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Google Pixel Buds Pro vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
The new Google Pixel Buds Pro is another entrant into the active noise cancelling (ANC) true wireless earbud market. With the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds hovering around the same price point, you might be unsure which would suit you best. We put these earbuds head to head to figure out which comes out on top.
Editor’s note: this article was updated on December 15, 2022, to update formatting, and to add the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, and AirPods Pro (2nd generation) as alternatives.
Which earbuds have the better design?
The Google Pixel Buds Pro and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are quite different in design. The Pixel Buds Pro has a rather circular, bubbly design, reminiscent of the Google Pixel Buds (2020). The case is matte white and rounded, with an IPX2 water-resistance rating. The earbud caps come in different colors like Charcoal, Coral, Fog, and Lemongrass, with the rest of the earbud remaining black. The earbuds comes with three ear tip sizes, but the buds aren’t all that secure in ears because it lacks stabilizing ear wings to keep it in your ear.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds has a long, oval shaped case, and the buds inside are also oval shaped, and it comes in white or black. In contrast to the Pixel Buds Pro, it has stabilizing ear wings to keep the buds in your ears. As a result, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have better design for anyone who plans on working out with their earbuds in.
Both pairs of earbuds have touch controls on the earbuds for playback, toggling ANC, answering phone calls, and more. The actual earbuds also both have an IPX4 water-resistance rating, making both adequate for working out in since sweat won’t harm them. However, considering the lack of ear wings on the Pixel Buds Pro, the QuietComfort Earbuds will probably be a better workout companion
How do you control the Google Pixel Buds Pro and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds?
Controlling the Google Pixel Buds Pro and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is similar in that they both use touch controls on the earbuds. The Pixel Buds Pro use the same controls on each earbud, which is handy for accessibility reasons or even if you forget a lot of controls easily. Limited customization options are available in the Pixel Buds app, including which listening modes are cycled through and mapping Google Assistant to one earbud. The QuietComfort Earbuds have different controls mapped to each earbud, and controls can be customized in the Bose Music app. Below are the controls for both pairs of earbuds.
|INPUT||ACTION (music)||ACTION (phone)|
Play / Pause
Tap and hold
Toggle ANC/transparency modes
Voice your request or inquiry
|Action||Left side||Right side|
Cycle through favorites (ANC modes)
|Action||Left side||Right side|
Pickup/end phone call
Access smart assistant
Check battery level
Reject incoming calls
Auto Transparency mode (remove)
Auto Transparency mode (remove)
|Left side||Right side|
Does Bose or Google offer better software features?
Both of these earbuds feature active noise cancelling and transparency modes, making them pretty similar in terms of core features. The Pixel Buds Pro and QuietComfort Earbuds both have apps for accessing various features as well.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro integrates with Pixel phones, with all controls being in your Bluetooth settings. Otherwise, the Pixel Buds Pro works with the Google Pixel Buds app for accessing firmware updates, setting up Google Assistant and live Google translate, and using find my earbuds to find your lost Pixel Buds Pro, which will require giving Google location data permissions. This app doesn’t allow you to adjust EQ yourself, but there is a feature you can turn on called Volume EQ that adjusts the sound profile of the earbuds, boosting bass and treble when volume is low and lowering it when you increase volume. Spatial Audio is currently absent, but it’s apparently coming out in Fall 2022.
For the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, there is the Bose Music app. This allows you to switch between devices quickly, customize controls, change your EQ, adjust ANC, and access firmware updates. Unfortunately, there is no option for finding your lost earbuds in the Bose Music app, which we found to be the case in our review using software version 4.2.4 and appears to have not been added.
Does the Google Pixel Buds Pro or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds connect better?
Both the Pixel Buds Pro and the QuietComfort Earbuds use Bluetooth and connect using the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. The only difference here is that the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds uses Bluetooth 5.1, while the Google Pixel Buds Pro uses Bluetooth 5.0. This means the QuietComfort Earbuds will be a bit more energy efficient than the Pixel Buds Pro, and location will be a bit more accurate if you lose your earbuds.
The Pixel Buds Pro features Google Fast Pair and Bluetooth multipoint, which makes it really convenient. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds don’t have either, but the Bose Music app allows you to quickly switch between devices, which is similar.
Does the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds or Google Pixel Buds Pro have better battery life?
We subjected both earbuds using our standarized test, using a constant real music output peaking at 75dB(SPL). We found that the Google Pixel Buds Pro last 7 hours, 6 minutes, and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds last 5 hours, 29 minutes (both with ANC on). The case for the Pixel Buds Pro provides an additional 13 hours of charge, while the QuietComfort Earbuds case provides 12 hours of additional charge. Both the Google Pixel Buds Pro and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds charge via USB-C, and have fast charging and wireless charging capabilities.
The Pixel Buds Pro lasts a bit longer than the QuietComfort Earbuds, but both cases provide additional charging and have convenient fast charging and wireless charging. Bottom line, they both perform pretty similarly.
Does the Google Pixel Buds Pro have better active noise cancelling than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds?
The Google Pixel Buds Pro and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds both do a stellar job of dealing with environmental noise. They have fairly similar ANC performance, but when it comes to passive isolation, the Pixel Buds Pro is a lot better than the QuietComfort Earbuds. The Pixel Buds Pro has a big dip in attenuation between 4kHz and 7kHz, meaning noise in this range won’t be rendered as quiet as sounds around it. The QuietComfort Earbuds also has an attenuation dip between 5kHz and 7kHz, but it’s nowhere near as drastic as the Pixel Buds Pro.
Does the Google Pixel Buds Pro sound better than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds?
The Google Pixel Buds Pro roughly follows our consumer target curve, but with a bit of boost in the sub-bass and highs. This can cause the mids to be overwhelmed at times, and high pitched sounds like cymbals can be too loud for some. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have a default frequency response that’s very close to our consumer curve, so most music should sound good to most people. You can also adjust EQ for the QuietComfort Earbuds in the Bose Music app if you want a bit of a bass boost or louder treble.
Which microphone is better?
The Pixel Buds Pro has three microphones on each earbud, and your voice should be intelligible and sound good in ideal conditions. In comparison, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone sounds much more limited in terms of bandwidth, have some distortion, and voices sound much quieter.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Google Pixel Buds Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Most of the random elements of our simulated office noise get transmitted by both these sets of earbuds, so noise suppression isn’t great on either. The Pixel Buds Pro does a good job of eliminating wind noise, but loses a lot of the wanted speech signal in the process, whereas the QuietComfort Earbuds keeps a lot of the noise, while speech is still somewhat intelligible. Both are best used in indoor, quiet environments where you won’t run into any excessive external noise.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Office conditions):
Google Pixel Buds Pro microphone demo (Office conditions):
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Wind conditions):
Google Pixel Buds Pro microphone demo (Wind conditions):
Which headset microphone sounds best?
Should you buy the Google Pixel Buds Pro or the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds?
If you’re an Android user through and through, the Google Pixel Buds Pro is a good option because of Android integration. The Pixel Buds app isn’t available on iOS devices, so if you have an iPhone, you can really only opt for the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds out of the two.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds come out on top regarding fit, software customization features, and sound profile. Those who want the best possible music listening experience will want to opt for the QuietComfort Earbuds, and you won’t be tied to one operating system either. The lack of earbud location tracking and the quiet microphone are small cons in the big picture, but the pros make up for it.
Anyone who wants a more fun design from their buds, along with a slightly better mic, find my device capabilities, and a soon-to-come Spatial Audio feature will enjoy the Google Pixel Buds Pro. The ANC is still pretty great, and some people might enjoy the bass and treble boosted sound profile. The integrated Google Translate feature is also super handy for people who like to travel.
What should you get instead of the Google Pixel Buds Pro and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds?
If neither the Google Pixel Buds Pro nor the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are calling your name, there are a ton of other options for noise cancelling true wireless earbuds.
In September 2022, the newer Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II was released, which is quite different from the original QuietComfort Earbuds in a few ways. It has an automatic equalization feature and a bassier frequency response, and it’s a bit lighter than the old model. The noise cancelling is also slightly better in the newer model, but not in a major way. You can find the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II for $279 at Amazon.
If you are a Samsung phone user, you might prefer the Samsung integration in the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. It’s also a pair of noise cancelling earbuds, it has support for the Samsung Seamless Codec alongside AAC and SBC, and it has an IPX7 water-resistance rating, better than the Pixel Buds Pro and the QuietComfort Earbuds. It also has 360 audio capabilities, but that’s tied to Samsung phones. It’s available for $189.99 at Amazon, so consider this option if you’re a Samsung user.
If you’re an Apple user, the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is a great option for noise cancelling, with great software features like Find My AirPods and Spatial Audio. Only consider the AirPods Pro if you’re already in the Apple ecosystem, because most features are solidly tied to Apple devices. You can find it for $229 at Amazon.
For even better noise cancelling earbuds, look to the OS-agnostic Sony WF-1000XM4. It’s pricey at $178 at Amazon, but it has excellent ANC and isolation, 360 audio, an IPX4 rating, and it supports the LDAC codec for better quality Bluetooth audio. The Sony Headphones Connect app also allows you to fully customize your EQ to your liking.
Frequently asked questions about the Google Pixel Buds Pro and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
The Pixel Buds A-Series are similar in a few ways to the Pixel Buds Pro, but notably lack ANC. It does fit better into ears and it’s half the price, so if you want Google-specific buds for cheaper without ANC, the A-Series could be a good choice.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is better for working out, mostly because of the ear wings that keep it more stable in your ear. The Pixel Buds Pro are more unstable and likely to fall out of your ear. Both are IPX4 rated, so both can handle some sweat.