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Home / Features / Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs Pixel Buds Pro: which wireless earbuds are best?

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs Pixel Buds Pro: which wireless earbuds are best?

These premium ANC earbuds go up against each other – but which comes out on top?

Bose QC Ultra buds next to Pixel Buds Pro

While AirPods are the most famous wireless earbuds kicking about, Google has its own offering that plays nice with the Android ecosystem. They’re super convenient, sound great, pack top-notch noise cancellation, and have plenty of premium features. But new on the scene are Bose’s recently released QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds – a set of wireless in-ears in a strong position to take on Google’s best.

While we’ve spent plenty of time with Pixel Buds Pro since their launch in the summer of 2022, we’ve only recently got our mitts on the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds. That means it’s too early to say categorically which is best – but there’s plenty of tech to talk about in the meantime. Here’s how both of the earbuds stack up.

Design and function

Pixel Buds and Bose QC Buds loose

Bose’s latest wireless buds look pretty similar to the previous-gen model, including the design. They’re pretty chunky at first look, but the contrasting materials are easy on the eye. The matte effect on the outside of the buds seems to attract fingerprints and smudge marks, though. Each bud weighs in at a little over 6g, which is pretty standard compared to other wireless buds. Multiple ear tips included in the box should help to find your best fit.

Big G’s Pixel Buds Pro look pretty similar in comparison, but opt for a rounder design. The charging case is a little smaller as well, being able to fit in that small jeans pocket that nobody ever asked for. Both the case and buds are matte and rubbery but come in different colours, in true Google style. You’ll also find darker sections on the buds to house mics and sensors. The Pixel Buds Pro don’t have stems protruding, sitting flush in your ear. Each bud weighs just over 6g, so you’ll hardly notice them sat in your ears.

There are no physical buttons on the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: everything is controlled via swipes and touches. You can play/pause music, adjust the volume, and toggle on noise cancellation. The Pixel Buds Pro opt for similar tap and swipe controls, letting you play/pause music, slide volume up, and access the Google Assistant.

Bose claims the battery on its buds will last up to 6 hours with ANC, or a total of 24 hours when you use the charging case. Google’s Pixel Buds Pro squeeze out 7 hours with ANC, or an impressively longer 11 hours of listening with it switched off, and a total of 30 hours with the case. Both take up to three hours for a full charge via USB-C, but the Pixel earbuds can charge wirelessly.

Features

Pixel Buds Pro and Bose QC Buds features

Bose is proudly touting its Immersive Audio tech as the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds’ top feature. It’s a version of spatial audio that makes sound appear from all around you. Music and audio is meant to have a wide soundstage in front and to the sides, putting you right in the audio ‘sweet spot’ for a more authentic experience. There are two versions: ‘Still’ mode delivers a fixed sound when you’re sitting down, and ‘Motion’ moves the soundstage around based on head movement. All adjustable EQing, custom modes and personalisation are done through the Bose app. Pixel Buds Pro offer a similar spatial audio feature, which is a more recent addition. They do a rather convincing job, and let you pick between head-tracked and still options.

Both earbuds let you access a smart assistant depending on your device, but the Pixel Buds Pro will let you beckon “Hey Google” to your heart’s content. Of course, the Pixel Buds work best with Android devices, but still work on iOS devices; the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds support both.

Bose’s earbuds offer a customisable EQ and preset modes, and while the Pixel Buds lets you fiddle around with bass or treble preferences, it’s not quite the same. For a win on the Pixel Buds Pro side, the in-ears have IPX4 water resistance, while Bose’s buds offer no protection.

Sound and noise cancellation

Sound from Pixel Buds Pro and Bose QC Buds

At first, we wondered whether Google’s Pixel Buds Pro could meaningfully improve the audio quality from the regular Pixel Buds. Spoiler alert: they can, and they do. Your favourite tracks are punchy, and are much more enveloping than before. The Pixel Buds Pro tend to opt for a fun-sounding EQ, but still feature an impactful bass. They’re powered by 11mm dynamic drivers, which pump sound directly into your canals.

Until we can truly test the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds, it’s hard to give a fully accurate opinion on sound quality. Bose’s headphones have a reputation for clean audio, with well-balanced and immersive sound – so expect nothing less from the latest offering.

With Pixel Buds Pro, you still get pretty solid noise cancellation – though not quite up to rivals’ standards. Road traffic sounds aren’t wiped out completely, but it still makes a significant dent into any nearby noise polluters. Google’s “Silent Seal” algorithm listens in and ramps up the effect based on ambient noise. Plus, sensors inside each bud also track pressure build-up inside your ear canals, and can reduce the ANC strength accordingly.

Bose has an equally impressive reputation for noise cancellation, so we expect big things from the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds as well. Of course, we’ll need to put them through their paces when we get our hands on them.

Price

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra ea are a bit pricier than most wireless buds. Pre-orders are open right now on the Bose website for $299/£300. That puts it around $50/£50 higher than comparable premium earbuds, nudging them more into premium territory.

The Pixel Buds Pro come in for slightly less. Big G’s premium buds retail for $200/£199. It’s pretty on par for wireless buds these days, but undercut the Bose over-ears by a significant amount.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs AirPods Pro verdict: which is best?

Both the QuietComfort Ultra and Pixel Buds Pro are stacked pretty fairly against one another. The biggest differences come down to the features they offer and the price you’ll have to shell out. As far as design are concerned, both sets of buds are pretty evenly matched. The Bose buds offer better noise cancellation, and edge out Google’s offering in the sound department. But the Pixel Buds Pro are certainly more convenient, and offer more smart features.

Profile image of Connor Jewiss Connor Jewiss

About

Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around six years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home

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