Bose QuietComfort 25 QC25 Headphones Review

The Bose QuietComfort 25 active acoustic noise cancelling headphones are a revised and improved version of the QC15 phones. Shile these likely cost more than most any consumer over-ear headphone, you indeed get what you pay for. Perhaps more even.

We sampled these at a nearby Sam’s Club store when they first appeared. We found their sound quite real like. They have rich-but-not-boomy bass, flowing mid range, and crisp treble.

Also, as expected, these QC-25 earphones, like earlier models, actively cancel outside noise quite well.  They work far better than the simpler passive noise cancelling earphones of the 1980s and 1990s.

The QC25 really cut the ambient sounds at the warehouse club. We could barely hear the fork lifts roaring and honking around.  They lowered the sounds of exhaust fans whirring, TVs playing, and people talking as well.

This Quiet Comfort 25 headset has ambient noise sensing microphones. This means that they need a battery, a single AAA cell, to power these circuits.

Bose QuietComfort 25 Advantages, Pros, Benefits, and Features

Bose Active EQ and Triport Technologies

Improved sound and outside noise quieting as compared to the QC15  model.

Choice of Two Colors

These phones come in either black or a white and brown model.

Closed Air Design in the Bose QuietComfort 25 Earphones

With the exception of the ports, this QuietComfort offering features a by-in-large, all-closed back. This helps not only keep unwanted ambient noise away from the eardrum. But it also keeps the music inside.  So unless you play your music at top volume, any escaping sound is very low. Thus your neighbor travelers will not likely hear it.

Little Ear Pressure

Some folks feel a pressure on their eardrums when wearing these headphones in noisy places. This stems from the fact that noise canceling phones must produce lots of anti-noise to cut outside noise. But we felt none of this, even with pallet unloading near us going on while we listened.

Lots of Volume

Abundant dynamic range.  The circuitry and drivers inside can play at ear-splitting volumes if that’s what you want.  However, consider that if played too loudly over the long-term, the user’s manual warns of potential ear damage. But nonetheless, if high volume is still your desire, you’ll get it in the Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones.

Detachable Cord on the Bose QuietComfort 25

The removable cable with the 3.5mm plug fits today’s most popular mobile devices. So you can easily replace it should you lose or damage it.  This flexible cable works well on Apple and Apple like players and phones. Use it too, on CD, DVD, and other such non-mobile players with a 3.5mm socket.

The Bose QuietComfort 25 has a Remote and Microphone

This cord contains a microphone and remote volume control.  So you can answer calls on your iPhone, hands free using the QC-25.

Works Well with Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod, and Android Too

They also work awesomely on Android tablets and phones as well.

The Bose QuietComfort 25 Phones are Comfortable Enough to Wear While Sleeping

If you ride buses, trains, or are a frequent flyer, you’ll like the noise cancelling. In fact, you don’t even have to play music to enjoy them.  We wore them while playing nothing, but with the power switch turned on.  Yes, these earphones cut snoring that you find on airplanes. They may work even better than a decent pair of beeswax earplugs.

They still drain the battery though, any time they’re ON. That’s true even with no music playing in them.  Like the QC15s, the QC25s work best in bed when you sleep on your back.  None too comfy though, if you sleep on your side.

Optional Snap-On Bluetooth Adapter

These headphones are not wireless by default. But you can convert them into a Bluetooth headset with an optional Bluetooth adapter.  This plugs into the input port on the headphones where the cord goes.  With the adapter, the QC25 becomes wireless.  Nice!

Carrying Case

The QC25 phones fold into a compact shape that fits into the included nautilus style storage case.  We found the case small enough for this type of headphone.  Easy to pack in a bag to take on the plane with you.

LED Pilot Lamp

Glows solid green when you turn on the QC25.  You can easily see this from a distance. So the light helps you avoid leaving them on by mistake.  The lamp flashes when battery runs low.

No Bigger or Heavier than Non Noise Cancelling Units

Lightweight.  You’d think that the battery and extra parts for the noise cancellation would make these phones extra heavy. But the QC-25  seems no more imposing than the passive closed ear headphones we tested.

Economical Battery

As mentioned, the QC25 headphone use a single AAA battery. This can last up to 35 hours, according to Bose.

Deep, Soft Ear Cups

The Bose ear cushions, completely surround each ear. They have enough depth to prevent the back of the can (the speaker) from touching your ear.  They mold themselves around our eyeglasses (the temple pieces). But we hear no loss of fidelity.  Further, the noise reduction still works well too. Glasses or not, the 25 creates an effective noise barrier. It cuts outside noises coming in, and it lowers any inside sounds leaking out.

No Amplifier Hiss

Even without music playing, we heard no amplifier noise, hums, hisses, or other audio processing artifacts.  Yet turning them off while listening to “the quiet” raised the noise level considerably.

Great Sound

Some other noise cancelling headphones often lose fidelity due to their inferior noise cancelling circuitry. But we heard no such loss in this headset. Bose has indeed overcome these drawbacks of common active noise canceling headphones here.

