In the case of noise-canceling earbuds, Apple and Bose make a few of the finest merchandise in the marketplace. Snug, enduring, and that includes top-notch sound high quality and customizable controls, there’s no beating the form of efficiency you’ll get from these two respected manufacturers. However when it comes right down to Apple versus Bose, which in-ear titan comes out on high?

To unpack the reply to this query, we in contrast the AirPods Professional 2 with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, weighing in on key standards like sound high quality, battery life, and controls, that will help you resolve which set of noise-canceling buds is finest for you.

Wish to see how Apple and Bose stack up towards different adversaries? Try our side-by-side comparisons of the Apple AirPods Professional 2 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds vs. Jabra Elite 7 Professional.

Design and luxury

Apple AirPods Professional 2 (left) and Apple AirPods 3. Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Apple’s second-gen AirPods Professional (hereafter referred to as AirPods Professional 2) are available in a shiny white end for each the buds and charging case. The earbuds themselves are gentle, modern, and pretty iconic-looking, contemplating how typically people are selecting AirPods today. And in contrast to different AirPods fashions, the AirPods Professional 2 now include 4 units of silicone eartips (further small, small, medium, and huge sizes) that may simply be swapped out. The general match of the buds is cosy and cozy, and Apple’s Ear Tip Match Take a look at will make sure you’re utilizing the appropriate tip dimension on your ear canals.

Whereas we wouldn’t advocate the AirPods Professional 2 as a devoted set of health club earbuds (they’ll really feel a bit free when exercising), they’re excellent for on a regular basis put on.

Apple’s H2 chip is the driving power behind the AirPods Professional 2, delivering stronger noise-cancellation and richer total sound high quality than the earlier era. We additionally love that the charging case makes use of Apple’s U1 chip, which permits the case to be added to the Discover My community (and features a speaker for emitting a chime). There’s even a lanyard loop this time round, however Apple doesn’t present an precise lanyard within the field.

Each the AirPods themselves and the case are IPX4-rated and the case is MagSafe-compatible. And iOS followers can even love the flexibility to seamlessly change between linked supply units that use the identical Apple ID simply by opening the AirPods case close to the gadget you’d like to connect with.


The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II (hereafter known as QCE II) can be found in black and soapstone (an off-white), and are smaller and lighter than the earlier era, swapping the massive clamshell case of the unique set for a flip-top charging case. Out of the field, you’ll get two further eartip sizes and silicone stability bands that may be simply swapped to fit your listening wants. Just like the AirPods Professional 2s, they’re IPX4-rated.

The match is cosy and cozy, and people stability bands present a little bit further safety, making the QCE II the higher alternative for occurring a run or doing deadlifts. One factor lacking from the Bose equation, although, is wi-fi charging.

To that finish, we’ll award some extent to the AirPods Professional 2.

Winner: AirPods Professional 2


The AirPods Professional 2 and QCE II use a lot of haptic and voice assistant-based controls to create a seamless listening expertise that prioritizes simplicity and customization.

With the AirPods Professional 2, earbud controls are mapped to the stems of every bud. Simply seize and squeeze to elicit an audible click on confirming your command went by way of. A single click on will play and pause your media and reply/finish calls, a double click on will skip forward one observe, and a triple click on will return one observe.

There’s additionally a press-and-hold command for each the left and proper buds, which can both summon Siri or activate noise-canceling (you may customise every bud’s long-press command within the iOS Settings app). There’s additionally a swipe up-and-down gesture for adjusting quantity. We have now an entire put up on AirPods Professional 2 ideas and tips if you wish to dig deeper.

For the QCE II, controls are mapped to the again of every bud, with single-tap instructions an identical to that of the AirPods Professional 2. Utilizing the Bose Music app (for iOS and Android units), you may create a shortcut for the long-press command of each the left and proper buds, with choices together with noise-canceling on/off and calling up your gadget’s voice assistant.

Winner: Tie


The AirPods Professional 2 and QCE II use Bluetooth 5.3 to attach with cell units and different {hardware}.

For the AirPods Professional 2, we have been in a position to preserve a connection to our host gadget as much as 25 toes away indoors, and between 35 to 40 toes when outdoors. With the Bose QCE II, we have been in a position to get about 20 toes of uninterrupted indoor listening and near 30 toes within the nice open air.

Whereas we’re going to award some extent to the AirPods Professional 2 right here, we’re remiss if we didn’t point out that each Apple and Bose are lacking some nice Bluetooth 5.3 options, together with Bluetooth multipoint and LC3 codec assist. Maybe we’ll get these options by way of a firmware replace down the road.

Winner: AirPods Professional 2

Sound high quality

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

So far as noise-canceling earbuds go, each the AirPods Professional 2 and QCE II ship some fairly distinctive audio, thanks partially to a dedication to personalized listening by each manufacturers.

On the Apple facet of the taking part in area, the custom-made listening is a little bit function referred to as Adaptive EQ, and for Bose it’s referred to as CustomTune.

Basically, each units of buds will mechanically optimize efficiency primarily based on how they slot in your ears. However past calibration, the foundational audio for each earbuds can be sturdy and well-balanced.

Rocking Apple’s H2 chip, the AirPods Professional 2 provide sturdy bass, glorious higher-frequency articulation, and an encompassing soundstage. And whereas there’s no LDAC or aptX compatibility to talk of — it’s lacking on the QCE II as properly — we have been merely amazed on the form of immersion the AirPods Professional 2 delivered. It’s a energy made even higher by Apple’s Customized Spatial Audio function.

Bose listening is sugary-sweet, too, and features a bit of additional rumble within the total combine. The QCE II actually dig out the main points in no matter music you’ve chosen to take heed to. Utilizing the Bose Music app, listeners are additionally in a position to regulate the EQ throughout 4 distinctive presets.

Whereas full-on EQ changes are lacking from the AirPods Professional 2, the default combine is a little bit stronger out of the field (when in comparison with the QCE II), and whereas each Apple and Bose are each top-shelf in relation to sound high quality, we’ll give some extent to the AirPods Professional 2 for sounding simply barely higher than the QCE II total.

Winner: AirPods Professional 2

Energetic noise-canceling

A calling card for each the AirPods Professional 2 and QCE II is the energetic noise-canceling (ANC) capabilities of those wi-fi buds. Far out of your conventional set of ANC in-ears, Apple and Bose’s headphones use cutting-edge microphones and algorithmic compression to detect and cancel out undesirable sounds out of your listening atmosphere.

Thanks once more to Apple’s H2 chip, the AirPods Professional ship a superbly hiss-free ANC expertise, with practically all lower-frequency distractions eradicated, leaving you with nothing however crisp and clear music or podcasts, together with the flexibility to nonetheless hear what the particular person sitting subsequent to you is saying.

The Bose QCE II provide some fairly phenomenal ANC too, and utilizing the Bose Music app, you may customise how weak or sturdy the earbuds are in relation to dialing down on undesirable noise. However Bose’s computational method leaves a little bit of inherent hiss within the combine, and whereas it’s barely noticeable when listening to music, it’s nonetheless there. Thus, we’ll award one other level to the AirPods Professional.

Winner: AirPods Professional 2

Transparency mode

If you happen to’re seeking to let in environmental sounds once you’re utilizing your wi-fi buds, however with out the noise changing into overbearing, you’re going to need to activate Transparency mode. Transparency basically turns your earbuds into amplifiers that assist to detect issues like what your good friend is saying or the sirens of oncoming emergency autos.

The AirPods Professional 2s have an unbelievable Transparency mode, grabbing the sounds you’ll need to hear within the outdoors world, whereas negating no matter’s harsh and distracting. Apple’s H2 chip additionally permits for an extra-special model of this function referred to as Adaptive Transparency, permitting the AirPods Professional 2 to research, amplify, and dial down higher than ever earlier than.

Bose’s QCE II have an excellent Transparency setting, too. For Conscious mode, the QCE II makes use of an identical expertise to Apple’s Adaptive Transparency — Bose calls it ActiveSense — to select up on harsh sounds and tone them down.

Winner: Tie

Name high quality

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Exterior of regular media listening, the opposite key function for any set of wi-fi earbuds is the flexibility to take and make telephone calls. Each the AirPods Professional 2 and the Bose QCE II are nice selections in relation to chatting with somebody remotely, however in our testing of every product, we shortly discovered a transparent winner on this class.

Apple’s name high quality is definitively the perfect between the 2. Whereas compression is par for the course in relation to Bluetooth-powered telephone calls, the AirPods Professional 2 delivered solely a minor quantity of dampening, with the opposite caller sounding crystal clear in any other case. And with Adaptive Transparency enabled, our personal voice was simple to listen to too, even amid a jubilee of egregious outside noise.

The QCE II did an honest job of dealing with telephone calls, however when it got here time to talk with somebody open air, the earbuds did not sustain. The QCE IIs filtered much less noise than the AirPods Professional 2, which is sort of the limiting issue in relation to commuting to and from work, or just strolling out and in of a constructing on a busy avenue.

Winner: AirPods Professional 2

Battery life

Wi-fi earbuds merely don’t have the battery capability of conventional headphones, however the AirPods Professional 2 and QCE II are fairly top-notch in relation to bud and charging case life.

In our testing of the AirPods Professional 2, we have been in a position to get about 5 hours of ANC-powered listening in earlier than the earbuds gave us a low battery warning. However with the charging case’s 30 further hours of energy, and Apple’s five-minute recharge (for one further hour of listening), we have been good to go once more very quickly.

The QCE II final about six hours with ANC enabled, and whereas the charging case permits for as much as 24 hours of further listening, that doesn’t beat the AirPods’ full day plus six hours.

Winner: AirPods Professional 2


The AirPods Professional 2 will be present in shops and on-line for $250, whereas the QCE IIs are at present out there for a similar value, down from their regular $300.

Whereas these are the latest wi-fi earbuds from each corporations, we’ll possible proceed to see markdowns on the AirPods Professional 2 and QCE II, so preserve your eyes peeled for a sale.

Winner: Tie

The decision

First-gen Apple AirPods Professional (left) and second-gen AirPods Professional. Are you able to inform the distinction? Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

In the case of all the important thing standards we analyzed for this comparability, the Apple AirPods Professional 2 outshone the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II in just about each class. Remember the fact that there aren’t monumental gaps in high quality or efficiency although.

Each the AirPods Professional and QCE II are a few of the finest earbuds you should purchase, and when you’ve been a devoted Bose listener for years, switching over to a brand new model will not be the best change. Plus, we’ve obtained to present it to Bose for permitting you to customise so many elements of your listening expertise by way of the Bose Music app.

However on the finish of the day, we have to declare a winner. So with out additional ado, we award our high prize to the AirPods Professional 2.

Winner: AirPods Professional 2

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