AIRPODS PRO 2 vs BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 2 : Detailed Review

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This is a showdown of AIRPODS PRO 2 vs BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 2

Before we begin the detailed review let’s compare and get a overview about these products in a better form with this table.

CategoryBose Quiet Comfort EarbudsAirPods Pro
Price$~300$ ~250
Active Noise CancellationStronger at higher decibel levelsComplete silence in lower decibel environments
TransparencyHissier with more artifactsMore accurate and clear
BassStronger low end and sub-bassLess bass, but more detail and high-end clarity
Codec supportSBC and AACSBC and AAC
Multi-point connectivityNoNo (but seamless switching for Apple devices)
Wireless chargingNoYes (also compatible with MagSafe and Qi wireless charging)
Earbud sizeSlightly largerSmaller
Earbud fitWingtips for secure fitExtra small ear tips available
Battery life24 hours with case30 hours with case
CompatibilityWorks with Android and AppleWorks with Android, but full customization only available with Apple devices
Extra featuresMultiple modes in app, calibration sound for individual earsFind My feature with speaker on case, skin detection
ImageProductDetails  Price
airpodsAirPods Pro (2nd Gen)Dimension: Each Bud
24.0 x 21.8 x 3.9″
MagSafe Charging Case: 45.2 x 21.7 x 60.6 mm
Weight: 56.2 Grams
Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Bose qcBose QCDimension: 5.1 x 8.7 x 3.4 cm
Weight: 9 Grams (Buds)
Reviews: 4.1 out of 5 stars
Check Price
TLDR;

Noise Cancellation Discussion

The new second generation Bose QuietComfort earbuds and AirPods Pro have just been released. These are two very exciting earbuds, and the AirPods Pro 2, in particular, may look similar to the original AirPods Pro, but they offer a completely different experience. I am amazed by the improvements made to these earbuds. Similarly, the Bose QuietComfort earbuds are likely the most improved earbuds of the year, with a smaller design and many new features. Two years ago, the original versions of these earbuds were competing for the title of the best active noise cancelling earbuds on the market. With these significant improvements, it’s time to compare the second generation AirPods Pro 2 and Bose QuietComfort earbuds. This is going to be a very interesting comparison.

As someone who is not particularly patient, I want to start by discussing the most interesting aspect of these earbuds: the active noise cancellation. While I will also cover topics such as microphone quality, sound analysis, features, and design, there is no doubt that the active noise cancellation is a top consideration for anyone buying one of these earbuds. Bose claims to have the world’s best ANC, while the AirPods claim to have 2X better ANC than the previous AirPods Pro, which were already among the top in the industry. Both of these earbuds have exceptionally good active noise cancellation.

Bose and AirPods have both made bold claims about the active noise cancellation capabilities of their earbuds. In order to evaluate these claims, it’s important to have some background information. The Bose QuietComfort earbuds have 11 levels of transparency and ANC, which allows users to adjust how much of their surroundings they want to hear. However, it’s not possible to turn the ANC off completely on these earbuds. In situations where it is very windy, for example, this could be a drawback.

While the Bose QuietComfort earbuds have 11 levels of transparency and ANC, they do not have the ability to turn off the ANC completely. On the other hand, the AirPods offer three options: ANC off, transparency, or ANC. The AirPods also have adaptive transparency, which means that when transparency is turned on, if there is a loud sound nearby, the earbuds will automatically adjust the volume to a safer level. This feature could be useful in situations such as concerts, where the earbuds can play the music at a comfortable volume without muffling it. It’s worth noting that the speaker has not tested this feature at a concert yet, but will consider doing so and sharing updates on Twitter and Instagram.

Noise Cancellation Testing

Now, I will discuss the testing I did to compare the active noise cancellation (ANC) capabilities of the Bose QuietComfort earbuds and the AirPods. It’s worth noting that different reviewers may have different experiences and analyses, but I want to provide a clear and definitive comparison between these earbuds. For the first test, I played the sound of an airplane (white noise) through a speaker at a constant distance and gradually increased the volume until I could hear it through the ANC on the earbuds. With the Bose QuietComfort earbuds, I was able to block out the sound up to volume 35. With the AirPods, I was able to hear the sound at volume 27.

In a different test, I sat in a room with a window unit air conditioner and tested the earbuds’ ability to cancel out the noise. When I used the AirPods, the air conditioner completely disappeared and it was dead silent, without any music playing. However, when I wore the Bose QuietComfort earbuds, there was a gentle hum and I could still tell that the air conditioner was there, although it was not as loud. This shows that the AirPods are better at cancelling out certain types of noise, while the Bose earbuds excel at cancelling out others. To further test the earbuds, I conducted a female voice test, as female voices are typically harder to block out due to their higher frequency. I played a female interview on a speaker and gradually increased the volume until I could pick out the actual words being said. With the Bose earbuds, I couldn’t hear what was being said until volume 16, while with the AirPods, I couldn’t hear until volume 13. This indicates that the Bose earbuds are better at blocking out female voices. Finally, I also tested the earbuds’ performance in windy conditions. Both earbuds did a good job of cancelling out wind noise, but the Bose earbuds performed slightly better in this regard. It’s worth noting that the Bose earbuds do not have the ability to turn off the ANC, which may impact their performance in some situations. Overall, both earbuds performed impressively in windy conditions.

