Bose QuietComfort 3
Manufacturer: Bose Corp. Part number: 40075
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- Bottom Line:
- With the QuietComfort 3s, Bose has done a remarkable job of shrinking its popular noise-canceling headphones while achieving similarly impressive sound quality--but that engineering feat doesn't come cheap.
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CNET editors' review
price range: $314.99 - $349.95
- Reviewed by: David Carnoy
- Edited by: Jasmine France
- Reviewed on: 06/29/2006
- Released on: 06/15/2006
The good: Bose's QuietComfort 3 headphones are a smaller and more compact follow-up to the QuietComfort 2s. They offer a more compact design, extracomfortable cushy foam earpieces, a rechargeable battery, full sound, and effective noise-canceling circuitry, and they fold up for storage in the included carrying case. Additionally, Bose offers a 30-day home trial.
The bad: The Bose QuietComfort 3s are even more expensive than their predecessors. And when the battery dies, so does the music.
The bottom line: With the QuietComfort 3s, Bose has done a remarkable job of shrinking its popular noise-canceling headphones while achieving similarly impressive sound quality--but that engineering feat doesn't come cheap.
A/B Comparison of QC-2 vs. QC-3
by gdavis9999 on July 16, 2006
Pros: Strong Noise Reduction
Cons: Lower High Frequency Response (to music)
Summary: I have used the Bose QuietComfort QC-2 headphones for about a year, and have traveled to Asia over 5 times with them, and domestic travel as well. About 120 hours ...
Summary: I have used the Bose QuietComfort QC-2 headphones for about a year, and have traveled to Asia over 5 times with them, and domestic travel as well. About 120 hours of air time. Never took them off. Vastly reduces my jetlag. A pleasure to own and use.
On an impulse buy, I bought the QC-3's after a demo at the local Bose store. 30-day return policy. Compared them side-by-side... both on the airplane, home, with and without sound.
My impressions (your mileage may vary
The QC-3 has impressive noise cancellation, I think it's incrementally better than the QC-2. Perhaps it's a little too 'aggressive'. Let me explain. I feel a little uncomfortable from a (perceived) pressure on my ear. Note: this is not physical pressure from the ear-pieces, nor is it air-pressure, but rather a physco-acoustic result of noise cancellation. I felt this only slightly with the QC-2's. Bose did an amazing job of noise cancellation given the challenges of an "on-the-ear" design which offers less physical noise isolation due to lack of cups. Everyone has a different tolerance to this pressure, the only way to tell is to try them out. Vote: QC-3 for noise cancellation, QC-2 for comfort (again, will vary from person to person).
Using MP3's encoded at 192 kbps, and CD audio, the difference in the two headphones is clear (excuse the pun). The QC-2's are brighter sounding with adequate bass. The QC-3's are a little heavy on the low-end, to the point of sounding muddy. Vote: QC-2.
Some have complained about the QC-2's breaking at the stem that attaches each earpiece. I never had this problem, but I am also very careful, especially given their cost. I did notice a person break a QC-2 on the plane trying to turn the earpieces to hard. The build quality of the QC-3 is about the same, the stem may be somewhat narrower, so they could be more prone to breaking, however I do not think it's an issue if you treat them with respect. Vote: equal.
The QC-3's are lighter, but I still prefer the "over-the-ear" type of headphone. They feel like they stay in place better. I would be upset if the QC-3's fell off my head while loading luggage in the overhead bin, only to have someone step on them. I never felt that could happen with the QC-2's. I also would rather have a little physical pressure around my ear, instead of on my ear. Vote: QC-2.
