The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones are packaged in a compact elongated rectangular box. At first glance, it may seem like the manufacturer has cut corners on the presentation, but upon closer inspection, this is not the case. The packaging is minimalist yet stylishly decorated, utilizing a bright green color with instructions printed on the inside of the box.
The packaging doesn’t contain any superfluous items such as manuals or unnecessary compartments for cables. Instead, everything is optimized to maximize space efficiency. Cables can be neatly stored inside the case, eliminating the need for additional compartments.
Overall, while the packaging may appear simple, it effectively showcases the headphones and reflects Bose’s commitment to minimalist design and functionality.
The case for the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones maintains a classic and practical design, which is commendable. It is compact, occupying minimal space, and crafted from pleasant-to-the-touch materials with a sturdy frame. The inclusion of a pocket for cables adds to its functionality.
In contrast to the current trend of oversized cases with unconventional shapes designed to attract attention, the simplicity of the Bose case is refreshing. It prioritizes practicality and functionality over flashy aesthetics.
Internally, the case features soft upholstery, ensuring that the headphones are well-protected and maintaining their appearance over time. However, any ergonomic issues related to the headphones themselves are separate from the case and will be discussed in detail in the “Comfort” section. Overall, the case effectively serves its purpose of providing safe storage for the headphones while remaining sleek and practical.
The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones feature a combination of different types of plastic and materials, resulting in both practical functionality and attractive aesthetics. Unlike previous models like the QuietComfort 35, which had a bulky and protruding Bose logo, the logo on the QuietComfort Ultra is neatly engraved, reflecting a more streamlined design approach adopted by the company.
The exterior of the headband is crafted from a pleasant plastic with a soft-touch feel, enhancing comfort during extended wear. However, it’s important to note that this material may lose its pleasant texture if not properly maintained. Additionally, several areas of the headphones are covered with this premium plastic material, adding to its overall premium look and feel.
The model I tested came in a white design, although a black version is also available. The soft beige tones complemented by silver metallic dusting create an attractive palette that exudes modernity and style without excessive futuristic details. Overall, the design of the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones is sleek, sophisticated, and directly competes with models like the Sony WF/WH series.
The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones are lightweight and comfortable to wear for extended periods without causing discomfort or pressure on the head. The ear pads and headband are incredibly soft and pleasant to the touch, providing a comfortable fit. Additionally, both the ear pads and headband can be replaced if they lose elasticity over time, ensuring continued comfort.
However, one aspect worth noting is the folding mechanism of the headphones, designed to save space and facilitate storage in the case. While the hinges of this mechanism are not fixed, allowing for flexibility, they may fold in half every time the headphones are put on or taken off. Although users may quickly adapt to this feature, it can be initially confusing, especially for those new to Bose headphones of this line.
Additionally, the folding mechanism may require some adjustment when placing the headphones in the case, as the hinges need to be aligned properly for a secure fit. While this design feature adds flexibility, it may also pose a minor inconvenience for some users. Nevertheless, once familiarized with the mechanism, users can easily store and transport the headphones without any major issues.
Control and battery life
The user interface of the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones is designed to be simple and intuitive. With only two physical buttons and a multimedia touch area, navigation is straightforward. The Bluetooth button controls power and Bluetooth connectivity, while the second button toggles between ANC and pause modes, with customizable options available in the companion app.
The multimedia touch area on the right cup offers versatile functionality, with volume control being a particularly successful feature. It is sensitive and accurate, providing a pleasant user experience. Unlike some competitors, Bose has avoided overcrowding the cup with multiple sensors, maintaining a clean and minimalist design.
In terms of battery life, the manufacturer claims up to 24 hours of operation in normal mode and 18 hours in virtual audio mode. During my usage, starting from a 50% charge, I achieved approximately 6-7 hours of continuous playback before reaching the 20% battery level. This is a satisfactory performance for the average user’s needs.
The companion app offers additional features such as firmware updates and sound customization options. Standard functionalities such as an equalizer, ANC modes, and programmable control buttons are also available, enhancing the overall user experience. Overall, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones provide a user-friendly interface and convenient app integration for seamless control and customization.
The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones offer three noise-canceling presets: “Silence,” “Maintain Control,” and “Master.”
– “Silence” effectively muffles external sounds to minimize distractions while listening to music.
– “Maintain Control” enhances awareness of surrounding events by amplifying ambient sounds slightly louder than they naturally occur.
– “Master” allows users to customize the level of noise cancellation according to their preferences and includes an option to block wind noise, which can be beneficial during outdoor activities.
In terms of ANC quality, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones excel and can be considered among the best in this regard. While the ANC may initially feel slightly pressure-inducing, users quickly adapt to it. Additionally, the transparency mode, while not innovative, is well-implemented in this model, contributing to its overall effectiveness in providing a seamless listening experience.
**Low frequencies:** The headphones exhibit a strong emphasis on bass frequencies, evident both in graphical representations and during listening. With additional equalizer adjustments, users can achieve a bass-heavy sound profile. While the elevated bass adds energy to the sound, it may result in some mixes sounding with additional rumble.
**Medium frequencies:** The midrange frequencies are described as incredibly equal. If you are a fan of Sennheiser’s midrange presentation, you may appreciate this characteristic. However, the reviewer notes a perceived lack of detail and sharpness in the midrange, with vocals sounding somewhat muffled. The equalizer can be utilized to address this and tailor the midrange to personal preferences.
**High frequencies:** The treble frequencies are not overly emphasized, affecting the clarity and sonority of vocals and instruments. While there is sufficient treble presence, the reviewer expresses a preference for more emphasis in the high frequencies.
The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones offer a bass-heavy sound profile, a balanced midrange with room for user customization, and a restrained emphasis on high frequencies. Users can further fine-tune the sound through the equalizer to suit their personal preferences.
Despite my earlier reservations, I must say you’ll pleasantly surprise yourself by giving these headphones a listen. In my own assessment of their sound quality, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra stands out ahead of both the Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Bowers Wilkins PX7 S2. Regarding the EQ settings, here are my personal preferences: Low – no change, Mid +4, High +8, resulting in a pleasing V-shaped sound profile. While there’s nothing groundbreaking here, these drivers deserve a chance as they leave competitors in the dust. For me, the Dali IO-6 presents a strong contender against this pair; although three times cheaper, they are equally intriguing. The Dali model triumphs in terms of stage width, although others may sound somewhat lacking, albeit I haven’t fully adjusted them with the EQ. Let’s shift away from direct comparisons.
I’d like to touch upon the touted spatial sound technology briefly. In layman’s terms, it resembles the 8D videos on YouTube—a promising but still raw concept. I’m supportive of companies exploring this avenue.
In summary, the comfortable, stylish, and high-quality Bose QuietComfort Ultra proved to be an excellent companion during the review process. While it introduces some genuinely novel aspects, I recommend exploring all the headphones mentioned in this review, as undoubtedly, your ideal pair lies among them.