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Bose QC Ultra Headphones and Earbuds: First Impressions (Hands-On)

In a bit of a surprise, Bose updated its entire noise-canceling headphones line, unveiling two new over-ear models and new flagship true-wireless earbuds. CNET editor David Carnoy got an early look at the two QuietComfort Ultra models. Here are some quick early impressions (no this is not a full review). Subscribe to CNET: Never miss…

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In a bit of a surprise, Bose updated its entire noise-canceling headphones line, unveiling two new over-ear models and new flagship true-wireless earbuds. CNET editor David Carnoy got an early look at the two QuietComfort Ultra models. Here are some quick early impressions (no this is not a full review).

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70 Comments

70 Comments

  1. Althaf Nazeer

    September 16, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    They should release firmware updates for the existing ones

  2. 悪魔A C K E R M A N

    September 16, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Im planinng to get the qc45s and these mufuckas release a new pair to replace em, gotta wait for the new ones now

    • Tito Kev

      September 16, 2023 at 6:39 pm

      you can buy the qc45 for £200 now. unless you don’t mind paying £450 for the qc ultra.

  3. Renegade_mtb

    September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    I love my QC 35 II.
    But it’s not without flaws…
    Bluetooth latency is terrible and micro-USB is just annoying.

    If only those ultras weren’t that expensive…

    • ViscaElBarca

      September 16, 2023 at 4:22 pm

      Just wait for Black Friday

    • John O'Bryan

      September 16, 2023 at 8:51 pm

      Same. I’ve had my Bose QC 35 II’s for a long time. Although I have the Shure Aonic 50, Shure Aonic 50 II and the Focal Bathys, For casual listening I always go for the QC 35 II because the noise canceling works so well and how light they are.
      I use magnetic cables on all of my wireless headphones. Great solution for the micro usb issue.

      I’m seriously thinking about buying the Ultras as well.

  4. Stephen Knight

    September 16, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    Can’t wait to to get pair of the ultra !

  5. LIL Quete!!!

    September 16, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    Bose has no innovation left. The Ultras are not worth it.

  6. Sam N

    September 16, 2023 at 2:41 pm

    It seems Bose just slapped 450£ price tag for new design and nothing else. There is nothing special about these same features as most headphones. I’m disappointed I was expecting something jaw dropping for this price guess the only ‘Ultra’ thing about these headphones is the price lmao

  7. Bjørn S Johnsen

    September 16, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    The Ultra looks good, finally a successor to the NC700. The immersive audio experience is not something I care for, regular stereo is fine with me. As for the drivers, I hope there’s a treble fix from the NC700, even though it’s supposed to be the same drivers.

  8. pleasedtomakeyousmil

    September 16, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Okay but what about the most important feature of noise canceling headphones….the noise cancellation. Is it any better in the Ultra Headphones than previous models? I have yet to see a single site comment on this somehow. Better noise cancellation is the only reason I would get the Ultras instead of the 700s or the new unnumbered quiet comfort model.

    • Timothy Brown

      September 16, 2023 at 4:21 pm

      I would say that the sound is the most important part.

    • David Carnoy

      September 16, 2023 at 5:23 pm

      Will probably be slightly better but I couldn’t test it. Will when I get a review sample.

  9. Shawn Gipson

    September 16, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    I was hoping for at least a bump in battery life with the buds. Thx for the great overview as always‼️👍🏾

  10. D S

    September 16, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    Disappointing. The earbuds need longer battery life and right now I think they have too much bass. Even with bass turned all the way down, they are “boomy”

  11. MASTGO

    September 16, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    Do the QC Ultra Earbuds have wireless charging? Still dont understand why they took out that feature from the QC1 to the QC2.

    • David Carnoy

      September 16, 2023 at 5:19 pm

      Alas, no. But Bose will be selling a cover for the charging cases for both the QC Earbuds 2 and QC Ultra Earbuds that delivers wireless charging. Cost: $50😢

  12. Christopher Ikechukwu Eyidah

    September 16, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Pricing is always the key. I don’t believe any of the wireless headphones should cost above £250/$250. Great noise cancelling and sound signature can be obtained from headphones below £150 and a good EQ improves most hearing experiences. The one thing I would pay up to £250 for is great call quality, especially outdoors.

    • naveen b

      September 16, 2023 at 8:58 pm

      I think at the end of the day you get what you pay for. I love my Bose and Sony earpieces.

  13. Megatron2013

    September 16, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    I honestly don’t care for ANC. If companies are going to jack up the price for ANC, I would have it removed. I would rather upgrade the sound & battery life. Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 comes at $150, has long battery life, ANC & great sound. Or even the 1more Sonoflow Active goes for $99 & that is a better deal than anything Bose is offering.

  14. ltitus8900

    September 16, 2023 at 4:33 pm

    I expected Bose to keep the same driver from the 700s and carry it over to it’s successor. The reason is because the built in circuit sounds like it is performing at it’s limits after the last few updates. I do hear break ups in consistency at higher volumes when listening via bluetooth and ANC on however, this does not sound like a driver issue. When listening via a headphone amp (for these, its a 50 dollar tube amp and a Schiit modi 2), these headphones come into their own big time. Well, the comparison in sound quality and coherence is night and day. I am very interested in getting hands on or reading a full review.

