Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, Apple Devices, Black Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐:halfstar:



To Buy Or Not Summary

:star::star::star::star::halfstar: by 4243 customers
4.4 out of 5
  • Amazon Customer Reviews
    :star::star::star::star::halfstar: by 3229 customers
    4.4 out of 5
  • Best Buy Customer Reviews
    :star::star::star::star::halfstar: by 777 customers
    4.7 out of 5
  • Walmart Customer Reviews
    :star::star::star::star::halfstar: by 237 customers
    4.3 out of 5


  • Ideal for iPod, iPhone and iPad
  • Noise cancelling reduces surrounding distractions, letting music stand out
  • Aware mode lets you hear what’s around you when you need to, at the touch of a button
  • Exclusive TriPort technology and Active EQ help deliver lifelike, digital-quality audio
  • Stay Hear+ tips provide long-lasting comfort plus stability
  • Buy
  • Don’t buy

0 voters


Amazon Review by Charles Nordlander :star::star::star::star::star:

2445 people found the following review helpful


NOTE: See the second post in the comments section for my updates to this review.

I don’t use the word “revolutionary” casually. Truth is, a product rarely qualifies for that accolade. But knowing as much as I do about noise-cancelling technology, I would not have believed that what Bose has accomplished with the QC20 series was even possible. In fact, I’d say they’ve created the best all-around earphone or headphone on the market today for everyday use with portable music players. Note that I said “best all-around” which is not to say it’s “best” in every category. If audiophile sound quality is your top priority, then look elsewhere, as both my Etymotic 4PT and Shure 530 series earphones sound better than the QC20s. However, those better-sounding 'phones have other drawbacks in actual use (more on that later), and they now sit in a drawer while the QC20s go with me everywhere. Bottom line: if you’re looking for the best noise-cancelling on the market today, bar none, combined with very good sound, the ultimate in comfort and convenience, all in a very small, lightweight package, the QC20 is for you. This review will focus on a comparison of the QC20 with the QC15, as well as with the Etymotic 4PT and the Shure ES530, all of which I currently own and have used for some time. And please be sure to check out the “Design Flaw” section at the end of this review before deciding if the QC20 is for you.

Noise-cancelling: The QC20 is signifcantly better than my QC15. Look, I’ve used Bose QC headphones for years, but the QC20 actually made me gasp the first time I turned on its noise-cancelling circuit. I can only describe the effect as eerily silent, which seems impossible with an earphone that only lies against the opening of your ear, but doesn’t go into the canal or encircle your ears like headphones. (By comparision, I never thought the noise cancelling on the QC3 was all that good.) In addition to achieving great noise-cancelling in an “ear bud” type design, Bose has also made real strides is quieting the sounds of speech, which–along with crying babies–have always largely evaded the capabilities of noise-cancelling systems. The QC20 is by no means perfect in silencing speech (or crying babies) but it’s a clear step forward. My QC15s are going up for sale today.

Sound Quality: The sound of the QC20 is incrementally better than the QC15, but still lags behind the better in-ear 'phones like my Ety 4PT and Shure ES530. To my ears (Your Ears May Vary), the QC20 sound a bit veiled by comparison, and while the bass is certainly there, its quality and tightness just isn’t as good. But let’s put this in context: I"m talking about A/A+ sound for the Ety and Shure vs. B/B+ sound for the QC20. Plus, there are the drawbacks to the in-ear canal earphones: they silence outside sounds almost completely, which I find dangerous when walking the streets of NYC… and there’s the incovenience of having to remove an earphone from the canal everytime you want to hear what someone is saying to you. The QC20 has an “aware” mode that allows in outside sound at the touch of a button. Also, with the Ety 4PT, I hear the microphonic thumping sound of the cable hitting my body when I walk–not as bad as earlier generations of the Ety cable, but still there. Finally, neither of these in-ear 'phones are comfortable for long-term wear, such as a cross-country flight. Again, Your Ears May Vary, but I have to remove them after a couple of hours.

Comfort: My QC15 headphones are certainly comfortable, but the soft silicone of the QC20 ear tips rest so comfortably against your ear openings that you simply forget you’re wearing them at all. Most importantly, the Bose StayHear design of the tips keeps them in place, which is a huge deal for me. I have never been able to wear any ear bud design (and I think I’ve tried them all) because they fall out too easily. The Bose remain secure, but without force that would cause discomfort. The QC20s come with medium tips installed, but also include small and large sizes in the box.

Size/Weight: This is where the QC20 really trounces the QC15. The earphones store in a soft pouch that measures just 2.75 x 5 inches and they weigh next to nothing. As nice as the storage case is for the QC15, it just looks huge by comparison. I was concerned that the “battery/control bar” at the plug end of the QC20 might have size and weight that would make it clunky in use, but it’s small, very thin, and almost as feather-weight as just the cable itself. The bar measures just 1"W x 3.5"L x 1/4"D. Weight is only 3/4 of an ounce, including the end cable and plug. That end cable is just long enough to allow for easy folding of the bar against the back of your phone or music player and easy insertion into your pocket.

Convenience: Minimal size/weight make the QC20 a “take everywhere” earphone. Includes a super lightweight lithium battery that runs for 16 hours on just a 2-hour charge from USB. (Bose includes the required USB to micro-USB charging cable.) The earphones will continue to function with a dead battery, but without noise-cancelling and with somewhat degraded sound quality… still, better than nothing. The integrated microphone makes it a perfect headset for use with iPhone and other cellular phones. (Note that you must order the QC20i for use with Apple products.) The microphone also includes an “Aware Mode” switch that allows in some outside noise, like traffic sounds–convenient AND an essential safety feature if wearing these in a city environment.

