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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bose deliver yet again
After having owned a pair of Bose IE2s for over 3 years (and having been heavily impressed by them), I decided it was time to perhaps try the new in-ear Bose Quiet Comfort 20 for Android and Windows. This review will be interesting since I will be comparing the QC20s with the IE2s (which I have also reviewed recently)!

Noise cancelling:
First things first,...
Published 11 months ago by GlueStick

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
After using the Bose MIE2i for a while I decided to upgrade to these, Bose's first ever in-ear noise cancelling earphones. And after using them for about a month I've decided to sell them.
Why? Well, firstly, compared to my MIE2i, which are so comfortable that I can't actually feel them in my ears, these are uncomfortable. I'm acutely aware that these are in my ears...
Published 1 month ago by Mark Barlow


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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bose deliver yet again, 1 Jan 2014
After having owned a pair of Bose IE2s for over 3 years (and having been heavily impressed by them), I decided it was time to perhaps try the new in-ear Bose Quiet Comfort 20 for Android and Windows. This review will be interesting since I will be comparing the QC20s with the IE2s (which I have also reviewed recently)!

Noise cancelling:
First things first, the USP of this product is the in-ear noise cancelling. The real question which many of you will ask is, do they work and how effective are they? I am writing this review on an airplane with my QC20s on and I can safely say that 85% of the background noise has been cancelled (yes that includes the aircraft's engines) - pretty good if you ask me. These QC20s excel and are the first true in-ear noise cancelling earphones in my opinion. When compared to other supposed noise cancelling in-ear earphones which currently exist, Bose have quite frankly thrown them out of the park! I have tried both the IE2s and the QC20s on the flight and it's very clear that the QC20 is clearer to hear at a low volume... rather obviously, thanks to the noise cancelling.

Comfort:
As I had written in my IE2 review, Bose have retained the crown when it comes to comfort. The QC20 is just as, if not more comfortable than the IE2s. The StayHear®+ tips are an upgrade from the original StayHear® tips as seen on the IE2, and these new ones are still a joy once in your ear and stop the earphones from falling out, all whilst giving you the best sound possible (but please ensure you choose the correct tip for your ear size to optimise sound quality).

Sound quality:
Wow, simply brilliant! Now I was amazed by the quality of the sound with the in-ear IE2s and the QC20 has rather unbelievably upped its game. The bass is even deeper (I did not think this was possible!) and everything is just as clear to listen to. There is a big downside however; this quality comes only when noise cancelling is switched on. Without the control unit switched on, the quality is good... but not as good as the IE2s unfortunately. If you intend to always use the noise cancelling (I'm sure you will since you're reading this review for a pair of noise cancelling earphones), this should not be an issue. The battery lasts about 16 hours as stated (and charges in about 2 hours) and so unless you use these nonstop throughout the day, you should be able to live on almost a single charge per "work week", depending on your personal use, understandably.
The "aware" mode on the QC20s work really well too. One touch of a button and you're able to let some noise from your surroundings into your ears (great to hear traffic when crossing busy roads) - alternatively, leave aware mode off and let your noise-cancelled music take you away from the busy world!

Control module:
The noise cancelling produced by this control module is great yes, but I cannot help but wonder why the control module for this is so large and positioned in such an awkward position. I do feel as though I need to take extra care with it since it does feel like the wire could get damaged easily. I mean if I'm listening to music and typing on my phone at the same time, I have this big box thing which is dangling off the top of my phone... Even when placing my phone in my pocket, I take care in ensuring the cable doesn't get bent or damaged. Having said that, Bose have compensated for this by giving us a noticeably thicker cable with the QC20 - this does make the product feel stronger and well-built.
The battery is also located within this control module and one downside of this is that it is non-replaceable. As we know, lithium-ion batteries eventually run out of juice and after about 500 odd recharging cycles, the battery will lose the energy to hold the full 16 hours charge. Although this is the case, I believe it'll probably take a good few years for the battery to become almost unusable.
UPDATE (07/01/13): Having used my QC20 for about a week on roads and when travelling, I must say I need to change what I've said in the above. What Bose have done is actually rather clever; the positioning of the control module means that you naturally fold the module to rest on the underside of the device which you get used to rather quickly. This makes typing and using your phone a hell of a lot easier and certainly more comfortable than when the module dangles off. I guess placing the module anywhere else would mean that the module would be dangling around which is in fact, even worse!

Price:
This is the ultimate question - are these worth the price? For me, I do feel as though they are (only just about). Only thing about this which bugs me is the fact that you get inline remote volume controls on the Bose QC20i (Apple version). I have to say that the Android/Windows QC20 should be priced a tad cheaper for this missing feature. Back to the main point anyway; overall for me, these are just about worth the price since they are a unique, one of a kind product. If you don't take my word for it, you could grab a pair of these from the official Bose store as they have a 30 day risk-free trial with a 100% money back guarantee. Please make sure you buy directly from Bose or a Bose dealer to avoid being hustled.

The overall verdict:
As a flagship audio company, Bose have done extremely well in producing these. Although I am giving these 4 stars, don't get me wrong, they are amazing. I just feel Bose will need to make improvements to the Quiet Comfort 20 in the future when they decide to bring out a mark 2 model. I.e. for me, the non-replaceable battery, control module and inline remote for Android and Windows needs some work before I give these 5 stars. Regardless, Bose have done amazingly well to produce something of such remarkable quality. Yes it feels a little overpriced but hey, you get what you pay for - these cannot be compared to anything else on current market! Are you looking for quality in-ear noise cancelling? For me, these are the ONLY earphones on the current market which does the job!

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you :)

Happy buying :)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for!, 1 Sep 2014
By 
C. Hamer "chrisahamer" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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Bose has created some of the best noise cancelling headphones over the years but these trump them all.

I have always marvelled at Bose's QuietComfort headphones. I've always wanted some too, but let's be honest they are prohibitively expensive. £250 for a set of headphones is a lot - especially if you aren't going to get the best sound quality.

"What" I hear you cry. Yep, these aren't the best sounding headphones I've ever owned. The Shure SE-420s beat them easily. So why is this a 5 star product?

Because the Bose QC20i's do exactly what they are supposed to do, perfectly.

You see the Quiet Comfort range is built to block out background noise better than any other headphone out there, and they achieve this perfectly.

Ok, they actually sound pretty damn good too! But I was stunned out how much background noise they filter out - way better than I expected. With music at moderate volumes I can't hear the tube or train at all.

In a car I couldn't hear much noise at all - even at 120MPH on the german Autobahn.

To be honest the battery part isn't even very cumbersome - it sits nicely behind my iphone and doesn't actually make the phone too much bigger.

The earbuds are incredibly comfortable. I have had no issues wearing them for 5 hours plus.

I'm just really impressed at what Bose has done. They weigh very little, and work so well it's stunning. It was a lot of money to spend in one hit,. but I am in no doubt that it was worth it now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but flawed., 20 Nov 2014
By 
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I have used these for a year on a long daily commute which includes high speed trains, tube and London bus so I feel well qualified to review. The NC tech has been well covered by other reviewers and I can confirm it works very well with low frequency background noises. It is brilliant on the train, very good on the bus and good on the tubes (older lines with loud squeals from the wheels can overwhelm the NC).
The sound quality is the best I have ever heard from earphones but my experience is limited so best refer to other reviews on that one. There are some downsides, however, which cast a shadow over the otherwise positive view.
• Bose is heavily wedded to Apple tech. If you dislike Apple as much as I do (I use windows / android music sources) this means all the volume / track skipping controls on the cable are useless. If you have to reach for your source device to adjust it (a pain when you are strap hanging) the battery unit can snag on the lining of your pockets when you try to retrieve it turning the whole thing into a complete faff.
• The earpieces emit a distinct pop when the train passes a train travelling in the opposite direction at speed. Nothing major but enough to wake you up if you are dozing.
• The power does not auto shut off when not in use. If you forget to turn them off when reaching your destination they can be dead when you try to turn them on again. They will still work but without power they are rubbish. This has happened to me several times.
• The cable is quite heavy and has a slight dragging effect on the earpiece when walking. The clip to counteract this is risible and you will be lucky to get a week out of it before you lose it.
• At this price point a carrying case might be nice.
• The NC tech does emit a slight but (for me) noticeable pressure on the eardrums. At first I thought it was just me but I have seen it referred to elsewhere. It doesn't seem to bother most reviewers so maybe I am just being over sensitive. It does however make them uncomfortable for me after a couple of hours.
In summary the NC tech is great – sound quality is great – they are robust and show no sign of wear despite having had a hard year. Yes, they are expensive but if you keep them for three years – and I see no reason why they wouldn’t last - that works out at about 25p per day. That is a small price to pay for a quieter life.
Only 4 stars because of the above but I do not regret buying them.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basically excellent, 9 Sep 2013
By 
cdpinker (London, England) - See all my reviews
The bottom line is that these are fantastic at noise cancelling but may not be incredible sound quality, but are still worth the money if noise-cancelling is that important to you. In other words, you should only buy these headphones if noise-cancelling is your absolute priority over everything else.