The battery on the QC-2 is a LiION rechargaable that has approx 20hr. operation time. The QC-3 simply takes a AAA battery and lasts over 30 hours. The low battery light is also brighter and easier to see on the QC-2. QC-3 extra batteries cost over $50 USD. Vote: QC-2
The QC-3 has a less complicated jack that attaches to the headphone (it's detachable, just like the QC-2's). The QC-2 has a hi/low volume control on the jack stem, while the QC-3 has no adjustment and is adjusted somewhere in between (which is why they are not quite as loud as the QC-2's, given the same volume setting from your MP3, DVD, computer, or stereo). The airplance adapter does serve to attenuate the audio further, if needed. The QC-3 carrying case is a little smaller than the QC-2, but not a significant difference. The covering on the QC-3 case is smooth, which I prefer over the QC-2 case. I do not like the way the QC-3's fit in the case, the ear-pieces do not sit firmly where they are supposed to go. With the QC-2, you know exactly how they fit in the case, it just seems like a better fit. Vote: averages to equal.
I hope this quick review is helpful. I elected to stay with the QC-2. Rgds, GregUpdated
The power paragraph above has QC-2 and QC-3 switched on the first two sentences. It should read:
The battery on the QC-3 is a LiION rechargaable that has approx 20hr. operation time. The QC-2 simply takes a AAA battery and lasts over 30 hours. The low battery light is also brighter and easier to see on the QC-2. QC-3 extra batteries cost over $50 USD. Vote: QC-2
78 out of 78 users found this user opinion helpful.
Good headphones, but if you're looking for nice headphones for your mp3 player, try Sennheiser 280s.
by saxplaya13 on June 27, 2006
Pros: These headphones have a great new battery feature along with a sleek new design for those who don't like the over-the-ear headphones.
Cons: Price is outrageous. Basically, the only thing new is the design.
Summary: The new Bose design (which is pretty much the only new feature) has the price raised to $350. Bose is absolutly crazy asking for this price. I personally have tried ...
Summary: The new Bose design (which is pretty much the only new feature) has the price raised to $350. Bose is absolutly crazy asking for this price. I personally have tried these headphones, and they aren't much different from the Sennheiser 280 Pro's. Bose goes through tons and tons of experiments and advertising to promote and create these headphones. That's why the price is so high. They overcharge you about $200, which is a waste of your money. As an added downside, these headphones feel cheap. They're very flimsy and bendable, so they feel as though they could break. I'm not a critic of Bose, because they do make wonderful audio equipment. In this case, this product is NOT worth your money. Don't listen to people promoting these. Most of them have never tried some of the other cheaper headphones out there in the market. So no wonder they think that these things are great. They've never tried any others!!! I have Sennheiser 280 Pro's and they are at the top of my list. They cover my ears, which I like. They are also sturdier than the Bose QC3, but are nonetheless foldable. The 280 Pro has noise cancelling also. They are about $200-$250 but worth your money IF you buy them from the right place. DON'T buy them from bestbuy or from Sennheiser directly. I got mine from shipdog.com and they were $72 plus about $20 for 3-day shipping. It's a great buy. I love shipdog and I wouldn't recommend going anywhere else. (By the way, shipdog doesn't carry Bose QC3 - I already checked.) Even those who frequently ride on airplanes wouldn't really need these. You can get 32dB of ambient noise reduction on the 280 Pro's, which is WAY more than anyone needs. So if you are looking for some inexpensive and durable heaphones for your iPod or mp3 player, go with the Sennheiser 280 Pro's. The new Bose QC3 are not worth your hard-earned 350 bucks.
44 out of 57 users found this user opinion helpful.
Strictly for those who live their lives for full-bodied noise cancellation everywhere
by vesther on July 5, 2006
Pros: First Supra-Aural Headphones to be closed-air, rechargeable battery, suitable for MP3 players, ergonomical earcups, memory cushion for enhanced noise blocking
Cons: $350 is rather expensive for a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. The "No-Power, No-Sound" Syndrone is still there. Plus you have to take really good care of them as well.
Summary: I tried these headphones and compared them with the Bose QuietComfort 2 Headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 3 headphones, once you give them a chance, blocks out noise as much as, ...
