CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
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- Ideal for Android, BlackBerry and Windows phones
- Advanced noise reduction rivaling any full-sized headphone
- Aware mode for hearing what's around you while enjoying your music
- Notable audio performance from exclusive Bose technologies
- Long-lasting comfort plus stability from proprietary Stay Hear+ tips
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't use the word "revolutionary" casually. Truth is, a product rarely qualifies for that accolade. But knowing as much as I do about noise-cancelling technology, I would not have believed that what Bose has accomplished with the QC20 series was even possible. In fact, I'd say they've created the best all-around earphone or headphone on the market today for everyday use with portable music players. Note that I said "best all-around" which is not to say it's "best" in every category. If audiophile sound quality is your top priority, then look elsewhere, as both my Etymotic 4PT and Shure 530 series earphones sound better than the QC20s. However, those better-sounding 'phones have other drawbacks in actual use (more on that later), and they now sit in a drawer while the QC20s go with me everywhere. Bottom line: if you're looking for the best noise-cancelling on the market today, bar none, combined with very good sound, the ultimate in comfort and convenience, all in a very small, lightweight package, the QC20 is for you. This review will focus on a comparison of the QC20 with the QC15, as well as with the Etymotic 4PT and the Shure ES530, all of which I currently own and have used for some time. And please be sure to check out the "Design Flaw" section at the end of this review before deciding if the QC20 is for you.
Noise-cancelling: The QC20 is signifcantly better than my QC15. Look, I've used Bose QC headphones for years, but the QC20 actually made me gasp the first time I turned on its noise-cancelling circuit.Read more ›
As for sound quality, there are two caveats. I'm not an audiophile in the strict sense, but the reproduction of the highs and lows is superb while the mids may be just the tiniest bit overshadowed. I love the sound... when they noise cancellation is ON, or when it is in AWARE mode (more on that later). However, when the noise cancellation is OFF, or the unit is unpowered, the lows tend to be muddy and exaggerated. Quality definitely suffers when they noise cancellation is turned off. They're still fairly good, just not the crisp sound you get when they're on.
The other caveat is that, when noise cancellation is on, there is an audible hiss. That's the white noise that blocks out the ambient sound of the world. You'll love going from a noisy plane or train to just this quiet hiss, but sometimes the hiss the actually louder than my environment. In that case, I'd choose to turn noise cancellation off but that leaves the muddy, overpowered lows. So that's the dilemma: when it's quiet you have to choose between a white hiss and muddy lows. When it's loud, these are amazing headphones. When it's quiet... they're just really good.
As for "Aware" mode, it's kind of odd. I found that the full noise cancellation was actually more capable at drowning out voices than I was expecting (namely my two-year-old daughter whose voice is fairly sing-song and high-pitched). Aware mode allowed me to hear her, but her voice was mechanical and artificial sounding.Read more ›
I do have some insight in regard to the characteristics of the QC20i earbuds that hasn't been mentioned in other reviews yet, but first I'll touch on what everybody keeps bringing up. When comparing the sound output with the battery (i.e., noise cancelling) on and off, there is initially a difference in the color/tone that your ears will pick up. In short, these QC20i earbuds sound brighter (more high-end frequencies) with noise cancelling enabled and perhaps less bright, or for lack of a better term, "muddier" (more low/mid frequencies) with noise cancelling completely disabled (not talking about AWARE mode here at all). HOWEVER, it should be noted that your ears adapt extraordinarily fast to noise cancelling being enabled/disabled, and the intricate nuances of any genre of music are highlighted by the outstanding technology built into these Bose earbuds.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am not a audiophile or even someone who wants to appreciate the subtleties of sound every single time I listen to music. Read morePublished 16 hours ago by fantasieimpromptu
I love these and use them every time I fly. They reduce the engine noise and make for a very comfortable flight.Published 2 days ago by Southernyankee
I've used many noise cancelling headphones/earphones over the last ten years.
The Bose are light years ahead of the others particularly in blocking the aircraft engine... Read more
Outstanding sound and noise canceling ability. It's hard to believe that these cut out more noise than the over ear model, but having owned both, they do!Published 2 days ago by R. Kulick
Best earbuds for flying or any noisy environment. Well worth the pricePublished 3 days ago by William Harasti
I have owned the QC15i for four years and have used them on over a hundred flights and had given serious thought to upgrading to the QC25s in order to get the smaller case. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Jenny
Great sound, even better noise cancelling. They slip out while running, but I understand that can probably be fixed by attaching different ear inserts.Published 5 days ago by Super Reviewer
Just not worth the cost, everything is going bluetooth and the first to have a BT noise cancellation will do great.Published 5 days ago by S. Ehr