Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphone Review | Gadget Review
Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphone Review

4.3
Expert Rating

Chances are that you’ve heard of Bose and their headphone noise-cancellation technology. The audio manufacturer is popular for a reason. When other brands try to come out with the best noise cancellation headphones, Bose is often the standard for comparison.

So when we were approached with a chance to check out the flagship QuietComfort 25, we couldn’t turn that down up! Continue reading our Bose QC 25 review to find out if these over-ear headphones should be your next pair of noise canceling headphones.

Bose QC 25 Specs

Frequency RangeUnknown
ImpedanceUnknown
Cable Length56"
Weight (without cable)6.9 oz
Carrying Casegreen-check-mark
Battery Type1x AAA
Battery Life35 hours of playback
In-line Remote/Micgreen-check-mark
Price$299

Design

Bose’s design language hasn’t changed much over the years, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It works. That said, the QC 25 has a covert trick. The earcups can rotate flat and there are hinges on the headband. This gives it the flexibility to collapse down to a travel-friendly footprint.

Bose QC 25

The QC 25 earcups can fold and rotate to fit into the included compact carrying case.

In the unboxing, the QC 25 come folded within the supplied carrying case. The case is as sturdy as they come and is secured by a zipper around the perimeter. Included inside is a airplane adapter and a AAA battery (to power the noise cancellation).

The build of the QC 25 is most hard plastic. It’s definitely not the most premium-feeling headphones out there, but when you pick them up, you can tell that they’re of a solid build quality. In other words, I have no reservations that the materials won’t hold up.

There are three color schemes to choose from: Black, Triple Black, and White. We were given the “Black” version to review and it actually has a couple additional color accents. The outside of the earcups are gray and the edges by the earpads are blue. Everything has a nice, smooth finish and the two colors are deep.

Bose QC 25

Three different QC 25 colors, from left to right: Black, Triple Black, White

The top of the headband is lined with fabric and cushion support. The frame expands in size just like any other headphone, with a clicking mechanism.

The earcups swivel upon the plastic stems that extend from the band. The allowed rotation, coupled with the soft, leather earpads, means that you should have no problem with fit or seal. Bose nails the clapping force and comfort. I’ve had no issues listening over lengthy periods of time.

Bose QC 25

The QC 25 earpads are a cushion-y, soft leather. They can rotate to help with fit.

Features

It’s worth mentioning that the cord is detachable. This gives the user flexibility, in case the cable fails or if you want a third-party cable (as long as the cable’s headphone jack is straight and can fit in within the slot). As with most headphones these days, there’s an in-line 3-button remote/mic on the stock cable. However, be aware that there’s two different versions of the QC 25, for iOS or Android. Make sure that you choose the correct one for the system that you use.

Bose QC 25

In-line 3-button remote allows for playback controls (play/pause and volume up/down) and has a microphone.

To turn on the noise cancellation feature, there’s a simple switch on the surface of the right earcup. There’s a red dot when it’s off and a green LED when you flip it on.

Bose QC 25

It’s easy to control the noise-cancellation feature, by a simple switch on the earcup.

Bose was considerate to allow the QC 25 to work without noise cancellation. This is important because if you run out of juice, you won’t be left with a paperweight. And the leather earcups do a sufficient job themselves to block out ambient noise. The passive isolation won’t be nearly as good, but listening to the headphones that way is certainly better than not at all.

Usability

I was a little disappointed to see that the QC 25 doesn’t use a rechargeable Li-ion battery. Most manufacturer’s have moved on from replaceable batteries, for convenience. But on the plus size, it’s nice that you can pop in another battery when the noise cancellation feature runs out of juice (as long as you have another battery in hand). The bad part is that you have to keep buying batteries. I’d recommend to get rechargeable AAA’s.

Bose QC 25

Replacing the AAA battery is easy, simply flip open the battery compartment and drop in.

Changing the battery is pretty easy (it uses just one). The compartment is on the side of the right earcup. Just press down a latch and the door opens. The battery doesn’t click in place; you just drop it in. To remove, just turn the headphones over and give ’em a little shake. A single battery can provide up to 35 hours of playback.

So how well does the noise-cancellation perform? Excellently. The drastic difference in ambient noise when you flip the switch is just super impressive. Distractions disappear and your attention is drawn more than ever to the music, like it should be.

If you’ve never used active noise cancellation, it’s important to know that it doesn’t block out all sounds. The technology is able to cancel out the mid/lower end of the frequency spectrum. This means that high pitched sounds will still be audible. There isn’t technology that yet provides a complete sound isolation, but it still helps ton (i.e. the engine noise of airplanes or humming noises at your workplace).

Sound

Bose QC 25

The QC 25 is made portable and works perfectly with smartphones.

Bose prides itself at delivering a high standard of audio quality. You won’t find boomy bass or a V-shaped sound signature. Bose aims for a pure and true musical experience.

Can the QC 25 be said to succeed at that? No doubt. The transparency of the reproduction can be noticed from the bat. The spectrum is treated with neutrality, to let the music do the talking. The QC 25 is certainly a fantastic offering if you want to make sure that no frequency range is recessed.

Even despite the balance, I didn’t find the music to not be engaging. Sometimes when headphones reach for a “reference” sound, the music can lose its impact. Bose makes it hard to find anything wrong with the tuning.

Down in the nitty-gritty of particular sounds, things are still good. The treble reaches far to surface the details. The mid-range is very present and delivers naturalness in vocals and instruments. The bass is no slouch; I would say that it should be able to satisfy most bassheads. But with that said, I have heard harder-hitting over ear headphones. Particularly, I feel like sub-bass should be a notch higher in amplitude.

Clarity is great but notes could land with more crispness. I would also like a bit more from soundstage. While the QC 25 does a great job being encompassing (filling the perceived 3D space around your head), it doesn’t reach outward as far as I’ve heard from some competitors.

However, this criticism is minor and advice for improvements in the future. The overall audio experience of the QC 25 is a job well done.

One last concern is over the sound not being exactly maintained with the noise cancellation on or off. It sounds better with the feature activated, and muffled, in comparison, with it off. This is probably okay, since consumers will buy it for the noise cancellation (and only resort to the feature deactivated if the battery runs out), but I feel like the sound quality shouldn’t be allowed change.

Final Thoughts

Bose QC 25

The QC 25 has a lot going for it, and I totally feel like it’s worth the asking price. The build is immaculate and well-though-out. There’s the conveniences that we want, such as a detachable cable, remote/mic, and collapsible design. Comfort over lengthy period of use is no problem whatsoever. Bose also holds a superiority in the efficiency of noise-cancellation technology.

The sound quality doesn’t leave to be desired. It’s not perfect, but it’s not far from it either. I admire how Bose is reaching for true sounds while still being fun and engaging. I hope that Bose continues to push the limit and make improvements to get closer to that perfect sound.

The Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones retail for $299.

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