As a guy who prefers silence over noise and high-quality music playback over garbage, I'm an ideal candidate for noise-canceling headphones. And while I know these headphones have been out for a while and most of the people who already own them are the only people who care about noise-canceling headphones, I couldn't resist taking a look at the Bose QuietComfort 3 noise-canceling headphones.
The Bose QuietComfort series of noise-canceling headphones were originally designed as a way to block out annoying noises. If you're a frequent flyer and you can't stand the sound of the roaring engine next to your window, the QuietComfort 3s may be perfect for you. If you ride a bus or you're easily susceptible to medical issues because of persistent and annoying noises, the Quiet Comfort 3s may be an ideal solution. But if you want to completely eliminate sound while muting all of the annoying people around you, the Quiet Comfort 3s are not for you.
I've had the opportunity to play around with the QuietComfort 3 headphones for the past week and so far, I can tell you that they work quite well. The right headphone features a toggle switch that will allow you to activate or deactivate the noise-reduction technology and its over-the-head design is quite comfortable after prolonged use.
The predecessor to the QuietComfort 3 (appropriately named the QuietComfort 2) featured an around-the-ear design that was quite capable of not allowing any sound to leak in. But in an effort to reduce the size of the headphones, Bose created an on-the-ear design with the QuietComfort 3. One of the main issues it was concerned about was the loss of sound control and the possibility of leakage. Luckily, Bose was able to maintain an equal amount of noise-reduction by creating a memory foam cushioning for your ear that, while it still sits on top of your ear, basically envelops it. Rationale aside, the QuietComfort 3s do just as good a job at reducing noise.
In order to get a feel for how well the headphones worked, I decided to create one of the most annoying atmospheres you will ever find in a home. I took out all of my old (and current) desktops and took the side panels off. Then, I turned the vacuum on and cranked the air conditioning up. Once that (hell) was complete, I put the headphones on and flipped the switch. Much to my surprise, all I really heard was a dull sound in the background. Simply put, these headphones work extremely well.
The QuietComfort 3s also play music with the help of an included headphone jack that can be detached at anytime. With my iPod plugged in and the noise-canceling activated, I listened to my songs like never before. Although I have used headphones that offered similar, if not equal sound quality, the ambient noise reduction added something to the music that made it stand out. Bass was quite appealing while listening to some tunes, while the treble was a little sluggish at times. All in all though, sound quality is superb.
The biggest issue I have with the headphones is the loss of music once the noise-canceling dies. As soon as the 20-hour rechargeable battery runs out of juice, the music runs out too. Bose should have included some interface with the device to allow it charge from the iPod's battery, but I guess I can't have everything.
If you're looking for noise-canceling headphones that will completely eliminate all sound, you should look elsewhere. But if you're happy with annoying noise-canceling and you don't mind spending the $350 fee for a pair, then the Bose Quiet Comfort 3s are ideal.
To check out what the CNET Reviews team had to say about the Bose Quiet Comfort 3, click here.
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