  15. Eveline Caroline Lienhua MingMei FenFang Huang

    September 16, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    I Love Black Wireless Headphone!!! So Cute & Sexy 👍🏻😎👍🏻

  16. SammyDeluxe420

    September 16, 2023 at 5:44 pm

    This is no fair from Bose I just bought like 2 weeks ago the quitcomfort earbuds 2 and now they launch these one it’s just congress in the market now like Apple too it’s only wasting money for nothing

  17. Kali

    September 16, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    First time I hear that speakers are reused for a “new” pair. The NC700 had some underwhelming sound, so I guess the optimization is all in the software. Sounds to me like they’re being cheap and reusing existing parts.

  18. Yannick Orounla

    September 16, 2023 at 6:07 pm

    I guess I will finally upgrade my 700s

  19. nomiah

    September 16, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    Multipoint Bluetooth support – Do they have it?

    That is the only metric, that matters for Bose. Without it, they are completely useless!

  20. Antonio

    September 16, 2023 at 6:31 pm

    Glad to hear it. These are cheap compared to HIFI audiio headphones.

  21. Khaled Is Khaled

    September 16, 2023 at 6:39 pm

    The 700 looks way cooler than the new one 😅

  22. michael

    September 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

    Bose is going all in on NC headphones 🎧. I just bought the QC45 and have the NC700 too, now what to do? Help?

    • Robert W

      September 17, 2023 at 5:52 am

      As soon as I saw the 700 at under £200 I knew Bose were going to bring out new headphones. I held off.

  23. Justin

    September 16, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    Finally! There is a wind reduction feature, but for whatever reason it is only available in the over-the-ears and not the new earbuds. This would have been an instant upgrade from the QC II earbuds if they included wind reduction, for me.

    I hope the apt-x improvements available in the new ultra earbuds will still make it into the QC II’s like Bose mentioned earlier in the year.

    I’m also curious if they’ll improve the sound quality of the over-the-ears to become more similar to the QC II earbuds. The 700’s have a weak sound signature compared to the buds – nearly no sub bass, and overall dark and peaky treble.

    I would consider upgrading the 700s if they improved the audio quality.

  24. Tech1Tv

    September 16, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Too expensive. I had the Bose QC35 II but I’m using the Sony WH-1000XM4 now

  25. april sky

    September 17, 2023 at 12:30 am

    I actually prefer physical buttons and just got QC45 I’m good for a while 😂

  26. The Journey Project

    September 17, 2023 at 1:47 am

    Oh I thought Bose Quiet Comfort Ultra would be succesor to Quiet Comfort 45 not Bose 700

  27. Jay Jay

    September 17, 2023 at 1:58 am

    Was that an iPad Mini 5 😬

  28. Average Joe

    September 17, 2023 at 3:22 am

    Sounds fine I want the ultra for sure

  29. Rolins

    September 17, 2023 at 4:12 am

    In fact, today manufacturers instead of solving certain problems that can be solved by software updates, prefer to release the same product under another name and often another design and still sell it to customers🤦🏽‍♂️

    Customers who purchased the previous version are left behind with their issues.

    We really live in a dirty sad time 😔

  30. Tig

    September 17, 2023 at 4:14 am

    Wow this is actually very disappointing from bose. The earbuds are basically the same as last year with a firmware update… And the headphones are using the same drivers….

  31. AJ

    September 17, 2023 at 5:10 am

    Believe me when I tell you this. The old Bose SoundTrue over ear headphones was their lightest, yet premium model. So light on the head, comfortable replaceable ear cups, and signature Bose sound tuning. Wonder why they dont produce the model anymore. The Quiet Comfort is great, but so heavy on the head…and not suitable for long hours of usage.

  32. Ken Ken Ho

    September 17, 2023 at 5:58 am

    So the driver in Comfort 2 is same with Comfort ultra?

    • David Carnoy

      September 17, 2023 at 11:29 am

      Yes, earbuds have same drivers.

  33. 刘志航

    September 17, 2023 at 7:55 am

    The new QC got a 50$ bump and no new features? I mean adjusting noise cancelling level is cool, but 50$ for just that? for real?

  34. MaxChronicler

    September 17, 2023 at 8:25 am

    Way overpriced. Bose can’t fool us no more.

  35. MidwestTuner

    September 17, 2023 at 8:28 am

    A couple nights ago Bose opened preorders 🎧 I placed an order for the Ultras which will ship around October 13th. They are dang expensive but the military discount knocked $30off. I really hope these sound great, but most of all comfortable for long 4-6hour listening sessions. I recently had the Beats Pro and they sounded good and paired easily with my iPhone. I tried to like the beats but after 2-3hours the headband put a lot of pressure on the top of my head and the earcups too. I tried them for over a week but returned due to the lack of comfort. The Beats are good though for shorter listening like gym time or some chores around the house.

