The best noise cancelling earbuds just got very slightly better

This isn't the Bose upgrade we really want to hear, but it's a useful improvement to already great earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2
(Image credit: Bose)

If you're looking for the best noise cancelling earbuds, the Bose QuietComfort 2 Earbuds should be at the very top of your list: while the Sony WH-1000XM4 arguably deliver slightly better sound, the Bose have better noise cancelling.

I've been wearing mine for several months now and they never fail to delight, but there's always room for improvement – and now Bose has improved one of two significant features.

Unfortunately if you were hoping for an audio quality upgrade, this update isn't it.

One out of two ain't bad

The latest Bose update now enables you to use your earbuds independently – so if you need to use just a single earbud, for example if you're a side-sleeper who uses the noise cancelling at night or if you just need to keep one ear earbud-free for whatever reason, you're no longer limited to just the right earbud. 

That's a fairly niche concern, I know, but if you're one of the people who's been annoyed by the limitation it's good news.

The upgrade Bose hasn't delivered yet is more important, I think. That's the promised upgrade to aptX Adaptive, the Bluetooth standard for higher quality wireless audio. We know it's coming – Bose promised it would update its earbuds to aptX Adaptive this spring – but it seems we're going to have to wait a little longer for that particular feature.

Even without aptX Adaptive, though, the Bose QuietComfort 2 Earbuds are a phenomenal pair of headphones. I'm in the lucky position of having multiple pairs of 'phones from multiple firms to choose from, and when I go out the Bose are the ones I go for every single time.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).