It has been a while since we have seen a new pair of flagship noise-cancelling headphones launched by Bose, but rumours of the company's upcoming new QuietComfort Ultra have come to fruition.
The company recently held a media event in New York where the new QuietComfort Ultra headphones were revealed, and we were lucky enough to be invited and get our hands on a sample and gather some initial thoughts on Bose’s new flagship cans. We're looking forward to getting a proper sample in again for a full review.
Until then, let's take a look at how the QuietComfort Ultra Headphones differ from previous models of Bose headphones. Read on to find out everything we know so far about the new headphones and everything we hope to confirm for ourselves.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones: release date
Bose has announced its the new QuietComfort Ultra Headphones will be available in 'early October'. You can pre-order now, with the official Bose UK website stating that the cans will ship "in the week of 10th October".
The new Ultra will be replacing the outgoing Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which launched back in June of 2019 and have been, until now, the company’s most expensive and most recent premium pair.
The brand seems to be moving its next flagship pair of headphones to the QuietComfort range, meaning the Noise Cancelling Headphones range lasted only one model.
The cheaper Bose QuietComfort 45 were released back in September 2021, while the QuietComfort SE headphones came out in September 2022. With a year between those previous releases, it's no surprise that the QuietComfort Ultra are set to arrive at a similar time of the year.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones: price
Bose has stated that the new QuietComfort Ultra Headphones will cost £450 / $430 / AU$649.
As the QuietComfort Ultra are lined up to be Bose’s new flagship premium model, replacing the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 in the process, it's no surprise that the price of the Ultra headphones is higher than previous QuietComfort models.
The QuietComfort SE headphones launched for $330 / £320 / AU$500 and the QuietComfort 45s launched for roughly the same figure, for reference.
Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones look to be the closest rivals and retailed at launch for around £380 / $399 / AU$550, so you'll have to pay a little extra if you want to get your hands on Bose's new premium headphones.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones: design
Now that we've had our initial look at the new QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, we can confirm the physical shape, fit, and features shown and described in the early leaks.
The Ultra Headphones are fully foldable, unlike Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 or the Sony XM5, and generally present themselves as Bose’s attempt to unify all their best features in one pair of headphones.
The headphones have a dedicated capacitive volume slider on the ear cups – a new feature for Bose headphones. Previous models required you to swipe your finger up or down the right ear cup to adjust the volume. In our review of the Noise Cancelling 700 headphones, we found that it took a few days to learn the various controls and that any slight touch could accidentally trigger the headphones’ actions. The decision to include a dedicated raised strip for adjusting volume could mean fewer accidental gestures than before.
The QuietComfort Ultra Headphones come in white or black and can be stored in a fabric, oval-shaped carrying case that’s around 6 inches / 15cm wide and tall. The case also includes a USB-C-to-USB-A charging cable and a 2.5 to 3.5mm headphone adapter for wired usage.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones: features
The QuietComfort Ultra Headphones feature Bose’s usual Quiet (noise cancelling) and Aware (transparency) modes alongside a new ‘Immersive Audio’ mode (Bose’s take on Spatial Audio). This is said to enhance and add depth to whatever you are listening to.
This immersive mode includes two options - ‘Still’ and ‘Motion’ – with the latter designed specifically to suit usage when you are moving around.
The headphones also include the ‘ActiveSense’ feature which auto adjusts the effect of the active noise cancelling based on the noise levels in your current environment.
QuietComfort Ultra are also Snapdragon Certified. This means higher-quality Bluetooth codec playback capabilities on Android devices via aptX Adaptive and low-latency performance, which is ideal for gaming.
There's also multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, as we hoped, which allows you to be connected to multiple sources at the same time.
In terms of battery life, Bose claims battery life is up to 24 hours with Immersive Audio turned off and 18 hours with it engaged. Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones offer around 30 hours of use between charges with ANC active, for comparison.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones: early thoughts
Based on what we have heard and seen so far, the initial signs for the QuietComfort Ultra headphones are promising. We will be getting a new premium look and finish, combined with interesting features such as spatial audio.
However, until we have had time with these headphones to really put them through their paces, it’s tricky to say anything truly definitive.
Feature-packed and comfortable (in typical Bose style) the Quiet Comfort Ultra Headphones will need to stand up against some stern competition – and we will be reviewing them as soon as we can get hold of a pair. So watch this space.
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