Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, Earphones bring ultimate ANC & audio

Bose goes large with a trio of new QC headphones for 2023, headlined by the Ultra Headphones and Ultra Earphones

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones
(Image credit: Bose)

No resting on its laurels for Bose, no matter how comfy they may be - today the brand has announced three new models in its acclaimed QuietComfort range. Surely contenders for the best headphones and the best earphones of 2023 already?

Replacing three extremely well-regarded products, the new QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and QuietComfort Headphones all build on long-established Bose expertise where active noise-cancellation (ANC) is concerned, and some of them throw in an intriguing new technology or two for good measure.

The QuietComfort Ultra Headphones replace the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 as the flagship Bose over-ear headphones. Completely re-engineered in comparison to the model they replace, QuietComfort Ultra Headphones feature an advanced microphone array designed to further improve ANC and, thanks to a beamform arrangement that can differentiate your voice from 360 degrees of external sound, aim to deliver crystal-clear call quality and reliable interaction with voice assistants. Bose is claiming battery life of up to 24 hours from a single charge, and suggests the line-up of physical controls is the most reliable and intuitive it’s ever fitted to a pair of over-ear headphones.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

The QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds, meanwhile, are the replacement for the widely admired (and award-winning) QuietComfort Earbuds II (it really didn't take long for those to get replaced!). Bose claims these new earbuds improve on ANC that was generally reckoned to be the best around, offer improved far-end call quality thanks to dynamic mic mixing and adaptive filters, and look a more premium proposition thanks to a new metallic treatment on the body of the earbuds. Battery life is up to six hours from a single charge - and there’s the option of a silicone charging case cover that facilitates wireless charging and is also compatible with the outgoing QuietComfort Earbuds II.

Both the QuietComfort Ultra Headphones and QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds use Bluetooth 5.3 for wireless connectivity, and support the aptX Adaptive codec. They both feature the Snapdragon Sound Technology Suite, meaning seamless and robust connectivity with some premium Android devices, such as the best Android phones. They also feature Google Fast Pair for superior ease-of-use when pairing with such Android machines. 

In addition, each uses the company’s brand-new Immersive Audio technology. On the face of it, this is a variation on the ‘spatial audio’ theme - Bose is claiming to be able to make any content ‘multi-dimensional’ and ‘layered’, regardless of its source or native configuration. Each model has an onboard inertial measurement unit (IMU) and some proprietary Bose digital signal processing software, and the intention is that the true depth of a recording is revealed by virtualising it to sound as if it’s in front of, rather than either side of, your ears. Two modes (‘still’ and ‘motion’) allow the sound to either remain in its fixed position or to respond to your movements to ensure it’s always out in front. 

Bose QuietComfort Headphones

(Image credit: Bose)

The third product is the new QuietComfort Headphones, which are the replacement for the outgoing QuietComfort 45 Headphones. In addition to the older model’s exemplary ANC and competitive sound quality, the QuietComfort Headphones feature adjustable ANC levels with ‘custom’ options. Wireless connectivity is of the multipoint variety and is via Bluetooth 5.1, and battery life is claimed to be 24 hours from a single charge.

All three of these products are compatible with Bose SimpleSync technology, which means they can pair with certain soundbars and speakers for a ‘personal’ listening experience. Obviously volume control is independent, so the speaker can be muted while the headphones do their thing. In addition, each can be used with the Bose Music control app.

The QuietComfort Ultra Headphones and QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds are on sale from early October, although pre-orders begin today at - they’re available in ‘black’ or ‘white smoke’ finishes and cost $449/$429 and £349/$299 respectively. The QuietComfort Headphones are on sale now at £349/$TBC, and in addition to ‘white smoke’ and ‘black’ are available in a limited edition ‘cypress green’. Very fancy.

Simon Lucas

Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? magazine and website – since then, he's written for titles such as Wired, Metro, the Guardian and Stuff, among many others. Should he find himself with a spare moment, Simon likes nothing more than publishing and then quickly deleting tweets about the state of the nation (in general), the state of Aston Villa (in particular) and the state of his partner's cat.