Apple AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Which wireless earbuds win?

Apple AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Which wireless earbuds win?



(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

Bose might be the king of noise-cancelling headphones, only Apple is also staking its ain claim in the audio market as the king of wireless earbuds. This face-off compares these 2 brands’ latest releases in the true wireless category to determine the better noise-cancelling choice.

The AirPods Pro remains a tiptop-seller and one of the best noise-cancelling headphones bachelor. Tom’s Guide has even awarded the buds a perfect 5-star rating for their stellar overall performance. How Apple managed to squeeze surprisingly good ANC applied science and improved audio into a more functional, ergonomic pattern is quite the engineering feat.

  • Check out our Apple AirPods Pro review
  • …and our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review

A newbie to the scene, the QuietComfort Earbuds continue to build buzz, with favorable reviews from heralded tech publications. In our review, we praised the model for its remarkable ANC, great sound, and even greater phone call quality. Whether these hallmarks are enough to make Bose’s tiny noise-cancellers the new market favorite, well, that’s what we’re about to detect out right at present.

Read on for our full Bose QuietComfort Earbuds vs AirPods Pro confront-off to see which wireless earbuds powerhouse comes out on top.

AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Specs compared

AirPods Pro Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Price $249.00 $279.95
Colors White Triple Black, Soapstone
Bombardment life (rated) 4.5 hours, 24 hours (with charging case) 6 hours, 18 (with charging case)
Size and weight i.22 x 0.86 ten 0.94 inches, 0.19 ounces 1.5 x 1 x one.one inches, 0.3 ounces
Immovability IPX4 (water and sweat resistance) IPX 4 (water and sweat resistance)
Special features Active noise cancellation, Transparency Style, adaptive EQ, spatial sound, automatic switching, customizable fit, audio sharing, announced letters with Siri, “Hey Siri” voice-activated assist, wireless charging Adjustable active noise counterfoil, Active EQ technology, Transparency Way, Bluetooth 5.i, Self Vocalisation calling mode, wireless charging

AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Toll and value

When shopping for the best wireless earbuds, it’s a matter of which pair offers the most blindside for your cadet. Still, you’re looking at two models that autumn inside the luxury toll point: $250 and over. This makes the determination even more difficult.

If it is ease of apply with solid active noise cancelling, features, and iOS functionality that you want, and so the $249 AirPods Pro is the fashion to go. If it’s adaptable, best-in-class noise cancellation and phone call quality, pursue the $279 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. Merely remember that either investment comes at a premium.

Winner: Draw

AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Pattern

Shape is a critical factor when examining the design of wireless earbuds. That being said, we’re fine maxim that neither the long-stem form of the AirPods Pro, nor the broad-sized frame of the QuietComfort Earbuds is bonny. Period.

Nonetheless, the AirPods Pro has a slight border in the looks department, and not because of its smaller size. Apple did an awesome chore creating its arrangement-in-packet (SIP) pattern, which houses the H1 bit and ANC circuitry in a more compact frame. Construction-wise, these aren’t very durable buds, but this version of the AirPods comes with sweat and water resistance and was built from eco-friendly materials, something many green thumbs volition capeesh.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’southward Guide)

The well-nigh significant change comes in the redesigned sound port, which now supports ear tips to establish a more than stabilized fit. Apple tree also developed its own Ear Tip Fit Test to decide the proper fit for optimized noise counterfoil. You don’t come across that type of commitment from many wireless earbuds makers. When worn, the AirPods Pro rests pleasantly on the ears and tin exist worn for about 3 hours straight earlier fatigue starts setting in.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’due south Guide)

Bose has a reputation for constructing premium audio products, and though the QuietComfort Earbuds are durable, they won’t win over style mongers. The high-end composite plastic casing comes IPX4-certified to keep the internals protected from sweat and h2o. In that location are IR sensors congenital into the buds as well for on-ear-detection. Information technology’s just unfortunate that their minimalist appearance looks ho-hum compared to some of the funky designs Bose offered on its previous wireless earbuds, the Bose SoundSport Complimentary.

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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

Speaking of which, the QuietComfort Earbuds happen to share nearly the aforementioned dimensions as their predecessor, which too makes them huge, and affects comfort. They are heavy at 0.3 ounces and the elongated sound port applies force per unit area on the concha after well-nigh 45 minutes of listening. On the plus side, Bose’s StayHear Max silicone ear tips and ear fins help to achieve a personalized fit, significant the buds volition stay in place when properly adapted.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’south Guide)

Comparing the charging cases is similar night and twenty-four hour period, mainly because of the size deviation. The AirPods Pro charging case is lighter, smaller, and looks more fashionable to carry around. Information technology’s likewise a scratch-n-scuff magnet that does a poor job with securing the buds; dropping information technology to the basis volition send the buds flying across the floor.

AirPods Pro vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

If yous think Bose’s earbuds are big, so consider the charging case massive. Basically, it’due south a huge plastic block that is more than than double the size of Apple tree’southward case. It is certainly the least portable-friendly of the ii, though it has one appealing feature that simplifies connectivity via Bluetooth push on the inside.

