Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphone Review

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones Review: New King of ANC?

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones are the latest and most advanced noise cancelling headphones from Bose released in September 2023. These headphones replace the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones and are the most advanced ANC headphones that come with three ANC modes including aware, quiet and immersion. One of the things that we really liked about the Bose QC Ultra headphones is that it now comes with spatial audio when you use immersive mode which makes music feel more realistic with 3D spatial imaging – this can be a real benefit especially if you watching movies with this headphone (we will elaborate more on that below). The QC Ultra headphones also come with CustomTune technology which provides a personalized listening experience with the sound shaped to your listening preferences.

Compared with the new Bose QuietComfort headphones, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra differs in that it provides an extra listening mode – immersion mode – which combines full noise cancellation and Bose immersive spatial audio to provide a superb listening experience. The headphone also uses the latest Bluetooth 5.3 technology and comes equipped with 24 hours of battery life (supports quick charging where a 15 minute charge provides 2.5 hours of playtime on a single charge).

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphone Full Specs Guide

FitAround Ear Circumaural
HeadbandOn Head Adjustable
CushionsRemovable Cushion
MicrophonesBuilt-in Microphone
Noise CancellingYes, Active Noise Cancelling, Echo Reduction, Adjustable Noise Cancelling
ANC ModesAware, Quiet, Immersion
USB-C IncludedYes
Carry CaseIncluded
Dimensions7.7″ H x 5.5″ W x 2.0″ D
Weight0.56 lb
Product MaterialsPlastic, Aluminum, Protein Leather
Ear Cushion MaterialProtein Leather
Battery Life24 hours
Battery Charge Time3 hours
Charging Interface(s)USB C PORT
Wireless ConnectivityBluetooth, A2DP Bluetooth Audio Streaming, HFP Bluetooth, AVRCP Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy
Bluetooth Version5.3
Bluetooth Range30′
Bose AppBose Music App

The biggest improvement that the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones have is the new immersion active noise cancellation, which combines full ANC with Bose’s signature sound performance to deliver a spatial surround sound listening experience. The Bose QC Ultra headphones are also ultra-lightweight and weigh a mere 254 grams, and come with generous protein leather padding over the headband and the earpads.

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphonse are extremely lightweight and well-padded, and are very comfortable for long periods of listening

Sound Performance

We absolutely loved the sound performance of the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones. These headphones deliver really balanced sound performance with crystal clear highs, very detailed midranges and superb bass – the bass on this headphone is one of the best we have heard in a long while that has plenty of depth and gravitas without sounding muddy. In terms of sound quality, we would say that these headphones are pretty similar to the AirPods Max which has full Dolby Atmos sound support.

The default equalizer on the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones is slightly bass-heavy but it does not sound muddy or bloated in any way – the bass hits hard with great depth but never muddies into the midrange or treble frequency ranges. With immersion mode, the bass and active noise cancelling sound superb and you get a really good sense of spatial imaging with clear separation between vocals and instrumental notes. Compared with the Sony WH1000XM5 headphones, the bass on the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones has more depth and gravitas – the wields the kind of authority that you would hear in a high-fidelity sound system. The stereo imaging is really well balanced and they deliver good positional audio with really good detail. Unlike the AirPods Max headphones which can make the highs sound too bright or harsh, the Bose QC Ultra headphones maintains consistent clarity in the highs without sounding harsh or distorted at high volume levels.

We tested the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones with a couple of live jazz soundtracks and we were blown away by how crisp the sound was. Tony Bennett’s “Fly Me to the Moon” sounded spectacular with really crisp vocals and bright highs, while emphasizing instrumental notes with clarity and depth such as the stroke of the piano or the plucking of guitar strings. Tony’s voice sounded really smooth with crystal clear details; the spatial audio really makes you feel as though you are sitting in a real life jazz performance and you can hear everything with a good sense of spatial positioning (such as the position of audience clapping or cheering relative to the vocalist).

Dusty Springfield’s “The Look of Love” sounded really clean with plenty of gusto and timbre. Her vocals sound especially smooth and well-defined, and the upper frequency ranges sound consistently smooth and very crisp without any hint of harshness. The bass and lower sub-bass ranges are delivered with depth and precision; we never experienced any hint of muddiness. While the Bose QC Ultra headphones have a bass-leaning sound signature, we felt that the bass was consistently deep and have plenty of depth without muddying into the midrange frequencies.

