"Breakthrough Tech - QC20i vs MIE2i"4.5 starson by Stephen_Reyes
Pros: + Noise cancelling is on par with the the QC15's
+ The fit is perfect, very comfortable. I've been wearing them for 5 hours straight now and no fatigue
+ Being able to hear music if the battery dies reduces "range anxiety"
Cons: - The soft touch plastic on the battery module is a super lint magnet. Thats a problem for me since I prefer my high tech devices to be clean
Summary: Taking the Bose MIE2i, the most comfortable and best sounding earbuds for extended use (8+ hours daily in my experience), and adapting noise cancellation to them has left me so impressed with the QC20i earbuds that the high price tag actually seems very fair.Edit:
I have some insight in regard to the characteristics of these that hasn't been mentioned in other reviews yet, but first I'll touch on what everybody keeps bringing up. When comparing the sound output with the battery (i.e., noise cancelling) on and off, there is initially a difference in the color/tone that your ears will pick up. In short, these QC20i earbuds sound brighter (more high-end frequencies) with noise cancelling enabled and perhaps less bright, or for lack of a better term, "muddier" (more low/mid frequencies) with noise cancelling completely disabled (not talking about AWARE mode here at all yet). HOWEVER, it should be noted that your ears adapt extraordinarily fast to noise cancelling being enabled/disabled, and the intricate nuances of any genre of music are highlighted by the outstanding technology built into these Bose earbuds. What I'm saying is that the soundscape from low to high range is represented in a very clean and pleasurable way whether noise cancelling is on or off, but the initial difference in tonality when turning noise cancelling on or off could come across as off-putting or strange for a few seconds until your ears adjust and got lost in the music.
If compensating for the characteristics of these earbuds is something you might be interested in, I've found that the app for iPhone called "EQu" is exceptionally effective and very easy to use if you're so nitpicky (like me) that you prefer to balance out a hint of too much "brightness/muddiness" with a little EQ. With this app, you have much finer control than the built-in EQ settings for your iPod/iPhone, and you can access your iPhone music library directly from the app. I've been playing with EQu for a couple of days and find that you can subtly add a little brightness to an EQ and then save that as a preset, which you can then use when the sound cancelling on your QC20 earbuds is totally off. Or, I also have another preset that minutely decreases the higher frequencies (roughly 1kHz to 16kHz) to compensate for when sound cancelling is enabled. To sum up this whole EQ business, I find that while it's fun and interesting to adjust the EQ to enhance these earbuds, it's really not all that necessary. Your ears will adjust to the slight difference in tonality with sound cancelling on/off and you'll just appreciate the full frequency spectrum of the music playing within a minute of listening. For the Bass junkies out there, these earbuds offer a very clear and full sense of low end/bass without being pushy. The built-in lows and highs of these earbuds are just very pleasant overall and can adapt to any style of music you choose to listen to. I found that to also be true of the MIE2i earbuds that I have owned for years (that do not have noise cancelling at all). So, these do have "bass," but it's not overpowering. It's just.. there where you need it.
When I first tried these on in the store with a LOT of background noise, my jaw hit the floor. I've been using the QC2 and QC15 totally-over-the-ear headphones for a long time and thought I was accustomed to the degree of noise cancelling that Bose was able to achieve, but something about this technology being in an EARBUD completely took me by surprise.
Now, what I've been building up to here and the point I want drive home is that these cancel a heck of a lot of ambient noise, as well as an impressive amount of other sounds with high-pitched transients like the human voice that typically weren't sounds that Bose noise cancelling has excelled in during my experience with them in the past, at least not when compared to the level of sound cancelling you get from background noises that have a low-roar quality such as a city or an airplane. So, with this in mind, the fact that these work wonders on cancelling ALL types of annoying sounds around you does not translate into an EVEN QUIETER silence. What I mean is that these are not "silence enhancing" earbuds that make quiet places even quieter, as I naively thought might be the case. Nope. These do a great job cancelling outside noises and quieting outside noises for you to focus on music/spoken word in your earbuds, but they DO NOT make quiet rooms even quieter or make music sound better in quiet rooms. I've found that in these situations, I typically just leave noise cancelling off and enjoy music that way, which has the added benefit of prolonging the battery life anyway.
