Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: Best ANC I Ever Tested


This is the latest flagship pair of earbuds from Bose, and the name says it all. These are the Bose QuietComfort Ultra earbuds, which is a pretty bold claim, I know, but honestly, I would love to have a pair of ultra-comfortable earbuds with ultra-quiet ANC when I travel, when I work, or really whatever. So, let’s unpack that.

Exploring the Exceptional Noise Cancellation

Starting off with the quiet part—spoiler, ultra-quiet is not an exaggeration. But before we get into the test, I’m actually filming this before these earbuds hit the shelves, so I want to thank Bose for sending these over early and for partnering in this article. Of course, all opinions are my own, and we’ll keep things objective and factual with real testing throughout this article.

Unparalleled Active Noise Cancellation

I start off with the active noise cancellation test, the way I do this by playing the sound of a jet at a set distance away, and I turn that volume up until the earbuds are no longer able to block that out. So, a higher number means quieter earbuds, and as you can see in this chart, these are the quietest earbuds I’ve ever tested, blocking up to 65.2 decibels, which was absolutely incredible. I’ve also tried this in real-world situations, flying with this other loud ambient sound, and it blocks everything so well.


But of course, noise cancellation is not one-dimensional. We also need to think about higher-pitched sounds, crowd sounds, and different noises. So, I ran those tests; I’ll show them on the screen right here as well. In general, across the board, very, very impressive. But without a doubt, the bread and butter of these earbuds is going to be those constant loud noises like a jet, a train, an air conditioner, whatever it’s going to be. Very quiet from that aspect with these earbuds.

Comfort Matters: The Design of Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

The second test I did was with regard to the wind. A lot of earbuds struggle when you’re outside and it’s windy; the microphones kind of feed that back in the ANC. But with these, I was actually very impressed. Now, you can’t turn the ANC off; it’s always on some spectrum between ANC and transparency, and I’ll show you that in the app in a second. But the mic overall did a really impressive job of really shutting down the wind, and I think the microphone test in just a few minutes will demonstrate that as well.

Unmatched Comfort and Fit

So, as I said, I like to use these when I’m traveling, and ANC is fantastic, but all of that is completely worthless if they aren’t comfortable. So, being that these are called The Quiet Comfort, we better hope they are comfortable. And let’s unpack that a little bit. So everybody has different ears, but Bose understands that. We have three pairs of ear tips and three pairs of wing tips, giving you nine different permutations. For me, I was actually, full disclosure,

Sound Quality Elevated: Snapdragon Sound Certification

last time we had the Bose Quiet Comfort earbuds, the second generation from last year, they were comfortable, but they didn’t stay in my ears well. Like, I really couldn’t wear them for a long period of time. And I don’t know exactly what Bose changed here, but these are definitely a lot better. They feel more comfortable than the twos. They stay in my ears for a longer period of time without falling out, without getting uncomfortable. So, so far, Quiet Comfort is a pretty fitting name.

Elevated Sound Experience

But of course, we have a few more things we have to test. You can’t just have quiet and comfortable earbuds; obviously, the sound is going to matter a lot. And so these once again took it a step further than the previous generation. These are Snapdragon Sound certified, which means one of my biggest complaints from the two was that they only had SBC and AAC codecs. This now has Qualcomm aptX Adaptive, which means you’re getting lower latency and higher-resolution sound. No,


Tailored Sound with EQ

Not every phone has aptX Adaptive; my Pixel Fold didn’t, but my Nothing Phone 2 did, so I was using that. And the sound quality, especially when you have aptX Adaptive on, was actually really nice. I was really impressed by the sound profile on these. There were plenty of capable bass and sub-bass having pretty large drivers in here. It’s also a warm and pleasant sound. It’s definitely a lot more detailed than the previous generation. It can be a bit boomy by default, so I used the EQ in the app, which definitely helped with that.


Battery Life and Immersion Mode: What Sets Bose Ultra Earbuds Apart

And for many genres, the boomy sound would be ideal anyway. But for what I was listening to, I wanted to dial that back, and the EQ really allowed me to do that. For example, I listened to The War on Drugs just to kind of test it out. They have a lot of music that has a lot of layers and just tons of stuff going on, and the Ultras kept up. They made it feel like I was pretty much there, as dynamic, it was lively.

Ideal Battery Life for Travel

So following that thread of traveling, you obviously need better battery life to last the whole flight. Like here in the US, any flight across the country is probably about six hours or less, so I think that’s really a threshold of what I would need. These hit that target with up to six hours in the earbuds and 24 hours when you include the case, and that is with active noise cancellation on.

Introducing Immersion Mode

A lot of earbuds present their numbers with ANC off, but that’s not the case with Bose, they do actually have a shorter battery life if you turn on immersion. You get four hours in the earbuds and 16 when you include the case when you have immersion on.

Customize Your Experience with the Bose Earbuds App

I realize I haven’t actually introduced that; that’s one of the big new features. This could really be useful in like a workday. So if we’re shifting gears out of travel mode into like how well do these perform when you’re working at your desk? So immersion is going to be better for like articles or music, and it kind of gives you like a spatial 3D surround sound, so the music’s gonna play right in front of you. And as you turn, like it’ll sound like it stays right there. It’s something that is new to Bose, and it’s actually very impressive.

Microphone Test: Ideal for Work and Play

They did a great job with this. It’s a feature that I don’t personally use all that often, but I know a lot of people really like this, especially for reading articles and things like that. You can actually set up different modes for different situations in the Bose app. So the defaults include quiet, which just plain blocks everything out, don’t turn on immersion, that’s the one I usually use, especially when I’m traveling, gives you a decent battery life of six hours, and you’re blocking out a lot of sound around you.

