Review: Bose QC20i In-Ear Headphones

I have been a user of over-ear headphones for many years. This is due to having smaller ears and small ear canals. Whilst this has been fine and my Bose QC15’s have served me well after the travel that I have been doing I decided they were too big. I couldn’t sleep with them on (not that I need to) on the odd occasion I’ve wished I didn’t wake up because I had lumps off of my ears.

After expressing my small ear first world problems to a colleague he stated he had small ear canals too and loved his Bose QC20i headphones.

They fit like a glove. The rubber outer layer, known by Bose as the StayHear tips sits nestled nicely within the ear and also follows the curvature of my inner ear and provide an additional seal. This ensures that it’s just me and my music. With my synced library of Spotify (plenty of awesome movie and video game soundtracks – Hello Light of the Seven from GoT Season 6!) I am in heaven. I also have noted that for something that I thought would hurt my ear they have not frustrated me in the slightest. From a sound quality perspective I cannot comment on quality as I am not a hardcore audiophile. Music sounds good enough for me and I am happy with it. Noise cancelling quality is good as the StayHear form a natural barrier along with the Bose magic sauce!

“Aware” mode allows you to hear what is around you and enables a reverse microphone to quickly hear nearby sounds. Great if someone speaks to you, to order a coffee without yelling, speak to a flight attendant, or you need to quickly listen for a car. I used to pop my headphone off an ear with the QC15’s but now.

The USB charge is nice versus the AAA battery in the QC15. I note the charge lasts around 15 hours from my first few uses. This is pretty cool as I can get from Melbourne to Los Angeles without charging it. Perfect. Even when the battery runs out it operates like a normal headphone! This is different to the QC15 which requires battery to even operate the headphone.

So with that my QC15’s now take pride of place on my office desk with my iMac whilst my QC20i’s follow me where I travel. With 3-4 US trips to go this year I look forward to giving them a workout.

** I didn’t pay for these headphones. I bought these with Qantas loyalty points so price did not factor into this. It also is why I have two pairs of Bose.

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