Bose QuietComfort Ultra review verdict: Bose’s new pair of over-ear wireless cans are an expensive piece of kit in the Philippines, but you’re getting comfortable, easy-to-use headphones that have sound quality that few brands in the market can match.
- Incredibly comfortable
- Unbeatable ANC
- Excellent spatial audio
- Fantastic sound quality
- Very expensive
It’s been a great year for audiophiles as there’s been a glut of high-performance wireless cans released recently. The latest to cross our labs is Bose’s new QuietComfort Ultra headphones, launched in the country a month ago. Bose has spared no expense to make their latest flagship headphone the best it can be, and they’ve succeeded, for the most part. Unfortunately, you’ll have to have fairly deep pockets to afford one of these things as they’re significantly more expensive than what’s available from their competitors
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Review Philippines: design
Bose has taken a step back in the overall design of the QuietComfort Ultra, shunning the studio-focused design of their previous Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, and instead opting for a form factor that’s more travel-friendly. The earcups on the QuietComfort Ultra rotate and fold for easier storage and transport which is especially useful when you’re traveling.
Since the QuietComfort Ultra is the brand’s flagship offering, it’s not surprising to see that Bose has spared no expense as far as the materials used for it go. The earcups and the headband use soft, premium leather, and the headphone’s clamping force is firm but not overly so. Both combined make all-day listening pleasurable, and the QuietComfort Ultra is a bit more comfortable to wear versus say, Sony’s WH-1000XM5s.
The right earcup contains all the controls you need for the QuietComfort Ultra, including the power/Bluetooth button, a capacitive strip for controlling the volume as well and a multi-function button that allows you to switch listening modes, answer calls, and control playback.
The capacitive strip is a little short, though it still does the job it was designed for. The other earcup holds the 2.5mm jack, as well as a Type-C port for charging and an LED indicator. You can use the QuietComfort Ultra in both wired and wireless mode, though the Type-C port is strictly for charging – it doesn’t support audio.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Review Philippines: performance, software, sound quality
Hardcore audiophiles may be disappointed to learn that Bose essentially recycled the same drivers that are on their Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 for the QuietComfort Ultra. Most people won’t care though – they still sound great despite their age, and driver design is just one part of the audio package.
While you can use the Bose QuietComfort Ultra on its own without downloading the accompanying app, the Bose Music app (available for both Apple and Android users) allows you to customize its behavior. This includes setting the equalizer, shortcuts, audio sources (the QuietComfort Ultra can connect to multiple devices at once), and noise cancellation.
Speaking of noise cancellation, the QuietComfort Ultra’s ANC tech is one of the best I’ve used. I took it along with me during a recent press trip to Thailand, and it managed to cut out the engine drone of the plane to almost nothing. As soon as I put them on, I was left with silence – just me and my music.
Bose also includes other ANC modes in the QuietComfort Ultra, including an Aware mode, that lets you listen in to the environment around you while still guarding against sudden loud sounds that may damage your hearing. Aware mode is usually the default ANC mode I have on when I am traversing through Suvarnabhumi Airport since I need to listen in to announcements regarding gate changes and time adjustments (PAL flyers, you know what I’m talking about).
Bose is putting its Immersive Audio tech front and center with the QuietComfort Ultra. Immersive Audio is Bose’s take on spatial audio. Immersive Audio tries to make you feel like you’re listening to a pair of stereo speakers in front of you, expanding the sound stage and making it sound like you’re in you’re living room listening to a pair of very expensive speakers.
There are two settings in Bose’s Immersive Audio tech: still, which essentially anchors the sound directly to your front even if you turn your head, and motion, which removes head tracking.
Does it improve the listening experience? Yes, it does, but it depends on the type of music you’re listening to. Lil Nas X’s song ‘Industry Baby‘ sounded more complete when the feature was turned on, however, on some tracks where there are fewer things happening, like acoustic sets, the vocals and instruments felt compressed to the center of your head. I believe that Bose’s audio technology works best with tracks that have a lot of elements in them – the more complex the track, the better the technology works.
Overall audio quality with spatial sound off, QuietComfort Ultra is one of the best-sounding headphones we’ve tested yet, high praise considering it’s coming at the heels of Sony’s WH-1000XM5s. The audio is warm, punchy, and detailed across the board with a slight emphasis on bass.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Review Philippines: battery life
Bose rates the battery life of the QuietComfort at 24 hours with continuous listening, dropping down the 18 hours if you’re using Immersive Audio on top of it. After roughly three weeks with them, I’d wager that’s correct. Honestly though unless you’re slated to take an ungodly long-haul flight without access to any kind of power bank or power plug to charge it, you’ll be good.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Review Philippines: wrap-up and verdict
I’m convinced after this review that the Bose QuietComfort Ultra is one of the best, if not the best, ANC wireless headphones you can buy in the Philippines today. That being said, it’s also one of the most expensive of its kind in the market, commanding an eye-watering Php 27,900, which is significantly more than its closest rival, the Sony WH-1000XM5.