Bose QuietComfort 3 Review

Updated May 31, 2014
Bose QuietComfort 3
Bottom Line

Bose fans looking for better sound but less-effective noise cancellation than found in the Bose QuietComfort 15 may find their ideal headphones in the Bose QuietComfort 3. Others may find the price a bit disquieting.


QuietComfort 3 versus QuietComfort 15. Some reviewers compare the Bose QuietComfort 3 with that company's QuietComfort 15. While more reviewers say the closed-back Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones are their pick for noise-canceling headphones (because they physically block more sound), some say the open-back QC 3 (as it's also known) has superior sound, particular when it comes to bass performance. One review finds that the QuietComfort 3 headphones can block 19.5 decibels, well above the non-Bose competition (and about the level of rustling leaves).

ProsGood music quality, Excellent active noise cancellation, Battery and charger includedConsWon't work when battery power dies, Expensive, Negligible passive noise cancellation


Fine, even for the long haul. The Bose QuietComfort 3 uses an on-ear design that can get warm in warm settings, but otherwise we saw no complaints regarding comfort. CNET's David Carnoy calls the memory-foam earpieces "cushy." The Bose QC 3 headphones are smaller and lighter than the QuietComfort 15, another plus for comfort as well as for travel. The headphones come with rechargeable batteries and a charger, but won't work at all if the battery goes dead.


Heavy price tag. Both experts and users find the premium price of the Bose QuietComfort 3 to be its main drawback. It's more portable than the QC 15, and sound quality is a touch better, but it's also more expensive and with worse (though still quite good) active noise cancellation. It does strike a nice middle ground between sound quality and noise cancellation, but if you prize one or the other, you can find better and cheaper choices.

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