Bose QC20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling in-ear headphones review
Bose’s noise-cancelling headphones are the best on the market but imagine having that technology in a pair of earphones. No need to imagine – they’ve done it.
The new Quiet Comfort 20 (QC20) acoustic noise-cancelling in-ear headphones deliver the same quality and noise isolation as the regular Bose headphones but squeezed into small in-ear buds.
A small module located close to the 3.5mm headphone jack contains the rechargeable lithium ion battery and it’s also where the electronics are located to power the active noise cancelling technology.
The ear buds themselves are not much larger than those found on regular in-ear headphones but, like the Bose headphones, they have small microphones to detect outside noise and then create the opposite wave length to cancel it out.
When you slip on the QC20 acoustic noise cancelling headphones and then flick on the switch on the control module, the noise sounds like it is being sucked out of the room.
This is a feeling we’re used to when wearing the full-blown Bose noise cancelling headphones that go over your head and over your ears.
But having this same quality on a pair of in-ear headphones that can be worn more discreetly like the QC20 is a real breakthrough.
Other companies have tried to achieve the same result with earphones but without much success. With the QC20, Bose has hit the bullseye.
Bose’s new proprietary StayHear tips create a secure fit but also contribute to isolating outside noise with a gentle seal.
They are shaped in such a way that spreads contact evenly across your ear and provides a secure fit so there is no need to force them uncomfortably into your ear canal to hold them in place like some other earphones.
On the cable is a controller to adjust your volume, answer calls and navigate your music with a version for iPhone (QC20i) and another (QC20) for other Android, Windows and BlackBerry devices.
On the audio side the Bose QC20 acoustic noise-cancelling in-ear headphones deliver the same high quality we’ve come to expect from the company’s products.
Our music heard through the QC20 was smooth, clear and well-defined and with a level of bass that was spot on. There was clarity as every level with no distortion whatsoever when we decided to crank things up.
And it was made even sharper thanks to the ambient noise being filtered out.
But what about if you want to be able to hear what’s going on around you?
With most headphones you just take them off or slip one of the cups off your ear when you need to speak to someone, crossing the street or to listen out for a flight announcement.
No need to do that with the QC20 thanks to the Aware button on the side of the in-line remote on the cord.
One press deactivates the noise cancellation so you can hear the outside world. Another press and the noise cancellation resumes and all without having to take them off.
Battery life is up to 16 hours after a full charge to enjoy the complete experience.
But even if your battery dies, users will still be able to hear their music like they would through regular Bose headphones without the noise cancellation but with the same signature quality.
The control module being located right near the 3.5mm jack means you are able to keep it close to your device whether it’s in your pocket or in your bag. This way it’s out of sight an also out of your way.
The Bose QC20 in-ear headphones come with soft carry case that’s about the size of an iPhone so they are easy to take anywhere.
Also included are three silicon tips in different sizes so you can find the most comfortable fit as well as a USB charging cable to recharge the battery through a USB port on your computer or a separate charger.
The Bose QC20 is an excellent investment for anyone who wants amazing audio quality and incredible noise cancellation that’s smartly packaged in a convenient earphone form factor.
Bose QC20i (for iPhone) Acoustic Noise-Cancelling in-ear headphones
Bose QC20 Acoustic Noise-Cancelling in-ear headphones
Price: $399 each