Gadget news
Nothing Ear (2) announced with improved ANC, LHDC support and personalized sound profiles
6:30 pm | March 22, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

Nothing Tech just announced its Ear (2) wireless earphones. These are the third member of the wireless earbud range from Nothing and they serve as a direct successor to the Nothing Ear (1), which launched back in June 2021. Not much has changed in terms of design between the two models, but the specs department has gained some useful additions. Nothing Ear (2) bring support for the LHDC 5.0 audio codec which allows you to stream Hi-Res audio. The buds also feature a new personalized sound profile that lets you calibrate the buds to your specific hearing after taking a quick test in the...

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: the best cheap noise-cancelling earbuds you can get
6:55 pm | February 28, 2023

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EarFun Air Pro 3: Two-minute review

The EarFun Air Pro 3 are the latest affordable noise-cancelling buds from a company that makes some of the best budget wireless earbuds around. EarFun has released several pairs of earbuds that we rated highly, including the original EarFun Air Pro and EarFun Air S, all delivering decent sound and fantastic value.

The EarFun Air Pro 3 build on this further, all for under $100 / £100. In terms of design, they're more elegant-looking than their predecessors, and although they feel a little cheap, that means a light and comfortable fit that stayed put throughout the day when I tested them… with one notable exception that I'll come to. 

The EarFun Air Pro 3's ANC (active noise cancellation) isn't on par with the best noise-cancelling earbuds available today, but they cost less than half as much as most, and the decent level of quiet offered here should be good enough to focus at work or keep most sounds dampened down when you’re travelling. It's impressive for the price. 

The same goes for audio. If you’re after detailed and audiophile-grade sound, look to rivals instead. The EarFun Air Pro 3 won’t beat the top-performing buds in our best wireless earbuds guide, but I liked their punchy sound and found them fun to listen to. 

There’s a great battery life on offer here – nine hours from the buds and an additional 36 from the case – as well as multipoint pairing. There are also some next-gen features available that we couldn’t test yet, but may soon make these buds even more special, including support for the highly-anticipated Bluetooth LE Audio tech. 

No one feature stood out when I was testing the EarFun Air Pro 3. Instead, these buds are brilliant all-rounders, delivering everything most people would need from a pair of true wireless earbuds today all for well under $100/£100. But there are other options that may tempt you: the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus are better sounding, but with no ANC; the JBL Live Pro 2 feature better noise cancellation, but cost a little more.

Earfun Air Pro 3 buds held in a hand above a wooden table

There's a lot of tech packed into the affordable EarFun Air Pro 3. (Image credit: Future)

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Price & release date

  • Released in January 2023
  • Costs $99 / £99 at launch but discounted already
  • No Australian availability at time of writing

The EarFun Air Pro 3 true wireless earbuds were launched in January 2023. They originally cost $99 / £99, but they’ve been reduced to $79 /£79 on the Earfun website and other third party retailers at the time of writing, so that's clearly a price to expect them to hit regularly. As we publish, there’s no news on Australian availability.

Their sub-$100/£100 price tag puts the EarFun Air Pro 3 at a similar price as some of our favorite budget earbuds, like the ​​Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW. But although we rated the sound of the Audio-Technica buds, there are more features on offer from the EarFun Air Pro 3, most notably ANC. 

Having spent a few weeks testing them, I'd say that the EarFun Air Pro 3 are similar in terms of sound, ANC, specs and even design as the JBL Live Pro 2, but at $149 / £129 / AU$199, the JBL are significantly more expensive.

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Specs

Earfun Air Pro 3 case closed on wooden table

The EarFun Air Pro 3 case isn't as small as some, but is reasonably compact. (Image credit: Future)

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Features

  • Great battery life 
  • Multipoint pairing and active noise cancellation
  • Bluetooth LE Audio support could be a game-changer

For the price, there are a lot of features on offer here. I like that the EarFun Air Pro 3 have multipoint pairing, allowing you to listen to music on your laptop and then easily switch to say taking a call on your phone. During testing, this worked well and was seamless most of the time. 

In terms of controls and customization, the EarFun Air Pro 3 buds come with an app that’s minimal but has everything you need. There are also controls at the top of the stems. At times, these touch controls required a slower, more deliberate press to work. That’s fine, but not ideal given they’re there to be used intuitively. I did like that you can customize their actions from within the app. 

It’s a shame there are no sensors that know when you take out the buds and pause the audio. That feature isn’t a dealbreaker, but it is one you don’t realize is incredibly handy until it’s not there.

The battery life of the EarFun Air Pro 3 is among the best you’ll find from a pair of true wireless buds. EarFun promises nine hours from the buds and a further 36 from the charging case. That’s a mega-impressive 45 hours in total. Of course, that’s with ANC off. With it on, we’re talking seven hours in the buds and 37 hours in total. I got 6.5 hours with ANC on at a high volume, which I still found impressive.

This is a similar battery life to some of our favorite buds, like the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus, although they don’t have ANC. It’s also just a little less than our current mid-range favorites, the JBL Live Pro 2, which offer up 40 hours of battery life in total. So considering the EarFun Air Pro 3 are budget buds with ANC, they outperform much of the competition. 

The EarFun Air Pro 3 feel like a truly modern pair of buds in terms of specs, and one feature is so cutting edge I couldn’t even test it: next-gen Bluetooth LE Audio technology. This is a new Bluetooth standard that promises to upgrade the way we listen to music, including improved sound quality and battery life. The problem? No smartphones are compatible yet. 

There’s also support for a feature called Auracast. This allows you to jump between audio playing from different devices, so you can seamlessly listen to what your friends are listening to or what’s playing in a public space – again, though, there's no support in the wild yet.

That’s not all. The buds also support Qualcomm’s apt-X Adaptive audio codec, which is capable of delivering CD-quality 16-bit.44.1kHz audio over Bluetooth. This also provides low-latency performance when streaming from devices that support the Qualcomm standard.

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Earfun Air Pro 3 close up in case on wooden table

With aptX and Bluetooth LC3 support, the EarFun Air Pro 3 are all set for Hi-Res audio. (Image credit: Future)

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Sound quality

  • Fun but not fantastic sound
  • Adjustable EQ
  • ANC is good

The EarFun Air Pro 3 buds were powerful and punchy right out of the gate. I listened to Stevie Nicks' Edge of Seventeen and For What It’s Worth, and the signature sound was spot on, perfectly suited to these iconic tracks with big, booming vocals. 

I found this to be the case across any genre that was all about the power and the bass, these buds handle the lower end well most of the time. Other tracks felt a little muddied or just didn’t suit the boom and the energy these buds excel in. Don’t get me wrong, they were still an enjoyable listen, but I couldn’t pick out the details or hear the precision of certain vocals or instruments as much as I can with higher-performing rivals. 

I felt this acutely with Hildur Guðnadóttir and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Good Night, Day. This beautiful strings piece builds power and energy throughout, but I didn’t hear that instrumental distinction with the Air Pro 3 quite as much as I'd really like. 

At times there’s also a noticeable boom and even a rattle on the bass when you push to high volumes which, after listening for more than an hour straight, can be a bit too much. I found this to be particularly the case with ANC on.

If you want powerful sound, you’ll love them. If you like to appreciate the details of a mix, you might find them lacking. There is an equalizer on offer here that you can customize to a degree. There are also some presets, like bass boost. But I didn’t notice much of a difference when I tried them and preferred the signature profile for the most part. 

You won’t get that silent cocoon of sound type of ANC that’s typical of more expensive earbuds from these EarFun buds. But you get a sufficient level of ANC. The buds block a decent amount of bass range sounds, like the rumble of traffic. I tested them in a busy coffee shop and although all chatter wasn’t silenced, a noisy conversation next to me was significantly dampened down so as not to be annoying. You’d need to bump up in price to get noticeably better ANC.

  • Sound quality score: 4/5

Earfun Air Pro 3 buds on wooden table

The shiny stem on the EarFun Air Pro 3 helps them look more premium. (Image credit: Future)

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Design

  • Long stem design
  • Look fancier than they are
  • Very light

When you first pick up these buds you’ll notice they feel plasticky – by which I mean: cheap – but that’s kind of good news as they’re also incredibly light at 52g for both buds and case. This is subjective, but I find the lighter the bud, the more comfy the fit. 

I achieved a good seal from the tips that came with the buds and chose the smallest size. They stayed secure and in place most of the time, but I did experience a bit of slipping when I wore them for a long time and when I took them on a run. To be fair, that’s pretty decent considering these aren’t workout buds. I only had to adjust them a few times and they do have an IPX5 rating, which makes them sweatproof and worth considering if you’re looking for a spare pair of buds for the gym.   

They have a shiny black plastic design on the back, which I didn’t like, but that’s the bit that sits against your ear. What sticks out is a long, mirrored stem with gesture controls at the top end and the EarFun logo at the button. This shiny finish is subtle and makes the buds look much more premium than their price tag suggests. 

However, the stem is long, and although the seal of the tips was great ,the stems affected it several times. This was particularly the case with long hair. When I wore my hair down around the buds, then pushed my hair out of the way, it got caught on the stems and the buds came loose. Not everyone will have this problem and I learned to be careful, especially outside. But I've tested a lot of true wireless earbuds at this point and never had this problem in the past. 

  • Design score: 4/5

Earfun Air Pro 3 buds close up on wooden table

As all-rounders, the EarFun Air Pro 3 are hard to beat. (Image credit: Future)

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Value

  • Possibly the best sub-$100/£100 buds I’ve tried
  • You have to pay at least $50/£50 more for comparable features
  • You’d need to be sure about the design

The EarFun Air Pro 3 buds perform well in every respect, but in terms of value they’re fantastic. Although their inner shiny plastic finish may give away that they’re cheap, as does their weight, the simple mirror design of the stems makes them look much more premium than they should when you wear them. 

The ANC might not be the best, but I think it’ll suit most everyday scenarios and it’s often rare to get solid ANC with a sub-$100/£100 price tag. Just look at two of our current budget favorites, the ​​Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW and Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus, which excel in some areas more than the Air Pro 3, but don’t have ANC. 

Battery life is fantastic, multipoint pairing is handy and the Bluetooth LE Audio support will hopefully make these buds even more of a no-brainer proposition as the tech rolls out more widely. 

All in all, these buds won’t beat higher-end buds and sound is only fine, but in terms of what you get for what you pay in total, they're pretty much unmatched.

  • Value score: 5/5

Should I buy the EarFun Air Pro 3?

Buy them if...

Don't buy it if...

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Also consider

How I tested the EarFun Air Pro 3

Earfun Air Pro 3 worn in the ears of a woman outdoors on wooden table

(Image credit: Future)
  • Tested for 10 days
  • Used in home office, working at a coffee shop, the gym, countryside walk, public transport in a busy town
  • Mostly tested with Apple Music and iPhone 13 Pro

In order to put the EarFun Air Pro 3 buds through their paces, I used them in a range of different environments as I went about my daily routine over the course of 10 days. I took them to the gym when I worked out, on a walk through the countryside, while travelling by both train and bus, and out on lots of walks around suburban areas at all times of day.

These are true wireless earbuds designed to be worn for long periods, so I kept them on when transitioning from a walk outside to working back at my desk again. This was a good opportunity to try out multipoint pairing, moving from listening to a podcast and taking calls on my phone to watching videos on my laptop. 

I mostly listened to Apple Music, but also streamed podcasts, audiobooks and watched videos too – I also used them as I caught up on the latest episode of The Last of Us.

I’ve been testing audio products and wearable tech for around a decade, particularly focusing on the devices that can accompany you on walks and workouts, as well as general ease of use and comfort.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: February 2023
Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal review
1:33 pm | February 8, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Two-minute review

Those people and businesses that are protective of their liquid assets will probably exclude the Danish luxury brand Bang & Olufsen from their product choices.

Bang & Olufsen has a long and impressive history of delivering excellent audio technology for those that care more about quality than price, and its new Beocom Portal headphones haven’t strayed from that path.

However, compared with gaming-orientated or audiophile-luring headphones, these have been designed more with hybrid workers in mind. And are being promoted by Bang & Olufsen as “the next big step in our efforts to grow our business-to-business portfolio which is an important strategic focus area for Bang & Olufsen”, according to John Howard, Head of Enterprise at Bang & Olufsen.

In service to those objectives, these Bluetooth-connected headphones are Zoom-certified out of the box and come with support for all the commonly used communication platforms.

Therefore, irrespective of the particular standardisation of the purchasing business, these should be suitable.

One caveat of deploying these types of devices away from the office is resolving technical issues without onsite support. The Beocom Portal headphones come with Beocom link USB wireless Bluetooth adapters (with aptX Adaptive Codec), pre-paired for use and supporting both USB Type-A and USB Type-C ports on the host device.

If the connecting technology is already Bluetooth enabled, Bang & Olufsen has apps, Apple and Android, that can establish the pairing easily with the minimum of fuss.

These headphones aren’t exclusively Bluetooth, as they include the cables to connect them to both USB and 3.5mm audio systems. The USB-A to USB-C cable also doubles to charge the Portal headphones, although no charger is included for those that don’t have access to a USB-A system.

Once these are connected, the user can experience the “uncompromised Bang Olufsen signature sound”, or clear communication and audio rendering for those who don’t speak PR.

It achieves this by using an array of beamforming microphones to isolate and amplify the voice of the user while cancelling out background noise, though cancelling can be disabled if required. A prerequisite for those that spend their days calling others, along with long-wear comfort, these are things that business headphone designers can no longer ignore.

While these might look very similar to the previous Beoplay 500 design, plenty of business-friendly changes make these more suitable for hybrid workers.

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal price and availability

The Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal isn’t cheap or even attractively priced, and those expecting otherwise aren’t familiar with this brand.

The only choice here is that they come in Black Anthracite, Navy or Grey Mist colour schemes.

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Value score: 3/5

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal design

  • Designed by Jakob Wagner
  • Stylish and lightweight
  • Simple to operate

For those unfamiliar with the name, Jacob Wenger is an American industrial designer and entrepreneur that founded his own design firm, Jacob Wenger Design, LLC, and it specializes in high-end custom furniture and product design.

Therefore, while it might be a leap to suggest that he designed the Beocom Portal headphones, his design team was responsible for their ergonomics and visual styling.

Unsurprisingly, these have all the hallmark deference of a product design exercise where every sharp edge has been eliminated and replaced with a sweeping curve.

What makes these stand out from other headphone makers' products are some simple refinements that elevate the user experience.

Where most headbands have a notched connection to the driver covers, on the Beocom Portal, they move smoothly, allowing for a great degree of positioning. It’s a tiny thing, but it makes for even greater comfort. The breathable fabric used for the headband is another factor in making these easy to wear throughout a working day.

In other respects, the control mechanisms of the Portal follow a pattern that anyone who has experience with B&O Bluetooth headphones will be familiar with.

Each of the metal surfaces on the cup faces operates as a touch input, but the subtle nuances of this design are that strictly what gestures do entirely depends on the mode of operation.

For example, if the wearer is taking a call, then tapping on the left cup will end the call. But the same action will pause a track playing over Bluetooth. Some actions overlap, and some are entirely different. These peculiarities might take some learning by the user, but it’s logical.

However, the controls assume oddly that music lovers never repeat tracks or fast forward.

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

What the designers avoided was using touch on the cups for volume controls, instead using a rocker/slider on the left cup to control noise cancellation and one on the right side to adjust volume levels.

Each side also has a single pressable button, with the right one doubling as the power and Bluetooth pairing control and the left side mute.

The physical controls have their limits, and we’d strongly recommend installing the Bang & Olufsen Beocom app on your phone, as this allows you to easily switch between different modes and levels of noise cancellation. And, this tool can also update the onboard firmware should the makers release updates.

Both the USB-C connection and 3.5mm audio jack is placed on the right side, assuming that the computer will be on that side of the user if they’re using wired technology.

Bang & Olufsen opted for a design that doesn’t have a boom microphone, instead a beamforming array to identify the wearer from other sounds and focus exclusively on that source. The quality is more than acceptable and well within the spec required for making and receiving calls, but it isn’t the clarity needed for broadcast work, like a podcast.

Overall, these are exceptionally classy headphones that work well in a business context, although some audiophiles might take exception to the inability to reverse skip tracks and move through audio accurately.

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Design score: 4/5

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal features

  • AAC and aptX Adaptive
  • Google Fast Pair and Microsoft Swift Pair
  • Good battery life

The Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal that was sent to us for review came with the following hardware:
Frequency range: 20 – 22,000Hz
ANC: Adaptive ANC with Transparency Mode plus Dolby Atmos
Drivers: Electro-dynamic driver w/ Neodymium magnets
Drive diameter: 40mm
Driver sensitivity: 95dB @ 1kHz / 1mW
EQ: Presets and custom settings via Bang & Olufsen App
Designer: Jakob Wagner, LLC
Fit: Circumaural
Dimensions (WxHxD): 167.3 x 178.7 x 92.6mm

The Bluetooth technology in the Portal is version 5.1, which goes beyond the standard ABC codec with both AAC and aptX Adaptive.

Due to the audio compression used, variable between 5:1 and 10:1, the aptX Adaptive is the preferred method of connection for best audio fidelity, as it offers up to 420 kBits of data at 48 kHz.

That’s for a single source, but it is possible to have multipoint connections for those transitioning from a PC to mobile phone use.

By default, the headset will automatically try to connect to the last device that was paired, and it supports both Google Fast Pair and Microsoft Swift Pair technologies.

Ironically, the best audio quality available is undoubtedly over USB. When connected using the provided cable, these will be seen by the connected PC as rated for Dolby Atmos playback.

Another high-quality sound option is the audio jack mode, but it has a few limitations since it won’t work if the Portal isn’t powered by the battery or through USB. But with power available, even when using audio jack input, the noise cancelling and some controls will work as expected.

Noise cancelling on these is good, but not quite as amazing as we’ve experienced on some of the more expensive options from Sony. The effect is that low-frequency rumbles are all but eliminated, but higher ranges are muffled. This allows you to realise someone alongside is speaking to you in person but removes most unwanted background sounds that you might experience in an office. There are five levels of ANC, enabling the user to find the one that makes them less distracted by those around them while not entirely deaf while wearing them.

You can also adjust the level of your own voice feeding back into the headphones, which can be helpful if you are raising that to cope with a bustling environment.

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal

The B&O Android application provides full control over the features of these headphones (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

The similarities between the Beocom Portal and Beoplay 500 series headphones might lead some to think they are the same product, but some distinct differences exist, especially in respect of the battery.

Where the Beoplay 500 offer 19 hours of talk time with Active Noise Cancellation, the Portal has extended that to 23 hours and listening to music at a moderate volume level offers 47 hours with Active noise cancellation (connected to the Beocom Link A or C dongle).

That extra time should make the Portal last through at least three working days, as they turn off after 15 minutes without an active audio stream.

The quoted times are dependent on the sound being relayed through the headphones, as high-impact audio, like rock music, will use more power to output compared to a flute solo.

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal

Both USB-A to USB-C and 3.5mm audio cables are included (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Features score: 4/5

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal Sound

  • Best over USB
  • Balanced soundscape

When phones get more than 10,000 mAh, they’ve got enough battery for extended use without a recharge, and this one has 10800 mAh of battery inside.

According to Doogee, the V30 should operate for more than three days of typical use without needing a recharge, and it might make it to a fourth.

The included 66W charger can recover 50% of its battery capacity from empty in around 30 minutes, although if you use the 15W wireless charging, it will take four hours to reach the same level.

There are rugged designs that offer more battery, but they trade weight for that advantage, and the physical mass of the V30 isn’t so great that it becomes impractical.

The available capacity is enough for a camping holiday, and the power efficiency of the platform makes the most of it.

  • Sound score: 4/5

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

I could wax lyrical about the balanced frequency response, how they feel after you’ve been wearing them for hours and the generally wonderful build quality, but none of these things obscures the fiscal elephant in this room.

If you want some high-quality headphones that are equally impressive user for work or play and carry this logo, then be prepared to open your wallet wide.

Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal score card

Should I buy a Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider 

High-res images of Nothing Ear (2) leak, personalized ANC tipped
8:01 pm | January 31, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

We have a better look at the Nothing Ear (2), which first surfaced via renders last year. The images below, courtesy of Steve H. McFly (@OnLeakds) and SmartPrix show Nothing's next high-end buds in detail and come with a bit of information. Nothing Ear (2), image source: OnLeaks and SmartPrix The Nothing Ear (2), which company CEO Carl Pei has said would come in the second half of 2023, appear to have mostly kept the design. One notable change is the placement of the noise-canceling microphone from the back of the buds to the side. Otherwise, the design of the buds themselves...

OnePlus Buds Ace will have ANC, 36 hours battery life, will be unveiled on February 7
1:22 am |

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

On February 7 OnePlus will be unveiling new products on two fronts. Globally it will release the OnePlus 11, the 11R, its first ever tablet and more. In China it will introduce the OnePlus Ace 2 (thought to be identical to the 11R) and the OnePlus Buds Ace. The company has already confirmed certain details for the two new devices slated for China. The Buds Ace will boast 36 hours of total battery life (buds + case). That’s 6 more than the Nord Buds, which have a similar design. Also, the Ace buds will have much improved fast charging – a quick 5 minute top up will be enough for 10...

JBL Tour Pro 2 review: the screen-toting case is fun, but the sound is just fine
6:05 pm | December 23, 2022

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JBL Tour Pro 2: two-minute review

JBL is famed for its rock-solid audio products, the kind of shiny but affordable gems which reveal themselves as diamonds in the rough more often than not and almost always, always sound excellent for the money. So what happens when the company veers off its successfully navigated low-cost path to go all-in on a flagship set of all-guns-blazing, active noise-cancelling, uniquely screen-toting earbuds? Is our best noise-cancelling earbuds guide about to welcome a new arrival? 

The JBL Tour Pro 2 sit above (way above) the brand’s other earbuds – including the splendid JBL Live Pro 2 – which feature possibly the best active noise cancellation at the level I've ever experienced. But the huge upgrades are easy to see from the off; there's a whacking great color touch-screen on the front of the case for starters. 

This, dear reader, is a thing of beauty. It is delightful. It's fun, it lets you accept calls with ease (how many times have we tried our best to touch the correct earpiece in the right way, succeeding only in hanging up on our friendly caller?) and it provides simple, scrollable access to ANC profiles, alarms, spatial audio and other perks. During daily use, we find ourselves playing with EQ profiles and useful extras which might have seemed unworthy of the hassle had they been squirrelled away in an app, requiring our phone. Then again, the screen did lose its sparkle, so to speak, after a few days.

Because of said screen, we worried that the battery-life might be a little on the anaemic side. Not so – the total claim of up to 50 hours of playtime (or 30 hours with ANC activated) and a very good 10 in just the buds themselves before they need charging stood up to scrutiny. Fast charge means 10 minutes plugged in will get you five hours of playtime too, which is a smart trick. 

So off they go to our best true wireless earbuds guide then? We love the design; we love all of the sound tests and special customizations – including Personi-fi, which is one of the most thorough audio tests within a set of earbuds we've taken to date. We also think the JBL Tour Pro 2 sound good and ANC works well. But that's it. We didn't find the sound stellar, and we wouldn't rate the ANC as fantastic. 

Listening to music with the JBL Tour Pro 2 is a pleasant experience for the most part. Instrumental music, jazz, easy listening and soulful tracks sounded smooth. But bassy tracks, rock music and even some vocals didn't sit well with us. Vocals, at times, were a little tinny – especially with the built-in EQ profiles, which we didn't enjoy using – and it was hard to pick out the detail in powerful instrumental tracks, making for a muddy listen at times. 

To us it feels a little like JBL nailed it with the JBL Live Pro 2 and tried to go all out with the Tour Pro 2 – slapping a screen on the case, bumping up the specs, improving the sound – when really they're excellent buds and at times it feels like the Tour Pro 2 are a little overcooked somehow.

Don't get us wrong here, the JBL Tour Pro 2 are good. In fact, if you don't have many top-performing buds to compare them to like we do, you might find them great. But are they premium price tag, top-of-the-range great? We're not sure.  

JBL Tour Pro 2 case on beige background

The case makes answering calls without touching your phone so, so much easier.  (Image credit: Future)

JBL Tour Pro 2: price and release date

  • Launched January 2023
  • Cost £220 / AU$350 (around $267, but currently unavailable in the USA) 

The JBL Tour Pro 2 launched in January 2023 and cost £220 / AU$350 in either champagne or black finishes. At the time of writing, JBL doesn't have US pricing and hasn't confirmed whether the buds will be arriving in the US.

This price puts them slap bang into competition with the likes of Apple's AirPods Pro 2 ($249 / £249 / AU$399) and the Bose QuietComfort 2 ($299 / £279 / AU$429), some of the best true wireless earbuds you can buy today, a category in which the Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds also feature among the best, at $279.99 / £250 / AU$449.95 – although this particular set of earbuds is now available for quite a bit less than the original MSRP. 

In case it needs to be mentioned, this pricing puts the JBL Tour Pro 2 out of contention for our best budget earbuds buying guide, where the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus, Beats Studio Buds and Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 rule the roost (although they aren't as fully featured of course). 

For this money – and toting the smart screen no other audio outfit has offered to date – the JBL Tour Pro 2 are on to a winner, provided the sound is up to snuff. 

JBL Tour Pro 2 app on three screens

The JBL Headphone app makes myriad options easy to access and understand  (Image credit: Future)

JBL Tour Pro 2: features

  • Excellent app adds scope to tailor the case
  • Sound and fit tests add value
  • ANC efficacy is easily beaten by AirPods Pro

You can customize the sound by telling the buds which sonic profile sounds best to you, in the Personi-fi 2.0 software. It starts out with an environment noise check (you need to be in a relatively quiet spot), then a wearing status check (you need to have a good seal betwixt ear canal and earbud). It then plays you nine chirpy sounds per ear, and you remove your finger when the sound is imperceptible. We take this test twice, and receive a different pictorial result each time. That said, the second time, the sound augmentation did feel more to our liking. 

However, other members of the team weren't as impressed and there was no discernible difference in the audio sample that plays after the test, no matter how many times they tried.

Still, we're not done. The Ear Canal Test (which must be done in a noisy environment) plays another music clip. After it, you can relax as the hybrid True Adaptive ANC does the rest. We note a slight hiss after completion, but toggling 'Leakage Compensation' and 'Ear Canal Compensation' within the 'Customize ANC' tab largely nixes it. We sit under an office heater at work and find it is quashed by the Tour Pro 2 ANC, but certain low-level sounds (cars passing outside, heeled footsteps on concrete) do creep in. Switch to the Apple AirPods Pro 2 and it's a different story – the bottom drops out of the room. With the Tour Pro 2, low-level sounds are diminished, but still, we can hear some extraneous background noise. 

The six-mic setup does promote crystal-clear audio during our tests – and the advanced built-in voice recognition can react to your voice, pause music and enable Ambient Aware, then resume the tunes once your conversation is over. This is really good, (it can be set to low, mid or high, depending on how loudly you and your colleagues speak) and we also find call-handling a breeze. But those are just two of a slew of perks, including an EQ tab with five different presets (or create your own), Spatial Sound profiles for music, movies or games, 'smart' audio and video modes, SilentNow (which aims to create a no-music silent bubble by turning on ANC but disconnecting Bluetooth – ideal for naps, because it can be set on a timer with an alarm at the end), Personal Sound Amplification (which can amplify situational sound from your surroundings – and between each ear) adding a volume limit and a Find My Buds feature, if one goes missing. All of this, and we've yet to talk about the features afforded by the case… All in good time. 

Before that, the buds: they feature a capacitive touch panel at the very top of the stem. You can switch noise cancelling on and off with a tap on the left stem, double tap for TalkThru and tap and hold to trigger Siri. All of these are customizable – at least to a point. You can’t decide which gestures do what, but you can select which gets priority on each bud. If you want on-ear volume control (which most of us do) you have to sacrifice either ambient sound control or playback options, which is a shame – but a relatively small gripe. 

We need to stress that the case helps in a big way, but we do think this experience could be subjective. The screen built into it never fails to acquiesce to our taps first time, quickly becoming a joy and a pleasure we wonder how we ever lived without. For example, we find ourselves scrolling straight to the volume tile (you swipe across) to alter volume rather than even attempt to use the buds. It's a brilliant addition – and within the JBL Headphones app, you can alter the screen brightness, choose one of five screensavers, toggle on message notifications and select which of seven further feature shortcuts you'd like to have access to on-screen. We toggle off SilentNow, since it's a feature we'll rarely use (we don't get to sleep on the job!) but for some that may be a priority. It's also very handy that notifications appear on this screen too – it really is like a smartwatch on your charging case – like calls and messages. 

Although we were excited by the case – and do think it could be game-changing for some – it's worth mentioning we did use it less and less once the novelty had worn off. If you find yourself forever opening apps that control your earbuds or headphones, it'll make a big difference. If you don't need to tweak settings much, it may be more of a gimmick.

  • Features score: 4.5/5

JBL Tour Pro 2 earbud held in hand

The earbud is quite deep, but it's secure even in our smaller ears  (Image credit: Future)

JBL Tour Pro 2: sound quality

  • Easy-listening, jazz and instrumental genres sound good
  • Not for those who prioritize detail and dynamic breadth
  • Doesn't have the punch or power we were expecting

These buds sound good, they really do. But they're not fantastic and that's what we expected with their price tag. Having said that, with lots of settings we did find a sound we enjoyed and think they definitely suit some genres more than others. 

We experimented with the different EQ profiles on offer and settled on leaving these off in favor of Harman's revered curve (the company's own heavily researched target sound signature, said to produce the best sound quality that most listeners prefer). That's because we found the EQ sound profiles to be a bit of a disappointment, especially vocals which were tinny and studio, which sounded far away. We didn't notice much of a difference in the others. 

We most enjoyed the JBL Tour Pro 2 for easy listening and soulful tracks. Proxima Parada's Musta Been a Ghost was smooth and the balance felt perfect here. The same can be said for instrumental and ambient music, like Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury's score for Devs. We like to listen to that while working and it provided an enjoyable soundtrack to our day. Having said that, instrumental music only sounded good to a point. Hildur Guðnadóttir's Joker soundtrack lacked the detail and the power we're used to from other buds. We had just been using the LG Tone Free T90Q buds so compared the two and the LGs felt more expansive, more powerful and enjoyable to listen with.

It's worth mentioning that spoken word sounded great and, strangely enough, the not-totally-perfect-but-fine ANC coupled with this fact made these good buds to wear outside if you like walking and listening to audiobooks and podcasts. We don't like feeling completely isolated from the world when we're listening on-the-move, so these did seem like the best of both worlds.

Tracks with more bass or rock music didn't sound as rich or powerful as we'd have liked. For example the 2023 Remaster of Iggy & The Stooges' Search and Destroy was a little muddied and we couldn't differentiate between instruments and vocals as much as we'd have liked, meaning there was an overall flat effect. Likewise, the Dead Weather's Treat Me Like Your Mother lacked detail, resulting in a muddied listen that wasn't altogether pleasant. 

Wondering if this was just something to do with rock music than the buds themselves, we listened to BANKS' Waiting Game and found the vocals more tinny than we expected – that's usually such a smooth listen – and the bass was powerful, but it had a fuzzy-sounding effect. Look, all of these examples sounded objectively fine, but we're used to trialling a pair of new earbuds at this level and being blown away by the new things we discover from our favorite tracks, that didn't happen here. Instead, we were underwhelmed.  

If you want buds for music while you're working or podcasts, we like these. If you're after audiophile quality or like powerful tracks – whether that's classical or rock – we think you might be disappointed here.

  • Sound quality score: 3.5/5

JBL Tour Pro 2 earbud held in a hand

We liked the small stem of the JBL Tour Pro 2 buds, which stayed in place better than buds with longer ones. (Image credit: Future)

JBL Tour Pro 2: design

  • Smart case is really fun to use
  • Battery life is surprisingly good 
  • Some will struggle to achieve a seal

As with Apple's AirPods range, the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro, Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 and Nothing Ear (1) to name just a few, the JBL Tour Pro 2 sport little stems. Despite thinking that the driver housings look a little on the bulky side at first glance, some of the team with smaller ears downsize once and find the earpieces fit well very little fiddling. That said, those with larger ears may struggle – only three ear tips are provided, and one of the team couldn't achieve a seal good enough to pass any of the fit tests (more on these in a moment) even with the largest set, despite several minutes of adjusting them. At this level, a few more ear tip size options – and in different materials – is desirable. 

JBL has added its own more angular, look-at-me take on the AirPods' ice-white, no-sharp-edges design though. Here, there are lips and notches in various materials and finishes, including the rubberised driver housings, matte top plate and mirror-finish accents on the stems. There's even a little 'TOUR' embellishment written on the circumference of each bud, as well as JBL's branding on the tails. These are every inch JBL's top-tier offering and the design choices reflect that. 

Let's bypass the touchscreen for a second. The underside of the case hasn't been forgotten. This has a rubberized portion which adds traction and means you won't inadvertently swipe it off your desk – a small detail, but the gestural among us will love it. 

The 10mm dynamic drivers represent a significant leap up from the 6.8mm drivers found in the JBL Tour Pro+, and they're listed as Bluetooth 5.3 LE audio-compatible, too. So, it seems a shame that no higher-resolutions codecs are supported – no LDAC, no aptX (standard, HD, Low Latency or otherwise). 

With up to 50 hours of playtime (or 30 hours with ANC activated) and a very good 10 in just the buds themselves before they need charging, they also trounce most of the competition at the level for stamina. For comparison, the Sony XM4s have 8 hours in each bud, but only 16 in the case, and the latest Apple AirPods Pro 2 offer 6 hours in the buds and a further 30 hours in the case. Fast charge means 10 minutes plugged in will get you five hours of playtime too, but the case can also charge wirelessly. 

The JBL Tour Pro 2 have an IPX5 water and dust-proof rating. Interestingly, the case itself has a rating of IPX2 (just make sure you close it). So the whole package is splash-proof, but not waterproof. Many earbuds at the level offer at least an IPX4 certification (which means they'll survive a sweaty gym session) but certain options go much further. The Jabra Elite 7 Active carry an IP57 rating, which means they're dustproof and can be submerged in water at up to one meter in depth, for up to 30 minutes, and survive.

There’s a feature in the JBL Headphones app called 'Check My Best Fit', which plays a short clip of music to ensure you’ve got a good seal in each ear. It's no slouch either, telling us to alter the bud in our troublesomely-shaped right ear until we're good to go. We pass this test, but some of the team fail time and time again. To speak plainly, this is why we removed a star from the design score – if they don't fit, it's impossible to get the best sound from them. And that's not the end of the story when it comes to aural tests! We'll get to grips with further features below. 

  • Design score: 4/5

JBL Tour Pro 2 earbuds and case on gray background

The shiny finish of the JBL earbuds stands out and makes for a sleek and stylish design. (Image credit: Future)

JBL Tour Pro 2: value

  • The screen is currently unique – and thus, hard to quantify
  • Myriad extra fit and hearing tests 
  • Audio and ANC can be beaten at the level

We don't hate these buds, far from it. If you want that case, you can't currently buy anything like it from anyone else. It's almost akin to adding a smartwatch to the front of an earbuds case. And if you're wondering whether it's fun to use, it is. We really enjoy the unique feature but know this is bound to be a matter of personal taste. The novelty did wear off after a few days. 

Despite some of our issues, the JBL Tour Pro 2 also sound good and we're always singing the praises of JBL's plethora of settings within its user-friendly app. But for us it's a question of value. Are they worth the premium price tag? Unless you're completely swayed by the screen, we think you can find a better sound and fit elsewhere.

Even noise cancellation, which we enjoyed, can be bested. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, Sony WF-1000XM4 and AirPods Pro 2 outshine the JBL Tour Pro with relative ease – and although those first two options are priced close-to and a little more than the JBL proposition, the Sonys are now quite a bit cheaper.

  • Value score: 3/5

JBL Tour Pro 2 earbuds case displaying ANC profiles

The easiest way to switch between ANC profiles you'll find in a set of earbuds.  (Image credit: Future)

JBL Tour Pro 2: should you buy them?

