, Bose!

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II connect over standard Bluetooth, and it is possible to simply pair them with your phone or another device if you just want a quick connection.

Thankfully, Bose has opted for a pairing button on the case, which is great if you need to switch devices around. Annoyingly, there's no multipoint connection capability with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.

However, to get the most out of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, you're going to need to install the Bose Music app for iOS and Android. This allows you to set equalisation, specify active noise cancelling modes and update the firmware on the buds themselves.

At least, that's in theory what it's meant to be for. I've come to the sad conclusion that the Bose Music app's true purpose is raising my blood pressure. For such a premium brand, it's frankly embarrassing how bad and unstable the Bose Music app actually is.

On first installation, it identified that there was a firmware update ready to roll for the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, which isn't unusual.

Taking more than 3 hours, multiple app and phone reboots and reconnections before it would actually take and complete the firmware update certainly is unusual, and not in a good way.

Firmware updates aren't a super common incidence for most buds, but sadly, the app bugginess doesn't stop there.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Multiple times, across both iOS and Android, I've had the Bose app decide that the buds were no longer connected even when they were or declare that they had radically different battery capacities for left and right buds, only to declare them equal if I quit the app and relaunched it. You've made some exceptional hardware here, Bose, but your software support is sadly very lacking.

The hardware part of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II kicks in every time you place them in your ears. You're greeted with a slightly harsh chime that lets you know that they're working, but also enables a new feature for these buds.

Bose calls it CustomTune, and it dynamically tracks the audio properties of the echo that it hears through your ear canals every time you put the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II into your ears.

This gives it a truly dynamic approach to audio output and noise cancellation every single time, generally appropriate to your circumstances. The differences can be subtle, but putting them on in a noisier environment definitely led to a different audio signature than when I placed them on in a quiet room, so CustomTune is at least trying to match up the best settings for audio output.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

You're somewhat out of luck if you favour specific codec support because the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are slightly lacking. There's no support for aptX, for example, with only AAC and SBC codecs supported, giving the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II a slight edge for iPhone users.

That being said, the actual soundscape the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II presents is genuinely very good. Comparing them directly to their forebears, there's a slightly stronger accent on bass, although you can always tweak that with the Bose Music App (when it's working) to suit your particular music tastes.

Listening once again to Prince's "Purple Rain", the opening empty arena-style guitar chords were beautifully presented against the distinct thump of the drums, building to that song's familiar crescendo.

Heading back in time for a little heavier vocal work, Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" presents well, with Armstrong's distinctive gravelly presentation separated well against the rising strings that complement his vocals.

Going for something a little heavier, Alice Cooper's "Poison" again sounds good, losing little despite its push towards lower tones, where often the mix can get quite muddled.

Bose obviously has form in audio presentation, but with newer contenders like the Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen or Samsung's Galaxy Buds2 Pro to contend with, how do the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II compare?

Putting them head to head to head in my own skull, I'd give the AirPods Pro 2nd Gen a very slight audio edge over the Bose, but not by much, while the Galaxy Buds2 Pro are still very solid – but obviously best suited to Samsung phone owners.

Where the QuietComfort Earbuds II really do blow the competition away is with their active noise cancelling (ANC).

The original QuietComfort Earbuds were already one of my favourite sets of ANC buds, and I was concerned that the smaller shape of the QuietComfort Earbuds II might lead to a reduction in ANC quality.

That wasn't the case, with a default setting for "Aware" and "Quiet" as the default options alongside user-configurable settings for any of the 10 different levels of ANC. One oddity here is that there's no "off" ANC setting, which does have some implications for battery usage. Still, the balancing here is very good, with the ANC intelligently managing a mix of voice, vehicle and other distracting noise cancellation with ease.

I've jogged on a treadmill I couldn't really hear with the QuietComfort Earbuds II as well as run through streets with noisy petrol vehicles doing their thing very happily. ANC is very much assumed at the price point of the QuietComfort Earbuds II, but if it's a key criteria for you, these are the best I've tested to date.

Like competitors, the QuietComfort Earbuds II use touch controls for play/pause, volume controls and ANC settings, with smaller scope for personalisation along the way. Like competitors, I still struggle to get them to work reliably, and I often find them misbehaving when I'm moving the QuietComfort Earbuds II around in my ears or from ear to case.

Battery: Lives up to modest claims

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Bose's claim for the QuietComfort Earbuds II is that they're capable of up to 6 hours of battery life. That's a flat figure where many competitors will give you a split figure depending on whether ANC is active or not. Because there's no "off" state for ANC beyond setting it to a custom zero pattern, you don't get that particular luxury if you did want to eke out even more battery life from your buds. While I'd want pricey ANC buds to work with ANC most of the time anyway, it's the one use case where switching it off would make a little sense.

Bose's 6-hour figure is quite accurate based on my own testing, give or take around 10 minutes and your particular usage set-up. The case itself will provide up to 3 charges for a total of 24 hours, though you'd have to add in an hour each time for fully topping up the buds if you were looking to do a marathon listening session.

Disappointingly, while they'll charge via USB-C, there's no onboard wireless charging. Given the price premium of the QuietComfort Earbuds II, and the size of the case, it's an odd feature to drop, especially as the original model offered it.

Should you buy the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

  • Buy it if you want best in class ANC.
  • Don't buy it if you want a stable app experience.

Right now, many of the best choices in the premium ANC bud space are tied quite closely to specific brands. Apple users will likely gravitate towards the Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen, while Android users can pick between the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro and the Pixel Buds Pro.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II sit in the middle of all of those approaches. While they don't get the ecosystem benefits of being an in-brand choice, and there are features like multipoint and wireless charging that I would have liked to see, they balance that against great sound output and industry-leading active noise cancelling, making them a great choice.

Pricing and availability

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II cost $429 in Australia

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II


Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II


Soapstone, Triple Black


True wireless
Bluetooth Version


Detachable Cable
Rechargeable Battery
Water Resistant
Battery Life
Up to 6 hours
Battery Charging Time
1 hours
Battery Type

How we tested

I tested the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II paired with an Apple iPhone 14 Pro and Google Pixel 7 Pro over a 2-week period with multiple audio sources including music, podcasts, video and mobile gaming. Active noise cancelling was tested in multiple environments indoors and outdoors and evaluated against the ANC features of similarly priced headsets. The battery on the QuietComfort Earbuds II was run down multiple times to get an average figure against that claimed by Bose. The QuietComfort Earbuds II tested were supplied by Bose.

The reviewer has more than 2 decades of tech product reviewing under his belt and is a multi-time Australian IT Journo award winner, including awards for best reviewer and best technical journalist.

Go to site