Today, Bose introduced the in-ear evolution of the awesome noise-cancelling headphones that have been hanging on the heads of weary travellers for years. I just listened to the QuietComfort 20 buds, and I can't believe how much tech — and powerful sound — Bose crammed into my ears.
The headphones will be available "this summer" for some £200-odd in an Android-friendly model, as well as a version with an iOS three-button remote. What makes a set of fancy ear-buds worth that much? A lot of tech! So let's dive right in.
The headphones are designed as on-the-go counterparts to the over-ear and on-ear QuietComfort models you're probably familiar with. And at their core, the headphones are all about helping you block out the cacophany around you so you can just hear the darn music.
In a demo at press event at Grand Central in New York today, Bose simulated some absurdly loud environments like aeroplanes, the underground, and yes, a busy train station. The headphones' noise-cancelation was impressive.
The QC 20s are small like buds, but because of the addition electronics inside, they're bigger than what most of us are used to carrying around in our pockets.
The tech that makes this possible is also impressive: when calculating what noise-canceling frequencies to beam back at the oppressive outside world, the headphones uses two measurements — one from a microphone outside the buds, one from a microphone inside. That's data is beamed down to the little control stick that sits in line, right before the jack that plugs into your phone, computer, etc.
Bose's older QuiteComfort headphones sound great, but what we love about them above all else is how comfortable they are. I'm pleased to report that Bose has repeated this success on the new in-ears. Despite being larger and heavier than your average bud, they fit cozily in your ear, and stay put thanks to a squishy little "stability fins".
We'll be interested to know if the headphones will still be that comfortable after hours and hours of use.
What else? Oh, the sound! The headphones sound good, with that familiar, flat frequency response Bose is known for. We've hardly submitted the headphones to a rigorous test, so, we're not ready to say they're amazing just yet, but their performance is certainly promising.
Besides introducing new headphones, Bose also launched its own version of the now-unibiquitous, Bluetooth speaker block, the SoundLink Mini.
First of all, this little 680g, 2 x 2 x 7-inch brick of aluminium is absolutely gorgeous. It's a tad heavier than what we're used to from the competition.
That little extra heft, doesn't just come from the aluminium, it's also a result of a whole lot of transducer inside. Two of them actually. As well as two passive radiators behind them to help flesh out the bass performance of the litte monster.
And there are a few accessories, like colourful covers. The charging cradle is included.
Again, we haven't had a chance to fully test the sound quality or anything, but from what we heard, we're thinking these might be one of the best-sounding Bluetooth speakers this size we've heard. They should be launching soon for around the £200-mark also.