If you are in the market for new wireless earbuds, have a healthy budget and have done your research, you are likely considering a pair from Bose or Sony. Indeed, the all-new Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and Sony WF-1000XM5 represent the best of the best... but they are priced accordingly, costing between £250 and £300.
If your pursestrings aren't feeling that loose, your next-best option is undoubtedly the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II. Why? Because they offer a great deal of those pricier pairs' performance at two-thirds of the cost. Or rather, they will when the Black Friday headphones deals hit.
Based on the fact that a) the QC Earbuds II have been consistently discounted in recent sales events such as Amazon Prime Day (1 and 2!) and last year's Black Friday, and b) Bose has recently 'replaced' them with the all-new QC Ultra in its current lineup, we can say with reasonable confidence that the QC Earbuds II will be the subject of a hefty discount come Black Friday 2023. And probably even their biggest one ever, as retailers push to clear their final stock of 'older' products. (This is a good time to note that the QC Earbuds II are hardly old, having launched just over a year ago. Indeed, the QC Ultra's arrival this early was unexpected.)
So if you're eyeing up new earbuds for yourself, or as a generous Christmas present, wait just days and your patience will likely be rewarded. Here's when you can expect the Bose QC Earbuds II deals to arrive and what price to look out for...
Wait (just days) for a Black Friday deal
At the time of writing, the Bose QC Earbuds II cost £260, not much less than the price they launched at last September (£279). However, they have dropped in price on at least four occasions since then at various retailers – firstly during last year's Black Friday when they fell to £249, and then to between £229 and £239 during this year’s January sales and Amazon’s spring sale. Just last month during Amazon's autumn Prime Day 2 sale, they hit their lowest-ever price and could be picked up for around £179-199.
This price drop behaviour makes us pretty certain that the earbuds will be once again discounted for Black Friday, as does, as we mentioned, the fact they have now been succeeded. That they're already a $199 Black Friday deal at several US retailers also helps the odds of a Black Friday deal in the UK.
Bose headphones and earbuds historically feature in Amazon sales and are often among the best and most popular deals in the headphones space, so we’re pretty confident this year’s Black Friday won’t buck the trend.
So how long should you hold out for? Many tech retailers have already gone live with their Black Friday deals, though we still expect to see the very best discounts to hit during the official sales day – Friday 24th November – and over that weekend. That is likely when Amazon, which often has the lowest prices on headphones during sales events, will drop prices on popular products like the Bose QC Earbuds II.
We would look out for a price around or below £180, though ~£200 would still be considered a good-value price. Any higher and we'd point you instead to our current What Hi-Fi? Award 2023 winners, the Sony XM5, which offer a slightly clearer, more detailed sound and can be expected to drop to around £220 if we're lucky.
The £300 Bose QC Ultra Earbuds are so new that, realistically, we wouldn't expect them to drop by much, if at all.
The downsides, and alternatives to consider
What the Bose QC Earbuds II do not have among their many talents are multi-point connectivity and wireless charging, which individually may not be a deal breaker but together could be – not least as they’re part and parcel of the Sony XM5. If, price-wise, the newer, slightly more superior Sonys do get within a short distance of the QC Earbuds II, we'd recommend them as our number one pick.
Otherwise, that is all the serious competition the Bose QC Earbuds II really have at their expected <£200 Black Friday deal price. The AirPods Pro 2 aren't quite in the same calibre performance-wise, though will be understandably tempting for Apple users if they fall below £200 (which we think they will) due to their unique iOS friendliness and street-cred design. And while we expect the very good Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 to fall to around £160, the Boses will, in our minds, be worth the small premium for most people.
The Boses have class-leading active noise cancellation, sound quality not far below the benchmark, and offer an exceptionally comfortable fit. This is why we slapped a big five-star logo on their review and why, 14 months on, they succumb only to two newer, pricier models from Sony and Bose itself.
Whatever your decision between the three frontrunners, buying a pair of premium wireless earbuds of this calibre will undoubtedly satisfy your commute or everyday listening. Happy shopping!
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