Traveling around the world, every road warrior I know, myself included, have a few things that always end up in their safe. Many will say it is a laptop or tablet, maybe your passport, but one of the most important things to me when taking long flights are my noise canceling headphones. I tried quite a few different pairs of headphones over the years. I tried them from just about every vendor, trying to avoid what I thought was a $300 tax from Bose for their headphones. There were pairs from $50-200 but none of them really blocked out the noise, or remained comfortable for long flights. I finally ended up with the Bose QC15. I have been using them for almost three years on flights, and for conference calls and I have been very happy with them. In the three years, I have had to replace the connection cable once (I lost it on a place) and I just replaced the earpads, overall small pieces. You are probably asking why I am reviewing something else then if I was happy. Well I was with one exception, you cant lay your head to the side and sleep with a large bulky basket around your head, much less lay flat. So in come the QuietComfort 20i earbuds.
To give you an idea of the size, the picture to the left is the QC15 case beside the new QC20i travel case. To give you an idea, the earbuds case is about 4″ by 2″ or just about the size of an iPhone 5, not even the iPhone 6 plus!
Now it is time to dig into the actual headphones. As you can tell in the pic, they look like a normal pair of earbuds with the exception of the box attached to the wires. This is the rechargeable battery and control module. It using a micro USB cable to charge and according to Bose will keep a charge for 16 hrs on about 2 hrs of charge time. This will be a big test since with the QC25, I always carry extra batteries as well. The other part you see is the inline microphone, just like the factory iPhone headphones, but with one exception. There is also a button that turns off the noise canceling temporarily. There is a version without the “i” that comes with a straight through cable as well. This was lacking on the QC25 and until I learned about this I didnt think about the fact that I almost always slide one ear off to hear the flight attendants.
Now the question comes up for the comfort. The QC20 comes with three different size eartips. The medium were installed and fit my ears fine.
Sound quality on these seems on par if not better than the QC15. You get the minimal white noise when turning on the noise canceling. One major upgrade from the QC15 is that if the battery dies you can still listen to music!
Overall I am looking forward to a much smaller package to carry around in my carry on and the ability to sleep through nice long flights.