Bose QuietComfort 15 Noise Cancelling Headphones

The QuietComfort 15 are the go-to headphones for travelers, offering powerful noise cancellation, rich audio, and long battery life. Bose is a king among music-loving business travelers, and products like the $299 QuietComfort 15 headphones are the main reason why.

Bose QuietComfort 15

The over-ear headphones, ensconced in pillowy-soft earcups, deliver loud audio with accurate detail. Best of all, Bose’s active noise-canceling technology effectively blocks outside noise, creating a peaceful oasis in loud chaotic settings. These are the reasons that the Bose QuietComfort 15 earn Tom’s Guide’s Editor’s Choice rating.

Design, Features & Build Quality

Regarding the design, the QC15 is fairly a straightforward, clean looking and light wearing headphone.

The ear pads are very plush and extremely comfortable feeling. In fact, the padding is so comfortable that you can wear these all day without any discomfort.

Inside the ear cups, there is plenty of room, even if you have larger ears.  And the ear cups swivel 90 degrees for easier storage.

You can adjust the size of the headphones using a click adjustment, and there’s plenty of room here even if you have a large head.

The headband is padded very comfortably as well which again, allows you to wear these all day without getting any discomfort or hot spots on your head.

They do have a plastic feel to them but for normal, everyday use they hold up just fine. Just remember to use the case when transporting them rather than just tossing them in your bag.

Comfort of Bose QuietComfort 15

When I first put these on they feel very nice on the ears. There’s just the right amount of softness with the ear pads. The pads themselves are very soft, supple, and cushy feeling.

The clamping force is just right with these. It’s just enough to keep them from sliding around on your head, but not too much that it creates discomfort.

Bose QuietComfort 15

These are also comfortable while wearing glasses and secure enough to use for moderate activities like working out. But if you’re doing anything too vigorous these will start to shake loose.

The headband has a nice amount of padding and is also very comfortable. I didn’t experience any hotspots or discomfort on the top of my head even after wearing these all day.

So the bottom line is that everything about these headphones is exceptionally comfortable and as a result, you almost don’t notice you’re wearing them.

Active Noise Cancellation

Next, I’ll talk about how these worked as noise-canceling headphones. But first, I want to make sure it’s understood that noise cancellation is different than noise isolation, which is when external sound is suppressed by your headphones.

Active Noise Cancellation is achieved by having inverse waves passing through the headphone speakers, which is what helps to cancel out the surrounding noise.

Also, I want to point out the noise-canceling headphones work best with lower frequency sounds such as the drone of an airplane engine, subway noise, or the whirl of an office air conditioner. So noise cancellation is less effective at canceling out sounds higher up in the frequency spectrum.

Bose QuietComfort 15

Now when it comes to active noise cancellation, Bose is simply the best. The QC15 truly decimates all low-end noise. Airplane engines and similar type noises disappear on these making them perfect for use on airplanes, trains, busses, and the subway.

Even walking next to a road, it’s impressive how much these dampen the noise of passing cars.

Now as I alluded to earlier, these aren’t as effective at cancelling out higher frequency noise. So if you’re using these in an office, you’ll still be able to hear people’s voices, especially female ones but these do help take the edge off of nearby conversations.

Now to use the active noise canceling feature you’ll first need to add one AAA battery (which is included). Then you’ll need to turn them on using the switch on the right ear-cup and a little green light will turn on letting you know it’s working.

Comparison to Other Headphones

Now compared to other headphones such as the PSB M4U, the PSB definitely sound better but the noise cancellation isn’t as good.

Then comparing the QC15 to the Klipsch Mode M-40, these are heavy and comfortable compared to Bose. Now you can use these passively but you get a boring sound with rolled off highs.

Then when you have the Active Noise Cancellation turned on, you get an overall aggressive midrange with a depleted treble presence making the overall listening experience, pretty sub-par, especially compared to Bose.

Bose QuietComfort 15

Finally, comparing these to the Sennheiser PCX-450, these are built well, look nice, and are comfortable to wear, but they’re hard sounding in the low treble, loose in the bass, and missing a bit in the mids.

So overall, they’re a disappointment when compared to Bose which sounds better, has a much better battery life, and has a much better noise-canceling ability.


Battery Life of Bose QuietComfort 15

According to Bose, the QuietComfort 15 headphones can last up to 35 hours on a single AAA battery.

We wore the QC 15 for more than four hours (a round-trip visit to our home in New Jersey), and the headphones were still going strong, alternating between playing music and acting as $299 noise-canceling earmuffs.

Unfortunately, once that AAA battery dies, so does both the wonderful noise cancelling and the music.

Bose QuietComfort 15

Monster’s Inspiration headphones, in comparison, can play music after the batteries die; you just lose out on the noise canceling. The Parrot Zik and the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B headphones can also operate sans battery.

Bottom Line

So the bottom line of whether you’ll love the QC15 or not comes down to what your priorities are. If noise isolation, comfort and good sound quality are your highest priorities then this is really the headphone to get.

Frequenly Asked Question

Is the Bose QuietComfort 15 wireless?

The Bolle & Raven AirMod QC15 is a Bluetooth adapter designed to add wireless functionality to your Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones, without compromising sound quality.

Is Bose owned by Apple?

In a move that can be described as either incredibly surprising, or completely unsurprising, Apple has purchased Bose and announced its intention to consolidate the brand with Beats, resulting in “Beats by Bose” headphones and speakers

Is Bose better than Beats?

The Bose QC 35 II headphones have superior sound quality (especially in the mid-range), better noise canceling, and are more comfortable to wear. On the flip side, the Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones are certainly the more stylish headphones, and they offer better battery life to boot

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