Quite some time ago we got our hands on the Bose QuietComfort QC15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones and I was hugely impressed with their performance in noise cancelling and they sounded amazing. However, I’m not a huge fan of over the ear style headphones and prefer a more discrete in-ear style.
So when Bose announced the new in-ear QC20′s I was keen to give them a try.
The Bose QuietComfort QC20 offers the same noise cancelling technology as the QC3 and QC10 but as the headphones themselves are smaller there isn’t room for the batteries and circuitry that fit in side the headphones of the other models. Instead the QC20 has an external control unit and battery pack that holds all the clever stuff. A small compromise and the battery has the convenience of being charges via a micro USB socket.
There are two slightly different QC20 models, the QC20 has an in-line microphone and two-button control which is designed for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices, while the QC20i is for Apple devices and has the in-line microphone and a four-button remote. Both have play/pause controls but the Apple variant also has volume control buttons.
So lets start off with a look at what’s in the box and a closer inspection of the headphones…
Bose QuietComfort QC20i headphones review unboxing video
What’s in the box?
- QuietComfort® 20i headphones
- 3 pairs StayHear®+ tips (S, M, L)
- Clothing clip
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (built-in)
- USB charging cable
- Carrying case
When the QC20′s are turned on the noise cancelling is truly amazing. Having tried them out on the train, walking the roads in London and also at home they really do cut down the noise to virtually nil. It’s a little uncanny when you have them turned on with no music playing, there’s a little white noise created by the cancelling circuitry but nothing else. Once you start playing audio you appreciate just how good these headphones are and that buying a premium brand such as Bose really is worth it.
One nice feature of the QC20 is the ‘Aware Mode’. This almost works in reverse to the normal noise cancelling and allows sounds from outside to be heard over the music that you may be listening to. This makes it possible for the user to hear what is going on around them while still listening to their audio. At the same time, Aware mode enhances the listening experience by maintaining a minimal amount of noise reduction to block certain background noises while still allowing the user to be aware of most ambient sounds.
If you are a daily commuter or a frequent flyer then these Bose QuietComfort QC15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones are definitely worth consideration.