Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs Sony WF-1000XM5: Best Bluetooth headphones from manufacturers Bose and Sony, the QC Ultra Earbuds and WF-1000Xm5 are both exceptional. Yes, but what if you only had to choose one pair?
Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs Sony WF-1000XM5
|Rich, punchy, well-defined and balanced sound reproduction (after adjustments).
|Rich, punchy, well-defined, and balanced sound reproduction (after adjustments).
|The bass is still incredibly deep.
|Spacious and natural soundstage.
|Bass is still incredibly deep.
|Terrific noise reduction.
|Excellent feelings of comfort and very good support.
|Good feelings of comfort.
|Comprehensive controls, ease of use.
|Colossal battery life for true wireless headphones.
|Many advanced features.
|Integrated microphones are sensitive to certain external disturbances.
|A strong sensation of intrusion into the ear canal.
|Slight lack of homogeneity in the treble.
|Disappointing voice recording.
|Some practical features are missing (wireless charging, multipoint, etc.).
|Mode of listening to surrounding sounds that lacks naturalness.
|Poor call quality.
|Finishes that leave a little to be desired.
Manufacturing & Comfort
|Qi wireless charging
|Qi wireless charging
In a way version 1.5 of the Bose QC Earbuds II, the QC Earbuds Ultra displays a fairly consensual design, while being modern. Almost entirely made of plastic, the chassis of these headphones is not premium, although serious, showing no signs of weakness.
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This remark is a little less valid for the case, an element that is still a little thick, not compatible with induction charging, while being very well made.
On the Sony side, the very marked evolution compared to the previous WF-1000Xm4 results in a refined design, much more suited to small ears. Despite their somewhat cheap lacquered appearance, the headphones are well-constructed and relatively elegant.
The charging box follows this trend by managing to display a reduced volume and a certain density. Too bad not to exceed IPX4 certification. The WF-1000Xm5 is therefore on par with the Bose regarding resistance to the elements. With a diametrically opposite port, the WF-1000Xm5 and QC Ultra Earbuds represent the in-ear and semi-in-ear types respectively.
Like previous WF-1000 products, Sony’s headphones opt for a marked cannula with memory foam tips penetrating quite clearly into the canal. Despite Sony’s good work on the material of the tips, the comfort of the WF-1000Xm5 remains relative and, in any case very divisive. [Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs Sony WF-1000XM5]
Conversely, the Bose provides almost impeccable comfort thanks to avoiding tips on the surface of the duct, like the Apple AirPods Pro. This system of tips is accompanied by a small silicone rim which stabilizes the fit in the ear.
Slightly outdated on the controls, Sony animates its headphones with a simple touch surface, without scanning. This area, which operates in modes, does not offer complete controls, at least not simply.
Failing to match the AirPods Pro on the controls, the Bose headphones stand out slightly from the Sony with a fairly simple volume adjustment. This simplicity, representative of the turnkey side dear to the brand, is expressed through the dedicated Bose Music application.
Although efficient and intuitive, it is light years away from Sony Headphones in terms of settings and options. The Sony philosophy offers a much more complete experience.
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Regarding connectivity, the two competitors are taking equally divergent paths. Via its MediaTek Bluetooth chip, Sony is skipping the codecs of the AptX family, but making up for everything else. LE Audio (LC3 codec) and multipoint compatible, the WF-1000Xm5 integrates the LDAC codec and enjoys exemplary connection stability.
Carried by a chip from Qualcomm’s S5 platform, in theory, the pinnacle of modernity, Bose headphones are mainly locked by the founder. The QC Ultra Earbuds are notably compatible with AptX and AptX adaptive, but only with a Snapdragon Sound smartphone.
If the Bose controls are a little more complete, the rest of the user experience is clearly to the advantage of the Sony.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs Sony WF-1000XM5: Audio
Armed with the latest in-house Dynamic Driver Quite close to the previous WF-1000Xm4 headphones, the WF-1000Xm5 has an effective sound signature and an exceptional technical level.
Our two competitors display similarities in the low end of the spectrum with a marked but fairly regular accentuation (starting from the low-mids). A little more rounded and visceral, the rendering of the Bose is however a little less controlled than that of the Sony headphones, the latter showing no sign of overflow.
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A little more incisive in the treble, the Bose also takes more risks than their competitors. The sharper and more inward appearance of the QC Ultra Earbuds clashes with the rendering that is certainly quite lively from the Sony, but less aggressive, particularly at high volume.
The slight exaggeration of the Bose faces a slightly more restrained, yet even more immersive Sony presentation. The WF-1000Xm5 enjoys a disproportionately vast soundstage (for headphones) and a high level of detail. [Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs Sony WF-1000XM5]
Semi-intras against intras, the fight is on paper a little unequal. And this is not to be missed: the Sonys attenuate external noise more, mainly thanks to their more intrusive tips. The active isolation of the two pairs is approximately similar, very early in the low frequencies and managing to easily exceed 30 dB.
Whether in this register or the mids, the WF-1000Xm5 and QC Ultra Earbuds are almost equal in excellence. Beyond that, Sony’s creation stands out quite clearly, the in-ear shape allows you to gain 10 to 15 dB of attenuation compared to the Bose.
However, it is important to remember that like the Apple AirPods Pro 2, the Bose is quite permissive when it comes to the placement of the tips: a small difference will not cause the RBA to drop. Conversely, Sony requires optimal placement otherwise the insulation will be seriously impaired.
Very far from competing with Apple headphones in terms of sound feedback, Bose and Sony’s headphones deliver a decent performance, nothing more.
While we expected an improvement in call quality compared to the WF-1000Xm4, Sony’s new headphones manage the feat of regressing. So, if the quality of the recording in a calm environment is frankly convincing, everything deteriorates at the slightest difficulty. The voice quickly becomes choppy and inaudible, completely drowned out in the noise. [Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs Sony WF-1000XM5]
Winners by KO, Sony’s headphones inherit the masterful endurance of the previous WF-1000Xm4 and rank at the top of the basket in this area. By remaining functional for 9 hours with RBA activated, and up to 12 hours without RBA, the WF-1000Xm5 outperforms the QC Ultra Earbuds, which peak at around 6 hours 30 minutes.
Very different, the QC Ultra Earbuds and WF-1000Xm5 represent opposing visions of the high-end Bluetooth earphone. More complete and durable, with superior sound quality, the Sony model generally stands out from its competitors.
The latter nevertheless retains advantages, including a more turnkey aspect and more universal comfort. [Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs Sony WF-1000XM5]