Skip to main content

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II will get lossless, Snapdragon Sound in 2023

Bose showed up at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit being held in Hawaii to make a surprise announcement: The company will be adding Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound certification to the QuietComfort Earbuds II (QCE II) in spring 2023, bringing 24-bit and lossless audio to Bose’s flagship earbuds.

When Bose launched the QCE II earlier in 2022, the wireless earbuds only supported SBC and AAC codecs, making them something of an outlier in terms of flagship wireless earbuds. Many of Bose’s competitors (with the notable exception of Apple’s AirPods Pro) support some flavor of 24-bit capable codec. At the time, we asked company spokespeople if there were any plans to add high-res capabilities, but all we got were some careful acknowledgments that it wasn’t out of the question.

Related Videos

Now we know that Bose was already using Qualcomm’s S5 sound platform inside the QCE II, which laid the groundwork for this latest announcement. Adding full Snapdragon Sound capabilities to the QCE II means the earbuds will use two of Qualcomm’s leading codecs: aptX Adaptive, for scalable sound that can reach as high as 24-bit/96kHz with lossy compression, and aptX Lossless, which is capable of delivering bit-perfect playback at 16-bit/44.1kHz CD quality.

Snapdragon Sound certification also means the earbuds will offer very low-latency performance when conditions require it — as low as 48 milliseconds — and they will support aptX Voice for better-sounding voice calls. It also means that Qualcomm has tested all of these features and will certify that they work as expected when the QCE II are paired with a Snapdragon Sound smartphone. That’s a key point: none of these new features will work with the iPhone — just select Android handsets.

Unfortunately, Bluetooth Multipoint is not a part of the Snapdragon Sound program, so even after this update, the QCE II may still be missing this valuable feature.

This is a significant upgrade for the QCE II. In our review, we noted that the earbuds sound really good, but that they stopped just shy of delivering the kind of high performance that demanding listeners would want. Was it Bose’s use of SBC and AAC that held these buds back? We’ll find out in spring 2023 when the upgrade to Snapdragon Sound will happen via a firmware update.

Editors' Recommendations

JBL updates its Tune, Vibe, and Endurance Peak earbuds at CES 2023
JBL Tune Flex.

As it has in the past, JBL has brought a huge number of personal audio products to CES 2023, including wireless earbuds and headphones for everything from casual to critical listening. Some of these products were previously announced for European countries, but now we have release dates and pricing for U.S. availability, too. Here's everything JBL announced.
JBL Endurance Peak

JBL has improved its sports-oriented wireless earbuds considerably from 2022, with:

Read more
Samsung’s CES 2023 TVs get thinner, brighter, healthier, and better for gaming
Samsung 2022 QN900B 8K Neo QLED TV.

On display at CES 2023, Samsung's 2023 TV lineup is getting a wide variety of upgrades, including thinner designs, better sound systems, 4K cloud-based gaming, and some interesting health applications that the company is borrowing from its mobile division. Here's everything you need to know.
MicroLED gets smaller, more affordable
Samsung was an early promoter of microLED display tech, which uses tiny LED lights as individual pixels instead of using them as the backlight on an LCD-based TV (LED TV, mini-LED TV). Unfortunately, microLED TVs have tended to be huge (starting at 110 inches), expensive, and somewhat limited in resolution at smaller sizes.

The company's new Micro LED CX, at 76 inches, is its smallest yet, and Samsung promises it will also be the most affordable microLED TV ever released.

Read more
JLab’s new earbuds are smaller than a dime, and it says $99 hearing aids are on the way
JLab Jbuds Mini.

Ahead of next week's CES 2023 show in Las Vegas, JLab is giving us a sneak peek at what it will be showing to attendees. The company, which has a reputation for very affordable audio gear, is showing off its JBuds Mini, a $40 set of wireless earbuds that are tiny -- 30% smaller than the JLab Go Air Pop, which were already remarkably small. They come in a charging case that's designed to attach to a key ring, much like the Skullcandy Dime, and the entire package is no bigger than most wireless car keyfobs.

Previous JLab earbuds have come with charging cases that have integrated USB cables, but the JBuds Mini take a more conventional approach, with a separate USB-C cable. The JBuds Mini are expected to hit stores in the fall of 2023, with six hours of playtime per charge in the earbuds, and 24 hours when you include the charging case. They're also compatible with Bluetooth Multipoint for simultaneous connections to two devices.

Read more