While their sound quality is up to some debate, it is no secret that Bose headphones are popular among frequent flyers, because of their superb noise canceling abilities. The QuietComfort 20 (QC20) in-ear headphones has been my travel companion, and I love the rechargeable battery and in-ear design. The QC20 is super compact, and Bose’s customer service has been excellent to me.
Bose also offers a pair of around-the-ear noise cancelling headphones, the QuietComfort 25 (QC25). It powers on with a AAA battery, and many people prefer its design over the in-ear QC20. However, I sometimes wear glasses, which can prevent the around-ear design from providing a good seal for full noise cancelling.
A few months ago, Bose announced an “update” to the QC25, which they call the QuietComfort 35 (available on Amazon for $349). The QC35 features bluetooth connectivity, which means you can use the headphones wirelessly. It maintains a 3.5 mm audio jack, for those times when you want to plug into in-flight entertainment systems. At the same time, they also announced the QuietControl 30 (QC30), a “neck-bud” that is meant to be a successor of the QC20. However, the neck-bud wasn’t immediately available, and there was no specific release date.
Some new smartphones, like the Moto Z/Z Force and the iPhone 7/7 Plus, now come without a headphone jack, so there’s no question the industry is pushing towards wireless headphones. I have been anxious to get my hands on the QC30, and it looks like they are finally available!
Bose calls these QuietControl, not QuietComfort, because the QC30 allows you to customize the level of noise canceling. It’s a nice feature if you’re out and about, but I’ll probably just turn it all the way up in-flight! Unfortunately, it looks like Bose is not including a 3.5 mm audio jack as a wired backup with the QC30, which is a huge bummer. This means I might have to carry two separate pairs of headphones or a Bluetooth transmitter if I want to take advantage of in-flight entertainment systems.
The headphones have a 10-hour battery life, which is respectable for a product this size. It won’t last the entire trans-pacific flight, but 15 minutes of charging gives the headphones 1 hour of listening time.
These new headphones are now available. You can get the in-ear QC20s on Amazon for $299.95.