Noise-cancelling in-canal earphones have been far less popular and common than the on-ear and over-ear ear noise cancelling full-size headphones, like Bose’s QuietComfort 15$299.95 at Bose. With the QuietComfort 20, Bose aims to change this. The $299.95 (direct) in-ear pair is offered in two varieties—the QuietComfort 20, intended for use with Android, BlackBerry, and Windows phones, and the QuietComfort 20i, intended for iPhone, iPads, and iPods. Bose hasn’t eliminated the inline battery and circuitry compartment that is essential to an in-ear noise cancelling pair, but it is now quite thin and far less cumbersome.
The real victory here, though, is the noise cancellation itself—it’s by the far the most advanced, flexible noise cancellation we’ve ever experienced, and that alone would earn it our Editors’ Choice award. The audio performance isn’t for audiophiles seeking flat response, but the QC20 packs a full, rich low-end and crisp highs that work well with pop, rock, and most other genres.