Bose QuietComfort 25 - Premium Experience

July 06, 2015

Also known as the Bose QC 25, this pair of closed-back noise cancelling headphones comes hot on the heels of its predecessor, the QC 15. Generally, there are 4 models - an Apple iOS-compatible unit available in September 2014, the Android friendly version launched in March 2015 along with black and white color variants. We will review the black Apple friendly version. And oh yes - before we kick things off, a big thank you to Atlas for providing a unit for testing.

The entire experience of unboxing the SGD 529 (SGD 499 for a limited time period) priced Bose QuietComfort 25 right up to its everyday usage is an undeniably premium one. The box comes in a shrink wrap with an opening on the top to accommodate a slot hang tab. Pulling out the interior box exposes a blue colored flap doubling as a setup guide. Flip this and a black cushioned layer up to unveil the carrying case. Zipping open the case will reveal the folded headphones, the accompanying cable and the airplane adapter / AAA battery fitted snugly into the bottom left.
The Bose QC 25 have an unassuming design that exudes class. They are very much different in terms of looks from the flashy Beats-styled headphones. The unit boasts a solid dual-hinge design at the cups that allows you to contort them for practical reasons such as safe keeping and angling to your facial contours for comfort.

Interestingly, if you want a larger variety of colors, this option is available on Bose's US site where you can use an online design tool to customize 9 parts of the headphones such as the ear cups and domes.

Setting up the 196g headphones is a piece of cake. First, you take the AAA battery from the carrying case, open a tab on the right side and pop it in. The lengthy 140+ cm cable also needs to be plugged in so you just slot the straight end firmly into the base of the left side. 

The headphones' unique selling point is the noise cancelling function. Upon triggering a switch on the right side, a green light will illuminate.

The QC 25 will function both when the noise cancelling is on and off. The only catch is that the sound quality is distinctly different in both modes. While it's turned off, the audio volume level is not as loud and ambient noises are far more apparent. When on, the sound is clearer, tighter and even the user guide mentions that this is the ideal 'for best quality audio'.

As per Apple remotes, the in-line remote lies on the left side. The actuation isn't as solid as one would expect but does the job as required when tested with an iPad Air. The 3 buttons deliver volume up, play/pause and volume down functionality respectively. In addition to iOS devices, they actually run pretty much the same way on iTunes using a MacBook Air I plugged the QC 25 to.

Comfort. That is the first word that came to mind upon trying the Bose headphones on my ears for the first time. When walking, the headphones snug fit allows one to enjoy the music without worrying they will fall off unceremoniously. Personally, I found them just a tad bulky when walking as I am more accustomed to on-ear headphones such as the Sennheiser PX 100 that are half the weight. 

According to Bose's website, the total duration of the noise cancelling on an alkaline battery can be up to 35 hours. The indicator will start to flash when there's 7 hours left. At the very end of the battery life the noise cancelling will be intermittently switched off, a clear indication of the need to change the AAA.

When tested with trance anthems such as Funabashi's The Legacy, this is where the strength of the bass quality is made apparent. The thumping bass provides a resonance that is excitingly engaging. Vanessa Quinones' vocals on Dario G's Voices comes through well enough such that the balance between the bass and treble provide an altogether satisfyingly pleasant listening experience. And yes, this testing was performed when the noise cancelling is on.

Let's talk about noise cancelling. I did not have the chance to board a plane to test this function so I settled for the next best thing - sitting at the back of a fully loaded bus with a revving engine. It clocked 81 decibels according to a decibel reading app and at this level, I could hear the music very nicely with the excellent noise cancelling. Apart from the occasional interruption from high frequency noises such as motorcycles accelerating or bus alighting bells, the QC 25 is able to eliminate the low frequency sounds more than adequately. Even when tested on the MRT, the train acceleration was barely noticed. The only significant sounds heard were from "Doors Closing" and accompanying chimes at the station stops.

The Bose QC25 (now at USD 140, as of Aug 2023) is a top notch choice for frequent travellers who want their own sound space without the engine roar of a bus or plane. While rather pricey, this is one of the rare products that truly summarizes everything succinctly and holds true to its name - QuietComfort.

Audio Sources
The Legacy (Stoneface & Terminal Remix) - Funabashi (Spotify 160kbps MP3) on iPad Air
Voices - Dario G with Vanessa Quinones (ALAC) on Samsung Galaxy S4

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  1. Do u know if there's any bluetooth option for these headphones?

    1. @darren Nope. Though Bose has a SoundLink on-ear Bluetooth model


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