We recommend the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds in our guide to the best wireless earphones for those who just want the strongest active noise cancellation (ANC) possible in a true wireless design. If you've been looking to pick up a pair, take note: A recent sale has brought the earphones back down to $249, which takes $50 off their usual price and matches the previous low we saw during the holiday season. The offer is available at several retailers, including Amazon, Walmart and Bose's own online store, and it comes as part of a wider spate of discounts on the company's headphones, earbuds, soundbars and Bluetooth speakers.
Engadget Senior Reporter Billy Steele gave the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds a score of 88 in his review last September. Again, ANC performance is the big attraction here: The earphones do a superb job of reducing external sound across the board, and Bose's app lets you lower the intensity of the ANC if it ever feels uncomfortable. (Though, as with most noise-canceling headphones, voices and other higher-pitched sounds will come through a little clearer than bass- and midrange tones.) The actual earpieces are larger than most other pairs, but they're comfortable, with soft silicone tips that don't create too much pressure in the ear.
Bose's sound signature is a bit bass-heavy out of the box, but not to the point of sloppiness, so it should particularly satisfy fans of hip-hop and pop. If you want a little less low-end, you can tweak the EQ curve through Bose's app. This model also comes with an optional spatial audio feature dubbed "Immersive Audio," which aims to give any song a greater soundstage and sense of width. Some tracks will still take to it better than others, but Steele found it to offer impressive detail on the whole.
There are some issues to keep in mind, though. The QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds lack wireless charging by default; to add it, you need to buy a $49 case cover. They also can't connect to two devices simultaneously. The built-in mic is fine for phone calls, but not good, and the six to seven hours of battery life is similarly just OK. With Immersive Audio on, the latter drops closer to four hours. Sony's WF-1000XM5, the top pick in our guide, offer a wider feature set and excellent ANC performance in their own right (though they may be less comfortable for those with smaller ears). Apple's AirPods Pro, meanwhile, still include a bevy of conveniences for iPhone owners. Still, if you want a true wireless set that focuses on ANC and spatial audio, this is a decent discount.
In other Bose deals, the over-ear version of the QuietComfort Ultra are also $50 off at $379. That pair delivers top-notch ANC as well, but it's harder to justify when Sony's WH-1000XM5, our favorite wireless headphones overall, is currently on sale for $50 less. The older QuietComfort Earbuds II are available for $199 as well, though our review found the Ultra model's spatial audio tricks to be worth the upgrade.