Bose QuietComfort 20
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Bose QuietComfort 20 Review

Bose QuietComfort 20

The Bose QuietComfort 20 is the best noise-canceling in-ear headphones available. However, the price is high! These are Bose’s first in-ear earphones with active noise cancellation. You can buy it in two versions the QC20 that is a standard model to use with non-Apple products. The other model is the QC20i designed for Apple users, and both cost a hefty price. The question is, why spend such a lot of dough on a pair of headphones like these reviewed here? We can give you some good reasons. So if you have the money to spend, read the Bose QuietComfort 20 review here.

Bose QuietComfort 20 Design

Bose QuietComfort 20

The QC20 you get with a zippered cloth case that is a fraction of the QC15 size. The earphones are 1.5 ounces, and with the small travel case they are travel-friendly. We found the earphones fit secure in the ear and are comfortable to wear for hours of listening. The design is similar to the MIE2i from Bose. Therefore, you do not need to jam the buds in your ear and rest loosely. Furthermore, it has a TriPort structure that gives you extra space for two microphones to monitor the external noise. So you can drown out the jet engine or crowds at busy train stations. Moreover, Bose uses a processing chip that is exclusive to the company.

On the other hand, for a comfortable fit you get three different StayHear+ ear tip sizes. All of them have wings that rest against the outer ear. We played around with the ear tips and went for the larger ones that offered a better fit to help with noise isolation. By doing this, we found the noise cancellation useful. What’s more, the battery packs found on the cord control pod. You can charge the battery, but it is not replaceable. Furthermore, it charges via a micro-USB cable. You can get up to 16-hours playback compared to the QC15 that does not continue producing sound after it dies. When used in the passive mode, the music is good and more dynamic when the NC is turned on.

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However, there is a problem!

With the battery pack on the control pod, it does become awkward to use. As mentioned you cannot replace the battery, so will be left with a headphone like the MIE2i with a dongle attached. According to Bose, the battery should give you 500 charging cycles. If you are a heavy user you can charge the headset every third day giving you three years of use. After reaching the 500 charging cycles, it will continue to recharge, but the capacity lessens. Another note is you must not forget to turn the NC off, or you are left with a dead battery. For the price we would have liked to see some auto shut-off function to prevent this from happening.

Now for something more positive!

Used with noise cancellation, we found the Bose QuietComfort 20 impressive. A lot of the ambient street noise is muffled out and does a decent job. The sound is excellent but not perfect, but you can listen to all types of music with it. You get a sweet smooth sound but not over-detailed. You do get loads of bass but are not tight bass. During our plane ride test we found the QC20 comfortable, but the QC15 is an overall winner with noise reduction. The fantastic thing is with the in-ear design; you can even use it for sleeping. However, going smaller does have its drawbacks. You can end up losing the earbuds compared to using a full-size pair. Another benefit is that the y-cable leading to the left and right buds you find a small remote. You use it to control the volume and also have a microphone for making/receiving calls. Furthermore, you can use it to toggle between modes. One of the functions is the “Answer Mod,” once activated, it ramps the noise cancellation down. Therefore, you can hear outside noise when talking and is an excellent function to have.

Bose QuietComfort 20 Specs

  • Battery: 16-hours
  • Color: Black
  • Cord Type: Wired
  • Extras: Rechargeable Battery, Slider Switch, Noise Cancellation, Inline mic/remote and Aware Mode
  • Form Factor: In-ear
  • Included: Three Pairs of StayHear+ Ear Tips, Clothing Clip, USB Charging Case, Carrying Case
  • Internet: Voice Assistant
  • Noise Isolation: Yes
  • Warranty: 1-year
  • Weight: 1.55 ounces

Pros and Cons

What we like:

  • Compact
  • Sounds good
  • Comfortable
  • Impressive noise cancellation
  • 16-hours of battery use

What we do not like:

  • The battery is not replaceable
  • Expensive

Should you buy it?

Despite the downsides and the high price, the QC20 has the best noise-canceling for an in-ear earbud. If you travel a lot, the compact size will stand out for you. However, if you want a more compact headphone with full-size noise-canceling, we recommend the QC15 instead. Furthermore, as with any NC headphones, the sound is not as perfect as passive headphones. You do get a minimal hiss sound using the Bose QuietComfort 20 earphones. So if sound quality is not high on your list, you will find the QC20 the best noise-canceling headphones to have.


Our Verdict

While we do have better-sounding earphones available, we still found ourselves settling on the QC20 for everyday use. The earphones comfortable to wear and muffles out loads of external noise on busy streets and subways. Furthermore, the Bose QuietComfort 20 has some drawbacks we still like these headphones. The sound is not the best compared to competing earphones at the same price, but it sounds good. You get a travel-friendly headset you can take anywhere without taking up too much space in your bag. Therefore, if you travel frequently, these earphones are perfect. However, if you do prefer full-sized earphones, we recommend the Beats Studio and QC15 that sounds better. Another note is to take the lifespan of the battery into consideration, as well. Once the batteries depleted, the noise-canceling will not work. So if you do not mind the high price we can recommend the Bose QuietComfort 20 as both models work well.

Be sure to check out: Bose QuietComfort 35 II Review

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