Generally speaking, a good pair of on ear headphones will outperform any pair of ear buds thanks to the fact that they can house much bigger drivers, which in turn produce more bass and a wider spectrum of sound. However, one major caveat to these types of headcans, is that they can become uncomfortable after prolonged use. Bose’s OE2is are anything but and produce superior sound without weighing down your noggin.
The Bose OE2is were announced this October and while they cost as much as Bose’s on ear headphones, they’re lighter, more nimble and as far as I can tell don’t make any sacrafices in audio quality despite their smaller size.
Available in black or white, there are two models to choose from. The OE2is, which I tested, include an inline mic and audio controls, where as the OE2s lack this feature. Unfortunately, Bose hasn’t told us what size drivers they’ve used, but I do know they’ve incorporated something called “TriPort technology” as well as “Bose acoustic equalization.” According to Bose, Triport Tech, which is proprietary, provides tonally balanced audio with deep low notes, where as Bose equalization fine tunes the frequency response, which sounds a bit redundant, but let’s not split hairs.
What Bose has made clear, though, is that the OE2s include memory foam ear cushions – the same stuff found in pillows and the Posterpedic mattresses. This is evident by just pressing on the ear cushions, but nothing is a better testament to this feature than the comfort of the OE2s, which is superior to any other pair of headphones that I’ve tested. Generally speaking, after wearing a pair of headphone for just under an hour my ears begin to ache from the pressure. However, I can easily adorn the Bose O2Eis for a few hours before having to take a break. But I can’t attribute all this comfort to the memory foam inserts. I can also thank the light weight build and the ability to adjust the headband to a rather large setting, which allowed me to shift around the placement of the headphones enough to alleviate some of the pressure on my ears.
In terms of calls on the OE2is, I was nothing short of impressed. In a loud coffee shop environment my callers made no complaints about background noise, and to be completely candid, it was a nice change of pace to go from taking calls on what usually are a set of ear buds. Keep in mind, though, that since these headphones block out more ambient sound – not as much as a pair of on ear headphones, but enough in most scenarios – it will be a somewhat unorthodox experience taking and making phone calls since it’s tougher to hear your own voice.
Now, when you get your Bose OE2is make sure, like any pair of headphones to break them in for a few hours before maxing out the volume. I did this for about 10 hours and they went from sounding good to sounding fantastic. The Bose OE2is have no problem delivering a full spectrum of sound, something that I’ve only experienced in much larger headphones. But it’s not just the spectrum that is impressive, but the tonal accuracy and fidelity that they can achieve. Bass, which on its own isn’t an accurate representation of a good pair of headphones, can be heard in the most subtle of audio scenarios, even when their is a heavy mix of mids and highs. To put it plainly, these headphones are very well balanced and rival larger headphones in the same price range.
Suffice to say, but the Bose OE2is are nothing short of impressive. Sonically they performed above and beyond their class and are easily the most comfortable on ear headphones that I’ve had the pleasure of testing. They don’t boast Bose Active Noise cancellation, but that is reflected in their size and price tag, which is $179.95, or $149.95 without the iPhone controls and mic.
Bottom Line: Great sounding, lightweight on ear headphones.
- Lightweight design with memory foam ear cushions for added comfort
- Great sounding
- Inline mic and controls
- A tad expensive; start at $149.95
- Not the hippest looking of headphones
- White might get stained with heavy use
Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."