For years I’ve used the Bose QuietComfort 15 as my “travel” headphones, and they’re great. There’s lots of debate over whether or not Bose is worth the money, and while I haven’t done too close of a comparison to other products, I do know the quality is damn good, and I’ve never been disappointed. I’ve had two pairs of Bose headphones in the past eight years, and they’ve served me well for millions and millions of miles.
That being said, I’ve found myself not taking them on a couple of recent trips for a few reasons:
- They are a bit bulky, and I do everything I can to travel as light as possible
- Nowadays many airlines give out high quality noise cancelling headphones aboard, so there’s less use for them
- Many airlines have “built in” headphones that are connected to the IFE system, so you can’t even use yours to watch the IFE if you wanted to
- For the most part my iPhone headphones do the trick if I want to listen to music at the gym or watch something on my iPad on the ground
Bose’s newest headphones are the QuietComfort 20i Noise Cancelling Headphones (they retail for $299), which are actually in ear. The huge selling point of these for me is that they’re tiny, so they hardly take up any carry-on space. I decided to pick up a pair recently through Amazon, since I had quite a bit of credit with them thanks to the recent Amazon & American Express Sync promotion.
So there are a few things that are different about these than their previous on ear headphones:
- The QC20i comes with a rechargeable battery which lasts for 16 hours. The USB charger is included, and plugs into the “base” of the headphones and then any USB charger.
- You have the option of listening to music with or without the noise cancelling feature. This is a moot point now since electronics are allowed in all stages of flight, but I found it frustrating in the past that you couldn’t use Bose headphones without the noise cancelling feature being turned on.
I’m not a tech guy so have no way of running any sort of “tests” on the quality of the sound, but I will say it’s really, really impressive, and comparable to the previous on ear QC15s I had. I had the headphones in my ears long enough to watch a movie and still felt comfortable afterwards. The added thing that’s awesome about these is that you can use them at the gym, while I would never have brought on ear headphones to the gym (not only because it looks silly, but it would’ve done too much damage to the leather).
Anyway, for the time being I’m keeping my Bose QC20i inside my QC15 case while traveling, but soon enough I’ll probably just travel with the QC20i and leave the on ear headphones at home in order to save space. This is a great product.
Anyone have a pair of these, or know of any comparable quality in ear noise cancelling headphones?
Here are a few pictures of the QC20i: