AirPods Pro 2 vs. Sony WF-1000XM5 vs. Bose QC Ultra Earbuds: Tech Showdown video     – CNET

AirPods Pro 2 vs. Sony WF-1000XM5 vs. Bose QC Ultra Earbuds: Tech Showdown video – CNET

AirPods Pro 2 vs. Sony WF-1000XM5 vs. Bose QC Ultra Earbuds: Tech Showdown

Headphones

Speaker 1: On the market for some new wireless earbuds. Well look no further than the AirPods Pro two. You mean the Sony WF 1000 x mark five. He definitely meant the Bose Quiet Comfort Ultra Earbuds. Well, we can’t be right.

Speaker 1: Whilst it’s clear that these three earbuds are some of the best on the market at what they do, it’s not as clear which of these three does it best. So I’ll be looking at how they stack up in various categories to see if we can find a winner. [00:00:30] Just a quick caveat, these are the original AirPods Pro two, so no USB type C. Luckily, the main difference between the two besides ports is the USBC unlocks LOSSLESS audio. You just need the 3,500 Vision Pro to enable it. With that out of the way, let’s get down to it. Let’s start with design. As you can see, all three buds take slightly different approaches. All three have glossy finishes, but the AirPods are the only one with a long stem. The QC ultras are the only ones with an extra security [00:01:00] fin. Meanwhile, the XM five don’t have any of these features, but do come with foam tips instead of the quite generic silicone tips.

Speaker 1: Speaking of tips, you get the standard small, medium, large sizes with the QC Ultra where you get an additional extra small tip with the AirPods Pro and XM five. In terms of cases, the AirPods Pro and the XM fives are pretty comparable. Both are perfectly pocketable. The AirPods Pro have a glossy finish and the XM five a matte finish, which I think helps [00:01:30] hide scuffs and scratches way better than the AirPods. The QC Ultra has the biggest case that still fits in the pocket, but it’s clearly bulkier than the other two. Another downside to the QC Ultra’s case is its lack of wireless charging that is present in the AirPods Pro and the XM five, which is particularly disappointing considering the size and the price. Another small consideration case sturdiness, the lids of the AirPods Pro two and the Sony XM five feel very sturdy and well built.

Speaker 1: The QC Ultra, on the other hand, feels flimsy [00:02:00] by comparison. And to prove that this is the quiet Comfort Earbuds two that shares 99.9% of the QC Ultras design, and having dropped them on the floor, the lid came flying off. So if you are butter fingered inclined, you’ll definitely want to get a case for it. When it comes to fit, each bud has its strength and weaknesses. The Airports Pro two have a very comfy fit. When they go in, you kind of forget that they’re there after a few minutes. However, out of the three I find myself readjusting the AirPods the most. After extended use, [00:02:30] the XM five has the most passive noise canceling. Thanks to those foam tips, they stay in and hardly need readjusting. But with prolonged use, I found my ear canal would suffer fatigue. As the foam tips are more rigid, there are still miles better than the XM four.

Speaker 1: When it comes to ear fatigue, though the QC Ultra, in my opinion, has the most secure fit, I regularly use them for my workouts, and I find the Sports Fins do a great job to make sure I don’t have to readjust and just focus on what I’m doing. Even though the QC Ultra are the [00:03:00] bulkiest of the three, it really doesn’t feel like that in the ear. But as always, when it comes to fit, your mileage may vary. Moving on to sound quality, and you’ll be happy to know that all three buds produce excellent sound for their price tag. While listening to Ways by Joey Badass on repeat, I noticed subtle differences in their profiles. The AirPods were pretty neutral with clean sound reproduction. Every instrument had clear separation from one another, and while the base wasn’t particularly strong, it was still well-defined. The XM five had [00:03:30] a much warmer tone than the AirPods.

