REVIEWED: Bose QuietComfort 15 active noise-cancelling headphones

They’re quiet and they’re comfortable, but make sure you take spare batteries

Buy the Bose QuietComfort 15

Price at time of review: £259.95

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Weighing a mere 181g and arriving in a moulded hard case that’s about as space-saving as you’re going to get for a pair noise cancelling headphones with a headband design, the AA battery-powered Bose QuietComfort 15 noise cancelling headphones are primed for travel.

Removable cable

There’s a single, removable cable that leads from the right ear cup, though in a small pouch inside the case is an optional iPhone cable with an in-line volume control, a microphone for hands-free calls, and a pause button for talking to an airline steward. However, the use of proprietary Bose-only terminations means that if you do break a cable – and that’s so easily done – you will have to buy replacements from Bose.

Also, the headphones cables do get into an awful tangle too often, though they are 175cm long, which does make it easier to stand-up and let other passengers past without taking the headphones off.

Sounds of silence

Completely enclosing ears without putting on any pressure, the relatively small but flexible ear-cups are comfortable and very successful at creating quiet. Powered by a single AAA battery in the right ear-cup, the noise cancelling is a complete success – it’s almost completely quiet in the cabin – which lets music and podcasts sound stunning. It’s easily possible to drop-off while wearing the Bose QuietComfort 15 noise-cancelling headphones – they’re that comfy.

Lacks a Passive mode

There is one problem. With the QuietComfort mode switched-off, or with flat batteries, these Bose bins don’t work at all. A Passive mode would have been useful. It’s also worth remembering that you need to switch-off QuietComfort mode after each use to prevent that precious white noise from being wasted on nobody … the nightmare scenario being that you begin your flight not only with no noise cancelling, but with no functioning headphones at all. Still, it’s easy enough to squeeze an AAA battery or two into the hard case’s interior pouch. We’d recommend it.

Courtesy cards

Amusingly, in the 213g hard carry case there’s a small section for business cards inside the carry case that’s home to four ‘courtesy cards’ in English and French so you can evangelise about the QuietComfort 15’s thoroughly effective noise cancelling to fellow passengers. Do you want us to wear a Bose t-shirt, too?

Hugely recommended

The carry case might put-off travellers that prefer to travel light, but more of a worry is that the cables and accessories provided by Bose are rather cheaply-made. However, judged purely on noise cancelling abilities, the Bose QuietComfort 15 noise-cancelling headphones come hugely recommended – just don’t forget to travel with some extra batteries.

Also read: How to buy noise cancelling headphones