Customer Reviews: Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
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on March 24, 2016
With the noise cancelling off, these headphones are unimpressive, mediocre headphones with little bass and far too much in the 400-800 Hz frequency range. Switching on noise cancelling, the heavens open and beautiful, full, bassy-but-not-overly-so noise spills flows forth, and life is good. These headphones were what allowed me to sleep on two consecutive overnight flights. They blocked out engine noise remarkably well, and impulsive noise (people talking and moving around) less well, but still pretty good. Quite happy. It seems like these headphones are only as good as the battery life, so I will probably reserve them for flights and trains.
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on August 3, 2015
I commute everyday by public transportation. I was searching for a noise cancelling in ear headphone that would take care of the problem of outside distractions. I have used many headphone from tin cans to a variety of in ear phones. I presently own Shure 535 and Klipsch X10. I love them both, but nether of these will do what this Bose QC 20i will do. In order to drown out outside noise and get the best in ear experience, it is often the case that you just have to shove those suckers deep inside the ear canal to drown out the world and obtain acceptable bass response. Klipsch still has the deepest bass response ive heard in an in ear but be that as it may, they cant block out outside noise like the Bose. Bose, for me, kills off 95% of unwanted outside other noise. To test this initially, I turned on the AC unit next to my bed. As soon as you click the on button to engage noise cancelling, the outside noise is cut out by 90%. Then you are ready for concentrated listening to whatever you listen to. The large AC unit outside in really noisy, this is the one that powers the central air around the house. when that kicks on in the back, it is really loud. Like nothing at all when I turn on the noise cancelling. The noise cancelling itself without its function as a music earphone is worth the price. That you get a more than acceptable sound quality from the speakers is gravy to me. These have become my regular commuter in ears. That and BOSE warranties them for 5 years. Geez, who warranties anything for that long?

As for sound quality, I am not an audiophile but these provide acceptable bass response and nice forward mids with highs that do not screech at you, in that they are not tinny at the top end of the range. They are subdued up there. I find them to hit the spot. Are they worthy of the high end Shure and Sennheiser, et al, probably not. But, at $250, you wouldn't expect that. I am satisfied that Bose has hit a home run with this if you purchase them for their intended purpose. I have not used them on an airplane yet so I cannot tell you about that. But on the commuter train to the city, these are a dream. The in ear pieces do not get shoved into mid ear canal like my Klipsch (tho the klipsch are plenty comfortable in that department because of their patented design), but they stay on and I am not fiddling with them to keep them in my ear even though they are more resting towards the outer part of the ear. They are very comfortable and I can keep them in for long periods of time with no ear fatigue. I also find that I can rest with them as long as I not side sleeping entirely. For side sleeping, the klipsch are better or even better yet the apple ibuds that come with the iPhone are best for that purpose for some reason. But if you are laying on your back and resting your eyes or sitting reclining in a chair, these noise cancelling earphones are a dream.
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on September 18, 2013
Preamble: I have a few Bose products. Some of them are outstanding like a 321 theater system that is fantastic in its simplicity, a couple of SoundDocks - one portable and one not which both sound amazing for their size and are also very simple to use, and a set of computer speakers that I have had for OVER 10 years that are still going strong. I am loyal to this brand. When I was ready to buy earbuds, I started with Bose. This is my first set of triple driver earbuds.

Review from my perspective. Here's the deal:
1. They sound OK. They might sound better if I could fit the things into my ears and get a seal, but I can't. Normally I use the medium size rubber flanges (or whatever you call them) on earbuds. With these I use the smallest size but they are still WAY too big to get a good fit. So that means...

2. They are uncomfortable. The pointy rubber part that is supposed to help secure them in my ear is just irritating and since they don't seal they just feel awkward and often fall out. Speaking of not fitting correctly ...

3. Noise canceling is useless when the earbuds don't fit.

4. The battery pack is awkward.

5. It needs a carrying case that is bigger than my smartphone to accommodate the big battery pack, thick cables, and huge earbuds.

6. The cord doesn't wrap up nicely and it is too fat for cable devices like Curvyman.

7. $300! Actually add 10% for that because I live in the land of sales tax hell.

2/5 is fair from my perspective. I realize that for some people these might be 5/5 and if that's you: I'm jealous! I wish these had worked out for me. Even if they had fit my ears, the size and thick cables would have taken off at least one star.