Speaker 1: They also had a lot more punch in the base, and while the instrument separation was very good, the AirPods probably edge out the XM five. In that regard, the QC Ultra, in my opinion, had the best sound quality. It sounded open, vibrant, and while the bass wasn’t as meaty as the XM five, it still did perform better than the AirPods. The addition of immersive audio really gives something extra to the QC Ultra. And while AirPods Pro have a similar feature with spatial audio, it just sounds a little more [00:04:00] open and well immersive on the bows. Sunni’s answer to this is 360 audio. However, it doesn’t play nice with a lot of the mainstream platforms, so it really just feels like an afterthought. And while the XM five and QC Ultra have apps to just eq, the AirPods do not, but more on that later, another class leading feature on all three buds are the noise canceling. So I’m going to be here with my TV and I’m going to be listening to some music about 50% volume and seeing how much of the TVs [00:04:30] volume comes into my music, just give it a go.

Speaker 2: That’s a compression technique that sends audio over the air from your device to your earbuds without getting jumping around between different genres of music. Higher end earbuds are general with a vocal suit and a detailed treble without sounding too tinny or

Speaker 1: Washed out. And just moving on to that transparency mode, all three buds perform ably. But I would say that the AirPods Pro probably have the more natural sounding out of all three. All three buds come with a decent amount [00:05:00] of features, some more than others. With the XM five and QC Ultra, they get an accompanying app to help customize and manage your settings. With Apple. There is no app and very limited settings because that’s the Apple way. But all three have some form of profile that can shift between full immersion to environmental awareness. The Airports Pro use a feature called Adaptive Audio that will dynamically change the amount of the outside world that gets into your music depending on how loud your environment is. I went in depth with [00:05:30] that feature in a video that you can watch here, but just finish this video first.

Speaker 1: But in a nutshell, it will give you a level of transparency when you are out and about, but will ramp up the noise canceling should a particular loud noise cross your path. In true Apple fashion, it’s no more than a toggle in your settings with no real way to dial in the feature to your personal taste. The Ex Fives adaptive feature is less about sound and more about situational awareness. I would say in the accompanying app, you have the ability [00:06:00] to specify how much noise canceling or transparency you get depending on full states, while staying, while walking, while running, or while taking a ride in a vehicle. The notion is you probably want to hear more of your environment when you’re out and about as opposed to when you’re stationary. So it gives you the option to dial in the exact amount you want in each instance.

Speaker 1: While it works well, there is this notification sound that seems to strum every time your states change. It can get a little annoying after [00:06:30] a while. Luckily, you can disable the chime in settings, making the experience a whole lot smoother. The QC Ultra’s way of doing things is, in my opinion, a little less fluid. Bose’s answer to the adaptive mode on XM five and the AirPods is Active Sense, which is a mode that will boost up your noise canceling. Should anything loud cross your path. The QC Ultra gives you the option to create different profiles with varying levels of noise canceling or awareness like the X and fives, but it’s fully manual. You can [00:07:00] cycle through the profiles with a long press of the earbuds. So if you end up creating a bunch, cycling through them will definitely get tedious after a while out. The three, the QC Ultra are the least intuitive, the AirPods Pro and the XM five get a speed to chat feature slash conversational awareness that allows you to talk to someone and will drop your music down and bring it right back up once you finish your conversation.

Speaker 1: The AirPods Pro, do it in a much smoother manner when it lowers your decibels, but continues playing while the XM fives will completely [00:07:30] pause your music, so you can pick up where you left off. So which you prefer is down to personal preference. The QC Ultra, on the other hand, doesn’t have this feature, so you’ll likely have to just remove a bud, which will pause your music a feature that the other two have as well. Another shortcoming of the QC Ultra is the lack of MULTIPOINT Bluetooth pairing that is present in the XM five and the AirPods Pro. Again, really disappointing considering how pricey they are. Just a quick note on battery life and all three buds are relatively [00:08:00] comparable, but the XM five, definitely the leader of this category. The XM five have around eight hours on a single charge with noise canceling on at moderate volume levels and up to 12 hours with it off the case holds an extra two charges. The AirPods Pro get up to six hours with noise canceling on and seven without it, and an extra four charges in the case. The QC Ultra gets around six hours of battery life with a NC on and moderate volume levels to about four hours with a [00:08:30] NC and immersive audio engaged. They also get extra three charges from the case. All three buds produce solid core quality.

