Bose was a bit late to the game when it came to Bluetooth headphones. That was primarily because the company feared they wouldn’t be able to offer the same audio quality they are known for over wireless. But all that has changed over the past couple of years.
Bose SoundLink headphones have been around for a while. But the latest update makes them primarily wireless, powered by Bluetooth, the wire being relegated to becoming an accessory. It looks a lot like the last SoundLink, but unlike the last ones I tested, the new model is around the ear and not on ear.
What is good?
Everything from Bose has always been about making life simple. So there are no unnecessary steps and roadblocks when it comes to set up. The power button also initiates Bluetooth setup and you are ready to go as soon as you have searched and found Bose headphone on the phone or tablet. And, there is an effort to solve on the biggest pain points with a device like this and the battery is now rechargeable with a micro-USB port and lasts over 15 hours on a single charge. I used it over a 20-hour flight to the US and back without having to charge it again.
The headphone does not come with noise cancelling. However, it does offer a “noise rejecting” technology. Normally I test the device in my bedroom which has a very noisy air-conditioner and I couldn’t hear even a bit of the annoying drone even though the music was in low volume. However, I took it on a long-haul flight and noise rejection was not a shade on the Bose QC noise cancelling headphone which I have used before.
Audio quality has always been the one thing that people buy a Bose headphone for. And on that front this unit is as good as any of the classy headphone and earphones from the company before. I tried it using the Guvera music app on an Android phone and the audio quality was as good as listening on a high-end wired set. I thought the set was a bit biased to bass, but then it can be sharp too when needed. And the best thing is that you don’t really need to be on high volumes to enjoy the audio quality.
The SoundLink is a Bluetooth headset in the true sense of the term and lets you make and receive calls on the smartphone. So it can read out who is calling, though in a heavily accented voice. The call quality is very good, especially for those hearing you as the mic on this can cut off all background noise.
What is not that good?
I have always found it hard to find fault with a Bose headphone. But with this one, and given the price, I think Bose should have added noise cancellation. The QC25, for instance, is just R2,000 more. Give that Bose is the unchallenged leader in the noise cancellation segment, it is high time they made this ubiquitous.
If you are the sort who is always spotted with a headphone around your neck, then this is one of the best options for you. However, for those who want a travel headphone, the Bose QC25 still offers more value, despite its wired existence.
* Estimated street price: Rs 21,150