Bose QuietComfort II earbuds (QC II) – premium BT, ANC earphones (AV review)

The Bose QuietComfort II earbuds (QC II) is its premium Bluetooth ANC earphone (buds) that may just take the ANC crown from Sony’s WF-1000XM4. Not only that, but they are 30% smaller/lighter than the QC I, and its CustomTune audio optimises the sound for your ears.

In my opinion, there are only three premium earphones worth looking at – these, Sony WF-1000XM4 (Sony WF-1000XM4 are remarkable BT, ANC earphones (long-term review), and Sennheiser Momentum 3 (Sennheiser True Wireless Momentum 3 BT/ANC earphones (review). Why?

All three have strengths and a few weaknesses.

  • Bose QuietComfort II earbuds (QC II) – excellent sound, BT SBC/AAC codecs, at least equal to Sony for ANC, 6-hour battery ANC, USB fast charge, IPX4 – good all-rounder
  • Sony WF01999XM4 – excellent sound, SBC/AAC/LDAC codecs, class-leading ANC, 8-hour battery ANC, USB/Qi wireless fast charge, IPX4 – good all-rounder
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3 – better sound than all, BT multi-point, aptX/Adaptive codecs, sound quality is more important than perfect ANC, 6-hour battery ANC, USB/Qi wireless fast charge, IPX4 – music quality, and aptX codecs are its strengths.

Whatever you select, you will be happy.

Australian review: Bose QuietComfort II earbuds (QC II)

WebsiteProduct Page
Price RRP$429.95
ColoursTriple Black or Soapstone
Country of originChina
CompanyBose (Est 1964) by Amar Bose in 1964 in Framingham, Massachusetts. It is best known for its home audio systems and speakers, noise-cancelling headphones, professional audio products and automobile sound systems. Bose has a reputation for being particularly protective of its patents, trademarks, and brands and seldom reveals the specifications of its products. The majority owner is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
MoreCyberShack Bose news and reviews

We use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. We occasionally give a Pass ‘+’ rating to show it is good but does not quite make it to Exceed. Bose does not provide detailed specifications, so our review is based on best estimates.

First Impression – Smaller, lighter and a small stalk – Pass+

As one who has used the Bose QC I and Sport earbuds (which are very good, too), I can immediately tell these are lighter and smaller. The main change is using both ear tips and stability bands (like Sennheiser) for a better fit without resorting to oversize tips to get the perfect seal for passive noise isolation.

Setup – App – Pass

Run the CustomTune fit test to check the seal (tone sweeps from right to left) and adjust the ANC filter.

The App needs work both on its feature set and reliability. Over three days, it was more often reporting the buds were offline than online, and some settings pages would not load. But when it worked, it was fine.

Comfort – Pass+

We tested the extent of the battery life with ANC for three days at six hours a day. These are 6.24g each and fit like a glove – not too deep in the inner ear. With S/M/L rear tips and stability bands, they are super comfortable and won’t fall out during exercise. IPX4 means sweat resistance.

Bose is more comfortable than Sony and on par with Sennheiser.

ANC (Quiet mode)

From the moment you fit them and use the App to enable ANC, you retreat into a world of silence. The ANC removes low rumble (a.k.a. aeroplane take-off), transit and traffic noise, and annoying office noise. With a good fit, they also control sound leakage very well. There is a slider to adjust the amount of ANC, but we venture it is always at 100%.

It is equal to or better than Sony – I wish I could declare a winner here as they are so close. I am leaning toward Bose.

Aware mode (hear through) – Pass

The mics pick up your voice and others’ without being too selective about other ‘chit-chat’ nearby. It has ActiveSense (transparency) in Aware mode that, if enabled, does reduce background noise considerably at the expense of conversation. It is suitable for keeping aware of your surroundings.

While it is good, Sony is better.

Controls – Pass+

Use either earbud. Pause/play, track forward and back, ANC mode, and voice assistant (default to the phone) can all be accessed with a combination of short or long presses.

Volume is changed by sliding your finger up and down either earbud.

Hands-free – Pass(able)

The mics pick up your voice well, but callers said there was ‘tunnel’ noise as if the mic was too far away. Voice is clear if you are in a quiet, non-windy place. Bose needs to do some firmware work here.

Sony has an edge here.

How do they sound? Pass+

Bose appears to have moved away from what it wants you to hear to a more neutral sound signature that you can tailor via an EQ to your likes.