Summary: I tried these headphones and compared them with the Bose QuietComfort 2 Headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 3 headphones, once you give them a chance, blocks out noise as much as, if not, then better than the QuietComfort 2. Not only that, but the sound quality of the QC3 might be enhanced over the QC2 SE. While the headphones itself are kind of overpriced and while the headphones aren't low-profile, ideally the Bose QC3 should be used in airplane flights, but can also be used in a variety of applications as well related to sound listening. I really don't like the price of the headphones, but the new rechargeable battery makes the Bose QC3 more environmentally safe than the QC2. However, for those who live their lives mainly for active noise cancellation, not for the world of passive noise isolation, these are the headphones. Finally, given peoples' past beefs with the initial TriPort Headphones release, you really have to take very good care of it, but hopefully, the durability of the headphones are as good as the QC2 SE's. It may not be suitable for audiophile use, but an average user probably would benefit from Bose's proprietary Acoustic Noise Cancellation feature for better audio, game, even movie listening.
14 out of 15 users found this user opinion helpful.
Not a clear winner over QC2
by Galaxzzz on July 10, 2006
Pros: Styling (slimness vs. QC2), rechargeable battery
Cons: Price, bulky travel case, decreased treble response, borderline loose base response
Summary: I just got through doing my own side-by-side comparison of the QC3's to the QC2's. Bose is close to getting it right, but the QC3's aren't ...
Summary: I just got through doing my own side-by-side comparison of the QC3's to the QC2's. Bose is close to getting it right, but the QC3's aren't a significant improvement over the QC2's from a noise cancellation or sound quality viewpoint.
The treble response on the QC3's was more muted than the QC2's. The base response was more noticeable in QC3's, but seemed to be on the verge of becoming sloppy. This was especially evident when selecting a bass-boost setting on the music source. For those of you who can't do a side-by-side comparison you probably won't miss the performance difference from the QC2's. But there is a negative difference, in my opinion.
The QC3's, being an on-the-ear design, tend to become more noticeable after extended listening sessions. I can wear the QC2's for at least an hour before I really start to notice any discomfort. I get that same feeling after wearing the QC3's only after about 10 minutes.
The travel case really negates any benefit in size reduction with the new styling. The QC3 case is only about 3/4" less wide and about 1/2" less tall than the QC2 travel case. Both are about equally as thick. However, where the QC2 case has a nice zippered mesh pouch for adapters, cables, etc., the QC3 case only has a pre-formed felt covered mold that has a slot for an airline adapter, the battery charger, and a spare battery (should you have the desire to toss out another $50), with the 1/4" stereo adapter not having a designated storage slot. The adapter will fit into one of several nooks/crannies but has the potential for becoming a lost component fairly soon. If you buy the QC3's then I recommend you removed the 1/4" stereo adapter and store it in a safer place (next to the stereo?).
I store an iPod Nano and cable splitter along with the QC2's and associated accessories in the QC2 case; you'd have to remove the battery charger in the QC3 case in order to do the same. Of course, if you did that and wound up having the battery die without packing the charger with you then you got a pretty expensive pair of non-functioning headphones. At least with the QC2's you can buy another AAA battery at the airport.
And my biggest beef is the price. The QC2's are overpriced to begin with, and the QC3's are just plain ridiculous. I'm kind of a gadget freak and usually don't have a problem spending money on new electronics, but the QC3's leave me feeling like I've been ripped-off. Fortunately, I am going to return these about 4 days into my 30-day trial so this will be only a temporary feeling.
9 out of 10 users found this user opinion helpful.
Pretty good but can improve
by songyop on February 14, 2007
Pros: Good noise cancellation, good form factor, acceptable sound quality
Cons: Uncomfortable for long use, carrying case design is not optimal
Summary: I have used noise cancellation headphones from other brands and by comparison, this QC3 performs pretty well overall. I like the fact that there is no additional electronics dongle or ...
Summary: I have used noise cancellation headphones from other brands and by comparison, this QC3 performs pretty well overall. I like the fact that there is no additional electronics dongle or box to worry about when wearing the headphones and also not hvaing to worry about the soft earbuds disappearing on me, making the earphones useless.
