Bose QuietComfort 3 noise cancelling headphones review

Bose has updated its QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. The new QuietComfort 3 headphone are considerably smaller and more portable than its predecessor, but how do they fair? Pocket-lint jumped on a plane and found out.

According to Bose, its engineers have developed all sorts of new electronic circuitry to reduce noise actively, so that the headset adjusts dynamically to changing noise sources.

The new kind of ear cushion uses memory foam cell structure and an air-restrictive outer covering, so that a seal is formed that blocks out unwanted noise and in tests it does. The headset which is noticeably smaller than the QuietComfort 2 is also slightly angled so as to create a better fit and stop unwanted noise leaks.

The main difference over the QuietComfort 2 is the introduction of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery rather than standard AAs and it provides up to 20 hours of continuous use. Conscious that users are likely to use these for long durations, the 'phones will flash at you when you've got just 4 hours left. Rather than having to plonk your new pride and joy on the floor to get kicked around, the small battery conveniently pops out when it comes to charging and fits into an equally smaller charger.

The charger, which design-wise looks like one of the headphones, is small and compact and comes with virtually all the travel power adapters you could want. The end result means that you can still charge your 'phones mid-travel in a hotel room without the need to carry yet another travel adapter around with you.

The QuietComfort 3 can be run either as a noise cancelling device, or connected to an external source like an MP3 player.

Connecting to an external source is via a single optional cable, and Bose, as with previous models, includes a two pronged airplane adapter among other things in the bag.

As for sound, the QuietComfort 3 didn't disappoint: bass is richly recreated as is treble and equally so. The only major thing we did notice is the volume, or lack of it and even with our iPod on full blast we weren't completely blasted.


If you are weighing up the choice between these and the now more affordable (well by £50) Bose QuietComfort 2 it’s a tough choice. The sound on both is exceptional and you aren't going to notice much between them. Where you will notice the difference is in the aesthetics; the QuietComfort 3s are smaller and come with the rechargeable battery.

Whether it's sound reproduction or just to use them as noise cancelling headphones to drown out the ambient noise on the plane the QuietComfort 3 are very very good.

The catch? Well at £275 they're are unlikely to fit everyone's budget, but if you are a frequent flyer and you do want to knock out some of that ambient noise then these are hard to resist.