So bottom line: if they fit in your ears, great. I'm sure you will like them much more than I do. If you don't know whether they fit? I recommend you do yourself a big favor by trying them in person first.
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on August 24, 2014
I travel a great deal -- easily over 100K miles per year, and for the last seven years I have been using Bose QC3 -- two pairs since I accidentally left the first pair on a flight. In the last year I found I took my second pair of QC3's less and less, mostly because I travel lighter and lighter, and the carrying case takes up a large amount of volume. Instead of the QC3's I was taking some cheaper, non-noise-canceling headphones that I could beat up and not worry since they only cost $35. But with these, of course, I always ended up cranking up the volume on planes.

When I first heard of the Bose 20i's, I was skeptical that they could deliver the same amazing performance as the QC3, but given all of the positive reviews, I made the purchase. I've been happy ever since! These are beautiful, wonderful headphones that anyone can appreciate, traveler or not. They have a microphone and iPhone controls so I can continue to use the noise canceling component while on the phone (no need for a separate headphone pair for talking).

The best part for me, though is the size. These guys fit into one of my baggage's pockets, and they are nestled safely with the soft carrying case. Since they are USB-powered, I don't need a proprietary charging outlet, which again cuts down on size.

The ONLY downside of these guys is the battery pack, which requires a traveling iPhone user to hold both the phone and battery pack together. This can be somewhat awkward, but in practice it hasn't bothered me much since I typically am sitting or laying down when I use these, and very rarely am I walking with them while talking. I haven't used these while strolling down the street yet but I do think that could be also somewhat trickier since the battery is almost like having an old iPod mini in your pocket along with the iPhone.

Bose, if you can figure out how to keep the features and battery life but NOT have the burden of carrying the battery, I would give you six stars!

That being said, these guys still get five stars because they provide fantastic audio quality, noise canceling, and most importantly for me, convenience since I travel so much. I definitely would recommend these to others.

UPDATE: I've owned these bad boys for almost a year and I sadly just lost my set on a business trip.... and so before my flight has even taken off to go back home, I am here on Amazon buying another pair. I don't even want to think twice about buying a separate pair -- these are the only ones I want. I love them. Bose, take my $250!
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on January 14, 2015
Let me just preface with this, I hate in ear headphones, I hate over the ear headphones. I generally don't like headphones, or earbuds. I am also not an Audiofile/snob either. I like my peace and quiet and do appreciate good sound, but at 50, my ears have been run over by multiples of concerts and noise no one should have to hear, so my hearing is far from good. Just ask my wife!!
So why pray tell, did I spend this kind of money on these. Well the reviews here and elsewhere were a start. I got to try on a pair in a Brick and mortar store, and was pretty impressed. The earbuds fit well and do not make my ears soar after long use,, meaning 5-6 hour plane flights, which I frequently do.. And the noise canceling part. Works as Advertised! Much better than over the ear headphones Ive owned in the past.
A great little storage case is included, very light and compact. A big deal when you carry a bag full of gadgets. Every ounce matters. The buds charge quick, and the sound is INCREDIBLE! Even if the battery dies, you don't have the noise canceling feature, but the sound really goes a long way in covering surrounding noise. Yes a screaming baby on a plane wins every time, but these make it much more tolerable.
I love these in ear Headphones.
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on November 3, 2013
I was on the fence about these, mainly because of the high price. I decided to drive to one of the Bose Outlet stores to try them out first hand.

The in store demo is amazing; You stand in front of a TV/speakers and put the headphones in. Push the button and the demo startes, NC kicks in and you feel the isolation. Then some acoustic music starts and it soulds great with zero outside noise.

Then the TV flashes the words "Take earphones out" and when you do, you realize that the speakers in front of your face are playing a loud recording of a train. Jaw dropping. At that point I looked at the sales guys and said 'I'll take them".

I'll update this review when I have more time using these, but the experience so far is pretty good.
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on February 4, 2016
Once I started traveling a lot on planes and trains, I got these to enjoy my music and movies a little bit more. They're expensive but if you can get over the cost, they are amazing headphones. No noise-cancelling is absolutely perfect but these do a great job of removing ambient and droning/humming type noises. You can still hear babies crying and plane crew members speaking, but the loud droning of plane engines and ambient noise is gone.

