Now Reading
Bose QuietComfort 20 | Review

Overview
Reviewed

12 May 2016

Launched

June 2013, updated June 2015

Design

StayHear®+ tips with wings
Simple two tone design
Light and comfortable

Ease of use

Compatible with iOS and Android
Inline mic & remote control
Control module for noise cancellation

Battery

Lithium-Ion battery
16 hour battery life
2 hour charge time

Portability

Carry case
Additional noise cancellation control box

Sound Quality

Active EQ and TriPort® technology
Deep, clear sound
Lifelike, digital sound quality

Noise Cancellation

Acoustic noise cancelling technology
StayHear®+ tips
Aware mode

Comfort

3 sizes of StayHear®+ tips
Cone shaped ear tips
Soft and secure fit

Positives

Fantastic noise cancellation
Comfortable and compact

Negatives

Big battery module for noise cancellation
Below par sound quality at this price

Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
-Design
9.4
9.5
-Ease of use
9.2
9.5
-Battery
9.0
8.8
-Portability
8.8
9.0
-Sound Quality
8.9
9.0
-Noise Cancellation
9.5
9.5
-Comfort
9.3
9.5
The Last Word

Bose QuietComfort 20 are arguably the best in-ear noise canceling headphones on the market. This premium level headphone comes at a price, and at €300 you would expect a high quality device. The QC 20 is light weight and extremely comfortable to wear, with Bose Stay Hear+ tips and winged design you can wear these headphones all day and almost forget they're there. While there may be other in-ear headphones at this price that produce better sound quality, the QC 20 sounds fantastic with all types of music. Where Bose trumps them all is it's noise canceling technology, which is the best we've heard on in-ear headphones, rivaling most over-ear headphones too. If you can afford the price tag and prefer an in-ear headphone, the QuietComfort 20 is the headphone you want.

9.2
Our Rating
9.3
User Rating
You have rated this

The Review

A look at Bose noise canceling in-ear headphones, the QC 20….

read the full review ...

Design

The QuietComfort 20 are Bose latest addition to the noise canceling headphone family, in a small, compact in-ear design. The QuietComfort 20 are extremely light weight and comfortable to wear, far less cumbersome than over-ear headphones that you expect with noise cancellation technology. The QC 20 is made predominantly of plastic and has a separate power module to control noise cancellation at the end of the cable, which allows the actual headphones to remain very light weight. Bose has gone for a very simple two tone design, black and silver or white and silver, with a two toned cable, silver grill backing and Bose branding on the stem of the ear-bud. The StayHear®+ tips with wings make for a unique look while providing security and comfort when wearing the QC 20 headphones.

Ease of Use

Bose has made two versions of the QC 20 in-ear headphones, the standard QC 20i which is made specifically for iOS devices and the standard QC 20 which is for Android and all other devices. Both have the control module for noise cancellation located at the end of the cable near the headphone jack. The control module is quite bulky and little off-putting at first as you wonder how this will be comfortable hanging on the end of the cable, however, the positioning is very deliberate. Being at the end of the cable means this module goes in your pocket with your phone or music device so that none of the weight is hanging from your ears, after the initial surprise it’s actually quite clever and you soon forget it’s there. The QC 20 also keep o working when you run out of battery, ok this means the noise cancellation no longer works and there is a slight difference in the sound quality but they still sound great and you don’t have to switch headphones if you’ve forgotten to charge the battery over night. Both the QC 20 and 20i have an in-line mic and remote control however this is where the headphones differ. The QC 20 control allows you to adjust volume, take calls and switch on ‘aware mode’ which allows you to temporarily turn off the noise canceling function to hear whats going on around you, a great little function. The QC 20i also allows you to flip through your music with it’s three button control, a feature you see on most iOS compatible headphones.

Battery Life

Bose QC 20 noise cancellation module comes with a lithium-Ion battery that Bose says holds a 16 hour battery life and in reality this is very accurate. Depending on your usage this means the QC 20 will last you a few days before you need to charge, though if your on holiday listening to music on the beach you will probably need to charge it every night. 16 hours is a good battery life for noise canceling headphone, though similar to smartphones we wait the day batteries will last weeks not days. The fact that the headphones work even when the battery runs out is a plus for the QC 20 and it also only takes 2 hours to fully charge.

Portability

Bose QC 20 light weight and compact design means they are extremely portable. Yes the additional noise cancellation control box is a down-side of the QC 20, most headphones try to add this control and battery pack to the in-line mic and control box so there is only one bulky box on the cable. However, this separation means the in-line control is small and light weight, while the heavy battery pack module is low enough to fit into your pocket with your phone or music device, a clever placement by Bose though the module may be a bit unsightly. The QC 20 also comes with a soft carry case to protect these impressive little headphones and it is a lot smaller than a carry case for over-ear headphones, easily fitting into your over-the-shoulder bag or suitcase.

Sound Quality

Bose uses Active EQ and TriPort® technology to produce a deep, clear sound with lifelike, digital sound quality. The QC 20 doesn’t favour bass or treble but rather has a well balanced, smooth sound with clear mids. Overall the QC 20 sounds great and will suit all types of music, though when you dig down, the reason it feels so impressive is that noise cancellation technology. Just on sound quality alone the QC 20 does not produce as much detail or richness as it’s competitors in the same price range. This may be a deciding factor for serious audiophiles, that said the QC 20’s well rounded sound is impressive for in-ear headphones.