Winner: AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Controls

Apple ditched its touch on controls in favor of a new pinch gesture organisation that is located at the bottom of each stem, which registers multiple presses for playback and call management. It takes some getting used to at get-go, but in one case mastered, it’s easy to operate and works much improve than yous’d recall. On-ear detection is besides available to automatically break music when removing the buds and resume play when placed back on the ears.

AirPods Pro

(Epitome credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

Where the AirPods Pro really outperforms the QuietComfort Earbuds is digital assistant support. The “Hey Siri” feature is flawless and produces authentic results. Apple tree’south mics demonstrate dandy speech communication recognition and pick up vocals superbly. This feature is exclusive to Apple devices. Apple makes it difficult to utilize the digital banana feature on other platforms, but you can download tertiary-party apps (e.g. Assistant Trigger) if you want to use Google Assistant on Android devices.

Bose opted for touch controls, which are responsive, just also limited to double taps and long presses. There are no single- or triple-tap gestures available on the QuietComfort Earbuds. Just the left bud is customizable, and you can only set two out of three functions: switch ANC presets (long press) and skip a track/hear battery levels (2x tap). On-ear detection isn’t memorable either due to its latency issues; look a 1.50-2d delay before music pauses/resumes.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’due south Guide)

Where Bose makes up for the controls is in the digital assistant, which employs Bose’s excellent mic array to pick upward vocals conspicuously and cake out external sounds. Siri and Google Assistant work well, registering commands correctly, and responding to inquiries super-fast. Bixby and Cortana are also uniform with Bose’south buds. We just detect “Hey Siri” more than serviceable.

Winner: AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Sound quality

Bose is more known for its sound than Apple, and the QuietComfort Earbuds evangelize sonic goodness. They boast a similar frequency curve to the Bose 700 that produces fine-tuned sound with plenty of detail and well-baked midrange.

Bass is emphatic on upbeat R&B tracks like Mary J. Blige’s “Y’all Bring Me Joy.” The kicking drums and bass guitar complement Mary’s carefree and cheering melodies. Jazz classics similar McCoy Tyner’s “Search for Peace” are even more resonant, with great resolution that brings every instrument forepart and center. The melodic piano and sax play just sounds so make clean and lively.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

The AirPods Pro is no slouch with music either, giving listeners make clean, warm sound to bask playlists on the become. Lows are solid on high-energy tracks like Green Day’south “Handbasket Case,” which reproduces the guitar riffs and incessant hi-hat clashes surprisingly well, while the song arrangements on Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Simply Living Boy In New York” are soothing with an irresistible timbre.

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AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

Apple has also added spatial sound to the AirPods Pro’s arsenal, a sweet upgrade that is available in the current iOS 14 update. This new feature creates a theater-like surround audio feel that immerses the listener to brand the them feel more like they’re a function of the cinematic action taking place on the screen. It’due south impressive and as well works with a scattering of content platforms, including Apple Television receiver+, Disney Plus, and HBO Max.

Winner: Draw

AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Active noise cancellation

This is what you really came for. So, which pair of earbuds is considered the improve noise-cancelling solution? Surprise, surprise: the ones with Bose branding on the forepart.

Bose was able to anoint the QuietComfort Earbuds with well-nigh the same ANC performance as its flagship 700 headphones, and with half the mics. You lot can choose and adjust ten levels of racket cancellation, too as save and bike through three of your preferred levels on the left earbud. This is all done through the companion app (more on that later).

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

All you demand to know is that nothing tops it on the truly wireless front end. The buds block out vast amounts of ambient sounds across the frequency spectrum. Setting them at max level (ten) will offer the best results and silence common distractions (e.yard. communicative commuters, door buzzers), while as well minimizing loud, blaring noises (e.g. ambulance sirens, construction tools).

ANC fifty-fifty blends into Transparency Way (fix to level 5), which makes ambient noises audio more distinctive and less harsh. It’s a characteristic that comes in handy when going out on nighttime walks and sharing office space at home; I was able to hear and comply with my pregnant wife’s requests without stopping music.

The AirPods Pro are still great for noise neutralization — much better than you lot idea any Apple audio production ever could handle. It’s just not Bose caliber. Apple’s two-mic racket-cancelling arrangement is powerful and capable of blocking out eighty% of external sounds. At home, I was able to drown out many distractions, ranging from FedEx deliveries to loud TVs. The technology is effective outdoors also, though high-frequency sounds like machine alarms and whistles will make their manner onto the soundstage.

AirPods Pro

(Prototype credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

Apple tree’due south Transparency Fashion is also useful when you want to have cursory chats with neighbors and hear what’s happening around y’all simultaneously. I do recommend it if you programme on working out with the AirPods Pro, and then y’all can hear traffic much more clearly when exercising outside.

Winner: Bose QuietComfort Buds

AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Apps and special features

Apple doesn’t get enough credit for integrating the AirPods into its astounding iOS ecosystem. Having the ability to access features that work across all iDevices without the demand for a companion app is equally practical as information technology gets, and the AirPods Pro has a sufficient number of features right out of the box that continues to grow with every new iOS update.

The aforementioned “Hey Siri” function and spatial audio are stellar additions that brand engagement with your iPhone more fun, especially the latter when watching videos. Another major update introduced in iOS xiv is automated switching, which lets users swap between sound sources easily every bit long as those iDevices are paired to the same iCloud account. Other notable features include improved bombardment management and Sound Share to share audio betwixt two pairs of AirPods or Beats headphones.
Here are some other cool AirPods Pro tricks worth checking out.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

We still want Apple to requite us an adjustable EQ and nosotros proceed to concord our breath. In the meantime, there’south the selection to modify audio in the iPhone settings with 20 different presets. The QuietComfort Buds offer zero personalized sound. You can play around with the sound settings in Spotify, but this is something that can be applied to whatever pair of wireless earbuds.

The Bose Connect app brings a handful of features to the QuietComfort Earbuds such as a slider to manually conform noise cancellation. At that place are as well toggles for ANC, on-ear detection, voice assist, and voice prompts. The app’s biggest feature outside of adjustable ANC is Self Phonation Mode to permit you lot hear yourself louder on phone calls.

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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

(Paradigm credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

Sadly, ii key features are missing on the QuietComfort Earbuds and sectional to the Bose 700: an adjustable EQ and Auto-Off selection to put the buds in sleep style when inactive. Bose has all the same to ostend if either volition be available in a future update.

We would mutter about the lack of multipoint technology on Bose’south earbuds, but the feature is also missing on Apple’s buds.

Winner: AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Telephone call quality

These are the two of the pinnacle calling headsets out there. Which is the superior model? The QuietComfort Earbuds. Bose’due south mic array is a matter of dazzler, bringing the clarity and crispness that everyone desires when answering calls, and it does a phenomenal job of blocking out external sounds when chatting in loud environments. Speaking with iii different clients and my wife, they all thought I was speaking directly from my smartphone.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

The AirPods Pro grants exceptional call quality too. The buds produce articulate-sounding calls in any environment and have nifty wind resistance for chatting in drafty atmospheric condition. The H1 scrap also gives the buds 50% more talk time, which is clutch since battery life is mediocre. But if there is one thing that Bose’s earbuds do better, it is blocking out high-frequency sounds.

Winner: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Battery Life and charging case

Noise counterfoil is a battery drainer, so information technology isn’t surprising to hear that neither set of earbuds provides lengthy playtimes. The QuietComfort Earbuds final longer on a full charge, giving you most 5.5 hours when factoring in ANC, high volume, and heavy streaming. The AirPods Pro is shorter at 4.5 hours, which is disappointing since the AirPods ii is rated college at 5 hours.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

(Image credit: Brian Coule/Tom’due south Guide)

Quick charging is something you lot’ll want to look at as well when choosing a model, every bit the AirPods Pro generates 1 hour on a 5-minute charge, whereas the QuietComfort Earbuds gets you 2 hours on a xv-minute accuse. Clearly, Apple’s buds recharge more than quickly, though this is still less powerful than Beats’ Fast Fuel engineering science, which juices up the Powerbeats Pro with four.5 hours on a 15-minute accuse and
should
have been integrated into the AirPods Pro.

Apple tree’south charging case is much smaller than Bose’south, notwithstanding information technology houses more portable power: 24 hours. This equates to 5 actress charges. The QuietComfort Earbuds case holds 18 hours for about 3 extra charges. Practise the math and you’ll see that the AirPods Pro promises more extended play.

AirPods Pro

(Epitome credit: Brian Coule/Tom’s Guide)

Both charging cases are wireless and work with whatsoever Qi-certified wireless chargers. The pros and cons of each model pretty much cancel each other out.

Winner: Draw

AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Verdict

Realistically, the boxing between the AirPods Pro and QuietComfort Earbuds tin be divided into 2 categories: active noise cancellation and overall performance. If you want the absolute best-in-class noise counterfoil in true wireless form, and so Bose is your brand. Still, Apple offers the more complete package, with the AirPods Pro giving listeners sound and dissonance cancellation that surpasses expectations, along with better features and comfort.

AirPods Pro Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Toll and value (5) 3 iii
Design (15) 12 ten
Controls (ten) 8 half-dozen
Audio quality (20) 18 18
Agile noise cancelation (20) 17 twenty
Special features and apps (fifteen) 13 11
Call quality (v) four 5
Bombardment life and charging example (10) vii vii
Total score (100) 82 fourscore

Bose did what nosotros thought was an insurmountable job and engineered its flagship earbuds with Bose 700-similar racket cancellation. Kudos! It’s something that needs to be experienced firsthand, so you can hear what it’due south like to bask full, detailed sound in peace. The power to blend ANC with ambient listening is innovative besides, but most owners will likely take the feature for granted. Don’t. Merely in the end, it’s clear that Bose chose to go on mastering its strengths and ignoring its weaknesses. That’due south why Apple takes the win.

A lifestyle journalist with an affinity for consumer products, Alex has over a decade of experience and has worked with popular publications such every bit Complex, Thrillist, Men’s Wellness, Gear Patrol, AskMen, and Hoop Mag. He currently focuses on audio, reviewing the nearly coveted headphones in the market for both Tom’s Guide and Laptop Mag.