Apple AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

A pair of Bose QC35 II’s used to be my “go everywhere” noise cancelling headphones. Keywords: “used to be.” I wore them to coffee shops when I needed to get out of the house to write. I wore them on airplanes. I occasionally even wore them in the house when I wanted to watch a movie without disturbing the rest of my family.

But…

I’ve been really impressed with the Apple AirPods Pro. I don’t have any hard data comparing the noise cancelling effectiveness of the two, but the AirPods are so good to my ears — and so small and convenient — that I now leave the Bose headphones at home.

How could a pair of earbuds be as solid as high-end over-the-ear headphones at noise cancelling? Turns out the answer is pretty simple: The fitted earpieces of the AirPods effectively turn them into ear plugs, so that does a fair amount of the work. And Apple knows what they’re doing when it comes to signal processing, design, and microphone placement, so the quality of the sound, the comfort wearing them, and the general usability are all pretty high.

I haven’t flown on a plane yet since I got the AirPods Pro, but I’ve used both the AirPods Pro and Bose headphones around town, trying them out in the same environments — including while holding a screaming two month old baby. (Don’t worry, it was my own screaming two month old baby.) The AirPods Pro actually seemed to do better at the crying baby test than the Bose headphones. What more do you need to know?

Stem Wear

I like the new Apple AirPods Pro. My old AirPods (purchased the day they came out) were getting a little long in the Bluetooth, so the upgrade was an easy decision. The AirPods Pro might be for you, too, if you are…

…in the market for a pair of Bluetooth earbuds and were already planning to spend $200 for the original AirPods with wireless charging case.

…someone who wanted a pair of the original AirPods, but you tried them and they didn’t fit your ear well.

…a music fan who really likes to feel their music’s bass in their eardrums.

…someone who always wanted a pair of AirPods, but were turned off by the look of the long white stems.

Original on the left. Pro on the right.

And they are NOT for you if you recently bought a pair of AirPods but they’re outside of the return window. If that’s you, and you don’t desperately need noise cancelling, then don’t fret not having the Pro model. Be happy with your AirPods knowing you saved some bucks. You’ll have another chance to upgrade when you lose them in two months.