Noise Cancellation

Where Bose has put a lot of effort and attention to is the acoustic noise canceling technology. The control module and inbuilt microphone behind the ear-bud grille allow the QC 20 judge external ambiance and provide the right amount of noise cancellation to allow you to easily listen to your music without needing to turn up the volume. Bose has perfected this technology quite well, this along with StayHear®+ tips means the QC 20 is arguably the best noise canceling in-ear headphone available, so much so the noise canceling technology works well even with no music turned on, which is nice if you just want a bit of quiet on that busy train. Bose has also managed this without the annoying ‘suction’ feeling you get with a lot of noise canceling headphones, adding to that overall comfort. Bose added an ‘aware mode’ function, at the click of a button you can hear what’s going on around you which is important for the commuter on busy streets or if you’re traveling and need to hear an in-flight announcement. The noise cancellation module does not automatically turn off when you stop listening to music, another down side as it will easily drain the battery, however as the headphones keep working without noise canceling when the battery is dead, this is not a reason not to buy the headphones.

Comfort

Bose has gone with cone shaped ear tips, a unique StayHear®+ tip design which doesn’t need to be jammed into your ears but rather sits softly but securely in your ears. Bose provide three sizes to allow the perfect fit and ensuring maximum effect of the noise cancellation technology. Each ear-bud also has a soft rubber wing that fits nicely in your ear to secure the headphones in place, even a slight tug on the headphones won’t move the QC 20 from yours ears making them a great jogging companion

QC 20 feature black
QC 20 feature black
QC 20 feature black
QC 20 white front
QC 20 white front
QC 20 white front
QC 20 inline control lying down
QC 20 inline control lying down
QC 20 inline control lying down
QC 20 cable with box
QC 20 cable with box
QC 20 cable with box
QC 20 in the box
QC 20 in the box
QC 20 in the box
QC 20 side clear earbud
QC 20 side clear earbud
QC 20 side clear earbud
QC 20 white table with phone
QC 20 white table with phone
QC 20 white table with phone
QC 20 white on table
QC 20 white on table
QC 20 white on table
QC 20 travel
QC 20 travel
QC 20 travel
QC 20 style woman
QC 20 style woman
QC 20 style woman
QC 20 style man
QC 20 style man
QC 20 style man
QC 20 on the move
QC 20 on the move
QC 20 on the move
QC 20 on the go man
QC 20 on the go man
QC 20 on the go man
QC 20 lying down with inline control
QC 20 lying down with inline control
QC 20 lying down with inline control
QC 20 black front
QC 20 black front
QC 20 black front
QC 20 black front with inline control
QC 20 black front with inline control
QC 20 black front with inline control

Unboxing

quickview

Bose QC20 / QC20i Review and Unboxing
Review of the Bose QuietComfort 20 (QC20)/QuietComfort 20i (QC20i). These are Bose first noise canceling in-ear headphones. They originally retailed for $300...

quickview

Bose QC20 Earphones Unboxing/Overview + Giveaway!
Unboxing and doing a quick overview of the new noise cancelling QC20 Earphones from Bose. Winners will be announced on my facebook here: http://on.fb.me/16GE...

quickview

Bose QC 20i Noise Cancelling Headphones Unboxing & Review
Bose Quiet Comfort QC 20 Sound Canceling Headphones Unboxing and Review. Compare to Shure E4c Sound Isolating Earphone & Bose QC15. HERE ARE SOME LINKS YOU C...

 

Reviews

quickview

Bose QuietComfort 20: in-ear noise-cancelling's top dog
http://cnet.co/1anvJN3 Despite some downsides, including a high price tag, the Bose QuietComfort 20 offers the best noise-cancelling in an in-ear headphone.

quickview

Bose QuietComfort 20 (QC20) Headphones Review!
Get Bose QC 20 here - http://amzn.to/Oqw6Dd Bose's first pair of noise cancelling in-ears have set themselves on a mission to see if they could put a wall be...

quickview

A Traveler's Sanctuary: The Bose QuietComfort 20 Noise Canceling Headphone
See full InnerFidelity review here: http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/travelers-sanctuary-bose-quiet-comfort-20-noise-canceling-earphone

quickview

Bose QC 20i Headphones Review!
Lynda: http://lynda.com/soldier Other places I hang out: FaceBook Fan Page: http://goo.gl/pZsjC Twitter: http://twitter.com/soldierknowbest Google+: http://g...

quickview

BEST Noise Cancelling Earbuds | Bose CQ20/CQ20i Earbuds Review
BEST Noise Cancelling Earbuds | Bose CQ20/CQ20i Earbuds Review Hey techies! Here's my review of the best earbuds with noise cancelling on the market (in my o...

find out

What others are saying ...

quickview

Bose QuietComfort 20 (review): Expensive, but the best noise-canceling in-ear headphone
Despite some downsides, including a high price, the Bose QuietComfort 20 offers the best noise-canceling in an in-ear headphone and should tempt frequent travelers looking for a more compact alternative to full-size NC headphones.

About The Author
Lynne Pettre
Reviewing the latest tech in Ireland and across the globe.