Bose QuietComfort 15 noise-cancelling headphone

Active noise-cancelling headphones to silence the world around you

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Bose QuietComfort 15
  • Bose QuietComfort 15
  • Bose QuietComfort 15
  • Bose QuietComfort 15
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Fantastic noise cancellation, good sound quality, replaceable earphone cord

Cons

  • Expensive, can get quite hot in the cups, noise from fierce wind still audible

Bottom Line

Regular commuters and high flyers will find the Bose QuietComfort 15 noise cancelling headphones a great companion. They're comfortable, provide good sound quality suited to a number of genres, and the noise cancelling feature is sure to ward of unwanted environmental noises.

Would you buy this?

Bose product releases are few and far between, and they aren't always worth the wait. Fortunately, the company's latest set of active noise-cancelling headphones are something it can be proud of. Though certainly pricey, the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones' noise cancellation is superb, and the audio quality is commendable too.

Bose QuietComfort 15 active noisecancelling headphones

The detachable cord has a line level control.

Open the box of the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones for the first time, and you may think you're looking at an old pair. That's because Bose's latest creation steals its appearance from a predecessor, the aging QuietComfort 2. Apart from the bold logo proclaiming how much money you spend on audio products to passers by, the design is actually quite good. The 3.5mm wire is detachable, though the bundled cable is designed specifically to suit the headphones and offers two line level volume settings.

The headphones themselves sit over your ears, rather than on top like the QuietComfort 3, giving you some silence before you even switch them on. However, the design isn't perfect; you're likely to hear loud winds even with active noise cancellation. We also found the inside of the cups to get quite sweaty on hot days.

Noise cancellation is a coveted aspect of any set of headphones you're likely to wear while out and about. After all, the more you hear your own music, the lower the volume and the safer your hearing is in the long term. In-ear headphones like Logitech's Ultimate Ears 700 accomplish this passively by sealing your ears with tight plastic or foam earbuds. The QuietComfort 15 noise-cancelling headphones, however, do this actively by picking up noise from microphones both inside and outside each headphone cup. It then pumps an opposite sound wave into your ears, cancelling out any environmental noise. The headphones run on a single AA battery, which Bose claims will give you 35 hours of listening.

Turn the headphones on without music and you'll immediately notice the effect; close noises become dull and distant, like you're standing in another room with the door closed. The effect can become disorienting and even a little tiring, but with some exposure your ears can adjust.

With music on, the effect is even more pronounced. Apart from the afore-mentioned wind noise and some dull noises in between songs, environmental noise is effectively cancelled out. The QuietComfort 15 headphones even silenced noisy trains and equally noisy commuters, making the trip home arguably more pleasant.

Of course, for the elevated cost you expect good sound quality as well. Unfortunately, Bose doesn't give you a choice of whether to use the headphones with or without noise cancellation; there's simply no audio signal when the noise cancelling is switched off. Audio quality when on, however, is commendable. Music is detailed, with a clear emphasis on lower mid-range frequencies, though the deep bass found in dance and house music won't thump too hard on the ears. Sound frequencies are balanced overall and will suit most music genres.

Though $100 cheaper than previous noise-cancelling models, you still won't be able to buy the QuietComfort 15 with your spare change. For those who are only mildly annoyed by the squeak of the bus brakes, this may be a waste of money. However, if your current pair isn't giving you the peace and quiet you require, Bose's QuietComfort 15 headphones will prove a great companion on public transport and planes.

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