The Bose QuietComfort 15 noise-canceling headphones are an update of Bose's acclaimed QuietComfort 2 headphones. Most reviewers agree that the company has improved on an already excellent product. The QuietComfort 15s look like previous Bose models, but offer a number of internal enhancements as well as more padding to better block out unwanted noise. Critics say that audiophiles may find the fidelity of the QC 15s (as they are also known) high end a bit "off." The QuietComfort 15's passive sound blocking is quite good as well, though the headphones won't work at all if the active sound cancellation circuitry is not active and powered (from one AAA battery). QuietComfort 3 headphones (*Est. $350) are more compact, but cost more and don't perform as well.
Like previous headphones from Bose, the QuietComfort 15s get plenty of reviewer attention and praise. PCMag.com and Laptop Magazine both give the QC 15s top scores in balanced reviews, and Britain's What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision concurs, though its coverage is more cursory. Though you'll need to subscribe to read the full results of their testing, Australia's Choice and ConsumerReports.org in this country rate the QC 15s.
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The Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones get an Editors' Choice award and 4 out of 5 stars from PCMag.com's Tim Gideon. He says that the QC 15s deliver the best noise cancellation available. But Gideon notes that their audio can be "overly bright" and distorts at high volume levels.
Review: Bose QuietComfort 15, Tim Gideon, Aug. 20, 2009
2. Laptop Magazine
Michael A. Prospero gives the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones an Editors' Choice designation and 4 out of 5 stars in this review for Laptop Magazine. He says the sound is best "for those who listen to mid-range music," as the bass is weak for hard-rock tracks. However, he finds the need for battery power the only real drawback. Prospero says the QuietComfort 15's noise cancellation is excellent even on airplanes and the New York City subway.
Review: Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, Michael A. Prospero, Nov. 25, 2009
3. What Hi-Fi?
British audiophile magazine What Hi-Fi? gives the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones a 5-star rating in this short review. They are described as "winningly comfortable" excellent performers. Aside from "a gleaming high end," What Hi-Fi? concludes that "the QC 15s are a composed and enjoyable listen."
Review: Bose QuietComfort 15, Editors of What Hi-Fi?
4. Choice magazine
The Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones excel in Australian consumer magazine Choice's test of noise-canceling headphones. The downside is the fact that the QC 15s can't be used without power or with noise canceling turned off. Otherwise, Choice testers say that there is no discernible noise (like hissing) from the noise cancellation feature, and that the battery lasted for 50 hours.
Review: Test: Noise Canceling Headphones, Matthew Steen, March 30, 2010
ConsumerReports.org tests and ranks a variety of noise-canceling headphones, including the Bose QuietComfort 15. Ratings evaluate sound quality, sensitivity and, in the case of noise-canceling models, isolation. But there's scant explanation of the headphone models themselves.
Review: Headphones, Editors of ConsumerReports.org