Design Flaw: The silicone eartips do not simply slide on and off the earphones. There are two slots cut into the silicone that fit over two small plastic tabs on the earphones and hold the eartips firmly in place. When trying to change the medium eartips to the small ones, I broke one of those tabs, and this was after reading the instructions, and following them as closely as I could. Bose provided an immediate exchange for me, so no problem there, but if you buy the QC20 and need to change the eartip size, I’d recommend getting on the phone with Bose customer service, which is superb, and let them guide you.

One final tip: if you buy directly from Bose, either online or at one of their stores. you get a 30-day, no questions asked, money-back guarantee they don’t offer if you buy elsewhere. Use the 'phones all you want and, if you’re not satisfied after a month, just return them for a full refund. Since new models of Bose products are never discounted anywhere, that risk-free trial is a big advantage to buying direct. Just be prepared for the fact that you will NOT be sending these earphones back! :wink:

Bottom line: overall, the QC20s are five star earphones with an asterisk due to the plastic tab design. Thanks for taking the time to read my review and I hope you find it helpful in making a buying decision. Again, if you look at the second post in the comments section, you will find my updates to this original review. - Customer Reviews: Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, Apple Devices, Black


Walmart Review by A77Chris88C :star::star::star::star::star:

Through 1969 To Present

This is my second time doing a review for Bose. 20i headphones are great, especially the way they sound. For a lot of people, they want more BASS for the taste of their music that they listen to. I like more of the MIDRANGE sound and use no enhancement for the sound so I can hear what the artist have in mind of music when they put down the tracks and put it all together before it comes out to the market. For the headphones, a few years earlier, I tried the over the ear Bluetooth type of headphones and I could not use them when I'm outside in warm to hot temperatures. When I was looking for headphones, I saw these and tried them out and was more satisfied and I don't have to worry about the difference in temperature through out the time I have them on. I recently had to order the StayHear+ tips because I use the headphones more often then I use the Sound Link Bluetooth system which is also great. You kids and young adults won't be disappointed with either system this company offers. - Customer Reviews: Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, Apple Devices, Black


Best Buy Review by ThisIsNot :star::star::star::star::star:

Hands down, these are the best at noise canceling

I have been looking for a good pair of noise canceling headphones for the past month. I've purchased models from various other companies, including Bose, only to return them less than a week later because they didn't meet my needs. I often work in a noisy environment with multiple pumps and air compressors operating continuously. The combined noises are louder than those experienced on airplanes so I needed a pair of noise canceling headphones that would let me tune everything out.

I tried earbuds from Audio-Technica, over-the-ear headphones from Sony, earbuds from AKG, and even the Bose QuietComfort 25 over-the-ear headphones. None of them were able to match the noise canceling of the QuietComfort 20 (QC20) earbuds. Most noise canceling headphones only focus on canceling out constant, lower frequency sound. That’s typical of what you would find in an airplane but they don’t help with higher pitched noises or conversations within a shared office.

Not only did the QC20s cancel out all constant, lower frequency sound but they also cancel out higher pitched noises. I cannot hear my office-mates talking with one another, I cannot hear the clacking of my PC keyboard, I can’t even hear my office phone ring. All other noise canceling headphones, including the QC25s, would let a lot more noise in.

The QC20s come with three sets of StayHear+ tips so you should be able to find a size that fits you. These are extremely comfortable to wear for hours on end and even allow you to lay on your side without discomfort. Unlike the QC25 headphones, these come with a built-in rechargeable battery that easily lasts for 16 hours. In fact, I typically experience about 19 hours of audio playback with noise canceling activated. The earbuds still work when the battery dies and it takes about 2 hours to completely recharge them using a standard micro USB connection.

The earbuds also come with a small carrying case that holds an included micro USB charging cable and can also house a backup pair of StayHear+ tips (which you can order directly from Bose, on Amazon, or even off of eBay though you have to watch out for 3rd party tips). The whole travel package takes up less space than an iPhone 4 and can easily fit in any bag, backpack, purse, or even pants pocket.

The only area where I have to knock the QC20s is in sound quality. My review would reflect a 4.5 out of 5 star rating if I could use half stars, so I rounded up. I think they sound great and even better than the often muddy QC25s but the QC20s aren’t balanced. Like other Bose products, they focus on the lower and higher ends of music while somewhat dropping out the mids. These definitely aren’t going to give you a flat, accurate sound like so many other IEMs in the same price. The only thing is that those won’t cancel out noise nearly as well as the QC20s. In my experience, noise canceling headphones (even from Audio-Technica) aren’t focused on sound quality anyway.

Overall, these are the best noise canceling headphones currently on the market. Bose recently updated them with two new color combinations: black/blue and white/blue. I prefer the black and blue models as they hide dirt better and white headphones, no matter what brand they are, never tend to age well. Bose support is top notch as well and you can buy replacement parts from their stores or their website.

If you are on the market for a pair of noise canceling headphones, do yourself a favor and pay the higher price for these. They outperform every other noise canceling headphone on the market including Bose’s own QC25 over-the-ear flagship headphones. It may sound hard to believe but it’s true. - Customer Reviews: Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, Apple Devices, Black