Bose’s QuietComfort range is tricky to assess. With an RRP of £279.99, the QuietComfort 15 are clearly expensive headphones, and from a much closer inspection at what they can do, a hefty chunk of this goes into the noise cancellation and comfort parts of the equation.
They sound great, with the important caveat “for a noise cancelling pair”. Bass is fairly well-managed and the sound signature is enjoyable, but it won’t completely satisfy audio purists with a £300 budget.
There’s a deliberate attempt to make the sound warm and smooth, with a slight emphasis on the low-mids that can soften music in a rather pleasant fashion. They are about comfort, after all. However, like spraying your recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables with a coating of sugar, it’s not altogether right.
Up against other popular pairs like the Beats Solo HD, though, the QuietComfort 15 demonstrate much better balance and an altogether more grown-up sound. However, if you’re willing to forego the noise cancelling and the mostly-delightful experience of wearing the things, better sound quality can be had for the price. While treble clarity is good here, somewhat limited resolution and imaging stops the headphones from entering the big leagues the price may suggest they belong in.
For at-home use, we don’t think the Bose QuietComfort 15 are a great choice. Here, few of their benefits shine, making the high price seem all the more imposing. However, as a traveller’s headphone, they’re simply the best. The noise cancellation is excellent, they’re just as comfortable as advertised, suitable for hour after hour of listening, and they outperform most rivals – such as the Goldring NS1000 and Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b – on sound.
Comfortable and capable of blocking out the clamorous noise of the city, the Bose QuietComfort 15 can improve a work commute like few other over-ear headphone sets. Happy to be worn for hours, they’ll take on duties at work too. Out-and-about, they thrive, but as an at-home musical partner you can get better sound quality for the same price.
Score in detail
Design & Features 9
Sound Quality 7