Good afternoon or good morning, wherever you may be. Today’s review will be on the newly released Bose Quietcomfort 20, also known as the Bose QC20.
Like with every review I do, I will try to make it so that the general audience understands what I’m saying, so I’ll try not to be all “audio-nerdy” as possible. I’ll review how the Bose Quietcomfort 20 sounds and looks and how good of quality the headphones are.
I’m quite excited to do the Bose QC 20 review because all the previous QuietComfort lines from Bose had been over-the-head headphones. Even if I read these earplugs reviews and they sometimes are good for running, they seemed to change their strategy and now offer their flagship model as in-ear headphones or earphones, as you may call it. It’s quite interesting how trends and technology change so fast.
Well, let’s get started on the review!
My Bose QuietComfort 20 Review
Simply put, the Bose QuietComfort 20 has the best, and I mean the BEST, noise cancelling I have ever heard on headphones. Bose seems to have greatly improved their noise-cancelling technology, and I can say that it does wonders to block out outer noise.
The Bose QC 20 are specifically made for Android phones, Windows phones, and Blackberry, while the Bose QC 20i is made for the Apple series, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. I will review the Bose QC20s, but they should be relatively the same.
The first thing you’ll notice that’s different from the QC15s is the size and type of headphones.
These are specifically in-canal or in-ear headphones with earbuds quite light in weight. The earbuds come in three sizes and in an oval shape with a little half-arch kind of thingy that shapes the contours of your inner ear. When I first put them in, I didn’t know if I was putting them in the right or not. They seemed to not fit well. But I soon realized that that’s the way they were supposed to fit. It’s like they’re not even there. Well, after a few hours of use, you will notice, but when you first try them on, it’s pretty amazing at how light and comfortable they are.
Bose has done a very good job on the fitting because no matter what I did, the earphones didn’t come off. Bose states: “The tips sit in the bowl of your ear and use the ridge of your ear for added support.” They seemed to do the trick for me, and I guess it’ll also work for many others.
The one thing that stands out pretty clearly is the little black, remote-controller-like black box near the headphone jack.
This is the thing that powers the noise-cancellation. Now, all, or almost all, noise-cancellation headphones need some kind of power to make it work, and this is bose’s solution to power the cancellation on these headphones.
I think they are a lot superior to the QC15’s solution because, for the QC15, you need to use a battery, whereas these are chargeable through a micro USB.
Bose states that the power supply should last about 16 hours of usage and can be charged within two hours. I think this is understated because when I started using them, I could last many days of usage, using maybe 2-3 hours a day.
This is the beauty of these QC 20s. Noise-cancellation headphones usually work best when extremely loud noises are next to you. They especially work well around machine equipment types of noises, such as aeroplanes, trains, air conditioners, chainsaws (I guess?), etc. They do have their limitations, however. It doesn’t quite work well with human voices.
It does work, but human voices sounded like whispers when I tried to test them. So humans sound like they have a pillow over their mouth, while aeroplane drone noises don’t seem to affect the music inside the headphones.
Also, when it is completely silent, you can hear a little hissing from the quiet comfort 20. And when the noise cancellation is off, the sound seems to get a little muddy, especially the lows. So the dilemma you have here is whether to keep the noise cancellation off in a quiet room but sacrifice the sound quality or keep them on but hear the hissing noise. Me, I don’t mind the hissing that much, but some people seemed to be quite annoyed by it.
There is also an “aware” mode that you can press on the little black box, and a green light will light up. This aware mode causes some sound to come into the headphones because it is said that noise cancellation can sometimes be dangerous when you can’t hear any outside noise.
When we tested the “aware” mode, you could make out people’s voices when the volume was turned down, but it sounded kind of like a computerized voice. However, if the volume is up at a high enough level, even the aware mode won’t help you there.
Sound Quality of Bose QC 20
I think the Bose QC20 has a much better sound quality than its predecessor, the QC15. It does, however, lag behind some higher-end headphones regarding pure sound quality. But if you are looking for noise-cancellation headphones, these are your best bet in terms of sound.
Bose states, “Our TriPort technology and Active EQ combine to give your music a depth and balance that keep your daily soundtrack fresh and alive.” I have to say that I agree. The highs on these things are pretty good, and they sound nice and crisp. The lows certainly have good bass, but it just doesn’t sound as “punch” as it isn’t as good of a quality as other high-end models. The mid’s probably the weak point of these headphones, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good. They are definitely on the better end, but to my ears, they don’t seem to have as good quality as some of the other sets I’ve listened to.
The Bose Quietcomfort 20 sure is a lot more convenient than having to carry around heavy over-the-ear headphones. They are light, and the lithium battery (that black box) doesn’t seem to get in the way that much. I just put it in my pocket and my phone, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem.
You can pretty much take it anywhere, and when using it on the plane, they are FAR MORE comfortable than the QC 15s, and it actually doesn’t feel like they are on. No more sweaty ears, either!
The integrated microphone and volume rockers are also an awesome addition. Although at times when I would be walking I would notice that “thumping” sound of the cables hitting my body when I walk. I mean, it’s very, very unnoticeable, but I have superhuman ears, so maybe it’s just me.
Conclusion of my Bose QuietComfort 20 Review
So the bottom line is if you want a good noise cancellation headphone with great sounds, this is THE to-go headphone. As I have said before, these are the BEST noise-cancellation headphones I have ever used. There is pretty much no competition to these headphones when it comes to noise cancellation. With that being said, I hope you have enjoyed this review, and if you are looking for noise-cancellation headphones, I can’t recommend these enough.