Friday, April 19, 2024
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Bose QuietComfort II noise-canceling earbuds

All frequent flyers should be shouting loudly about these new must-have earbuds

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Some people love the white noise of aircraft engines – and some hate it – but there’s not much either type of flyer can do about the crying child in the row behind. Actually, there is. While noise-canceling headphones have been around for years, the Bose QuietComfort II is proof that they’re now getting really good, crucially, good enough to justify their high price. 

Bose QuietComfort II: features 

The Bose QuietComfort II are so-called true wireless earbuds. The noise canceling ‘Quiet’ mode is toggled on by a short fingerhold on either one of the earbuds, with ‘Aware’ the other mode. The former is an electronic mode so uses more battery power, though on average the Bose QuietComfort II lasts for six hours. For TravGear there’s only one mode that’s of any interest. They come in a battery case that adds another three more full charges (so, about 18 hours), with a power boost for two hours requiring the Bose QuietComfort II to be put back in their case for 20 minutes. 

The case and the earbuds are recharged via USB-C (though sadly there’s no wireless charging option). They come in black or white, but also in two limited edition colors – Midnight Blue and Eclipse Gray. 

Bose QuietComfort II: performance 

On a recent hop from London via Oslo to Narvik, Norway in the Arctic Circle we measured the noise in the Airbus cabin at 77 decibels, rising to 83 decibels when the flight attendants were making announcements. It was two passengers talking excitedly and very loudly behind us that was the real problem. But not for long. 

Put the Bose QuietComfort II earbuds in and there’s a ping as they pair with a phone and each other. Play music with noise canceling on and the result is exquisite. We were immediately in a world of our own. 

A nice touch is that if one earbud is removed the music stops, but with a fast fade-out. Put the earbud back in and the music fades in. We also tried the Bose QuietComfort II as a sleep aid, wearing them for a few hours with no music playing. We could make out the annoying voices behind us, but only faintly. 

Aside from excellent noise canceling skills the Bose QuietComfort II delivers lots of musicality, with lots of bass within a balanced mix. It proved perfect for an episode of Stranger Things, too. 

There’s also an app to tweak levels, but it seemed obsessed with getting the earbuds to connect with our phone despite that happening instantly hours before. No matter because we were very happy with the default audio mix. 

Bose QuietComfort II: verdict 

The Bose QuietComfort II are the best noise-canceling earphones money can buy. In fact, we’d go further and say that they’re almost too good – we actually missed a couple of inflight announcements while listening to music in ‘Quiet’ mode. Their noise-canceling tech is that good! If you fly a lot and want to listen in peace to music or movies, sleep or work then you will adore the Bose QuietComfort II. We just wish they had a bit more battery power – with 10 hours the target for a long-haul flight.