So overall, these are an excellent upgrade to a high end earbud that also happens to cancel noise when you need it to. Some preconceived downfalls of these such as the battery/controller unit getting in the way, or the different placement of the mic/button controls, haven't actually bothered me much in real world use. If you're new to Bose earbuds and aren't sure whether the MIE2 or or QC20 is for you, I would recommend spending the extra cash on the QC20 earbuds if you spend any time in public places or places outside the home with ambient noise that you'd like to block out. If you listen to more music in quiet environments, then the MIE2 earbuds still get a very high recommendation from me, as I've been using them for years and love everything about them.
I'd like to point out quickly that the QC15 over-the-entire-ear headphones are great in general but have the tendency to make your ears/head really hot after any kind of extended use. They're also pretty dang comfy, but after a while you still want to "get these dang headphones off of me." With earbuds, I don't have that problem, so I can't help but immensely prefer the QC20 earbuds to the full sized noise cancelling headphones, even for all-day use. Also, earbuds are just much easier to be mobile with and walk around with, either by yourself or in public, in addition to being less conspicuous when walking around with them in.
As much of a Bose enthusiast as I am, I have to say that I didn't care for the Bose SIE2 sport earbuds and returned them. The cord is very short and intended to be used only with the included armband. Sure, there's an included extension cord, but using that all the time is annoying. I would advise everyone to steer clear of those and just get the MIE2/MIE2i earbuds if you're in the market for a non noise cancelling earbud, whether you're going to be active or not. They still hold up pretty well to some moisture and have a better location for the mic/button controls, along with the normal length cord. The QC20 earbuds, however, I wouldn't use for any kind of exercise because there's just too much tech in them, which I assume wouldn't hold up well to moisture.
Also, the rubber earbud tips of the QC20 are slightly updated and different than the MIE2 and SIE2, although they still follow the general rule of thumb with all Bose earbuds in that they rest in the bowl of your ear for the most part and don't get stuffed into your ear canal like other earbuds. I find myself liking the QC20 earbud because it's comfortable and has a very good seal between your eardrum and the outside world, but I also really like the old fashioned style Bose earbud tip that does't have a little winglet (you can still find these online or order them from Bose). I still use this old version of earbud tip on my MIE2i earbuds. It should be noted that all earbud tips made for a Bose earbud can be interchanged with different earbuds, so you have some options when it comes to size and style, although like I said, all of them rest in the bowl of your ear rather than getting stuffed in there.
Another thing worth mentioning is the outstanding warranty offered on all Bose products. I have worn out my MIE2i earbuds several times because I had used them literally all-day, every day, in addition to working out and exposing them to sweat/moisture frequently. As a result of this, one of the buttons stopped working. This happened more than one time to me a little before the 1-year warranty expired, so I was given the option of replacing them for free through the mail and just paying $8 shipping or going down to a Bose store and swapping them out for a new pair for free. This was a very easy process every time. I'm glad they wore out within the year (if they were going to at all)! If your earbuds/headphones happen to wear out or break AFTER the 1-year warranty, you can still bring those in or send them to Bose and pay half-price for a new replacement pair, which is better than nothing. I can hear all the naysayers out there thinking a set of earbuds should last forever, but with heavy use every single day and with exposure to sweat/moisture, it's unrealistic to think the buttons won't eventually malfunction or for the cord to show some wear where it connects to the earbuds and the 3.5 mm jack. These things take a lot of abuse, but they aren't perfect and if really used to the max, probably will eventually defect at some point and not last forever.
I managed to get a little off topic with this review, but I hope my in-depth look at the Bose earbud lineup helps out future shoppers.
Note: before you buy, I suggest check for great deal at: ncheadphonesdeals.blogspot.com/p/bose-quietcomfort-20i.html
Thanks for reading. Good luck!
Updated on Dec 3, 2013
I suggest check for great deal at: Headphonesears.wordpress.com/bose-quietcomfort-20i/
Thanks for your submission!
Write a Review
|Initial Sort Order|
|Get free shipping on orders over $35.00||Yes|| |
|Play as You Pay installment plan on orders $249 and up.||Yes|| |
|See all prices|