Here are my observations that may be of interest:

* The in-line microphone resides at the "Y" split in the cable, i.e. lower than the Apple headphones microphone which is in-line half way up the right-hand earbud cable. I used to run the headphone cable inside my shirt so it popped out at the neck so it was more subtle (and would still have access to the in-line remote/mic), but doing it this way now means the microphone/remote is under my shirt, no good for calls, changing volume etc without fishing it out from underneath. Might mean I have to keep the headphone cable outside of my clothing dangling. Not ideal, but I will experiment to find what works best.
* Cable is a rather weird black/grey twisting design, and is noticeably thicker than normal headphone cables.
* There is an audible electronic hiss when noise cancelling is enabled. It is quite quiet so is completely unnoticeable when you are out and about listening to music, but in a quiet room it is noticeable. Don't buy these headphones to sit at home on the sofa all day - these are designed for noise-cancelling and that is the scenario in which they excel.
* Audio quality is average when noise-cancelling is not switched on. Should be treated as a backup rather than a normal way of using them.
* They are really comfy! I really like the rubber extensions that fit within your ear; comfy and also secure, even if you yank on them.
* Noise-cancelling is excellent. Works best on constant low-frequency sounds, but I commuted on the tube today in London and wasn't disturbed by ambient noise once - it was fantastic. Just don't expect *silence*.
* The in-line remote is very large and fairly ugly
* The clip that holds the cable to clothing etc easily comes off. I lost mine after abut two weeks. It should really be permanently, or more securely, attached. I emailed Bose and they sent me a replacement free of charge :)
* Wind noise is more noticeable than you'd expect
* On the underground, I occasionally hear a popping sound. I think it is due to air pressure going in and out of tunnels. It is very rare and not something to be bothered by, but thought it worth mentioning.

Overall I'm really pleased with them as I mainly listen to music on the underground/commute and was getting fed up of my Apple earbuds constantly falling out and not really being able to hear the music when they were in anyway.

Highly recommended if you don't mind the price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 2 Nov 2014
By 
Mark Barlow (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
After using the Bose MIE2i for a while I decided to upgrade to these, Bose's first ever in-ear noise cancelling earphones. And after using them for about a month I've decided to sell them.
Why? Well, firstly, compared to my MIE2i, which are so comfortable that I can't actually feel them in my ears, these are uncomfortable. I'm acutely aware that these are in my ears and after a while it gets a little sore. Not much, but enough to annoyed by it. I tried all the sizes (you get small, medium and large tips) and none improved the effect. I think it may be due to the extra piece of silicon that covers the ear canal which is not on the standard stayhear tips (these are referred to as stayhear+) and that is uncomfortable for me. You would need to test them out for yourself as I'm sure most people would find them super comfortable but I didn't sadly.
As for the noise cancellation, it worked mostly okay. Not great, you can still hear the roar of traffic on the roads, but certainly blocked out a lot of the noise the MIE2i did not. But be aware that it does not give total noise isolation. Though if you crank up your music that's all you'll hear.
Another problem is the cable. It is thicker and I'm sure that makes it more durable but I prefer the thinner cable used by the other earphones. A thicker cable makes it useless for the gym as combined with the battery unit it just ends up too bulky and annoying. Again, user preference, and these aren't designed for the gym in any rate.
Another thing is that you can hear the rustle of the cable when you move, the MIE2i does not have that effect. I found this really annoying and distracting so that's another consideration for you.
A plus is the sound is great as always with Bose. And with the noise cancellation on it makes the sound a little clearer and more like it is right next to your ear. That is great.
Overall, think about what you are buying and if you really need the noise cancellation feature. I've decided I don't but that is my preference.
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55 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bose don't do cheap, 22 July 2013
By 
Kevin O'Keefe (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you are in the business of buying Bose products then perhaps price is not a particular consideration. Even so at the current RRP for these QC20i's even die-hard Bose fans might well wonder whether the promise merits the asking price. The good news is that, after careful consideration, I believe it does.

