Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
After a long-awaited release, the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) vs the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II was announced on the same day. Both are renowned for their active noise cancellation capabilities, but how do they compare? We conducted a feature-by-feature analysis to determine the winner.
The AirPods Pro and QuietComfort Earbuds II are high-end earbuds that were launched in September 2022, one week apart from each other. Due to their premium quality, it is unlikely to find them at a discounted price anytime soon. In terms of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), Apple’s AirPods Pro seems to have an advantage over Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds II, as they are priced at $228.99 compared to Bose’s $269.99.
Despite being premium earbuds, the AirPods Pro from Apple is priced $50 lower than the QuietComfort Earbuds II from Bose.
Active Noise Cancelling and Transparency mode
Noise-canceling technology has seen significant advancements in the past few years, particularly in midrange and sub-$100 earbuds, with high-end performance slowly making its way down the ladder. However, high-end improvements have been more incremental. Although the WH-1000XM5 from Sony is an upgrade over the WH-1000XM4, the improvement is not revolutionary. Nevertheless, the second-generation AirPods Pro and QuietComfort Earbuds II represent a significant leap forward in noise-canceling technology.
The noise-canceling performance of both earbuds is impressive, although the Bose has a slight edge. AirPods Pro cancels airplane drones but allows some midrange hiss and low rumble compared to the QuietComfort II, which has stronger and more precise attenuation for quieter conversation. Both earbuds offer Adaptive Transparency mode, which attenuates loud sounds to protect your ears while transparency mode is enabled. However, Apple and Bose have different approaches to how it works, with distinct philosophies.
Bose’s AwareSense technology activates noise canceling automatically when transparency mode is enabled, minimizing loud sounds’ intrusiveness in the environment. Bose’s implementation of noise cancelling can be disorienting, especially when a sudden loud sound occurs, causing it to rush in and shut out the world briefly. An adjustable slider in the future could help reduce the drama of the moment. At present, the feature’s performance is not satisfactory.
Apple’s Transparency mode is highly effective, utilizing a limiter to safeguard against sudden loud noises that can damage your hearing. The AirPods Pro’s H2 chip samples your surroundings 48,000 times a second, enabling it to improve the clarity of speech and distinguish voices in noisy settings. Though occasional minor distortion may arise from loud noises triggering the limiter, the AirPods Pro’s overall performance remains remarkable.
Overall, it is challenging to determine a clear winner as each earbud performs better in different areas.
Touch Control and Features
Both Apple and Bose lack complete functionality and control, as neither the AirPods Pro nor the QuietComfort Earbuds II has Bluetooth multipoint pairing, limiting users to connect only one device at a time.
AirPods Pro has Spatial Audio and convenient features like “Hey Siri” and tracking but lacks EQ control. Bose added a 3-band EQ and voice assistant access but removed wireless charging, a common feature in earbuds over $200.
Both the AirPods Pro and the QuietComfort II have comprehensive controls, including volume adjustment. AirPods Pro have default volume controls that work even without an iPhone connection, but they can only be adjusted from an iPhone. QuietComfort II has a device-agnostic Bose Music app that enables complete customization of features for both Apple and Android ecosystems.
Both earbuds still leave something to be desired, such as EQ options for the AirPods Pro, wireless charging capability for the QC buds, and multipoint pairing for both. Therefore, this category is a tie.
Design and Comfortable of AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) vs Bose Earbuds II
Bose has enhanced the QuietComfort Earbuds II by making them smaller and more similar to AirPods Pro in appearance and also reduced their weight by over two grams per bud. The earbuds now feature interchangeable ear tips and stability bands for better-fit customization.
AirPods Pro added an extra-small ear tip to their design, bringing the total to four sizes. The QuietComfort Earbuds II from Bose have improved the fit by making them lighter and offering a range of customization options including ear tips and stability bands. The AirPods Pro is still lighter than the Bose earbuds, but the weight difference can affect long-term comfort.
Ultimately, the best-fit design depends on an individual’s ear size. Nonetheless, since the AirPods Pro are a bit smaller and lighter, they are the winner of this category.
Sound and Microphone Quality
Bose has recently introduced a 3-band EQ to their QuietComfort II earbuds, but it has a couple of flaws. Although you can adjust the bass, mids, and treble, there’s no way to save your customized settings, and switching between the four presets means losing your adjustments.
However, even with EQ tweaks, the AirPods Pro still produces slightly superior sound quality with supportive bass and sparkling highs. The QuietComfort II earbuds have a slight midrange emphasis but still sound decent overall. In outdoor calls, the AirPods Pro stands out by filtering out unwanted noise, while the QuietComfort II struggles to cope with moderate wind and traffic noise.
All in all, the AirPods Pro triumph in this category due to their sound and call quality straight out of the box.
Both the AirPods Pro and QuietComfort II earbuds have average battery life but have improved from their predecessors. The AirPods Pro offers up to 6 hours of battery life with ANC on and up to 30 hours with the charging case. The Bose earbuds also provide up to 6 hours of battery life with ANC on, but their case only extends that to a total of 24 hours.
However, Apple’s fast charge is twice as fast as Bose’s, and with an extra 6 hours provided by the case, the AirPods Pro wins in this category.
Final Result of AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) vs Bose Earbuds II
AirPods Pro is the winner, they are optimized for Apple devices and offer improved noise cancelling, balanced sound, and Adaptive Transparency mode. They’re $50 cheaper than the Bose QC Earbuds II. Bose excels in noise canceling, particularly in midrange frequencies, and can work with any device. For the best noise canceling, Bose is the choice. But in most other situations, AirPods Pro is equal or better and versatile.
Whether the winner is AirPods Pro or Bose QuietComfort II, each brand has its own strength and weaknesses. But as we reviewed above we stand on AirPods Pro because of their advantage features and better quality. Comment below if your guess were right in the first place.