However, this headphone can certainly improve to make this the best choice possible.
The headphones do not sit well inside the carrying case and that's a bit annoying when putting them back in place. However, due to enough space the case allows, it's not critical to sit components inside the case exactly, I found out. Bose should redesign the insert inside the case and allow for a pocket to put the extra cables, adapters and etc separately, allowing better fit for the headphones in a bit larger fitting holes.
After using the headphones for more than a couple of hours, my ears felt a bit uncomfortable and it's not from the pressure in the ear drums but physical discomfort around the ear caused by the pressure from the headphones. Senheizer headphones didn't have such discomfort, although QC3 performs a little better with noise cancellation. But, I would still choose QC3 instead of the other one simply because I don't want to have to deal with the additional noise cancellation circuitry dongle.
QC3 is a pretty good product but not at the $350. I only got it because it was free after exercising my credit card reward points. If I had to spend my own money, I would have seriously re-considered in-ear headphones again instead, especially at that high price level.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
Best there is
by nicks525 on July 6, 2006
Pros: light weight, high quality, small package
Cons: The sitcker price is higher however bose gives you a great price plan
Summary: I have had all three QuietComfort's from Bose and each new revision there has been a huge leap in technology. I must say this is the best to come. ...
Summary: I have had all three QuietComfort's from Bose and each new revision there has been a huge leap in technology. I must say this is the best to come. I just wish the cell adapters and other things would come along with the 399 sticker. You would think the unit would not sound as well as the QuietComfort 2 however I am very impressed this small design works as good if not better than their predecessor. I just wish BOSE could also make one in bluetooth.
4 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
The BEST Headphones for iPod
by Sid Gibson on October 20, 2007
Pros: Sound quality, full surround sound, noise cancellation
Cons: Nothing of note
Summary: My default headphones are Sennheiser 650's with upgraded cable and Grado amp--total cost $1,100. I ignored the elitist Audiophiles who scoff at Bose and purchased the Quiet Comfort ...
Summary: My default headphones are Sennheiser 650's with upgraded cable and Grado amp--total cost $1,100. I ignored the elitist Audiophiles who scoff at Bose and purchased the Quiet Comfort 3's. What a bargain at $350, paricularly for an iPod. The sound spectrum is spectacular--you are completely immersed in your tunes--sharp, clear and loud (the way I like it).
I've had the Shure "ear canal" buds--very close. BUT, you push earwax way down in the ear canal and it's time for Rotor Rooter--IMHO, unsafe.
Looking for the best marriage of iPod and headphones and the Bose Quiet Comfort 3 is the ONLY choice, worth every cent of it's $350 pricetag.
Advice: Don't go cheap on headphones.Updated
I've been ussing the QC3's since they were introduced. Not being an audiophile, I prefer the QC3's over my SE530's and my S650's. For iPod listening, only the SE530's come close. Did someone say expensive? NO way--the SE530's are $500 and the S650's with upgrade cable is $750--plus I need a Grado headphone amp ($500) to get the same surround-sound I get from the QC3's. The QC3's are perfect for my Netflix movies--you truly feel like your in the scene. You will not regret putting the QC3's on your audio rack. Personally, the S650's are collecting dust, but the SE530's are beautifully designed for use on the treadmill.
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
just got these, here's what i think
by dabm on May 9, 2007
Pros: Fantastic noise cancellation, great sound, lovely design
Cons: Blows a bose shape hole in your wallet,
Summary: I read a lot of reviews on the web, and so when I got these for my 21st birthday, I decided to write a review for those looking to know ...
Summary: I read a lot of reviews on the web, and so when I got these for my 21st birthday, I decided to write a review for those looking to know more.
I have not had much experience with the Quietcomfort 2's, so i wont compare.
The box is very nice, and when opened, everything is beautifully laid out. From all the adapters for the charger, spare battery, and the lovely hard case. In the case, there are the headphones, charger, and cable. Everything about the packaging is what you would expect for a luxury product.
