On September 23, Apple formally released the AirPods Pro second generation which features updated Energetic Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, improved sound and more. At roughly the same time, Bose introduced new QuietComfort II earbuds with many similar features so we decided to compare the two to find out which is superior.
Although both the QuietComfort II and the AirPods Professional have in-ear designs with silicone suggestions, the QuietComfort II earbuds’ shorter, the thicker body is in sharp contrast to the AirPods Professional’s rounded body and stem.
While the QuietComfort II can’t compare to the snug fit of the AirPods Professional 2, they don’t move around inside the ear and provide a satisfying sense of security. Although the fit is ultimately a matter of personal preference, we found the AirPods Professional 2 to be a more snug and comfortable fit than their predecessor.
Though the QuietComfort II’s sound is neutral out of the box, an equalizer app can be used to fine-tune the sound to your liking, which isn’t possible with the AirPods Professional 2. Furthermore, the app enables multi-device pairing (present in the AirPods themselves) and ANC customization.
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For effective active noise cancellation, nothing beats the AirPods Professional 2. Though the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) on the QuietComfort II earbuds is serviceable it cannot compare to the superior ANC on the AirPods Professional. Apple’s new Adaptive Transparency feature can lessen the impact of extremely loud sounds like sirens without eliminating all ambient noise.
The charging case for the QuietComfort II is included but it is noticeably larger than the MagSafe charging case for the AirPods Professional 2. The earbuds themselves have a similar six-hour battery life to the AirPods Professional 2 but the charging case only provides an additional 18 hours of battery life, while the AirPods Professional 2 charging case provides up to 24 hours of additional battery life for a total of 30 hours versus 24 for the QuietComfort II.
Both the Apple AirPods Professional 2 (which retails for $250) and the Bose QuietComfort II (which retails for $299) fall within the same general price range. The fact that the QuietComfort II can be purchased in black is a definite plus. Apple’s AirPods Professional are still only available in white, and the company has yet to introduce a black color option for them.