The philosophy driving Bose’s development and marketing considers the human experience the most meaningful measure of a product’s performance. Accordingly, Bose systems continuously rate highly in consumer satisfaction surveys for convenience, style, and operation. The brand does an excellent job of keeping their name at the forefront by offering a wide range of audio products to the general consumer. And since their scuffle with Apple concerning patent infringement, Bose headphones have become one of the most talked-about personal audio brands. With that in mind, we decided to explore the best Bose headphones on today’s market.
This quick reference guide will give you the technical details of Bose’s headphone line as well as our listening opinion. We’ll discuss important points consider when shopping, and provide a detailed review of our top three choices. You won’t find an easier way to compare all of your options for the best Bose headphones.
Consider This Before Buying Bose Headphones
- Style. Bose headphones are available in the traditional styles: on-ear, in-ear, over-ear. It’s easy to find the pair that matches your environmental needs and personal preferences.
On-ear headphones have cushions that sit lightly atop your ear; they don’t completely cover it. These are good if you don’t mind a bit of sound leaking, or you want to be more aware of your surroundings.
In-ear headphones fit inside your ear canal and are great for thumping music and isolating sound. They usually come with a few different sizes and shapes of tips. Creating a good seal is the most important aspect of using in-ear headphones.
Over-ear models are similar to the on-ear counterparts except the cans completely envelope the user’s ears. They isolate sound better than the on-ear but not as well as the in-ear.
- Features. Bose offers a variety of optional features including active noise-cancellation, Bluetooth compatibility, custom cases, and premium materials.
It’s important to remember that not all features are available on every product, and that options will affect the final price of the headphones. Luckily, though, Bose maintains a robust product line-up of price and feature combinations.
All Bose headphones highlight a minimalist aesthetic. You don’t find large bulky cans, prominent buttons, or loud colors. Instead, you find a very neutral palette with classic finishes designed to easily fit into your lifestyle.
- Price. Bose headphones are among the premium brands so expect to spend a little bit extra. You’re not paying for the name, rather the research, development, and continued progress that name represents.
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QuietComfort 25 is the newest incarnation of Bose’s line of headphones with active noise-cancellation. The 25 includes updated materials, and features.
QuietComfort 25 is the lightest, most compact design yet. The cups have been reconfigured to fold smaller, this more portable. Unchanged is its classic fit: soft and unassuming. Bose kept the fairly flat profile.
These have an inline mic/remote that works well if you’re accustomed to taking calls as well as listening to media. Clarity was acceptable with the microphone catching just the right amount of speech. The cups’ around-ear style combined with the active noise-cancellation for very easy conversations.
After some use in noisy environments its clear that these cancel more noise than previous versions. Also, they don’t require a battery for general use, just active noise cancellation. Though sound quality is diminished when noise-cancellation isn’t being used. Nonetheless it’s a good backup in the event batteries completely drain.
Noticeably missing from the QuietComfort 25 is the “aware mode” that was supposed to allow you to listen to your surroundings without removing the headphones. Losing this one bit of extra circuitry isn’t a bad thing, especially considering all the other technology included in the unit.
Bose really hits the mark with the updated QuietComfort 25. They did a good job of keeping what works (the superb Bose sound), and changing what didn’t (new features).
The SIE2i, or SoundSport, as it’s more commonly called, has been the focus of a couple other segments here at Headphones Unboxed. They bested other brands and earned top marks in Best Exercise Earbuds, and Best Sports Headphones.
SIE2i combines everyone’s two most desirable headphone qualities: durability and clear sound.
Thick weighted cables stay non-imposing and tangle free. They’re not inclined to slip around under your clothes or get wrapped around your other accessories. A short cable comes standard with the SoundSport, but a longer extension is included in the box. It’s a nice touch because it ensures the cord is always the right length.
Bose is known for a specific sound signature and these delivered. Low-mid frequencies are the main focus but they are complemented by appropriate bass undertones and treble accents. SoundSport emits orchestral-like sound even at top volume.
SIE2i, SoundSport, is a versatile unit perfect whether you’re listening on the go or from your living room.
The SoundTrue line of headphones delivers great sound without extra frills. They’re your basic go-to headphone.
Technological features such as Bluetooth and active noise-cancellation are battery hogs. But with these you don’t have to worry about staying close to an outlet or charging port because there are no batteries to die-out. That’s a definite bonus if you’re prone to forgetting to recharge.
Because the SoundTrue II doesn’t include active noise-cancellation they’re missing that extra barrier against ambient sound. They do compensate by having around-ear cans that do a pretty decent job of keeping sound separated.
Audio from SoundTrue II is just as clear and immersive as the other full-size Bose headphones. We weren’t disappointed whether listening to music or an audiobook, or using them to watch videos.