The charger is very well designed, and looks like one of the ear cups. The battery fits in the top, and fully charges in an hour or so. Bose say that the battery lasts 20 hours. Its nice that Bose throw in an extra battery, and power adapters for every where in the world (although i understand that the adapters and extra battery are not in the US version, I bought it in UK).
Okay, so I slapped in the battery, put the headphones on, and turned them on. I tried them without music first. These are designed for noise cancelling, so I went out to Central London in rush hour. When I walked down a very traffic busy street, I could slightly hear the tire noise of some cars. I felt slightly disappointed as I thought these were meant to reduce all noise. But, then I took the 'phones off. The noise was unbelievable. Wind, engines from lots of cars, people, foot steps. Put the headphones back on, nothing but my sweet music playing at 50% volume of my MP3 player. So, noise cancelling, very impressive. I'm flying to Canada soon, and I cant wait to use these bad boys on that flight. These headphones greatly reduce low frequency sound, such as engines, background noise, etc. High frequency noise is harder to actively cancel, so you can hear voices to an extent, but it does reduce it. Have some music on, even at a low volume, and you can hear nothing. If a car goes past you, you cant hear the engine, but you can slightly hear the tire noise. Very fun feeling.
First off, im not an audiophile but have an appreciation for good sound. Bose is not for strict technical audiophiles. The company focuses on psychoacoustics - or, how the mind likes sound. This is why they dont list technical specs on speaker systems as they dont think they matter, so long as the listener likes what they listen too. I like the sound from the Quietcomfort 3's. The sound is very warm, rich bass, and works for all types of music. Now, I havent heard the Shure e500's, so I cant compare. I have no doubt that they might produce technically better sound, but to be honest, I am not that bothered. I am not a fan of in-canal buds, I just dont like the feeling of having headphones deep in my ear. I have a pair of sennheiser cx300, and they felt uncomfortable after a short time, and they dont even go that deep into your ear. To each their own, but I love the sound of the quietcomfort 3's.
For what they are, premium noise cancelling headphones, they are brilliant. They are most likely not the best sounding headphones on the market, but thats not what they are marketed as. Noise cancelling features are fantastic and once you get past the initial hurt of the damage your bank account has suffered, there is a certain sense of pride of ownership. On the subway, there was a guy telling his girlfriend that he wanted these headphones for his birthday, which gave me a nice smile.
Are they worth it?
This is a tough one. As much as I like these headphones, and I am generally fond of Bose design, these are very expensive. If your interested, then make sure you have a good listen at a showroom. Then, remember, there is a 30day trial so you can further fully test. If your looking for noise cancelling headphones, and can deal with the price, then consider them. Some prefer Quietcomfort 2's, and thats down to personal preference. I like the much smaller design, and slightly bassier sound.
Hope this review helps
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
Pretty darned amazing
by jdzions on July 14, 2006
Pros: Smaller and lighter than the QC2; rechargable battery; great active noise suppression
Cons: Expensive; less passive noise suppression than closed-ear designs
Summary: I bought a pair of Quiet Comfort 2 headphones on the day they went on sale; for the past couple of years they've been my companion on dozens of ...
Summary: I bought a pair of Quiet Comfort 2 headphones on the day they went on sale; for the past couple of years they've been my companion on dozens of airplanes, trains, and buses, airports and hotels. So when the QC3's came out I figured "what the heck, give'em a try, you can always return'em".
I like the fact that they're smaller than the QC2. The case is smaller, as well, leaving more room in my backpack for spare laptop batteries and other stuff. (If you're a woman, the smaller size of the QC3's means you won't look as goofy as the QC2's might have done to you.)
Near as I could tell, Bose added a couple dB of active noise suppression which compensated for the loss of passive suppression from the switch to an on-ear design. I have always had a preference for circumaural headphones; pressure right on my ears tended to be wearing after a while, and caused the temple pieces on my eyeglasses to leave bigger impressions than usual on the side of my head. The QC3 had a lighter pressure than I was expecting; after wearing them for 4 1/2 hours on a SEA-PIT flight, I was amazed at how comfortable they still felt.