To begin with these are typically nicely-designed Bose earphones except, unusually, above the earbuds there's a silicone fin that fits into the inner ear ridge. To my surprise they actually do fit remarkably well and not only are extremely comfortable but are all but invisible too. This design allows the earbuds to remain secure even without having to insert them quite tightly into the ear canal (as is usually the case with other earphones - and I have tried many). As such they are light and comfortable to wear while looking pretty cool in an understated way. The cable I am pleased to say is of the symmetrical Y-Type and the earbuds themselves are the conventional variety (i.e. not the 'over the ear' type).

Of course what really matters is the sound and it is here where the QC20i's really shine. What really sets these earphones apart from most others is the active noise-cancelling circuitry that is housed in the somewhat surprisingly large module that attaches to the cable only a couple of inches or so from the jack end. It is slim and light but at over two inches long I initially wondered whether it was going to be an annoyance (it isn't really). This inline module is charged via a supplied USB cable and a single two hour charge is enough to give around sixteen hours use (which seems to be the case). Originally when I tried the earphones I wasn't particularly blown away with the sound; they were OK, nothing special and certainly not at this price-point. But then I turned on the active, noise-cancelling module and - wow - what a difference! Every aspect of the audio improved. The soundstage was immediately thrown open and the audio throughout the range was by some margin the best I have heard from any earbuds I have owned. Sound reproduction - when twinned with lossless iPhone and iPod files - is detailed, revealing and musical and with enough lower frequency bass to satisfy all but the most demanding bass-head. Of course as in all cases with earphones of this design you will only get the 'right' optimal sound out of them if you have them fitted with the buds that match the size of your ears (so take time to try the three sizes supplied to get the right fit).

However what really sets these earphones apart is the 'noise cancellation' feature itself which you can choose to have on or off. In 'off' position the active module is still 'on' (and produces great sound not unlike an in-line preamp or DAC) but you still can detect ambient external sound (so you are aware of your surroundings, can hear somewhat muted conversation etc). With the noise cancellation set to 'on' however the circuitry almost magically removes what seems to be *all* ambient noise. It really does leave you with just you and your music. It is a remarkable effect. To give you some idea of how striking this effect is I paused my iPod, cancelled the noise-cancelling feature and started talking to my wife. Even with the earbuds in I could plainly hear what she was saying but then - with a flick of a switch - I could no longer hear what she was saying: her lips were moving but there was just *silence" (surely worth the asking price alone??!) Seriously though it is startlingly effective and even my wife had to conclude `that's AMAZING!' when she tried them (and a sceptical colleague at work had to grudgingly admit how much the noise cancelling feature added to the personalisation and immediacy of listening to your music). If you want to be totally isolated in your music - cocooned even - then these headphones are for you.

IPhone and iPod functionality work seamlessly and all functions (from track selection, volume control, accept/reject calls etc) are easily accessed through the inline control and mike at the apex of the earbuds Y cable. Unlike some I have used the buttons are distinct in feel and large enough to use with ease (but still discrete).

In conclusion I had some misgivings about these earphones as price-wise they are way above other perfectly decent Apple/Android ones. But then again they are not Bose. And while these Bose phones may not sound 'four times better' than good earphones a quarter of the price (but how *do* you quantify these things?) I can confidently say they do sound 'much' better - and the effectiveness of their noise cancelling circuitry truly gives them a unique listening experience.

Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent headphones that doesn't hurt your ears!, 27 Oct 2014
By 
J. Cheng (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought the 20i to compliment my QC15 over the ear headphones. I love the sound of my QC15 but the problem is that they are simply too hot to wear during summer times. 20i is good because it's like normal headphones. The sound is excellent for what it is but I still think the QC15 is better (just). The control is excellent and the aware mode is very useful indeed.