Better Active Noise Cancelling

The QC-25 features at least two microphones in each ear unit. One hears outside noises directly.  This is in a small opening on the back of each driver with a grill on it.  Plus, there are also mics inside the driver case, closer to your ear.  The extra mics make the quieting of higher frequency noises work better.

We could tell that noise cancellation worked well. How? We stopped the music.  Then, with the phones ON, we then covered the mics with a finger.  As we covered more and more of the mic’s grill, we heard the surrounding noise get louder.

The Bose QuietComfort 25 Headphones Cancel Both Low and High Frequency Outside Noises

Bose built these with top notch noise isolation. Plus, the active noise cancellation boosts that in a big way.  We heard more bass frequency noise cutting than were the higher frequency “S” sounds from people talking nearby.  Still though, ALL outside noise frequencies fade.  That’s even more the case with the active noise canceling feature running.

You can Still Listen if Battery Dies

Be sure to carry some replacement AAA cells with you for the QC25, for continued active noise reduction.  Without a fresh battery, you will lose any active noise suppression. But unlike the QC15,  you can still listen to you music.

Airline Audio Adapter

Allows you to plug into media sources built into many of today’s commercial airplanes.

Level LO / HI Switch on the Bose QuietComfort 25

This is an audio attenuator. It lowers the output volume of very loud sources, like when listening to airplane audio. This volume can often get too high for your liking.

Replacement Parts Available

You may purchase genuine Bose replacement cables, ear cushions, adapters, and extension cables directly from Bose.  See the official product web page for details.  We provide that link below.

Easy Cleanup

Every now and then, wipe the phones with a damp cloth. Also, tap around the ear cups to even out the depressions that often appear after long listening sessions. Wipe outer areas around the cushions with a mild dish washing soap and water to remove dust and oils.

Affordable for Serious Music Listeners

The QC25 costs roughly $300 US retail. But for the best price, check out online resellers and second-hand sites like Amazon and eBay.  We found them as lost as $150.

But be careful paying too little. Why? Because the headphones you buy might be fake.  Buyer beware of very low prices.

Bose QuietComfort 25 Problems, Cons, Disadvantages, and Concerns

High Price

At around $300 for a new pair, the QC-25 make up a decidedly non trivial purchase.  Their overall quality likely justifies three c-notes. But consider waiting before you gift these to kids or novice listeners.  So we suggest that you make sure your tastes and needs have grown into these phones before buying them.

Battery Operated

Under typical operation, the single AAA battery lasts 35 hours.  But don’t forget to turn off the QC-25 when done listening.  Easy to neglect, since the earphones make no noise of their own while running.  We suggest alkaline and nickel metal hydride (NiMh) cells.

No AC adapter port though.  So you may only power these phones with some sort of AAA battery.

The Bose QuietComfort 25 Does Not Charge the Battery

Surprised that Bose designed neither wireless nor USB charge facilities into the QC-25, given its Porsche-like class.  However, even the longest lasting triple-A alkaline batteries cost well under a dollar each currently.  So paying for a new battery every so often would likely be less of an imposition than actually charging them; especially if you operate these earphones often, for long hours.

Ear cushions can Make your Ears Sweat

The QC25 features a closed air design.  But a drawback of closed air is that you get lno air moving around your ears.  Thus, hot sweaty ears often results.  Indeed, sweat can quickly soil the ear cushions.  So to keep your phones clean, wipe the ear cups after each long use.

They Quiet Noise So Well that they Might Create Hazards

The noise cancelling feature works very well.  So even with your music volume low, you’ll probably not hear someone walking up behind you.  Plus, you may not even hear when they call your name.

These earphones also reduce traffic noises, sirens, and other warning sounds we often hear while driving or walking.  Thus, avoid using these headphones when operating motor vehicles, and walking near busy streets.

Our Rating for the Bose QuietComfort 25 QC25 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Now this is the 4th generation of the Bose noise canceling headphones product line. So the basic parts and case design first appeared some years back. Revised at least three more times since then, these are now an excellent pair of noise lowering headphones. The QC-25 benefits from decades of ongoing research. So they based these phones on tried and true audio principles. Then, they married those with modern active noise cancelling techniques.

Further, we find all parts durable, easy to clean.

Indeed we’d prefer waiting to buy a used set to avoid the high-end retail price. So we see this price as the only limiting factor of the QC25.

True.  You may not fly much. But the high-grade active noise cancelling has great advantage even here on the ground.  It means that you’ll likely need to listen at lower volume levels. Why? Because you’ll hear less outside noise to overcome by turning the volume up. We therefore, rate these at 96 out of 100.

To Bose: Take a hundred dollars off the MSRP, and you’ll get a perfect rating from us.

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References for the Bose QC25 QuietComfort 25 Headphones

    1. QC-25 Official Product Page
    2. QC-25 User’s Manual
    3. Where to buy the Bose QC-25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Revision History

    • 2019-07-27: Added key word targeting for ‘Bose QuietComfort 25’, removed ad scripts, and added more tags and links.
    • 2017-02-09: Originally published.