Many reviewers have commented that the price seemed outrageous. Were it not for Bose customer service, I might agree; but their commitment to making things right has won me over. I am on my third pair of QC2 headphones, but I only paid for the first.
The QC2 (like the QC3) comes with a 12 month warranty. My first pair of QC2s broke 13 months after I purchased them; a plastic part snapped right where the rotating pin at the top of the left earpiece attaches to the headband. This wasn't due to abuse; it looked like a design fault to me. On my way through the airport to board my flight home, I stopped at a Bose sales kiosk and showed them my headphones. The salesman listened to my story, took down my information, took the broken headphones from my hands and gave me a brand new pair.
14 months later, same failure. Same place. On my next outbound flight, I again took the headphones with me and went to the Bose kiosk. This time, the person I spoke to was a senior Bose engineer who'd been out on the road going from city to city talking to customers about their product. I showed him the headphones, explained my history, and asked him what was going on. He explained exactly what the problem was, how they'd redesigned to eliminate the flaw, and how to tell the difference between a pre- and post-redesign pair. He also said he didn't have a pair on-hand to give me, but that I should go to any Bose location and get a replacement. When I returned home, I took the pair (#2) to the Bose store in a nearby mall and got a replacement (#3), no questions asked.
I used to use Sony noise-cancelling headphones. Flimsy, but cheap. And also crappy quality. Two pair failed the same way (top headband hinge parted); a third pair had cable quality issues. Sony never replied to my emails. I won't buy another pair of their headphones, that's for sure.
I still haven't decided if I'm going to use the QC3's or keep my QC2's and hand the 3's to my wife for her use. But Bose gets to keep my money on this one. (I'd love to have the QC3 electronics and rechargable battery combines with the QC2 circumaural ear cups; I'd sigh but still whip out my credit card. I'm sure my daughter needs a good pair of headphones.)
I truly believe the Quiet Comfort 2 pair that I've been using has preserved my hearing; I've spent a lot of time on airplanes, including turboprops, and my rate of hearing loss due to age and abuse seems to have slowed down in the past few years. (But I'm still getting older, darn it.) Preserving my hearing is worth a couple hundred dollars.
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
Bang for Buck ??
by Drew_law on July 19, 2006
Pros: Good sound quality and construction
Cons: Costly and cumbersome
Summary: A pair of studio quality ear buds offer far better sound quality and eliminate back ground noise for half the cost (depending on model and manufacurer) "AND" I can carry ...
Summary: A pair of studio quality ear buds offer far better sound quality and eliminate back ground noise for half the cost (depending on model and manufacurer) "AND" I can carry them in my pocket when not in use.
But then again, I miss the ego boost of wearing headphones with that slick BOSE logo on the side and the looks from the all ladies as I slide them in that nice carry case.
2 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Bose Corp.
- Part number: 40075
- Description: QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Canceling headphones deliver acclaimed Bose performance in a new on-ear design. Just slip them on and experience the difference. Enjoy full-spectrum noise reduction that fades background distractions. Rich, clear audio that reveals nuances you might have missed. And it is compact, lightweight, easy fit for hours of comfortable listening. It's a unique combination of benefits available only from Bose, and now yours with QC3 on-ear headphones.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- Recommended Use The noise canceling feature blocks the din on buses and airplanes. Plus, they are portable for easy transport. Active noise canceling technology makes these circumaural headphones ideal for commuting and air travel.
- Product Type Headphones
- Width 5.3 in
- Height 7.4 in
- Weight 5.6 oz
- Additional Features Noise canceling circuit
- Headphones Form Factor Full size
- Connectivity Technology Cable
- Sound Output Mode Stereo
- Active Noise Canceling Yes
- Cables Included - 1
- Included Accessories Battery,
Detachable audio cable,
1/4 in Stereo plug adapter,
Dual plug adapter
- Battery 1 - Rechargeable Lithium Ion,
Headphone battery - Rechargeable