Speaker 3: Oh yeah, this is what the QC Ultra Airbus sound in pretty optimal conditions where it’s very quiet. So hopefully what you hear is a very clear voice with not a lot of static, but you can let me know what you think about it, the comments. So here’s the core quality of the endpoint Pro two. See how that [00:09:00] sounds? Just let’s talk a little bit so you can get a real feel for it and see how you feel like it compares to the others in the same optimal conditions. And here we would be, once again, quite optimal conditions. Get quiet so you can get a real feel about how the mics work and how it kind of keeps everything, even it doesn’t. Let me know and it come up and see how you compare it to the other two.

Speaker 1: [00:09:30] But when it comes to core quality and noise environments, is there one that is subjectively better to try and find out? I’m going to test the best ears in the business. So that’s David Carno to see if he can discern any difference in quality.

Speaker 3: Hey David. I am here with a, we call him and there’s a lot of traffic going by me, still quite strong wind, so I don’t know how much of that you can pick up in my voice. And speaking of my voice, is it clear? Let me know.

Speaker 4: [00:10:00] Alright, with the first set of Buds, buds A, I’m hearing a little bit of background noise and your voice sounds a little bit recessed, but I can still hear it fairly clearly. So overall, not bad, but not stellar.

Speaker 3: Hey, David here with earbuds B, the wind is still quite strong, so let me know if that is something that you’re picking up on the mics. Also, how my [00:10:30] voice is with the traffic in the background. Is it still clear? How does compare tos? A let know?

Speaker 4: Alright, with the B buds, slightly better than the A. There’s a little bit of background noise, a little bit of a whoosh, but your voice is clear. All in all, pretty good. A little bit better than A.

Speaker 3: Okay, David, I’m here with there. But C, the conditions are pretty much the same. Still strongest winds and [00:11:00] lots of traffic going by in the background. How my voice compared to that of ear Buds B and A. Any better, any worse? I can’t wait to hear the rankings.

Speaker 4: Alright, with the C Buds, I would say your voice sounds the loudest and most clear, and these seem to be the best of the bunch, barely any background noise. So a little bit louder overall and clear overall. So I’ve listened to three buds and I would say it goes A, B, [00:11:30] C, A. There’s a little bit of background noise, a little bit of whoosh, your voice sounds slightly recessed, it’s clear enough, it’s decent, not stellar, and then B gets slightly better. Again, there’s a little bit of whoosh in the background. Your voice is a little bit clearer. And then C, your voice is the loudest and clearest with very minimal noise. So I would say C is the best overall.

Speaker 1: All in all, there’s a lot to love about these three buds, [00:12:00] but they’re not without their flaws. Their pods pro are good, all rounders, but are really OS biased. So you don’t get all the great features if you pair them to an Android phone. The XM five has great sound quality and customization, but their comfort is probably at the bottom of the pal of all three. The QC Ultra sound amazing, but seriously lacking a lot of features of its competitors. That being said, if I had to choose my favorite, it would actually be the QC Ultra Earbuds. [00:12:30] I know they lack a lot. No multi-point Bluetooth pairing, no wireless charging mid battery life and the most expensive as it’s harder to find them at discounted prices. But something about that sound and how comfortable they are, it makes me not care about any of that.

Speaker 1: When it comes to buying a new piece of tech. It’s easier to blast a product for all the features it doesn’t have. But when it nails the things that it does have so well, it’s really hard for me to argue against it. Don’t get me wrong, [00:13:00] they are spendy. But if what you desire in a pair of earbuds is first and foremost sound quality and comfort, I don’t think you can look past the QC Ultra earbuds. So those are my thoughts, and I’m sure I have offended some of you out there. So do air your grievances in the comments respectfully. Of course. Is that too much to ask from the internet? I don’t know. I think it’s a reasonable request. But if you liked the video, please leave a like, and if you want to see more product videos [00:13:30] like this, do subscribe too. So thank you so much for watching and I’ll catch you on the next one.

https://www.cnet.com/rss/all/

Jide Akinrinade

Leave a Reply