Noise Cancellation Results

To summarize, my analysis of the active noise cancellation (ANC) is that the AirPods are better at achieving complete silence in a lower volume environment, while the Bose QuietComfort earbuds are better at muting loud sounds. The AirPods tend to perform better up to around 52 decibels, but above that, especially above 55 decibels, the Bose earbuds definitely perform better. Therefore, if you’re in a very loud environment, such as on a plane, my personal choice would be the Bose earbuds. However, if you’re in a quieter room with just a fridge or noisy air conditioner, the AirPods will provide a better level of silence. In terms of transparency, both earbuds are undoubtedly industry leaders, but I would say that the Bose earbuds are a little hissier and produce more white noise and artifacts. However, when music is playing, the Bose earbuds do a great job of making it sound like the music is playing in the same room as you. Overall, I would say that the transparency of the AirPods is slightly better than that of the Bose earbuds.

Microphone Testing

Next, let’s evaluate the microphone performance of the earbuds during phone calls. This is an outdoor microphone test with both the new AirPods Pro 2 and Bose. With ANC off you would hear a lot of traffic in the background, but with ANC ON I can hear myself well and don’t feel like I’m yelling, the other person on the call was literally amazed with the hearing minimal to no noise from background traffic. I would say Airpods performed well in this test. 

Audio Quality

Before discussing the design of the earbuds, it’s important to evaluate the audio quality of the Bose QuietComfort earbuds and the AirPods. Both earbuds are limited to SBC and AAC codecs, which may be disappointing for users who are looking for high-res codecs, especially Android users. In terms of audio quality, the Bose earbuds tend to have a warmer sound and better base. The music can be heard in a natural balance, or the EQ can be adjusted in the app to achieve a great dynamic sound with a thumpy bass.

The Bose QuietComfort earbuds have a realistic sound, particularly when listening to live recordings. They are also accurate when playing studio recordings, although they may not have the same level of detail as other high-end earbuds such as the Sennheiser or Bang & Olufsen. The AirPods have a nice boost in bass compared to the original AirPods and also have volume-adjusted tuning for a good balance at any volume. The Bose earbuds have a wide soundstage that fills the room, particularly when in wear mode or transparency mode. However, the AirPods have slightly more detail and better high-end clarity. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference – the Bose earbuds have more powerful bass and sub-bass, which also contributes to their strong ANC, while the AirPods have more clarity and detail. Both earbuds are excellent options.

Features/Case Discussion

The earbuds’ active noise cancellation, microphones, and sound quality are fundamental features, but the additional features can also be important. The new AirPods have the Find My feature, which allows you to locate individual AirPods or the case, which now has a speaker for this purpose. The case can be charged wirelessly with Qi charging or using the MagSafe, Apple Watch, or Lightning charger. The Bose QuietComfort earbuds can only be charged using a USB-C cable and do not have wireless charging. The AirPods also have a lanyard hook on the case, while the Bose earbuds have a smaller case that works well with both Android and Apple devices, although the AirPods have more customization options when used with an Apple device. Neither earbud has multi-point connectivity, but the AirPods have a feature that allows for seamless switching between Apple devices. The control mechanisms for the earbuds are slightly different, with swipe controls for volume on both, tap controls on the Bose earbuds, and pinch controls on the AirPods. The AirPods have an ear scan for 360 audio, while the Bose earbuds play a calibration sound for each ear and adjust for different users. The Bose earbuds also have different modes in the app, such as commute mode or quiet mode, for easier switching between ANC levels.

Design

The Bose QuietComfort earbuds and the AirPods Pro are two highly-anticipated earbuds. The AirPods Pro 2 may look similar to the original, but they offer a completely different experience. Both earbuds have improved significantly from their previous versions, with new features and a smaller design. These earbuds are competing for the title of best active noise cancellation earbuds on the market. In terms of ANC, Bose claims to have the best in the world, while the AirPods claim to have 2X better ANC than the previous AirPods Pro. In testing, the AirPods were better at achieving complete silence in a lower volume environment, while the Bose earbuds were better at muting loud sounds. The AirPods also have a new find my feature and the case has a speaker, while the Bose earbuds can only be charged with a USB-C and don’t have wireless charging. Both earbuds have swipe controls for volume and tap or pinch controls, but only the Bose earbuds have different modes in the app. In terms of design, the Bose case is smaller but still larger than the AirPods case, and the AirPods have an extra small ear tip and skin detection. Both earbuds have good battery life and are comfortable to wear, but the AirPods may fall out of some users’ ears more easily.

Pricing/Final Thoughts

The Bose QuietComfort earbuds and AirPods Pro both have impressive features, such as active noise cancellation, transparency mode, and good bass. The Bose earbuds are slightly more expensive at $300, but offer more powerful active noise cancellation and compatibility with Android devices. The AirPods Pro, priced at $250, are a well-known and trusted design that has recently been updated to improve active noise cancellation and provide better bass. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and it is up to the consumer to decide which of these two options would be a better buy.

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