The latest headphones give good sound, cancel outdoor noise, and fit the ears well
A flurry of innovation has hit several product categories, except audio. It’s one field of technology where updates don’t come by at the speed of light. That’s because precision matters a lot more in this segment than anywhere else, and companies try to achieve the perfect sound before launching a product. The days of portable MP3 players are numbered, and hence Bose and Sennheiser have launched headphones that work very well with mobile phones and tablets. Here’s a lowdown on some of them:
Bose’s QuietComfort series has acquired a legendary status among headphones. Its QC15 offers one of the best noise cancellations in the market. The on-ear pair has an “active noise cancellation” feature that allows it to measure the outdoor noise level and neutralise it.
The latest product in the series is the QC20, a pair of in-ear headphones. These are far more portable than full-size headphones and offer excellent noise cancellation, which is controlled by using a battery-powered module. But since this module is too close to the headphone jack, it might be difficult to access it if the music source is in a bag. You can turn on active noise cancellation using a switch on the module. You will have to charge the module separately to use the feature. The battery lasts over 12 hours, and the headphone works even when it has no charge.
Even when you don’t play music, the QC20 cuts out around 90 per cent of ambient noise. When I tested this pair in a crowded bus, I could hear someone talking in a low voice. I turned around to see a man shouting at the top of his voice over the phone. I could also barely hear sounds of horns, engines or other passengers. The only thing that disturbed QC20’s noise cancellation was the wind. I could hear a fairly loud rustling sound when travelling.
The QC20 also has an “aware” mode that allows you to hear some outdoor sounds (like people speaking to you or flight announcements). Remember to turn