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This is a detailed review for the Bose QC20i in-ear active noise canceling headphones, or as Bose calls it: acoustic noise canceling headphones.

Bose is one of the few companies in the world that successfully introduced the active noise canceling technology for earphones, and it became the number one choice for the majority of travelers and business users. This makes the QC20i a very unique product that made a big success in this field.

Manufacture’s Specifications

  • Type: In-ear active noise canceling
  • Drivers Size: NA
  • Drivers Type: NA
  • Frequency Response: NA
  • Sensitivity: NA
  • Impedance: NA
  • Microphone sensitivity: NA
  • Maximum Input: NA
  • Weight with cable: 44g
  • Connecter: 3.5 mm jack
  • MSRP: 360$

Design

The QC20 are Bose’s latest edition to their noise cancelling headphones line and to be honest I was really surprised with what they were able to achieve with them, they are unquestionably one of the best active noise cancelling earphones in the market.

Out of the box

You first notice the attached rechargeable lithum-ion battery, a bulky attachment to the headphones, but necessary for the noise canceling. It would have been a nice option to be able to remove the battery since they work anyway with the superb noise canceling feature off. And you can see the large microphones on the back of the ear pieces, they are an important part of the noise canceling system. The battery lasts for almost 10 hours of listening, and takes around 2 hours to charge.

They also have three button inline remote control with a built in mic, with full compatibility with smart phones. And a small button on the side to switch the noise canceling off, going into the aware mode to interact with the surrounding environment without the need to remove them off your ears.

The jack is 90 degree model, I think it’s a personal preference to have this one or the straight jack, depending on the player you use, and if you’re using it in your pocket or no.

You also notice the advanced ear tips, that have a great fit without going too much into the ear canal.

Supplied in the box is a nice soft carrying case, a catalog, a user manual, and three different sizes of ear tips.

Style

You can’t miss the overall elegant monochrome look, with the black and white cable. The shape is very similar to their younger bothers SI.

The improvement is in the stayhere+ tips, and they did a great job enhancing them.

You can also notice the nice feel of the rubberized battery coating, and the nice touch of the buttons.

Build quality

They have a very good build quality, the cable termination with the ear pieces and jack is good and properly protected, combined with reinforced anti tangled cable makes them one of the really nice earphones out there.

Comfort

I don’t wanna sound like I’m repeating my self but Bose did a really good job upgrading their previously designed ear tips to the new stay here tips, I’ve used the previous model for quite some time and it was tough to keep them in my ears whereas the QC20 sits comfortably and securely in the ears with out having to jam them in the ear canal.

They are really light weight and can be used for long hours of listening.

I have a couple of minor issues with the QC20 first one is the attached battery it tends to be  bit annoying while using the headphones on the move plus it get a little warm after using for some time, the other thing was; you need to relief your ears a bit every hour or so because it feels that the active noise cancelling creates a little pressure in the ears and its better to let them breath.

Supplied accessories

  • Three pairs of stayhere+ tips (S, M, L)
  • Clothing clip
  • Carrying case
  • USB charging cable

Sound

The first thing that pops to mind when talking about the sound of he Bose QC20 is the superb active noise canceling they can do, the second you flick that metal finish switch on the side on the attached battery, all noises and sounds surrounding you disappears as if your were transferred into a very quiet library.

Vocal and and guitar sound great in Adele’s My Same. Try Armin Van Burren’s-Intense Beautiful Life track if you wanna see how much bass the QC20 can produce. Seduces Me by Celine Dion Deep bass is always in the running clearly and lively in the background and blending perfectly with Celine’s marvellous sound.

Bass: They have the ability to respond to very low frequencies and produce the deep bass sound with ease. But it’s not that punchy and they are not the best for dance or house music. At the same time, the it’s very well controlled, it’s not boomy or delayed. This may be tuned by design to suit the nature of the target audience commuting in a plane, train or any other noisy environment.

Mid-range: Bose clearly took their time tuning the mids and vocals. They are very clear and brought forward to the extent that sometimes you feel they are dominants over the upper bass notes and treble.

Treble: There is a clarity with the high notes, but when combined with the mids and the lows you feel that they need an extra boost. They are a little laid back in the background and dominated by the mids and lows.

This can be improved by tuning your EQ to emphasize on the higher frequencies.

Sound Stage and instruments separations: They have deep sound stage that is more leaning to the warm side. They do a good job with instruments separations, but i expected more out of $350 headphones.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Superb noise canceling
  • Ability to use them if you ran out of battery (without noise canceling)
  • Quick charging time
  • nice musical sound
  • long lasting battery life

Cons:

  • Bulky not detachable battery
  • Battery gets warm with usage
  • Quite expensive
  • Muddy sound quality without noise canceling
  • Airplane adapter is not supplied

Conclusion

With the QC20 Bose proved that they have mastered the art and science of Active Noise Cancelling, It always fun to see the surprised expression on everyones face when they try them for the first time. They can be described as the perfect companion for commuting, traveling or working in noisy environment, I just think Bose can slightly lower the price tag on them to make them a bit more affordable.

Bose QC20i Headphones Video Review

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