Transparency Mode: Hear Your Surroundings

The second mode is immersive, which by default they have as ANC, and they have the immersion mode where you can track your head. And the third one is where you can just hear things around you. Some people call it transparency, some people call it hear-through, pass-through, whatever. And again, I was actually genuinely really impressed by this. So I don’t know of a good way to quantify this, but when you’re wearing these, it really feels and sounds like you don’t have anything in your ears, which is really tough to do besides these. The AirPods are the only ones that can do anything like this.


Aesthetics and Design

Most other earbuds on the market just sound kind of robotic or further away or quieter. These, like, I could walk around, I could talk to people, I can do daily tasks, and it sounds like I’m not wearing earbuds at all. And let’s be honest, when you’re working at home, like, I’ll wear whatever. I don’t care what I look like. But when I’m in the office, you need earbuds that look good. So you can leave a comment and let me know what you think of these earbuds, but in general, they’re a similar size shape, and overall design to the previous generation, the twos.

Bose Accessories and Customization

But we do have two colors available, and we have a new metallic finish on the outside that looks really clean and honestly pretty premium. So let me know what you think of the aesthetics of these. Overall, I think they look pretty good. We have a very familiar case here, charging by USB Type-C or wireless charging. It’s a very open design on the inside, so it’s easy to clean, which I found beneficial.

Microphone Performance: Ideal for Work and Play

And getting back to kind of the workday setup, another thing is getting on phone calls. So let’s actually get into a microphone test. All right, so the first microphone test for indoors, obviously in my studio. I always like to do one in a quiet environment to simulate where you’d be on a work call. So this is what it would sound like. Leave a comment and let me know how this sounds to you. And now let’s go outside to a louder environment. We can test out the wind like I said as well as some other more ambient sound. All right, so here’s a microphone test near a road. It’s pretty breezy out here. There’s definitely some traffic behind me. So leave a comment and let me know how these sound to you.

Bose App Customization

So as you can tell, these are pretty ideal for a workday, and they check basically every box I had except one. But Bose thought about this and they have their own workaround here. These don’t have a true multi-point connectivity, I mean meaning you can connect to multiple devices but not simultaneously. And the workaround here is in the Bose app. You can actually go to the source, and you can switch between many different devices by toggling them on and off and just switching between which devices are connected to the earbuds.

Customize Your Listening Experience

And while we’re actually in the app, I’ll show you the other things Bose has here. So one, the volume controls, of course, are available in the app. We also have a source, as I showed you. We have immersive audio; you can choose if you want that to be off if you want it to be a single point in front of you, or if you want motion, meaning like as you turn if you’re facing this way, it’ll kind of slowly come over there and it’s always feeling like it’s kind of in front of you. We also have a shortcut so you can choose what the touch and hold on either side is. It can cycle through the modes, it can change immersive on and off, or you can access your voice assistant. Of course, we have a three-band equalizer, and then we have modes.

Create Custom Modes for Different Activities

Now, let’s actually make a new mode right now. This is a really cool feature, probably the one that I use the most in the app. So if we go to modes, there are a lot of different suggested titles you can make a custom one if you want. But let’s just say we wanted a run. So if we tap on the run, you can choose the noise cancellation. Right now, it’s in the middle; that’s equivalent to having ANC off, although the ANC never really turns off, so that’s what’s cool about Bose, it’s always running no matter what. So we can go all the way down on noise cancellation, and it’s just like full transparency, I hear my surroundings.


Or you can turn it all the way up, and it’s like, I feel like I’m yelling. Now, I really can’t hear anything, let’s go back down. And then you can also choose what the immersive audio thing is. So maybe when I’m working out, I want to block out a little bit of sound but I want to be able to hear, like, if a car beeps at me or something, so maybe I’ll keep it around, like, level two or level three, that might be ideal. And we can save that, we could say done, and now we have that mode ready to go whenever we go for a run. We just tap that, and those settings are ready to go.

Ideal for Workouts: IPX4 Water Resistance

Now, speaking of working out, these also have IPX4 water resistance. They also have Bluetooth 5.3, so if you’re in a gym, the range should be really ideal. It also means they work independently without the classic master-slave connection that we used to have in the previous generation. So I could listen to just one earbud while the other one was in the case.

Exceptional Touch Controls and Features

In addition, these have in-ear detection, so if you take an earbud out, it’ll automatically pause. And the touch controls, as I said before, work really well. You have a nice large surface area, not only to tap but also to swipe so you can control the volume.

Available Accessories for Bose Earbuds

These start at $299. I’ll have a link down below so you can check the latest price. And on that link, you can actually find some other accessories which I think is really cool that Bose sells. You can buy just the case, so if you lost the case or if you wanted a second case, whatever, you can buy just the case. You can also buy other sizes for the ear tips, so if these three for the wingtip and three for the ear tip don’t fit you for some reason, I think they should fit 95 percent of people, but if you’re an extreme outlier, you could buy some of the other sizes. Or you can actually buy a case cover as well.


Final Verdict and Upcoming Comparisons

Again, thanks to Bose for partnering on this article. I’m really stoked about these earbuds, and I’m definitely going to be comparing them to the Sony XM5s, the latest AirPods Pro, and all the other flagship earbuds out there to see which one is really the best of the best.

Leave a Comment