The Bose SoundLink On-Ear are decent wireless on-ear headphones. They're comfortable and deliver a stable listening experience. Their sound quality is above-average, and they have an efficient control scheme. Sadly, they don't block much noise and leak quite a bit. They won't be ideal for traveling and may disturb people around you at higher volumes.
- Comfortable and stable fit.
- Lightweight, wireless design
- Efficient, audio controls.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Leaky at high volumes.
The Soundlink On-Ear are well-crafted, stylish headphones that deliver a comfortable and stable listening experience. Their build quality feels durable, and they have above-average audio controls with good tactile feedback. However, the buttons feel a little cramped on the ear cup, and they're also not stable enough for high-intensity sports and will slip off your ears while running.
The Bose SoundLink On-Ear, closely resemble the Bose QuietComfort 25 but in a more compact design. They have the same fabric-covered padding for the headband and the two-tone black and blue color scheme. They look sleek and stylish and are well-crafted headphones.
The SoundLink On-Ear are very comfortable headphones, especially for an on-ear design. They're lightweight, and the ear cups' padding is soft and cushions the ear well without applying too much pressure. The headband is also decently padded and does not feel tight on your head. However, the small ear cups, make a comfortable fit a little harder to achieve. The SoundLink Over-Ear may be a better choice for some listeners that do not find the on-ear fit as comfortable.
Button layout and functionality is above-average but feels a little cramped. These headphones offer; track-skipping, call/music, and volumes controls and the corresponding buttons deliver good tactile feedback. Unfortunately, due to the headphones compact size, the buttons feel a little cramped on the right ear cup, which is slightly disappointing.
These headphones are quite stable. They're able to maintain their position and fit during casual listening sessions. Their wireless design also helps with stability as there are no cables that can get hooked by the environment and yank the headphones of your head. However, they are not designed for sports and will start to slip off your ears during high-intensity activities like jumping and running.
The Soundlink On-Ear are above-average portable headphones. They fold up into a compact format that doesn't take much space in a bag and could even fit into a jacket pocket. Sadly, they are not as small as some other on-ear models and will not fit in a pants' pocket or a purse like an in-ear design would.
Comes with a soft case that will protect the headphones from scratches but adds a bit more volume. The tough fabric of the case will prevent damages from minor falls. However, it will not absorb greater impacts like a hard case.
Build quality is decent. The Bose SoundLink On-Ear are sufficiently sturdy to be able to handle a few drops without significant damage. The headband is relatively thick for an on-ear design, and the ear cups are made of dense plastic. Their mostly plastic design and multiple hinges are weak points that could get damaged by wear and tear and moderate physical stress.
The Soundlink On-Ear have an above-average audio reproduction and very low harmonic distortion. Bass is nice and punchy, and instruments and vocals are well reproduced. However, the bass is slightly too emphasized, and lead instruments lose a bit of clarity because of the inconsistent high frequencies. This results in a slightly boomy sound that also doesn't feel open because of the poor soundstage.
Very good performance. Low-bass and bass are overemphasized by about 3dB, which makes these headphones slightly bass-heavy and shifts the tonal balance towards bass and other low instruments.
Average performance. Low-mid performance is quite balanced. However, mid and high-mid are underemphasized by a maximum of 5dB. This negatively affects the intensity and projections of leads vocals, in favor of lower instruments.
Decent performance. The 5dB dip in treble surrounding 6KHz hurts the brightness and comprehensibility of vocals/leads. On the other hand, high-treble is over-emphasized, which adds to the brilliance and airiness of the sound. However, the frequency at which the overemphasis is happening is so high that most people won't be able to notice it.
Poor soundstage. Due to the on-ear design and small drivers, these headphones don't activate the resonances of the ear enough to create a large soundstage. Also, with openness at 4.7, they don't sound quite open either. Additionally, our unit didn't fair great in the amplitude driver-matching test, and the stereo image was noticeably tilted to one side.
Very good performance. At 90dB SPL, this is one of the lowest amount of harmonic distortion we have measured, especially in the bass range. At 100dB SPL, there is an inconsistent rise in the harmonic distortion, while remaining within great values.
These headphones only isolate passively. They can block a decent amount of high-frequency noise, but because they can't cancel any noise that seeps into the ear cups, they struggle in louder environments. They may let a lot of ambient noise into your listening experience while commuting or traveling and leak quite a bit of sound. They will be distracting to the people around you if you use them in an office at higher volumes.
Poor isolation. However, considering the passive, on-ear design of these headphones the performance is quite decent. The passive isolation provided by the ear cups starts to kick-in at around 200Hz, which is above average. The overall amount of isolation achieved in the mid-range is poor, but these headphones do well in the treble range. The isolation reaches its maximum of 42dB of reduction at 20KHz.
Decent performance. The significant portion of the leakage happens between 1KHz and 3KHz, resulting in a relatively narrow-band leakage. The overall level of the leakage, however, is moderate and could become noticeable at loud volumes.
The SoundLink On-Ear have an average wireless range but a decent latency despite not having aptX or aptX (LL). They also last surprisingly long for their small size and also have and don't take too long to charge. Unfortunately, they won't be the ideal headphones for watching videos or gaming but the latency shouldn't be an issue for audio streaming.
The Soundlink On-Ear have decent wireless range. They won't be the ideal headphones to use in big homes or offices with a lot of walls, but they deliver a consistent connection just shy of 40ft when the Bluetooth source is in another room. They perform about average in direct line of sight and aren't too difficult to pair. The power switch easily puts the headphones in a pairing state compared to the hold-to-pair procedures some other headphones have. Sadly, they don't offer NFC for the devices that support it, which could have made pairing even simpler.
The SoundLink OE deliver up to 21 hours of continuous play time at average volumes. This makes them decent headphones to use on long flights or road trips as you won't need to charge the battery as often. They also have an adjustable timer that helps prolong the battery life. Unfortunately, you can't use them while they're charging and they also take a quite bit of time to charge. So if you're out of battery, you won't be able to use the headphones for about 2.5 hours.
No compatible app.
In the box
- Bose SoundLink On-Ear Headphones
- Audio cable
- USB cable
- Carrying case