"Over priced, flimsy, but good while it lasts"1.5 starson by Pranav Mehta
Pros: Comfortable, for long flights at a stretch
Cons: Starts falling apart inspite of the best care and attention
Summary: In order to understand my point of view, you should understand the writer of said opinion. I travel...a lot. Mostly by flight, and sometimes by less speedy forms of tansport. I'm the kind of character who believes that if something improves your quality of life, then it's worth the money. The topic of quality is an ongoing philoshopical debate, which I will leave to the likes of Persig. I wanted something that did what the advertisments said it would and lasted long enough for me to justify spending so much on a pair of headphones too big to wear anywhere else but on planes, trains, and automobiles, without looking out of place.
One of the wonderful things about living in the world today, is that there is more choice than ever before. There are less-marketed choices of noise cancelling headphones than Bose. But Bose do spend a lot on marketing, and that cost is reflected in every sale that takes place through Bose.
For several hundred dollars exchanged at a Bose store I was expecting years of satisfaction. What I received was a device that gave me more than just satisfaction: it brought peace to economy class. Not total peace, for they don't shut off the noise altogether. However, engine noises turn to whispers that one learns to ignore, howling children are no longer the stuff of night-mares, and any additional sound source plugged in only adds to the above effect.
In so saying however, I was taken aback when, inspite of almost neurotic care taken over them, the first crack on the plastic appeared within the first month or two. But what is a crack? it didn't in any way affect the noise cancelling properties, it didn't take away the comfort...right?
A year after the warranty ran out the above crack had grown past adolescence, and had decided to have a family of it's own. Some of which were on the other side. Not a problem I thought. For the reveiws I read before I purchased the above headphones this was pretty common. So you'd expect a company which uses the word "quality" so extensively in it's advertising to be so embarrassed by such a thing that they'd offer to repair it for little or nothing. Sadly this was not the case. These cracks on the plastic were apparently irreperable. The best they could offer me, after two years of use (a year after the waranty expired) was an "upgrade" for a fee. $50 for the QC2's and $100 for the QC3's. Inspite of trying to negotiate this was all I could get. Not so much as a spare battery.
Now, if you listen to the advertising, it would say that the only difference between the QC 2's and the 3's is whether you prefer over the ear or on the ear. This is not the case. Whether you upgraded or were to buy either afresh, there is a $50 difference. So there has to be more than just size at play in order to charge more for a smaller, newer pair of headphones. I investigated this.
I found the quality of the QC 3's to be sharper; the bass less boomy; the treble, a bit more present, and the midrange exactly the same as before. Rest assured, these headphones are not for the audiophile. They allow you to listen to music (all variables considered) which is satisfactory at best.
The QC 3's are yet to stand the test of time. But they do look more ordinary in a street setting and other public spaces. There's less passive noise reduction. The fullness in one's ears is more prominent with the QC 3's that it was with the QC 2's. The case is the same size. The space in the case of the QC 3's however, leaves no room for anything else bar the battery charger, the regular lead, the battery, the in-flight adapter, and the headphones. They are both comfortable. The QC3's lack the option of getting a new battery from the airport should the old one run-out or break. But they both offer the use of noise cancelling properties without trailing wires.
To close up I would say this: There are less popular, but far more dependable brands such as Sennheiser. There are other technologies such as Shure's noise isolation. One has but to walk into an airport to be presented with reputable, and unknown brands in electronics, the likes of Panasonic, Sony, Coby, and Brookstone. Many of these brands offer a longer warranty for your money, they offer a better frequency range (I'm still to get a quantitative answer from Bose). Many, like the Sennheiser are more portable than the Bose. Virtually all these brands are cheaper than Bose because you do not pay for their marketing. So, please do look around. Do not give into marketing mumbo-jumbo, because nothing is meant to last. And ask yourself: Should I spend $ 350.00 on a product that is better, and available for cheaper, and after all "made-in-china". All you uhave to do is look around. My wife, another frequent traveller, loves her Sennheiser 300's, and so do I.
For those who want an upgrade, you should be able to save on the postage costs, insurance, and fifteen day turn-around that Bose-support suggest by taking the headphones to the nearest Bose store and doing the transaction, and product registration there itself. This is what I did.