Read more: The Bose QC Ultra Headphones really have surprisingly deep bass

We should also mention that the Bose QC Ultra headphones perform exceptionally well while watching movies. While the Bose QC Ultra headphones do not decode Dolby Atmos but focuses their spatial audio on stereo sound performance, they are still able to deliver superb 3D spatial imaging with good movie sound effects. We watched Batman The Dark Night Rises and the sound effects were exceptionally clear – you can hear the direction of projectiles flying in mid-air of the sound of footsteps approaching from the side or from behind. They sound so realistic that sometimes you might wonder if the sounds are actually from around you (rather than from the movie). The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones have some of the best immersive audio we have heard from any headphone in a long while, and they are fully wireless without the need for separate amplification.

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones come with three ANC modes – Aware, Quiet and Immersion – that delivers superb noise cancellation

Noise Cancelling

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones easily have some of the best active noise cancelling we have heard in a long while. Although these headphones have two ANC modes including Quiet and Immersion, the Quiet mode alone is enough to beat the Apple AirPod Maxes with a wide range of noises (especially in the upper frequency ranges. The Bose QC Ultra headphones are also able to more effectively suppress TV audio and the sounds of people talking nearby. The full immersive mode is exceptionally good at cancelling background sounds (when testing against a white noise generator, the Bose QC Ultra headphone performed much better than the Sony XM5 headphones).

Where the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones truly shine is in the moderate noise levels – the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones automatically lowers the ANC level (it cannot be configured) to match the moderate noise levels and as a result does not cancel out as much noise as we had hoped. The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones are much more effective at blocking moderate ambient background noises especially with the full immersion mode. This means that the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones are a much better pair of ANC headphones that the Sony WH-1000XM5s as they are able to fully cancel out background sounds regardless of the noise level (whether low or loud). This is much better than the Sony WH-1000XM5 because it lacks the ability to control the ANC level.

The Bose QC Ultra headphones come with button controls on the right earcup – including a mode button and Bluetooth button for pairing

Design – Pros and Cons

The first thing we liked about the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones is how comfortable these headphones are. These headphones are extremely lightweight at 254 grams and feel really light on the ears without causing ear fatigue. The headphone is also generously padded with protein leather on the headband and the earcups, allowing you to listen to music for hours on end without causing any ear fatigue.

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones also come with an improved battery life of up to 24 hours of playtime on a single charge (18 hours with immersive audio), and it supports quick charging where a 15 minute charge will provide up to 2.5 hours of playtime.

The earcups also come with touch sensitive controls for you to adjust the volume (just place your finger on the ear cup and slide around to adjust the volume up or down). The earcups also come with a Bluetooth pairing button and a mode button to change the ANC modes between Quiet, Immersion and Aware modes. The headphone also comes with sensors that automatically detect if you take the headphone off your head and will automatically pause your soundtracks or YouTube videos. This is quite a convenient function as you can easily pause and play music by taking your headphone off and putting it back on.

Having said that, we did find powering on the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones a hassle with the power/mode button. You have to press and hold the mode button for three seconds and waiting a few more seconds before you hear the “power on” sound – which can be rather confusing as sometimes you need to hold the button down long enough before hearing the power-up prompt from the headphone. If you hold down the power button for 1 or 2 seconds, the headphone may not power on at all. Bose should have simply used a dedicated power on button with the headphone to avoid such issues. The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphone also uses a USB-C port for quick charging and we did find the port rather flimsy at times (it has a center component inside the port which feels flimsy – so be careful not to break it).

The Verdict?

Overall, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones superb active noise cancelling headphones that delivers really good spatial audio performance. These headphones have some of the deepest bass we have heard from any pair of headphones, and they deliver consistently clear and clean spatial audio performance. The highs and midranges on the Bose QC Ultra headphones are well-articulated and well-defined, and we really enjoyed listening to live jazz performances on the QC Ultra headphones.

Movies sounded especially detailed and really enjoyable to listen to with spatial audio performance; the sound effects are well-articulated and you get a really good sonic image with these headphones. The active noise cancelling also performed much better on the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones as compared with the Sony WH-1000XM5s and they can cancel moderate to loud noises more effectively especially on quiet or immersion modes. These are some of the best noise cancelling headphones we have tested and highly recommend them.