Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Last year, Apple and Bose released the second generation of their flagship earbuds, the AirPods Pro 2 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, respectively. Both earbuds offer industry-leading sound and noise-canceling technology, making your buying decision more complicated.
Here are a few features that set both pairs of earbuds apart from each other.
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
Personalized Spatial Audio, ANC, and Transparency Mode
ANC, Aware Mode, custom EQ settings
Up to 6 hours of playback (30 hours with charging case)
Up to 6 hours of playback (18 hours with charging case)
Apple's Transparency Mode and Active Noise Cancelation are arguably the best in the game. Transparency Mode is a must-have for commuters and people who want to hear their surroundings without pausing the music, while noise canceling is great for people who want to stay in their own world.
But many people want something in the middle -- a standard audio mode, if you will. With the AirPods Pro 2, this mode is an option. However, with the Bose QuietComfort Buds, there's no way to turn off ANC and Aware modes; you must toggle between the two.
2. You are invested in the Apple ecosystem
As always, Apple devices work best with other Apple devices. AirPods Pro 2 can connect seamlessly with your Apple TV, MacBook, iPad, and iPhone. Additionally, when connected to these devices, your AirPods offer Personalized Spatial Audio, which is an exclusive feature for Apple users.
So, if you have a number of Apple devices and are looking for a pair of earbuds, you'll probably want the AirPods Pro 2.
You should buy the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 if...
1. You don't like traditional earbuds design
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 sport a unique bud shape. The head is angled like the AirPods Pro 2, but the Bose QuietComfort buds have a much shorter stem where touch controls are located. Additionally, the Bose QuietComfort buds are available in three colors: Triple Black, Eclipse Gray, and Soapstone.
If you prefer earbuds with shorter stems, a more ergonomic design, and more colorways, the Bose QuietComfort buds are the way to go.
2. You frequent more than one operating system
There are plenty of people who have an iPhone but use a Windows laptop or a tablet that runs on Android's operating system. If you have a mix of device operating systems, the Bose QuietComfort buds may be a better fit for you.
AirPods can connect to all devices no matter their operating system via Bluetooth, but they work best with Apple devices. That means AirPods connected to a Chromebook won't offer all the same features you could get with AirPods connected to a MacBook.