12 May 2016
June 2013, updated June 2015
StayHear®+ tips with wings
Simple two tone design
Light and comfortable
Compatible with iOS and Android
Inline mic & remote control
Control module for noise cancellation
16 hour battery life
2 hour charge time
Additional noise cancellation control box
Active EQ and TriPort® technology
Deep, clear sound
Lifelike, digital sound quality
Acoustic noise cancelling technology
3 sizes of StayHear®+ tips
Cone shaped ear tips
Soft and secure fit
Fantastic noise cancellation
Comfortable and compact
Big battery module for noise cancellation
Below par sound quality at this price
A look at Bose noise canceling in-ear headphones, the QC 20….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 blackQC 20 feature black
QC 20 white frontQC 20 white front
QC 20 inline control lying downQC 20 inline control lying down
QC 20 cable with boxQC 20 cable with box
QC 20 in the boxQC 20 in the box
QC 20 side clear earbudQC 20 side clear earbud
QC 20 white table with phoneQC 20 white table with phone
QC 20 white on tableQC 20 white on table
QC 20 travelQC 20 travel
QC 20 style womanQC 20 style woman
QC 20 style manQC 20 style man
QC 20 on the moveQC 20 on the move
QC 20 on the go manQC 20 on the go man
QC 20 lying down with inline controlQC 20 lying down with inline control
QC 20 black frontQC 20 black front
QC 20 black front with inline controlQC 20 black front with inline control