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Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: The Showdown

The showdown between Bose and Sony earbuds reveals a decisive victor. Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs. Sony WF-1000XM5.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

  • Battery life for the buds: 6 hours.
  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): Yes.
  • Spatial Audio: Yes.
  • Water resistance: IPX4.

The recently introduced Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds have introduced their groundbreaking ‘Immersive Audio’ technology. This technology takes the established spatial audio concept a step further. Bose incorporates Inertial Measurement Units and exclusive digital signal processing software, creating a ‘layered’ and ‘multi-dimensional’ audio experience from any source.

These earbuds offer the same robust sound quality as their predecessor, the QCE II. They also come with Bluetooth 5.3, but their battery life, while respectable at six hours (or 24 with the case), falls a bit short in today’s context. The earbuds do appear slightly bulky by modern standards.

Pros:

  • Advanced spatial audio features.
  • Best-in-class active noise cancellation.
  • Sleek metallic finish for added style.

Cons:

  • Bulky design compared to current trends.
  • Battery life may disappoint.
  • Wireless charging case requires an additional cover.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM5

  • Battery life for the buds: 8 hours.
  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): Yes.
  • Spatial Audio: Yes.
  • Water resistance: IPX4.

Sony’s WF-1000XM5 packs various high-end features into a smaller form factor, along with an extra set of foam tips for an optimal fit. They offer LDAC, Sony’s top-tier DSEE upscaling, and Bluetooth 5.3. The sound quality lives up to Sony’s esteemed reputation.

These earbuds excel in build quality and maintain an impressive battery life. They protrude less than their predecessor, the XM4, and exude a premium feel. However, occasional connectivity issues and weaker ANC compared to Bose’s flagship offering are areas of concern.

Pros:

  • Agile, robust, and enjoyable sound quality.
  • Comfortable and secure earpieces.
  • Satisfactory battery life, consistent with the XM4.

Cons:

  • ANC might be surpassed.
  • Occasional connectivity hiccups.
  • On-ear volume control can be hit or miss.
Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5

Why is the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5 battle of great significance among noise-cancelling earbuds? Let’s delve into the facts.

Fact one: Bose and Sony stand as industry leaders in audio technology, consistently delivering top-tier headphones and earbuds. Fact two: The competition for the title of the best wireless earbuds has recently seen an unexpected new champion, Technics. Fact three: This was the situation until the launch of the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds alongside two over-ear models on September 14.

The new QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds build upon the success of the acclaimed QuietComfort Earbuds II. They promise even better noise-cancelling performance – a sentiment widely echoed, including by NewForTech.

A newly developed dynamic microphone mixing technique, coupled with adaptive filters, enhances far-field call quality. The design has received a touch of elegance with a metallic finish on the earbuds’ bodies.

While these earbuds offer a claimed six hours of battery life on a single charge, it’s worth noting that the company offers a silicon charging-case cover for wireless charging, unlike the Sony WF-1000XM5’s case, which supports wireless charging out of the box.

The Bose earbuds boast the Snapdragon Sound Technology Suite, Google Fast Pair, Bluetooth 5.3, and aptX Adaptive codec compatibility. In contrast, Sony’s earbuds, also equipped with Bluetooth 5.3, deliver hi-res playback via the proprietary LDAC codec and top-tier DSEE upscaling.

Sony’s long-awaited WF-1000XM5 true wireless earbuds represented significant improvements over their predecessor, the WF-1000XM4. However, they received mixed reviews, earning a rather modest four-star rating from this publication.

In an intriguing twist, our review of the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds also yielded a similar four-star rating. The competition just got more interesting. So, which one reigns supreme?

With that question in mind, we’re pitting the latest Bose earbuds against Sony’s compact 2023 flagship earbuds to determine the ultimate champion. Let’s dive in and find out!

Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: The Showdown

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5 (Price and Release Date)

Here’s the lowdown on the price and release details for the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and the Sony WF-1000XM5:

AspectBose QuietComfort Ultra EarbudsSony WF-1000XM5
Price$299 / £299 / AU$449$299.99 (US), £259 (UK), AU$499
Release DateMid-October 2023August 2023

Bose unveiled the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds on September 14, 2023, and they became available in mid-October. In contrast, Sony introduced the WF-1000XM5 earbuds on July 24, 2023, and they hit the market in August 2023, priced at $299.99 in the US, £259 in the UK, and AU$499 in Australia. This price is a reasonable $20 increase from the previous WF-1000XM4, which launched at $279.99 / £250 / AU$449.95.

Bose has opted for a straightforward approach, offering the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds at the same manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) as the September 2022 QuietComfort Earbuds II.

Although both sets of earbuds share nearly identical launch prices, the true value is revealed in performance. When compared to the leading rivals like the Technics EAH-AZ80 (priced at $299 / £259 / AU$499) and the AirPods Pro 2 (costing $249 / £229 / AU$399), the price differences may be a factor to consider, especially for newer offerings.

Comparison: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5 (Features)

In the battle of the heavyweights, Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and Sony WF-1000XM5, two prominent features take the spotlight: spatial audio processing and noise-cancellation. How do they measure up?

When it comes to noise-cancellation, Bose has consistently outperformed Sony, a trend that continues in the 2023 lineup. Our review of the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds praises their “top-of-the-heap” active noise cancellation.

Sony made efforts to enhance their ANC with a larger driver unit, offering richer audio and clearer vocals. However, the results left us unimpressed. In the Sony WF-1000XM5 review, we acknowledged its effectiveness but noted that it fell short compared to some rivals.

Moving on to immersive audio, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is a standout feature, creating a 360-degree soundstage. It involves some initial setup but delivers exceptional detail and directionality.

Bose’s Immersive Audio introduces a multi-dimensional soundstage, adding a sense of realism to your music. It offers two modes: ‘Still’ for a fixed sound profile and ‘Motion’ that adapts to your movements.

Sony’s Adaptive Sound Control, while beneficial, focuses on noise cancellation rather than spatial audio. With Sony WF-C700N’s support in a more affordable package, it’s worth considering.

Winner: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

Comparison: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5 (Sound)

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds deliver impressive sound quality but fall slightly short in detail and dynamic range compared to Sony and Technics options. The competition is fierce, and the Bose earbuds, while excellent, face stiff competition.

Immersive profiles offer a captivating experience, yet some songs lack the desired subtlety in their initial build.

Bose’s 9.3mm drivers shine in quieter environments due to their robust ANC. However, for nuance and detail, Sony’s alternatives surpass them.

Sony WF-1000XM5, equipped with an 8.4mm driver, deliver balanced sound with crisp bass weight. They provide an exciting, bass-rich listening experience.

Sony offers both Spatial Audio and high-res audio support with LDAC. Bose boasts aptX Adaptive, and in the high-resolution audio department, Sony takes the lead.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM5

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5 (Design)

In the design arena, personal preference plays a significant role, and both earbuds cater to different tastes.

AspectBose QuietComfort Ultra EarbudsSony WF-1000XM5
Size & WeightSlightly bulkier at 6g/earpieceSmaller, lighter at 5.9g/earpiece
AestheticsMinimal visual changesGlossy texture, distinct appearance
Earbud CoversSlip-over silicon coverBuilt-in wireless charging
Eartip OptionsLimited sizesFour sizes, including “ultra-small” SS
Tail DesignNo tailFeatures a tail

Sony’s WF-1000XM5 stands out with its smaller, lighter profile, glossy texture, and variety of eartip sizes, including an “ultra-small” option. This design is perfect for those seeking a more compact and tailored fit. On the other hand, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds largely maintain their previous design, with some subtle changes and the option for a slip-over silicon cover for wireless charging.

Ultimately, the choice between these earbuds depends on your preference for size, weight, and aesthetics.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM5

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5 (Battery)

Both the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and the Sony WF-1000XM5 offer respectable but not class-leading battery life, considering their advanced features.

AspectBose QuietComfort Ultra EarbudsSony WF-1000XM5
Battery LifeUp to six hours, 24 hours with caseEight hours, 24 hours with case
Wireless ChargingRequires accessoryCase charges wirelessly

Bose earbuds deliver six hours with an additional 24 hours from the case, the same as their predecessor. Sony’s WF-1000XM5 match this with an eight-hour battery life and 24 hours with the case, similar to the Bose. However, Sony’s case supports wireless charging, unlike Bose’s, which requires an additional accessory.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM5

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5 (Conclusion)

Comparing the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and the Sony WF-1000XM5 reveals key distinctions in their true wireless earbud offerings.

Tidal users may lean toward Sony, while Bose excels in advanced ANC for those seeking a silent sanctuary during long flights. Sony suits smaller ears, while Bose’s Immersive Audio offers a unique spatial audio experience, particularly on the go.

In our view, while Sony’s WF-1000XM5 delivers impressive audio quality in a compact design, its ANC falls slightly short at this level, and connectivity drop-outs pose a significant concern.

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds provide a fun user experience, robust noise cancellation, and an innovative Immersive Audio feature. However, notable omissions like multipoint connectivity and wireless charging may deter some at this flagship level. If ANC is your top priority, Bose prevails; for sound quality, Sony’s WF-1000XM5 is the choice.

Consider your budget and specific needs. High-end options like these may not be necessary for every user. Enjoy the music and your journey, no matter your choice.

Winner: Based on your priorities.

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