Seeing as how 700 is the largest number known to humankind, Bose has shifted into Ultra mode for its top of the line QuietComfort wireless headphones. The QuietComfort 700s were received (as high-end Bose headphones tend to be), but it’s been four years since they hit the market, making them roughly 250 in consumer electronics years.
The new QuietComfort Ultra arrives with improved sound, noise canceling and a $430 price tag. That’s $20 more than Sony’s flagship WH-1000XM5, but a downright bargain compared to Apple’s AirPods Max, which retail for $549.
The new over ear headphones are part of a broader QuietComfort refresh that includes new earbuds, which also get the Ultra distinction and a $299 price tag – same as the WF-1000XM5 (Sony really must do something about that nomenclature) and $50 more than the latest generation of AirPods Pro.
Bose long ago established itself as one of – if not the – leaders in the over-ear space. QuietComfort in particular has become a ubiquitous sight on flights, though increased competition has eaten into its market share in recent years. The QuietComfort 45 have been a popular alternative, and while an MSRP of $330 hardly qualifies them as affordable, they deliver a great experience at $100 less than Ultra.
Those, too, are getting a revamp in the form of the simply titled Bose QuietComfort Headphones. The numbers are gone now, which is a little confusing at first glance, but makes sense in the broader context of the brand revamp. At $350, they’re $20 more than their predecessors.
Like the 700 before them, the Ultra have a big task ahead of them in terms of justifying that price gap. Bose promises an upgraded design, coupled with improved tuning via CustomTune.
It’s been more difficult for Bose to distinguish itself in the extremely crowded earbuds space, where handset makers like Apple and Samsung have a decided leg up. The QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds replace the QC Earbuds II. They promise six hours of battery on a charge, and an optional wireless charging case is available separately.
The Quiet Comfort Headphones will be available September 21. The Ultras (both of them), meanwhile, arrive in October.