One of the great advantages of an active noise cancelling headset over a passive one is that it can address ambient sound, even though you may not need to block out external light or sound and still derive benefits.
For some time now, Bose has been near the top of the game with regards to noise cancelling headsets, but its competitors Sony The QuietComfor t 30 are very similar to the QC20 in regards to having a neckband which lets you change the amount of noise cancelling. Black Friday deals and sales are now live.
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Included in the box are the headphones, a hard-shell travel case shaped like a CD, two different sizes of ear tips and the user manual.
Build & Design
The QC30 are Bose s first attempt at neckbuds. Both earbuds are mounted on the collar which includes each of the Bluetooth computer parts included in it. I love personally just like the design of them better than most others I ve seen in this style. The sound of the headphones is reminiscent of a mix between the Sol Republic Shadow and Bose’s own QuietComfort 30.
Within the silicone band you’ll find a solitary raised button. It also includes two small lights for battery and Bluetooth pairing, but that’s about it. There s a tiny flap that pulls back with the micro USB input for charging, but nothing else. The minimalist look suits me just fine- there are wires running to the front of my neck and attach to each earbud so I can easily pull them off if anything gets caught on them while they re in use. One noticeable flaw I found during my time using this headphone was that it had a tendency to slide around contentedly.
On the wire connecting the proper earbud is where you will find a tiny control module with many functions, including a microphone for phone calls. The two buttons on the module let you adjust noise cancellation strength. If it’s too loud in the restaurant, for example, and you want to prevent your hearing from being damaged by all of that noise, then just hold down one button and gradually turn up the lessen ANC strength while holding that button until it is sufficiently reduced. These days, most noise-canceling headphones let you activate and take control of the noise cancelling feature just with a touch.
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When it comes to finding a good fit, these include the Bose Stay Hear tips that tend to work for me. They’re also accompanied by two different size options in case they don’t end up being the right fit for you.
These headphones are completely wireless, so they can only be used wirelessly. In addition to this, you may not want these if you have a device without Bluetooth because you’ll have to plug the headphones in directly. In terms of range, I’ve had more problems with choppy sound than my other headphones. If my phone is in my pocket or I walk beyond the proper 20 yards away from it then the music starts to skip. These Bose Quiet Comfort 30 headphones come with NFC so pairing is quick and easy if you have a compatible device. Unfortunately, the songs sounded like they were starting to break up before I turned them off.
The single button on the headset operates as an indicator for power and Bluetooth pairing. The hard switch is also a multifunction button that features three buttons: play/pause, volume up, and volume down. By tapping the multifunction button once, you can pause/play music and answer calls. Double tapping will skip to another song while triple tapping returns to the prior track. Holding down the button may also activate your voice assistant on your phone.
You can also use the Bose Connect application to accomplish all of this and get some good extra features. Instead of adjusting noise cancelling on the headphones you can do it in the app. The Bose Connect App lets you name the headphones, or it can assign one for you. You can also share your music with a friend by using the Music Share feature which plays the sound on other couple of Bose headphones.
How good may be the battery?
Bose claims a battery life of 10 hours for these Bluetooth earbuds, and we can confirm they get close to that in our testing. Getting this much battery life is impressive on its own when you consider these also have noise cancelling features. I get the choice to charge my headphones, but wouldn’t it have been better if they were wireless with a cordless charging case?
How does the Bose QC30 sound?
Bose’s Quiet Comfort is considered a leader in noise cancellation. While the 20s ANC strength was fantastic, I find they’re slightly less powerful than with the QC20. The advantage of being able to manually configure the amount of ANC (hence the name Quiet Control) makes up for this minor flaw. I don’t always need enough ANC to filter an airplane engine, but it’s a relief to have that power when I do.
Although it shares many similarities with other Bose products, this pair of headphones stands out in its own right. It has a well-balanced low end that doesn’t overpower the high or middle notes. The ear cushions also help to pull the music deep into your mind for an immersive experience. The bass in “Something About Us” by Daft Punk doesn’t make your mind rattle at all, but you’ll feel it. It’s just a little loose for my taste though–not bad overall.
Some song tracks sound a little too rich on vocals, which is understandable given the mix of acoustic guitar and background vocals.
Highs were rolled off an adequate amount, and there are no harsh elements to talk around. What you d expect from a huge company like Bose is not present – that is, there isn’t any detail (of course it might be hard to tell). The mids are still prominent.
Should you choose the Bose QC30?
I expected more than 30 from Bose when I was considering their new QuietControl model. The StayHear+ tips always fit my ears, and they’re considerably cheaper ($199) than the QC30s. As for skipping music even at arm’s reach…I think I’ll save myself 300 bucks and stay away from that.
Normally b I feel the neckband is a bit of an issue. I d like to see it function in tandem with the lack of earbuds, but that isn t always the case.
One of my favorite features, and one I actually find really useful, is the ability to adjust how effective your ANC is when it’s active. Additionally, while the neckband isn’t 100% secure all day long (which can be kind of frustrating), it does stay put much better than most other brands as a result. You can see how these headphones would be fantastic. They have great noise-cancellation and an excellent design, but their price really kills it. You are paying $300 for only a decent battery life which makes the jBuds Tour 2i better in this respect as they will last 7 hours on one charge as opposed to 22 hours. They re without a doubt among the best headphones, but they re also overpriced. They re cooler if you want wireless features, but I don t think I ll be sticking to previous models.