At first, I found it a little mid-bass heavy (thump, not whump), but it does not overwhelm the balanced mids and crisp treble.

There is excellent left/right separation, but as with all closed-back ANC earphones, the sound stage is inside your ears. Dolby Atmos content does widen the stage a little.

The EQ is limited, and you cannot save it as a pre-set.

Battery – Pass+

Bose claims up to six hours (at 50% volume) with a case that holds up to three extra charges. A 20-minute charge gives 2 hours of listening. A full bud charge is one hour, and the case takes three hours.

Over three days, we got 6.5, 6.6 and 6.7 hours of listening at about 75% volume.

Latency – Pass+

We cannot accurately measure latency, but the Bose was perfect for video lip-sync.

Issues to be aware of

  • The right bud is the master – you can’t use the left one alone
  • BT 5.3 should support multi-point (pairing to two host devices), but we could not get that to work or fast pair with Android and Windows.
  • SBC and AAC are lossy codecs (which most listener use anyway), but the Momentum 3 wins hands down the best on aptX codecs and music quality. Sony gets an honourable mention if you can use its LDAC codec.
  • No Qi charge – a deal breaker for some.
  • Can’t save custom presets for later use

CyberShack’s view – Bose QuietComfort II earbuds (QC II) cut the noise and walk the walk

I have all three premium buds on the test bed. Where Sony WF-1000XM4 may have been the best all-rounder (sound, hands-free, ANC), Bose QuietComfort II (QC II) has exceeded them for comfort, fit, equal sound and better ANC.

My choice is still the Sennheiser Momentum 3, if only for music quality, aptX codecs, comfort, the App, warranty, and BT multi-point.

So, consider all three – Bose has an excellent product you will be very happy with.

Bose QuietComfort II earbuds (QCII)

Bose does not disclose full specifications.

Earphone comparison chartBose QuietComfort II earbuds (QCII)
   Sports (with wing)Stability bands
    IP ratingIPX4 sweat resistant
   Ear-tip typeSilicon
   ColourTriple Black or Soapstone
   BluetoothBT 5.3
      CodecsSBC, AAC
      A2DP, HFPYes
   True WirelessUses Qualcomm S5 audio chip (strange, no aptX)
   Google Fast PairNo
   Windows Swift pairNo
   MultipointNo, and no NFC pair
   Weight each gram6.24g
   TypeTouch – can be customised
   Auto pauseYes
   ANCAdaptive with slider
  Ambient passthroughAdaptiveSelect mode as well
   Conversation modeSelectable
   Game mode63ms (Qualcomm S5 spec)
   Speaker size mmNot disclosed
   Frequency responseNot disclosed
   Case charge type (USB or Qi)USB-C only
        Case size/weight59.4 H x 66.3 W x 26.7 D mm (59.8 g)
   Charge voltage rating5V/1A
   Battery time ANC offNot disclosed
   Battery time ANC on7
   Additional battery time in case hours24 ANC on
   Charge time in case1hr (20 min = 120 min use)
   Case charge time3 hours
   Number on each bud3 x noise-cancelling
1 x Voice beamforming
   TypeDepends on the host smartphone or device
APPBose Music
   FeaturesReasonably comprehensive
   EQ3 band but cannot save new pre-set
   Find my budsYes
 OS supportAndroid and iOS, as well as any BT host device
Ear fit test


   WebsiteProduct Page and manual
   FromBose online and approved retailers
Accessories includedUSB-A to USB-C cable 30cm
S/M/L silicon ear tips
S/M/L silicon stability tips
MISSINGQi charge
 Left bud mono use
Multipoint pairing
NFC pairing
 Qualcomm aptX codecs

Rating Explanation

Has everything
At this level, you may want to look at the Sony WF-1000XM3, OPPO Enco X Dynaudio, Jabra Elite 7 Pro and Sennheiser Momentum 3
Good all-rounder with the best ANC
Ease of use9
Call quality is variable to generally good.
Small and light.
Score /109

Bose QuietComfort II earbuds (QC II)








Ease of Use





  • The best earbud ANC so far
  • Very comfortable, secure fit and does not fit too far inside the ear canal
  • Neutral sound signature and App EQ are a good start
  • Responsive touch controls
  • Bose will add more fesatures via the App


  • Hands-free could be better
  • No Qi wireless charge
  • Right bud is the master in mono use
  • Can’t save EQ profiles in the App
  • App can be flakey