Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5

By Tinh Lee, September 20, 2023

If you're trying to decide between Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and Sony WF-1000XM5. They are both great ANC TWS earbuds with spatial audio support. There are a few major factor you should consider: Design, comfort, build quality, sound quality, ANC performance and voice call quality.

 Bose QuietComfort Ultra EarbudsSony WF-1000XM5
Photo Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds Sony WF-1000XM5
Bluetooth versionBluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.3
CodecAAC, aptX Adaptive, SBCAAC, LC3, LDAC, SBC
Battery lifeRated up to 6.00 hoursRated up to 9.00 hours
Weight6.24 grams5.90 grams
Noise reduction Tech6 mics3 MEMS mics, 2 for noise cancellation and 1 for voice
Fast charging20min = 2 hours3 min = 1 hour
Wireless charging caseYes, Qi Wireless ChargingYes, Qi Wireless Charging
Transparency modeYesYes
Personalized hearingYesNo
Spatial AudioBose Immersive AudioSony's 360 Reality Audio
HR Tracking
Dynamic head tracking
Pros Excellent noise cancellation Top-notch build quality, Comfortable fit, Outstanding noise cancellation, Very detailed, warm and bright sounding profile with good amount of bass
Cons No multipoint connectivity Overly boosted bass, Expensive

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: Fit and Comfort

In terms of design, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds feature sports design with stability bands and short stems so they offer a more secure fit. Bose also provide Earbuds Fit Kit (sold separately). The stability bands work as a support that fit the contours of the outer parts of your ear, keeping earbuds in place. 

The Sony WF-1000XM5 have neither stems nor stability bands, but they offer better noise isolation, especially with foam tips. 

Winner: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds for more secure and slightly comfortable fit.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: App and Control

The touch controls on Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds are the same on both sides, basically you can do like, to adjust the volume swipe up/down, tap to play/pause/accept an incoming call, double tap to skip forward/decline an incoming call, triple tap to skip back. Tap and hold to toggle back and forth between ACN modes. Basically Bose offers 3 modes, Quite, Aware and Immersion, but you can create up to 7 custom modes to your liking. 

Both are able to register your tap/swipe well. Sony have better touch control and the Sony App is also much better with battery level indicator. But the app is lack of full customization control, it means you still have to rely on the default for some controls, for example you have to tap 4 times to raise the volume. 

Winner: Sony 

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: Call quality

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds works quite well for calls in quiet environments, but when increasing the background noise, like it gets a bit more windy, the caller will start to hear a bit more cracking sound, bit it's still fine. Sony claimed XM5 have bone conduction sensors that can pick up the vibration of your voice directly from your skull bones. It means it can identify and isolate your speech from surroundings for clear calls.

Call quality is an improvement for Sony WF-1000XM5 compared to their Bose QC earbuds II. This improvement also helps Bose to top Sony for calls. 

Winner: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: Sound quality

In terms of sound quality, the sound signature of Sony WF-1000XM5 is still carried on from their predecessor - tonally warm and strong bass. The new XM5 are equipped with larger drivers ( ø8.4mm vs  ø6) and supported with more advanced codecs (LC3) and their soundstage is wider, mid-range is more pronounced and highs are a bit more clear. 

You may like the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds for its airy sound, clean highs and a lot of bass. Put everything together, we feel the XM5 having better soundstage and better sound. Well, perhaps we are influenced by the XM4's sound- a great TWS sound easily to be characterized. 

Winner: Sony 

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: Battery life

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds provide up to 6 hours of listening time, while you get the comparable hours of listening time for Sony WF-1000XM5. 

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: Codecs

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds support AAC, aptX Adaptive, SBC while Sony WF-1000XM5 support AAC, LC3, LDAC, SBC

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: Immersive Sound

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds supports spatial audio that applies to any content (well the spatial audio isn't that very... wow-ing). The Motion mode enables the head tracking feature (like dynamic headtracking in AirPods Pro 2nd gen). While the Sony WF-1000XM5's spatial audio does require compatible content mixed, mastered with Sony's 360 Reality Audio in order to take effect and it seems Sony did a better job for Spatial audio than Bose. 

Winner: Sony

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: Noise Cancelling Performance

After conducting some test in harsh conditions (intense noise background) we can conclude that the XM5's ANC is superior to Bose. This is because the XM5 have better noise isolation (eartips and the fit physically block out the noise). However, for the best ANC performance, you may have to adjust the Sony WF-1000XM5 for proper fit. Bose earbuds, on the other hand, don't require the adjustment, they just fit and ANC is consistant no mater how they fit into your ears.

The transparency mode is brilliant on the Sony WF-1000XM5, you can navigate around the city safely.

Winner: Sony

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs. Sony WF-1000XM5: Which pair should you buy?

It depends on your priorities, if you need strong ANC performance, great sound, spatial audio, you can go for Sony WF-1000XM5', if the secure fit, call quality, ANC (in less harsh conditions) you can go for Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds.