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The BOSE QuietComfort 20s are the latest members of the popular QuietComfort family, which for various reasons seem to have become almost standard field kit among business travellers and frequent flyers. But unlike the BOSE QC3 and QC15 headphones which fully encase the ear, the QC20s are compact travel-friendly earbuds.
The overall effect is eerily silent and the noise-cancellation circuitry seems even more effective for reducing general cabin conversation, although their magic remains ineffective on crying babies. In addition to smacking down ambient noise, the BOSE QC20s are solid performers with a bright top-end response and broad mid-range, although the flatter bass response makes them less ideal for doof-doof. I’ve been using a pair of QC20s for the past month, which means enough international trips that the headphones themselves could qualify for Gold frequent flyer status. But the QC20s are also far more versatile than conventional headphones because a tiny microphone in the inline control unit lets them double as a hands-free setup for your smartphone. A switch on the inline control unit located partway down from the earphones temporarily allows the outside noise in so that you can hear the cabin crew when it’s time to order your meals or drinks.
The tiny speakers rest against the opening of the ear canal while the triangular wing of the silicone eartip fits into the contour of your ear to hold it in place.
As a result the earbuds rest in the bowl of your ear rather than being stuffed deep into your ear canal. One of my only criticisms of the QC20s is that this control unit is located too close to the earpieces themselves.


A more basic oversight, and a surprising one for BOSE, is that a double-pin airline adaptor plug isn’t included on the handy QC20 carry-bag, despite being standard kit on the QC15 and QC30 models.
The QC20s rely on a rechargeable battery, which is tucked away in a flat section towards the end of the cable. This charges up over any USB port, including those now found on many aircraft, but it takes only four hours of being jacked in to supply the QC20s with a full 16 hours of juice.
And unlike other BOSE QuietComfort headsets, if the battery runs flat the QC20s still continue to work just like regular headphones.
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
The similar Sony product, around for a few years is cheaper,  clips to your shirt and has double-pin adaptor. I find that if you unplug the jack only slightly, leaving a milimeter or so of it out you wil get the sound of that one channel in both ears (still only the sound meant for one ear).
Hi Jalmulla - yeah, a bit of fiddling with the plug hits that sweet spot in the socket so it's a good trick for 'emergency' situations without an adaptor, I've used it myself, but I prefer an adaptor all the same.
Fully exercise-proof: with functional user interface, earpiece design, and a 10-meter working distance, our headphones will let you enjoy music through a variety of activities. Universal device compatibility: the Kinetic Series Headphones are compatible with most Bluetooth-enabled phones, and reduce external sound.


2015 Newest Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Stereo Earbuds with Noise Cancellation Sports Earphones Headphones, Say Yes or No to pick or reject call, Support 5 Languages Voice Prompt Headsets with Voice Control Function. Just as important, they stay in place unlike some earbuds which they too easily and too often tumble out. It sits up around your neck rather than further down near your breast pocket, where it could be clipped for easy access (if the unit had a small alligator clip, which is also something I’d like to see in any future revision of the QC20s).
My Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 comes with an airline adapator to plug into the socket for stereo sound.
In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. The QC3's a great although I was suprised by the level of noise leakage when the volume is at a higher level.




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