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The success of Beats headphones has forced Bose to re-invent its premium range of cans to appeal to a wider, more style-conscious consumer base.
These noise-cancelling QC25s replace its flagship QC15s and immediately feel more durable. The detachable cable is thicker, the hinges more robust and the included carry case two-thirds the size. One result is that the headband sits closer to the head, but it’s easily adjustable and retains its luxurious felt fabric for a snug, unobtrusive fit. The leather-lined earcups provide fantastically soft cushioning.
An inline mic-remote lets you take calls and change volume, while a AAA battery drives the built-in noisecancelling technology and provides 35 hours of noise-attenuation, keeping ambient sounds and cabin drone out. In the passive mode you can listen to music with noisecancelling switched off.
Which brings us to sound quality. In active mode, audio is clear, well balanced and detailed, while bass is ample yet (unlike Beats) unaffected. In passive mode however, most music feels limp and lifeless – still, we’d rather have it than not.
On this evidence, Bose easily holds its own against the threat of Beats, but if noise-isolation isn't necessary, there are better cans around for sound. Tim Hardwick
Comfortable premium over-ear cans that offer very decent audio quality by noise-cancelling standards.
Robust yet comfortable
Neat fold-away design
Poor audio in passive mode
Off the shelf they come in white or black, but you can pay more for custom colours.