"I Found Them Uncomfortable"3.0 starson by ssif21
Pros: Well Designed
Summary: Let me start by saying that Bose noise reduction headphones save lives. There are several babies (and their inept parents) who are alive today because my first generation Bose noise reduction headphones muted their screaming just enough on long flights to keep me from having to kill them.
But my old ones recently disintegrated on a flight to Singapore, so I had to look for replacements. I did extensive Internet research to compare the other brands that have come out in recent years. I also tried a set by Sony that a friend had. The overwhelming consensus seemed to be that the Bose models, which the most expensive, were the best of the lot.
So I ordered the QuietComfort 2. I primarily use them for noise reduction on flights and in my office, so I wasn’t looking for audiophile level sound reproduction. I found them perfectly acceptable on that count. I wouldn’t recommend them for someone who was primarily interested in the audio quality, but it was certainly good enough for casual use.
I found the noise reduction excellent—on a par with or perhaps a bit better than my first generation ones. As other reviewers have noted, they do not (and are not intended to) quell all sound, but are most effective at the background roar of an airplane or ventilation system. They don’t actually cut out baby screams, but do reduce them to the survival level.
The new design was exception. The big flaws with the first generation ones were that the noise reduction mechanism was external, meaning that there was a box and cord that always dangled. That was really a pain when getting out of my seat on an airplane. In the new ones, the cord is removable so you can do without it when you’re using them strictly for noise reduction.
The new models also fold flat which makes them easier to carry. And they come with a very nice hard case which should prevent tearing them up by pulling them out of a briefcase as I did with my old ones.
Overall, the QC 2 was smaller and lighter than my first generation set.
But now the bad news. I found them so uncomfortable that I returned them to exchange for QC 3s. The ear compartment was so small that it crumpled my ear, and the pressure on the temple of my eyeglasses caused discomfort after a short time. There was a pair of QC 3s in my office so I was able to spend a day switching back and forth. I found the noise reduction slightly better with the QC 2s, but the QC3s were significantly more comfortable. I couldn’t imagine wearing the QC 2s on a long flight to Asia or Africa, but could the QC 3s. The QC 3s are also slightly smaller and have a rechargeable battery (which may or may not be an advantage). They do cost $50 more.
Bose, of course, has a thirty day, no questions asked return or exchange policy. Given all the pluses of the QC 2s, I can recommend that people try them. It may be that the discomfort issue is particular to my funky head. But if they do cause problems, swapping for QC 3s is an excellent option.