Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones' High Price Matches the Quality - Review

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones in front of the box and a tiled wall
Credit: StealthOptional

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones in front of the box and a tiled wall
Credit: StealthOptional

When I was a teenager, I was introduced to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones thanks to a friend, and immediately realised how incredible noise-cancelling headphones really are. Now, almost seven years later, Bose's quality has not faltered - in fact, the products have got even better.

Sporting a lightweight yet premium-feeling build, as well as some of the best noise cancelling on the market, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones are expensive - but the high price is a fine investment if you're wanting some of the best headphones on the market right now.

Arriving in a sleek travel case, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra feels like a true experience for unveiling. I'm a sucker for Apple-style unboxing experiences, and the QC Ultra's give the same feeling, like opening a new world of technology. You're introduced to the carrying case as soon as you unwrap the box, and it oozes quality almost instantly.

Of course, the most important part hides within the case - the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones. At the first instance, I was surprised with how light this pricey gadget was, landing at roughly 250g. This is noticeably lighter than the AirPods Max, which come in at around 380g. Both feel equally high quality, but the design of the Bose is focused on comfortability over luxury.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones inside case
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Credit: StealthOptional

In fact, as the name applies, the QuietComfort Ultra's are unbelievably comfy, even after hours of using. In a lot of situations, wearing headphones for hours on end can get a bit painful, but even after two/three hours of wearing the QC Ultra's, I never felt like my head or ears got tired. The large earcups and the soft padding also feel comfy to use too.

Continuing with the design, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra's offer various little tricks as part of the construction of the device. Firstly, there's the multifunction button, which allows you to pause or play tracks, skip through your playlist, and so on. It replaces most headphones' tap controls, and the multifunction button feels very responsive and offers consistent control.

There's also the Bluetooth button which doubles as a power button, pretty self explanatory, and a volume bar. From my experience, the volume bar was pretty hit-or-miss, usually jumping quite high or low whenever using it, and I preferred using my iPhone's actual volume buttons to control it.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones power button and Bluetooth buttons
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Credit: StealthOptional

However, the volume bar also doubles as a shortcut action. Using the fairly sleek and simple Bose Music app, you can hold down the volume bar to get your current battery life, or launch Spotify. It's fairly simple but a nice addition that gets you some extra use out of the volume strip.

Now, onto the fun part - using the headphones. The QuietComfort Ultra offers various listening options, from standard to immersive audio, and both options sound absolutely incredible. The depth and range of sounds is staggering, and I genuinely think Bose's immersive option has ruined music for me. Not because it's bad by any stretch, but because it's way too impressive.

Listening to Kendrick Lamar's Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers, I found myself noticing certain sounds that popped more compared to standard earbuds or when using car speakers. There's a variety of notes and instruments that I felt like I didn't hear before I started using the QuietComfort Ultras, and it was similar for other artists and bands, like Fall Out Boy's So Much (for) Stardust or the Across the Spider-Verse soundtrack from Metro Boomin'.

Logo on the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones
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Credit: StealthOptional

This is made even better by how powerful the ANC is here. I live with my wife and kids, and I genuinely find it hard to hear them with the noise-cancelling on. You can switch the ANC to an Aware setting on the fly, and noises come through crystal clear, but it remains true that Bose's ANC is still top-of-the-range, even years later.

The only minor issue that you may be concerned with is the ear pressure after adjusting to the ANC. Coming from using it for even a small amount of time, you can occasionally notice your ears feel... uncomfortable, due to how different the soundscape is from ANC to just the real environment. It's not a major issue, and something that any noise-cancelling headphones could reproduce, but it can take some getting used to.

You can also finetune the Equaliser in the Bose Music app. The software has a fairly simple interface, and it's not the best Equaliser on the market by any means, but the fact it's clean and easy-to-use makes it useful. It's necessary if you want to update your QuietComfort Ultra's firmware anyway, but I'd recommend downloading it so you can mess around with the EQ or change the shortcut options for the volume bar.

Unfortunately, it's not all great news here. The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones don't offer any IP rating, so using them for exercise or out in the rain isn't recommended - you may be better off grabbing the Ultra earbuds instead. There's also no USB-C audio support, which is disappointing to say the least.

USB-C and headphone ports on the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones
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Credit: StealthOptional

The biggest issue for many, however, will be the battery life. Even after using the immersive audio for just thirty minutes, I noticed the headphones drop from 60% to 50%, which is staggeringly quick for the device to lose charge. Bose recommends that you'll be able to get 24 hours out of a full-charge, and while it's likely for the standard listening, it's still a lot quicker than other options out there.

That being said, I'm hard-pressed NOT to recommend these to anyone who loves music. I've already sung the headphones praises before I wrote this review, and that hasn't changed. Simply put, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones have opened my eyes to what luxury headphones can offer, and I'm worried I'll now go into a rabbit hole of being an audiophile.

There's so much to love about the Bose QuietComfort Ultras. Battery life aside, they're some of the most comfortable headphones I've ever used, adding so much depth to my library of music and actually helping me find new ways to enjoy the music I've loved for years. It's safe to say, the QuietComfort Ultras have opened my eyes to what a great pair of headphones can truly offer.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones
The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones are some of the best on the market, despite the battery life and high price. Bose's latest offering has changed my listening habits forever, with some incredible immersive audio, comfortable design, and best-in-the-business ANC.
9 out of 10
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