I absolutely love over ear headphones the most. So when I was given the Bose QuietControl 30 to review, I approached them with caution. I had to give it a fair chance, and so I did. The QC30, unlike the QC35, is a pair of in-ear wireless headphones with active noise cancellation. The name Quiet Control plays a significant part to the secret behind these headphones. It is the first pair by Bose to feature complete control over how much noise you want to cancel out. They grant you the ability to have some of the ambient noise filter in or leave you in blissful silence to enjoy your music, audiobook or movie in peace.
QC30-Body and Build
Essentially you’ve got a horseshoe around your neck at all times. Yes, the QC30s are collar headphones and now you see why I approached with caution. Collar headphones have not always been the most comfortable to wear. Although the QC30 is made out of some rubber like substance and should have been enough to sit snug around your neck. But this little fella likes to shift around. Sometimes, you have to find where the opening has disappeared off to when you want to turn it off.
Thankfully, the wire extensions with the earbuds are decent in length, and reach your ears comfortably. The ends of the QC30 (the collar part) are bulky and you can feel the weight of them sometimes. Other times, you can’t feel it at all and they are just a part of your outfit. On one side of the collar is the power and connect button (same button) and the other side has the usb port for charging. Each collar has a wire extending with a respective ear bud. The right sides wire comes with a dongle for audio control.
These controls are where you decide how you want your sound to sound like. There are your standard volume buttons along with a play/pause button. The play/pause button also doubles as your call answer/drop button. Remember the active noise cancellation control we mentioned earlier? These buttons are on the side of the dongle. Pressing the top button increases how much noise cancellation you want, while pressing down increases the amount of sound you let in through the headphone mics.
The active noise cancellation can also be controlled via Bose’s companion app, Bose Connect.
Coming to the earbuds, they are quite comfy and sit quite snugly in your ear. There are varied sizes of the silicone buds in the box, to add according to your liking and fit requirements. They are soft and can be worn over long periods without much discomfort. It is to be noted however, that these are not for sport. They will skip if you move around too much. I say sport, but I also mean any kind of sudden jerks and movements.
This pair is all about its active noise cancellation. It’s actually impressive that it lets you filter in and out what you want to listen to. There are times I’ve wanted to pay attention to what’s going on around me while watching a movie, just in case I don’t miss my stop. I adjusted the ANC and it worked like a charm. Overall my favourite feature on the headphones. Having the app meant I didn’t have to keep fiddling near my ears or collar to find the button to change volume or the ANC.
Sound wise, I have to say, I was quite impressed by the QC30s, if not blown away. Bass is a little low on these and to be honest, I expected that before I put them on. You’d think the sound would be a whole lot clearer because these were in-ear headphones, but it seemed lacking. Even depth of sound was missing a little bit. For reference, I felt a lack of depth when I heard “Limit to your love by James Blake” and the sound seemed lacking when listening to “Bonobo”. Overall, it did pack a decent punch, and gave me sounds I expected to hear from a pair like this.
There is a bit of distortion in the mids but it’s something you really have to train your ear to listen. Its not that noticeable if you don’t know what you’re looking for. As I said, its decent, but not amazing in terms of Bluetooth headphones. But I do like this pair for call quality. It’s easy to answer calls and the mic sits comfortably near your mouth so it sounds just right to the other party.
From Bose, battery life is rated at 10 hours, and I would say, it’s pretty much on the mark. I got about 9 and a half hours from a single charge which is really good. You can always charge it when you want via a USB cable that you can carry in its portable case.
For me, collar designs still have a way to go before being the go to headphones of choice for me. But if you’re okay with it, these are really great for commuting or just for use in one place. As mentioned earlier, these are not good with sport or sudden movements, as skipping is present. What is cool though is that these headphones are sweat resistant so you don’t feel it itch against your skin over long periods of time. For sound, these are above average and should be fine with most listeners. Active noise cancellation, battery life and call quality are the main selling points of the QC30s. What has to be justified is that price tag, which could be a little lower.