Sound reproduction is also good. I am discerning but not a ludicrously sensitive audiophile type, and these did a great job at reproducing various kinds of music.

Charging is easy and I get a week or two of time out of them with sporadic use. You can use them while charging them.

My only complaint is that the body of the headphones (it's where the battery and other circuitry live) is a little bulky and awkward. I think Bose did the best they could compromising between size, weight, battery life, etc, but it takes a little getting used to having this thing dangling or resting on top of the phone, or beside the phone in your pocket. That said, it looks marvelous next to a MacBook Pro and seems almost as if it was sized and built specifically for that. Even the power/status LEDs are the same size and color as the Apple charging cable.
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on June 8, 2015
I bought these earphones a little over a year ago and they are fantastic. The noise cancellation works great especially if you're on a plane or in a busy street. It just works and fits my ears perfectly when running, working out or running errands. The battery pack lasts well over 8 hours even after a year's use. I use my headphones once or twice a week. The only thing that kind of irritated me was that I paid over $300 dollars a year ago for these hoping that it would last me for a few years considering how great I take care of my electronic equipment but the Aware button, the button that turns the noise cancellation On/Off by the microphone stopped working. Basically, I can click the Aware button but the noise cancellation always remains on. I cannot turn off the noise cancellation other than turning it off from the battery pack which turns off the whole unit.

The product is in mint condition but it was very disappointing to see it break. It's minor but I want my electronic equipment to work 100% considering the price I paid. I spoke to a Bose rep and he was extremely helpful and said Bose will be able to replace the earphones for $50 considering it's out of warranty. I respectfully declined since I don't believe I should have to pay any more than I did but that really disappointed me in the quality of the product. I expect that for the money paid, the product should have lasted at least 2 to 3 years.

Just wanted to put this out there for everyone that if you buy this, don't be surprised if a button fails on you after a year. If you are willing to accept this then it's a great product and it works as it's intended. If you're going to be surprised and have high expectations for the money you're paying for a premium product, I would skip this product.
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on September 4, 2015
I've bought 3 bose products and all of them broke within a year. This one is no different. All I did was sit down at a table, and despite having a cable clip, part of it caught at the edge of the table and tugged at the earbud (the clip obviously just tore straight off). While there was not that much force, it was enough to separate the bud into two halves (because they are held in place with none other than superglue). I ended up salvaging this unit by filling it up with more superglue (see picture), and it works ok (with some mild hissing at odd times). Anyways, I wouldn't recommend buying a bose product unless you loop the cable through your ass and into your ears so they never brush against anything that could tear them.
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on May 30, 2015
Just a perspective from a background in having used the following earphones in the past 5 years: Spracht Konf-X Noise Cancelling earphones ($65), MEElectronics AF-52 ($40), Sennheiser wireless HDR120 ($48), Shure SE530 ($400+).

These Bose QC20i blocks out almost all (~85%) of the background noise, music, voices. The Spracht Konf-X (at 1/4 of the price of the QC20) blocks out about 50% of the voices, perhaps 70% of the noise. The non-active-noise-cancelling buds like the MEElectronics AF52 or Shure SE530 can block out about 30-50% of the noise depending on high tightly you fit the bud. So you're paying for that additional 30% or so of noise-blocking that can make all the difference for some people. If you're not particular about the background noise, you could save yourself $150 and buy something like the excellent MEE AF52 for $40 and be quite happy with the sound. Don't be deluded into thinking that the Bose QC20i blocks out 100% of the noise around you - the people here saying that are either deaf, not paying attention, or trying to sell you these earbuds.

Big downside to these Bose QC20i: the sound quality is mediocre, muted, such that you have to crank up the volume, thus reducing the battery-life of your player in real-time. All the details in the sound are gone in the low hiss and electronic noise-cancelling of these. Thus these are excellent for listening to podcasts, watching movies or youtube, but poor for listening to high-quality recorded music. If your main thing is to create a block to the loud engine noise, these would be outstanding for that purpose.

Having spent thousands on earphones over the ears, I'd say overall these are good if you spend a lot of time in flight, but if not, these are NOT worth their cost. The best buy in earphones I've ever experienced is the $40 MEElectronics AF-52. If I had to do it all over again, I'd avoid the over-priced Shure earphones, and the over-priced Bose earphones.
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