Buy them if…

Don't buy them if…

Also consider

If our JBL Tour Pro 2 review has you considering other, non screen-toting true wireless earbuds, then take a look at these three alternatives.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2
6:39 am | November 7, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2: one-minute review

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II come from the brand that practically invented noise cancellation. However, Bose’s initial venture into the true wireless earbuds space didn’t quite hit the same mark as its over-ear cans did, quickly losing out to the likes of Sony and Apple. 

However, the master is back in form, with Bose’s second-gen QuietComfort Earbuds II (let’s call them QCE II for simplicity’s sake) getting a lot of what is important just right.

And it starts with a completely overhauled design that makes the new model so much more comfortable to wear as compared to the predecessor. The gen 2 is smaller, lighter and finally seems to be competing with Sony… although there are smaller buds out there.

Size definitely matters when it comes to true wireless earbuds, but so does the performance and Bose has actually improved on what it had with the older QC Buds. In fact, we thought the first-generation Bose QuietComfort Earbuds had pretty good active noise cancellation (ANC), and we weren’t entirely sure how the adaptive nature would perform in the new buds, but it’s remarkably effective... provided you get the fit right. High frequency sounds like sirens still get through, but not as much as they did with the older model.

And the improvements to ANC haven’t come at the expense of overall sound quality. In fact, we’d go so far as to say it’s even better this time round. Each bud adapts the sound to the contours of your ear canal to make what you hear beautifully balanced with very clear details and textures. Like the ANC performance, this is, again, dependent on how well the buds fit your ear.

While there’s a lot to commend Bose on, there’s not been a huge improvement on battery life – with the case only getting a bit more juice than before – and call quality is also nothing to phone home about.

The big improvements, however, come with a higher price tag than the first-gen’s launch price. And although it matches the launch price of the Sony WF-1000XM4, the rivals can now be had for a lot less in several markets.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 inside open case

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Update (February 2023): On February 17, 2023, Bose began rolling out a new firmware update that adds a feature the company is calling Independent Single-Bud Use. This allows you to use the buds independently of each other, meaning you'll be able to continue listening to your tunes when you take one of them off (which would initially pause the playback) or switch them if one runs out of juice.

We've tested this update and added it to the Features section below. 

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review: price

  • Announced September 2022
  • Launch price: $299 / £279 / AU$429
  • Costs more than Apple and Sony rivals

It might have gone unnoticed, but the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II were announced on the same day as Apple debuted the iPhone 14 range and the AirPods Pro 2 – September 8, 2022 to be precise. Still, it got some fanfare at the New York Fashion Week where the launch event was held.

At the time of writing, only a single color option is available – Triple Black – with the Soapstone edition to arrive at a later undisclosed date. 

At launch, the QCE II will set you back $299 / £279 / AU$429, which is a lot more than the current, now-reduced price of the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the launch price of the AirPods Pro 2, both of which can compete with the Bose. 

While it’s easy to justify the premium price tag in relation to the QCE II’s upgrades over its predecessor, we could also take into account inflation rates around the world. That said, it's still pretty steeply priced but, that said, it didn’t take long for the Bose QC Buds to get discounted during big sale events, and we’re expecting the same to happen with the second-gen model as well. So if you’re not in a rush, you could wait for sales like Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday to pick up for less.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 case beside a phone

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review: Features

  • CustomTune audio
  • Excellent ANC prowess
  • Bluetooth 5.3

Bose has figured out a way to customize both the audio response and noise cancellation of the QCE II to the individual user’s ear canal. The company calls this proprietary tech CustomTune and it uses an audio signal – which is picked up by a mic inside each bud – to automatically calibrate ANC and sound frequency that best suits your ear. Bose doesn’t specify the details of the frequency response, but after having used the QCE II for a while now, we’re estimating they go from ‘extremely deep’ to ‘very high indeed’.

The sound itself is delivered via a couple of 9.3mm full-range dynamic drivers – one per bud, obviously – and the buds use Bluetooth 5.3 for wireless connectivity. The only codecs supported are SBC and AAC, which is a little surprising as we were expecting Snapdragon Sound compatibility because of Bose’s involvement with Qualcomm (the QCE II use the Qualcomm S5 Audio chipset). Perhaps that might change in the future via over-air firmware updates.

Key Specs

Colors: Triple Black; Soapstone yet to arrive
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3; 9.1m range
Codec support: SBC, AAC
ANC: Yes; adaptive
Water resistance: IPX4
Battery life: 6 hours (buds); 3 extra (charging case)
Weight: 6.2g (per bud); 59.8g (charging case)

The first major firmware update we did get was the rollout of a feature called Independent Single-Bud Use. This allows you to use a single bud to listen to music or take calls instead of pausing playback as it did before. This also allows for playback to continue if the Bluetooth connection between each bud drops. And, finally, if you find one bud has run out of juice before the other, you can swap to carry on listening. 

You can even change ANC modes when using a single bud, although since you can hear your surrounds anyway, the ability to do so is moot.

Another missing feature we were hoping would have made its way to the QCE II is multipoint connectivity which allows you to pair with two Bluetooth devices at the same time. To be fair, though, this is more common in wireless over-ear headphones and hasn’t quite made its way to the true wireless models, but it would be nice to have.

As would wireless charging. This also is a bit of a surprise considering rivals have cases that now support wireless charging and the Bose is a pretty premium set of buds to forgo this feature.

According to Bose, the QCE II offers up to six hours per charge on the buds alone, with an additional three top-ups in the case. That’s not really a huge improvement over the previous generation, which also gave you up to six hours on the buds, but just two additional top-ups in the case. 

We didn’t quite get to wear the Buds for a full six hours, but we had ANC at full bore every time we used it and, after two hours of use, we lost just 20% of battery on the buds (down to 80% from a full charge) – meaning you could get more than the listed six hours.

Bose promises that the charging case will juice up the buds in an hour if they’ve been fully drained, while a quick 20-minute top-up will get you about two hours of playback if you’re impatient.

One Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 outside its case with one inside

The new earbuds have a slimmer case and redesigned app. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Where the QCE II really shines, however, is noise cancellation. Bose boldly claimed that the QC Buds II have “the world’s best noise cancellation from any headphone”, and we will have to agree wholeheartedly. So, how has Bose managed to achieve this? With some fancy mic work – four in each bud (one inside) that sense unwanted noises – and an “exclusive” algorithm in a “proprietary” chip that’s able to cancel out the sounds in “a fraction of a millisecond”. While we can’t measure this claim, we can vouch that it works remarkably well. The QCE II will score top marks from us just on its ANC performance.

Another feature we really like is the ActiveSense technology that comes into play when the QCE II is in ‘Aware’ mode. This automatically adjusts the noise cancellation so your music isn’t entirely drowned out by loud environmental noises, while also letting you hear what’s going on around you. Auto Transparency is also pretty neat to have when you need to talk to someone. This comes automatically into play when you remove any one bud and the ANC level on the other is adjusted to its lowest level. Put the bud back on and you go back to how your ANC was set without you needing to do anything else.

The Bose Music app hasn’t changed at all but, not that long ago, received an equalizer to help you adjust the music to your liking, something that was missing when the older QC Buds first launched. Pairing the QCE II is super easy, and the app lets you save ANC modes (up to four) and reconfigure some touch controls – it’s full of instructions and very simple to use.

Features score: 4.5/5

Hand holding a Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 fitted with ear tip and stabilizer band

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review: Design

  • 30% smaller than previous generation
  • More compact and lighter charging case
  • May not fit everyone too well

Unlike the original QuietComfort Earbuds, which were – let’s not be coy – absolute units, the new QC Earbuds II are altogether more realistically sized. This reviewer has been using the older model since they launched as her everyday earphones and the new ones are an absolute revelation to her ears in comparison!

Bose claims that the second-gen buds are 30% smaller than the previous model, which in itself indicates that there’s been a complete design overhaul. The QCE II are from the ‘dangly stem’ school of design, but the stem is brief and, thanks to three different ear tip and ‘stability band’ options, they’re comfortable and secure. That said, they didn’t feel very secure when we first started using them and it took some physical shakes and jumps to convince us that the buds weren’t going to fall out.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II worn in man's ear

(Image credit: Simon Lucas / Future)

Of course, there’s a fit test on the Bose Music app to help you, but it takes a little while to build up that sense of security. While you might know what ear tip size works for you from previous buds you’ve used, it’s not easy to figure out which stability band is right for you. We found we had to try them all with our choice of ear tip, while also repositioning each bud in the ear with each band to come to a decision. This might sound tedious, but it doesn’t take long to find the right fit.

Perhaps it’s the all-in weight of 6g per earbud (as compared to 8.9g previously) that gives the false sense of insecurity, but it doesn’t do any harm either – that's fairly light for this kind of bud. Even the ear tips and stability bands are super soft, so the QCE II are really quite comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

And the build quality is everything you’d expect from a product costing a premium and, well, from Bose, including the IPX4 water resistance rating we saw previously.

Even the charging case has been given a revamp – it’s now taller, thinner and lighter compared to the one holding the older QC Buds, despite having a slightly bigger battery inside. Even with the size change, it’s still a sturdy case and much easier to open than its predecessor.

Design score: 5/5

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review: Audio performance

  • Beautifully balanced sound
  • Very clear details
  • Not the best call quality

Excellent ANC aside, Bose has also improved on the sound quality with the QCE II. When we tested the older model, we thought it lacked bass, which Sony handled really well. Now, however, that’s been rectified and whatever CustomTune is doing behind the scenes makes the serenading of the new buds very enjoyable indeed.

Branding on the stem of a Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2

Generous 9.3mm drivers are hidden in the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II's body. (Image credit: TechRadar)

The soundstage is beautifully balanced and you can pick up an exceedingly high amount of detail that wasn’t possible in the older buds. This is particularly evident when it comes to the low end, where bassy elements like kick drums and double bass get a pretty good amount of attention. For example, when listening to Miles Davis or John Coltrane you can pick out the double bass among the piano (mids) and the saxophone or cymbals. Bass drums when listening to the blues, pop or rock don’t get drowned out, with pretty much every instrument holding its own against the vocals. And at no point did the vocals get drowned out by the instruments. 

We even upped the bass on the EQ to see how it would handle the change and listening to Klergy’s Caught In The Fire was glorious. From JJ Cale to Royal Deluxe, Sarah McLachlan to Beth Hart, even Beethoven and Mozart… there was nothing we could fault. Strings don’t drown out the lows, winds hold their own and the piano sounds wonderful – there were times when it felt like we were in a concert hall with great acoustics sitting right in front of the orchestra.

How exactly CustomTune is working or what it's doing is unclear as there’s no way to switch it off for a point of reference, but that’s fine by us. Honestly, we didn’t need to adjust the EQ at all, we did it out of curiosity – in short, you put on the QCE II and let them just do their thing.   

Call quality, however, is a little lackluster. In fact, we found the older Bose QC Buds does a slightly better job in comparison. Even though Bose claims external sounds are filtered, this doesn’t happen in real-world use, particularly when it’s a little windy. The Sony WH-1000XM4 handle wind a little better, and other external sounds like traffic and loud chatter does seem to filter through when using the QCE II.

The SelfVoice feature, which you can adjust on the app, lets you hear yourself quite well, but most people we spoke to while using the QCE II said that we sound like we’re on a speakerphone.

Sound quality score: 5/5

One Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 outside its case with one inside

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review: Value

  • ANC performance is worth it
  • Balanced sound is bang on
  • High price for a set missing wireless charging

As we've mentioned earlier, the Bose QCE II aren't cheap. While the best-in-class ANC performance and the excellent sound justify a small markup over the older model, the lack of wireless charging and no support for high-definition wireless audio makes the $299 / £279 / AU$429 price tag a little hard to swallow.

Then again, inflation has also come into play and, honestly, if you truly value noise cancellation and great audio, you might find the Bose is right on the money. Our advice, however, would be to wait till these get discounted at a major sale and then the QCE II will definitely be worth it.

Value score: 4/5

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 case in black

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Should I buy the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2?

Buy them if...

Don't buy them if...

Also consider...

[First reviewed November 2022]

How we test

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