    • Shane W

      September 17, 2023 at 11:29 am

      I agree, man. I had the B & O H95’s and returned them. For the money, they hurt my head and no Bluetooth 5.3. Good luck lol

  36. Sean Robson

    September 17, 2023 at 10:21 am

    No mention of multipoint for the buds ultra. Stink

  37. Apichar Jiratanan

    September 17, 2023 at 11:01 am

    Design wise I like 700 better more premium and elegant luxury new ones look like every other headphones

  38. Wojciech Patalas

    September 17, 2023 at 11:24 am

    Didn’t they promised update with support for higher codecs for QC II Earbuds ? Oh, well I guess…

  39. Madhur Ahlawat

    September 17, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    I am an audiophile and own earphones like Sony IER-Z1R ($1400) and Sennheiser IE900 ($1300).
    Bose really provides the best sound as per the price-tag. Hats off Bose!

  40. Blaine Goodwin

    September 17, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    Not spending $430 on something that is barely “better” than something that’s $150

  41. David Cao

    September 17, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Sad they don’t get the silver color way from 700 both white and black look plastic and cheap even though they do have a bit of aluminum fix

  42. T R

    September 17, 2023 at 2:16 pm

    I dont understand the head tracking. When i turn my head the sounds stays the same with regular headphones. Can someone please explain?

    • Reptyy

      September 17, 2023 at 4:33 pm

      I’ts like spacial audio when u listen to it its gonna sound like it comes from diffrent directions, also if u turn on the moving spacial audio if lets say u turn ur head to right it’s gonna feel like the sound is moving with you. Honestly it’s not a wow experience unless bose ultra really suprises me. I’d rather listen to usual stereo with my headphones on. Anyway’s am gonna buy the ultra and it’s gonna be interesting trying out spacial audio, but only use it for like movies and shows. Stereo always music

  43. Yu-Gi-Oase

    September 17, 2023 at 5:07 pm

    NOOO WAY it Has the Same drivers as the nc 700 😭

  44. The Humphrey Family

    September 17, 2023 at 6:01 pm

    Cue noise cancelling degradation on 700s on the next firmware update….

  45. Hänschen Klein

    September 17, 2023 at 6:14 pm

    Now we know why the QuietComfort earbuds 2 sound is so bad…. Way too much bass and the tones aren’t defined enough. They knew from the start that they would release a revised model that sounded better. No one was interested in the previous update with the mono function. The only people who asked about it were apparently fake comments from Bose themselves. The update wasn’t an update at all

  46. bivens3ify

    September 17, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    I am loving the new design. The Sony xm5 broke my heart. The stitching for me came loose too early. But I loved the Bose 700 but the sound kept skipping in and out with my samsung note. I think these new headphones can be for me if I don’t get these issues. I’m getting the ultras though.

  47. Dylan

    September 17, 2023 at 9:48 pm

    Is there any difference in noise cancelling between the ultra earbuds and the quietcomfort 2 earbuds?

  48. aby rocky

    September 17, 2023 at 11:53 pm

    I prefer puffy bass

  49. Juan Martinez

    September 18, 2023 at 1:22 am

    It’s ridiculous that they’re selling a new pair of headphones without any upgrades but the adjustable slider for noise cancelling that could easily be implemented via software on any of the previous ANC headphones. 🙄

    Curious to see the proprietary spatial audio and how well it works with music and how it compares to open back headphones.

    The head tracking is honestly mostly a gimmick present in most of the earbuds these days and people normally just leave it off as it doesn’t really add anything to the experience.

  50. Seif Eddine B

    September 18, 2023 at 1:47 am

    I am afraid these will flop again, as Sennheiser and Sony are already discounting thier premium noise cancelling headphones, Bose will have to offer much more than 3d sound to get people to spend around 100 USD extra on their products

  51. -

    September 18, 2023 at 5:11 am

    I have qc 35s ii but I think I’ll just wait for apples AirPods Max 2

  52. Parth Taco

    September 18, 2023 at 6:02 am

    Thoroughly underwhelming. Sony is going to wipe the floor with these, in the headphone game

  53. Sangesh Pv

    September 18, 2023 at 9:18 am

    QC45 and se and The new Qc is identical come on bose release an firmware update to turn off NC i really miss my qc 35 II which i was able to turn off NC

  54. David Wilson

    September 18, 2023 at 9:49 am

    I’ve used NC700 since their release and still like them. Not bothered at all by spatial audio but am disappointed that the drivers in the Ultra are unchanged from the NC700 – they’re good, but not class leading in 2023.

  55. Big Mac

    September 18, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    I would buy them if I knew they fixed the bluetooth issues. I had to return 2 pairs of QCII because the paring would literally stop working and making the phones unusable.

  56. yoitsjust

    September 18, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    The price is kinda ridiculous

  57. A Bachelor's Life

    September 18, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    I just bought a pair of no-name wireless earbuds from Amazon. They cost me $25 and I love them. I guess I don’t know what I’m missing out on with these $300 ones

  58. Ramón s

    September 18, 2023 at 2:56 pm

    Too late I already spent my money on the Bose 700 headphones

  59. Romantis

    September 18, 2023 at 8:26 pm

    Over priced rubbish.

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