Bose QuietComfort 15

I recently had the opportunity to get first-hand experience of using the Bose QuietComfort 15 – my first ever Bose review. Renowned for its reputation in the world of personal and home audio and often seen as an optional upgrade for many car brands, the Bose brand has a proud legacy of producing some of the best quality audio systems in the world. But for a price. The QuietComfort 15 retails for £279.

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So it’s expensive by any measure, but the question is whether it’s worth the price tag. I was quite surprised by the quality of the packaging design which didn’t share the same extravagance of other headphones. Perhaps a testament to the Bose confidence that it doesn’t need fancy packaging. Given what I had seen with the V-MODA Crossfade LP and the Dr. Dre Monster Beats Solo HD, the QuietComfort 15’s packaging and overall unboxing experience is very subdued and underwhelming. Inside the box you will find the headphones inside the protective carry case with the twistable cups facing downwards to save space. The moulds inside the case make it easy to position and store the headphones for when you’re on the move.

Not that dissimilar to the packaging, the design of the QuietComfort 15 is very simple and you would be hard pressed to think that these are some of the most expensive headphones you can buy today. But perhaps because of this simplicity, Bose have been able to minimise the materials and make it very lightweight. I was surprised as to how little they weighed when I picked them up and when they were wrapped around my head the first time – this despite it requiring 1 AAA battery.

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Yes, these are powered headphones with a slot in one ear cup that neatly hides away the AAA battery that is good for around 30 hours. I saw this as an inconvenience, but for the compromise you get in return active noise-cancellation. Microphones placed inside and outside of the ear cups help it to identify background noise and eliminate them. This is unique in that it doesn’t just rely on the seal and insulation of the earcup to block external noises. This makes them great not just for general listening but I can imagine them coming into their own whilst travelling.

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With all my ramblings so far about the packaging and the underwhelming design, one thing that I can attest to is that the Bose QuietComfort 15 are simply the best headphones my ears have ever had the pleasure of being in contact with. After a few hours of breaking them in, I was experiencing sharp crystal clear audio that bring music and movies to life. It’s a game changer and when I compare it to the Dr. Dre Monster Beats Solo HD, I feel disappointed that the difference can still be so dramatic at that kind of price range.

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Comfort is key to extended use. I find some headphones to wrap around your head too tight – almost as though they’re trying to squeeze your head too hard and there are others which make your ears uncomfortably warm. The Bose QuiteComfort 15 has an excellent balance of weight and insulation. The inside of each ear cup is lined with leather and they apply just enough pressure to keep them secure on your head without them becoming uncomfortable during a movie.

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If your key criteria for your next headphones are amazing sound quality and best-in-class noise cancelling then look no further than the QuietComfort 15. If I could rewind back time and choose to go with the Monster Beats Solo HD or Bose QuietComfort 15, I would choose the Monster Beats again and save myself over £100. Maybe if I worked a bit harder and saved a little longer I could fork out for the QuietComfort’s, but it’s a painfully large sum to spend. However, if you’re in the market for personal audio at this price point, you won’t be disappointed by the Bose.

Thanks to QVC for providing the review unit. You can buy the QuietComfort from their website at www.qvcuk.com

2011-02-08 Onwah Tsang

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