I would have knocked a star off because of the biggish but slim battery. It's a little cumbersome to use but because it's so slim that you can forgive it for being there at times. Another good thing is that the headphones will stay working even when the battery runs out. Though the quality drops significantly but at least you can still use them unlike my QC15.

The noise canceling is excellent as usual with Bose. It cuts almost all the unncessary noise in the tube and buses so you can enjoy the music you love and also listen to much lower volume rather than cranking it all the way up to 'overcome' the ambient noise outside. Very natural and you will love it.

Price is a little steep but they worth every penny! Oh, last thing, they are very very VERY comfy to wear!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It cancels out a good 80% of the noise, 13 Aug 2014
OK this is a fabulous product. The noise cancelling is magical. It cancels out a good 80% of the noise, and reduces the overall volume of background noise very significantly. If you listen to music, the background noise will be inaudible in all but the loudest environments. I find myself wearing these even without the music a lot in order to reduce the humdrum noise of city life, and surprisingly I feel less tired at the end of the day.

So why only four stars? Here's why:
* Because these are iPhone specific headphones, and because they already have a battery pack, it just makes more sense to connect them with Bluetooth.
* They are among the best built in-ear headphones I've had, although I've had one plug break, and now the 'cancelling' button on my second pair has failed, so it will be in for warranty replacement for a second time. My great fear is that they'll break one day after the warranty ends, and I'll be sad and poor as a result. I don't feel like they will last me for several years; mind you I wear them all day every day.

All in all though, great, would buy again.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound - amazing noise-cancelling, 23 July 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I expected excellent audio quality from the Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, as I already have (and love) my Bose dock and my (first generation) Bose Wave Cd / radio. I'm always tempted to get a new DAB Wave when the brochures pop through the letterbox, but I can't justify the expense!

The Bose QuietComfort 20i headphones sound amazing. They are by far the best in-ear headphones I have ever used. The sound is powerful, with a great bass response and no distortion even when the volume is pumped up.

The audio sounds at it's best when switching the power on in the module, which sits a couple of inches above the jack that attaches to your music source. This module amplifies the audio, and it has to be heard to appreciate the difference it makes to the sound.

The module does give rise to the only negative for me (which is why the review loses one star). The placement of the module feels wrong - it sits too close to the jack, so whenever I'm using my iphone or when I'm travelling, it gets in the way of whatever I am doing, and feels obtrusive. When sitting still, it's fine, but as I use the headphones mostly with my iPhone when on the move, this is a real issue for me. Before purchasing, have a look at the pictures so you can decide for yourself whether this will be an issue for you.

The controls are easy to use - answering calls, pausing music, skipping tracks and adjusting volume is simple with the in-line controls that are situated just below where the cable splits in two.

As well as the top-notch sound, the other positive is the noise-cancelling aspect of the Bose 20i's. Switching to noise-cancelling really does remove the outside ambient noise. I'm currently using the 20i's with a loud cooling fan in the room (the review was written during the 2013 July heatwave) and I cannot hear the fan or any outside noise. This is not the case with other noise-cancelling headphones I have used.

Switching on the 'aware mode' is done via the in-line controls, and lets ambient noise into the headphones so you can be more aware of your surroundings (useful when travelling for example). But most of the time, I will be using the noise-cancelling setting which really lets you immerse yourself in the music, away from the distractions of the outside world. There is nothing more satisfying than enjoying your favourite music with no external influences.

The ear-buds are comfortable, and dont have to be pushed deep into your ear canal like some in -ear headphones. The ear-buds come in three different sizes, but make sure you try all three to find the correct fit for your ears, or they will not sit comfortably. Changing the buds is easy.

So if you are a fan of Bose's sound quality (clearly I am!) I think you will love listening to your music through the powerful Bose QuietComfort 20i's, and the amazing noise-cancelling is another positive of these quality headphones. It's just a shame about the placement of the module being too close to the jack. Otherwise this would have been a five-star review and a near perfect product.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great pair of headphones, 20 Nov 2013
By 
William Rae (Kissimmee, Florida, US) - See all my reviews
These are the second Bose headphones I've purchased and I'm not disappointed, I can now sleep on the plane without worrying about the over-ear pair..
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