When talking with friends about their favorite pair of headphones, it’s likely that you’ll hear a lot about Beats and Bose. These brands are two of the world’s most popular manufacturers of headphones. There’s stiff competition with Bose vs. Beats and you really can’t go wrong with any of their products, but if you absolutely have to choose just one then you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve prepared this handy guide as your complete resource for comparing Beats vs. Bose headphones. Our research helps you easily and quickly decide which of their models best fits your needs. We’ll discuss things to consider before your purchase, give you several highly-rated options, and provide you with a detailed comparison of their top five models.
Keep This in Mind
- Reliability. The goal of both companies is to create quality products that completely satisfy their customers. Bose and Beats are well regarded within each of their customer bases.
Though Bose is a much older company, formed in the late 1970s, Beats maintains the support of Apple, a leader in electronic innovation. We’re pleased with the overall functionality and aesthetics of the products released by each of them.
- Identity. One thing is certain for any headphone purchase- we want a device that reflects our personality and values. Beats and Bose each had its own identity and markets differently. Consumers tend to show brand loyalty, preferring one brand or the other.
Bose products are minimalist and subdued; their build and styling aren’t flashy or bold. The Bose logo is small and the headphones are largely bathed in shades of matte grey and black.
Beats products, on the other hand, are meant to be noticed. The overall design features clean lines and a simple shape, but it’s paired with bold shiny colors. The logo is prominently displayed on each piece of equipment.
- Signature Sound. Neither Bose nor Beats disclose the technical details of their products. It’s a purposeful decision with each openly stating that their primary focus is the customer’s listening experience.
With that said, Bose and Beats are known for having very different sound signatures.
Beats headphones generally feature exaggerated low tones that maximize the rhythms of hip-hop and rap. Vocals and high notes aren’t prominent.
The tones of Bose headphones are more equalized, orchestral. Details stand out while bass is less dramatic.
Neither soundscape is better than the other. Bose and Beats produce headphones that their customers enjoy and aren’t trying to be reference quality. It’s simply a personal preference.
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QuietComfort 20 by Bose is a bit more sophisticated in-ear option when deciding between Bose vs. Beats.
QuietComfort 20 is constructed of plastic though it weighs considerably more than UrBeats. Included are three sizes of proprietary angled “StayHear+” tips that use flexible wings to rest against the cup of your outer ear. These wings help keep the tips from moving and becoming uncomfortable.
The weight of QuietComfort 20 comes from an inline module that holds its rechargeable battery. That battery powers active noise-cancellation which uses external microphones to “hear” and neutralize environmental sounds. A charge lasts about 16 hours and the headphones still work if the battery drains.
This Bose is equipped with microphone, remote, and something Bose calls “Aware mode.” The microphone and remote control volume, music control, and access to voice-recognition apps such as Siri. Aware Mode is a switch that lets you decrease how much environmental sound is cancelled.
QuietComfort 20 can be used as a headset but you’ll really be impressed when using it for movies and music. Bose’s easily packs its distinct sound signature into this small device. Music is sculpted and detailed. If you enjoy the nuances of instrumentals, jazz, or vocals then these are the headphones you want to pick up.
Overall, QuietComfort 20 is a refined in-ear headphone option that offers several conveniences.
Bose SoundLink is clear and functional like the in-ear models we just looked at, but comes in a slightly different construction.
SoundLink is Bose’s on-ear headphone; a good compromise between tiny in-ear models and large around-ear cans. Even without active noise-cancellation they still do fine blocking out ambient noise, and they’re portable.
The SoundLink comes as a corded headphone but that cable can be detached so that SoundLink is used wirelessly. We found that it functioned well in both scenarios.
A microphone and inline remote are included on SoundLink’s cable. Sending and receiving calls was easy; call quality was good on both ends.
Bose’s signature soundscape is preserved whether SoundLink is used wired or wireless. Bass punctuates the beat and is proportionate to the rest of the tones. High tones accent the melody without becoming brassy.
The Bose SoundLink is an all-around good set of headphones you’ll like for everyday use.
Solo3 by Beats is a solid alternative to the SoundLink.
Solo3 is also an on-ear headphone that is great at blocking ambient noises. It’s slightly heavier than SoundLink but that goes fairly unnoticeable as you wear it. The headband and cups sit comfortably.
The online remote and microphone are easily accessible and work well. Call quality on both ends are acceptable.
These sound more balanced than the urBeats. Bass is still pushed forward but other tones have been tweaked for clarity. Vocalists sound better through these without losing any oompf of bass. Of note is that the incredible bass is evident at low volumes; you don’t have to sacrifice your hearing just to feel some bass.
The Solo3 by Beats is good enough to use wherever life takes you.
Mixr is Beats solution for mobile DJ’s.
Mixr is the most compact headphone in the line-up. It weighs similar to Solo3 but has rotating earcups and an ultra-flexible headband. They can feel tight during extended use but that’s likely because they isolate sound so well.
Mixr is appropriate for studio and mobile use. It comes with a detachable cable for easy transport, and a ¼” adapter to plug into professional equipment.
We like the way these deliver clean bass and treble while maintaining articulate highs. Nothing gets completely drowned out so we find that Mixr does well with a variety of genres.
Beats’ Mixr is an all-around good performer in and out of the studio.
Bose also has this great set of around-ear headphones that is compatible with both Apple devices and Samsung and Android devices.
These are unbelievably comfortable, thanks to the awesome padding around the earcups yet they aren’t bulky.
The slim design allows you to fold them flat when not in use and they also comes with a carrying case (this is great when you’re on the go and you don’t want to risk crushing them in your bag).
In terms of sound quality, we can’t complain. They produce excellent bass and are even a little better in the midrange and the highs.
While this does not offer Bluetooth connectivity, it does have a microphone and remove on the cable which allows you to control everything.
The plastic they used here is a little on the low-quality side, but overall in terms of sound and price, we can’t complain.
Another excellent set of headphones from Bose!