When Bose invited me to New York for its latest personal audio launch, it was hard to say no. One thing that the audio company is known for is regularly bringing truly innovative tech to the market that often redefines the audio industry – it's why we rate them among the best headphones you can buy right now. And I had a feeling that if it was flying journalists from all over the world to gaze at its latest release, it had to be worthwhile.
And I wasn’t wrong. On September 14, Bose unveiled its latest in-ear headphones for its QuietComfort range. And while their design doesn’t look too dissimilar to their predecessor – the QuietComfort Earbuds II, which we rate as the best noise-cancelling earbuds – they’ve been injected with a brand new tech Bose is calling Immersive Audio, and it’s an innovation that I think could prove to be a real game changer in the world of the best earbuds. Here’s why.
Bose Immersive Audio is a spatial audio technology, which elevates your listening experience by creating an expansive and multi-dimensional soundstage that surrounds you, rather than just feeding sound into your ears. The result is the content you’re listening to in the earbuds is given a heightened sense of realism, where music, for example, feels like it’s being performed in the very room you’re in. It's pretty remarkable, in my opinion, as it does really help to enhance your immersion within the audio content.
I’d have to agree with Bose when it describes the tech as preventing music from feeling "collapsed into your head, between your ears", a common limitation of many earphones these days. What makes it truly impressive is that it achieves this without altering the fundamental character of your favorite music. Instead, it simply enhances every nuance and detail in my experience with them so far.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: Price and availability
$299 / £299 / AU$449
Available from early October
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: Features
The new audio tech doesn't stop at Immersive Audio. It also offers two distinct listening modes that you can toggle between in the connected Bose Music app. There’s the option to keep it off if you want to retain battery life (this should save you a few hours per charge), then there’s 'Still' mode, which provides a fixed sound profile, maintaining a stationary soundstage as you listen.
Lastly, there’s 'Motion' mode, which adapts to your movements, ensuring that the sound remains directly in front of you, even as you pivot your head from left to right. This is a great option for when you’re out and about.
These customizable features mean you can make it work however you want, so you're more likely to get on board with it.
While there's lots to be excited about in terms of immersive audio, Bose – thankfully – still maintains its expertise in active noise cancellation (ANC) technology and has ensured the sound-blocking tech in the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds is just as impressive as ever.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: Sound quality
Over the last 24 hours, I’ve been testing the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds in various settings to see just how well their active noise cancellation is able to block out external sounds of every day life.
I’ve listened to music while wearing them in the bustling streets of Brooklyn and I also gave them a whirl on my flight back to the UK while listening to various musical tracks in their all-new noise cancellation mode: Immersion.
Immersion mode, according to Bose, is the firm’s most powerful of its kind, mixing it’s top-level active noise cancellation with its Immersive Audio tech for the ultimate, all-encompassing audio experience.
This is where the buds truly shined, successfully blocking out the eternal hum of the plane’s engines while delivering nicely balanced and clean sound on top. This really helped me forget where I was, which is very much needed when flying, if you ask me.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: Early verdict
So, overall first impressions? These are clearly a top-quality pair of in-ear headphones, and I’m looking forward to really putting the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds through their paces in a full review.
I have a feeling they’ll soon become my favorite earbuds yet, based on their noise-stopping power and the sound quality in the Immersive Audio mode. Both seemed so impactful immediately. Now I just have to decide which color I want: Black or White Smoke.