The war is raging between manufacturers to impose their True Wireless noise reduction headphones.
Faced with Apple and its AirPods Pro 2 launched at 299 euros, Bose opposes its QuietComfort Earbuds II at the same price.
The manufacturer's promises on the astonishing quality of their noise reduction are well and truly kept.
Shut up Apple.
With its new True Wireless Quietcomfort Earbuds II headphones, Bose is giving itself the means to compete with the AirPods which represent more than one in two pairs of headphones sold on the market (53%).
And for its new generation of headphones, the American manufacturer claims neither more nor less "the most effective noise reduction in the world".
The match is likely to be tight, especially against the new latest generation AirPods Pro, which are sold at the same price: 299 euros.
In the beginning was QuietComfort...
Let's give back to Caesar.
It is all the same Bose, which, a few years ago, had imagined the first headphones with noise reduction.
Long seen on the heads of passengers in planes to silence the noise of the reactors, the famous "QuietComfort" have made small.
Their name: the “QuietComfort Earbuds”.
After a first generation in 2020, the new scope arrives with the promise of noise reduction announced as "spectacular".
Much less bulky than their predecessors, the Earbuds II have undoubtedly learned from the mistakes of the past.
33% more compact, these headphones no longer look like somewhat unsightly prostheses riveted to the ears.
In black or beige, supplied with three pairs of silicone tips, their aesthetics are much more acceptable.
Once paired with the Bose Music app, it is possible to perfectly adapt the port using a small test to perform.
Thus, it instantly allows you to be informed if the chosen tip is the right one, and provides sufficient insulation.
The algorithms are on the move.
The application also allows you to modulate the level of active noise reduction of the headphones.
Choice: "Silence" (the reduction is maximum) or "Attentive" (it is only partial, as with the so-called "Transparent" mode with many manufacturers).
Without forgetting a personalized mode with which it is possible to modulate the noise reduction on eleven levels.
And there, bluff.
Transport noises almost canceled
Tested in transport, on the street and in the office, the Quietcomfort Earbuds II reshuffle the cards of active isolation.
In “Quiet” mode, it manages to virtually nip any unwanted noise in the bud.
The doors of our metro train which open and close, its hubbub in the tunnels, almost completely disappear.
If it is impossible to quantify it precisely, we can evaluate this noise reduction between 80 and 90%.
Same observation in the street where the headphones seem to create a protective bubble around us.
A few rather high-pitched sounds still manage to break through (these are the most complicated to compress technically!).
If the noise of the cars is muzzled, we still hear… the chirping of the birds!
Note here that the Earbuds II are IPX4 standard and can go out in the rain.
As for the office, the Earbuds II allow you to afford the calm that an
has long since reduced to nothing.
Not only do headphones shut down overly talkative colleagues, but we hardly hear the pounding of our fingers on the keyboard of our computer.
This is reduced by at least 60%… It becomes almost disconcerting.
Comparatively, Apple's AirPods Pro 3, whose real progress in terms of noise reduction we had praised, clearly do less well, even if they are not unworthy.
Bose did not lie: its noise reduction seems to be the most effective.
The manufacturer announces it at -40 db on the low frequencies and at -27 db on the mediums.
Each earphone thus has three external microphones capable of detecting, measuring and sending unwanted noise to an electronic chip whose algorithms will take care of creating silence around us, or almost.
Big bass to tame
Is the listening quality up for grabs?
Bluetooth 5.3, Bose's small earphones use the principle of a "master" earphone and a "slave" earphone.
Concretely, this means that only one of the headphones communicates with the paired smartphone, then transmits the sound signal to the second.
The Bose Music application, with its three-band equalizer, makes it possible to better adapt the sound, which is natively very bassy.
Thus, slightly increase the treble to bring out the brilliance of Angèle's voice on
Amour, Haine et Danger
accentuate the mediums to offer more smoothness to the piano chords on the cover album
Polnareff sings Polnareff
or boosting the bass on
Down In Atlanta
by Pharrel Williams & Travis Scott are small adjustments that may seem beneficial.
There remains a very pleasant, warm and fleshy listening experience, even at high volume.
Small disappointment, however: the Earbuds II are only compatible with the usual SBC and AAC audio codecs, but not with aptx whose higher bit rate (up to 384 kbps) allows you to enjoy lossless audio quality.
Another regret: Bose headphones are not cut out for Spatial Audio.
And they are not multipoint.
Offering up to 24 hours of listening time by recharging in their storage case (which is not compatible with induction charging), the Quietcomfort Earbuds II can find their place on the podium of the best premium headphones.
Unquestionably, we can reserve the first step for the performance of their reduction.
At the same price (299 euros), the audio quality of the AirPods Pro 2 will certainly be more airy, with more precision in the treble.
But with less bass.
For their part, Sony's WF-1000XM4 offer excellent performance, but are over a year old.
At 179 euros now (against 279 euros when they were launched), they are however a much more economical alternative.
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