Bose AE2i headphones
Bose AE2i review: Comfortable but expensive headphones with good sound
- Well built
- Good bass and detailed soundstage
- Build quality not as good as pricier Bose models
Bose’s AE2i headphones, which now have an in-line volume control for iPod and iPhone support, are reasonably well constructed and comfortable. They also sound good, but they’re expensive and lack Bose’s signature noise cancelling -- which appears on the company’s more expensive (and better built) headphones.
Price$ 249.95 (AUD)
The Bose AE2i headphones are an update designed to appeal to the Apple crowd, with an in-line volume control and multifunction button that works with iPhones, iPods and MacBooks alike. They’re well put together, comfortable and sound good. However, the Bose AE2i headphones also quite expensive given their lack of active noise cancelling technology, and other Bose models are built more solidly.
Bose AE2i: Design, construction and comfort
Bose’s AE2i headphones sit over the wearer's ears, but only just — they are compact for full-size headphones and can be easily stowed away in a briefcase or handbag (they come with a soft carry case). The headband telescopes in two places to accomodate heads large and small, and the AE2i’s metre-long headphone cord detaches from the headset if pulled — a safety net to avoid any damage.
The Bose AE2i headphones are well built. The plastics are tough and high-quality, but compared to the QuietComfort 15 they feel slightly hollow. The AE2i headphones are light enough to wear for a long time without fatigue, which is an advantage over Bose’s more expensive noise cancelling models which include comparatively heavy batteries and circuitry. The ear-cups of the Bose AE2i headphones are finished in a soft-touch leatherette with cushioned padding, which means they are comfortable without being itchy.
The Bose AE2i headphones don't have any integrated active noise cancellation, but they do a good job (for small headphones) of blocking out ambient noise.
Bose AE2i: Sound quality
The Bose AE2i headphones are reasonably accurate in their representation of music, but do have a slight emphasis of low mid-range and bass, as well as a slight sharpness to treble notes. We listened to music in a range of styles and found that the most telling was classical orchestra — the thrums of double basses and the beat of bass drums reverberate and are slow to decay, and cymbals and high piano notes have an almost electronic ring to them. The AE2i headphones are nonetheless detailed and we enjoyed listening to them.
The soundstage of the Bose AE2i — the headphones’ ability to separate left and right audio channels, and to play back positional audio — is also excellent. Even when you’re not listening to music, the AE2i headphones’ good passive noise cancellation blocks out a lot of high-frequency background noise, such as people typing. They aren’t sealed enough to hide the low-frequency hum of an air conditioner, though.
We were able to turn the volume all the way up on our test iPhone 4 and MacBook Pro without the sound of the Bose AE2i becoming too harsh or fatiguing. The headphones aren’t painfully loud either though — when walking through a busy shopping centre we had them almost at maximum volume. This might make it hard to drown out very loud outside noise, but will protect your hearing in the long run. If you are in an environment with loud ambient noise, we’d recommend some high quality active noise cancelling headphones anyway.
Bose AE2i: Conclusion
Bose's AE2i headphones are expensive given that they don't have any integrated active noise cancelling. However, they are light and comfortable and possess good sound quality — three important traits for a pair of portable headphones.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 3 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 4 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Apple's AirPods could deliver audio with multiple wireless protocols
- First look: Nuheara IQbuds smart Bluetooth ear buds do more than just music
- Convoy International restructures business focus
- Beats Solo2 headphones go wireless for $399
- Astro A38 review: A staggering price to pay for convenience
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- FTLead Drupal Developer - Gold CoastQLD
- CCSolution Delivery Manager / Project ManagerNSW
- FTCheckpoint Firewall and VPNNSW
- CCApplication PackagerVIC
- FTTechnical Account ManagerACT
- CCSenior C++ Software EngineerVIC
- FTLife/400 Developers / Programmers - Permanent - North Ryde areaNSW
- TPBI Report Developer - SSRS SSIS SSASNSW
- TPSenior|Principal SAP HR Functional ConsultantQLD
- CCCapacity and Performance Analyst - Mainframe - Z SystemsVIC
- CCBiztalk DeveloperQLD
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXACT
- CCBig Data Developer - Government - 12 Month Contract - SydneyNSW
- FTSystems AnalystSA
- TPService Desk AnalystVIC
- TPSystem AdministratorQLD
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- FTInfrastructure ConsultantQLD
- TPSQL Server DeveloperNSW
- CCOrganisational Change ManagerACT
- FTPerformance Reporting AnalystNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant Advanced Warehouse ManagementVIC
- FTService Delivery Manager - EnterpriseACT
- TPAndroid DeveloperSA