- Table of Contents
- Active Features
In the box
Bose QuietComfort 25
The Bose QuietComfort 25 are good commuting headphones thanks to their excellent noise canceling. They're lightweight and super comfortable for an over-ear design. They also deliver an above-average sound quality that should be good enough for most listeners. Unfortunately, they're a bit leaky and audible to the people around you, even at moderate volumes.
See our recommendations for the best Over Ear Headphones.
- Comfortable design.
- Above-average audio reproduction.
- Amazing noise isolation.
- Average build quality.
- Moderate sound leakage.
Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The Bose QuietComfort 25 are very comfortable headphones. The light, softly, padded ear cups and the flexible headband provide a good seal that doesn't feel too tight on the head. They have a decent control scheme with mobile devices but the buttons could be a bit more responsive. Unfortunately, their build quality feels a little plasticky and isn't as durable as some other over-ear models we've tested like the Oppo PM-3 or the Sony MDR-1A. They're also not the best headphones for sports and will slip off your ears when running or exercising.
The Bose QC25 have a slick, and simple design. The thin, padded headband is covered in a fabric that matches the overall color scheme of the black, dark grey and blue accents. The ear cups are large, well-padded and have the silver Bose Logo branded on both sides. They look good without being too flashy which will work for most.
The Bose QuietComfort 25 are very comfortable headphones. They have decently large and spacious ear cups that should fit well on most ears. They're also well padded and lightweight so you can wear them for hours and not feel any fatigue. However, when noise-canceling is activated, you may feel an uncomfortable pressure in your ears. The effect is less noticeable when music is playing though.
The Bose QC 25 have a simple control scheme that lacks a little feedback compared to the QuietComfort 20's inline remote. On the upside, they provide the essentials: track skipping, call/music, and volume controls. The buttons are constantly spaced out and easy to locate by touch alone but lack a bit of feedback when pressed.
- 100% Avg.Temp.Difference
The Bose QC25 are mid-sized over-ear headphones. They're decently portable and fold up into a more compact format to take less space in a bag. Sadly, they will still be too big to carry around on your person and will not comfortably fit into any pockets.
The Bose QuietComfort 25 Wireless come with a sturdy, hard case that will protect the headphones from scratches, falls, and mild water damage. It also doesn't add much bulk and easily stores all the provided headphone accessories.
The Bose QuietComfort 25 are decently stable headphones. They stay in place during casual listening sessions and have a detachable audio cable that won't pull the headphones off your head if it gets hooked on something. However, these headphones do not apply enough pressure around the ears and will slip off while running or doing high-intensity physical exercises. Shaking your head from side to side will make the ear cups sway because of the lack of tension, which is slightly disappointing.
The Bose QuietComfort 25 are a decent sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have a well-balanced and deep bass, providing adequate thump and kick without overpowering vocals and other instruments. They also have an excellent sounding mid-range, but with a bit of extra emphasis on vocals and lead instruments. Additionally, their treble is neutral sounding, and they provide an accurate localization of sounds and instruments. They are also quite consistent in delivering their bass and treble across multiple users. However, their harmonic distortion levels are rather elevated, and because of their ear cup and closed-back design, they have a soundstage that gives the impression of sound coming from inside of your head, rather than of coming from speakers in front.
The Bose QC25 have an excellent bass response. Their low frequency extension is at 10Hz, which is excellent. It means they won't have any problems producing low rumbling sounds. Low-bass, which is responsible for the thump in bass and kick instruments, is reproduced within 0.3dB of our target. Mid-bass, which is responsible for delivering the punch of kick drums, is also quite well-balanced and virtually flat. However, high-bass, is overemphasized by about 1.5dB, which adds a very small amount of clutter and muddiness to the bass range.
The Bose QuietComfort 25 has an excellent mid-range performance. Low-mid and mid-mid are virtually flat, resulting in a well-balanced reproduction of voice fundamentals and lower harmonics. The average 2dB overemphasis in high-mid emphasizes the upper harmonics of vocals/leads and brings them to the front of the mix a bit.
The Bose QC25 has a good treble reproduction. The overall treble response is rather inconsistent, but quite neutral overall. The 5dB dip centered around 5KHz, will have a negative effect on detail and presence of vocals and lead instruments, but because of the narrow bandwidth of the dip, the effect will be quite subtle.
The Bose QC25 has good frequency response consistency. In the bass range, the QuietComfort 25 was extremely consistent in delivering their bass across our 5 human test subjects, even if they were wearing glasses or having hair covering their ears. This is mostly likely due to the feedback mechanism of their active noise cancelling system. In the treble range, they also perform quite consistently, only showing 5dB of variance across most of the treble range.
The Bose QC25 has an average harmonic distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion produced by these headphones is relatively low, but the sharp peaks in harmonic distortion in the treble range could make those frequencies sound slightly hard and brittle.
The Bose QuietComfort 25 do not disappoint when it comes to noise isolation. When you turn on the ANC, you can feel the pressure change in the ear cups, which is a true testament to how efficient the noise cancelation in these headphones is. The same can not be said for sound leakage. Unfortunately, some of your music will escape at high volumes which may not be suitable for office use.
The Bose QC25 has one of the best ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) systems we have measured so far. With ANC set to On, these headphones provide constant isolation from -20dB at 30Hz to -30dB at 2.5KHz. This means they will attenuate low and mid frequency noises such as the rumble of an airplane engine, the sound of cars passing by, or speech to a great degree. With ANC Off, the low-end and mid-range isolation goes away for the most part, but the performance from 3KHz and up, which can be helpful in reducing high frequency noise like the sound of a fan, will remain virtually the same.
The Bose QC25 has a sub-par leakage performance, which makes them less than ideal for office use. The leakage on the headphones becomes significant starting at around 400Hz and will continue up to 4KHz. The overall level of the leakage is also relatively loud. This means that if you listen to music at moderately loud volumes, people a few feet away from you could possibly be distracted by what you are listening to.
The microphone of the Bose QC25 is of average quality. Speech recorded with the microphone of the QuietComfort 25 sounds relatively thin, but it'll be neutral sounding and easily comprehensible. However, they are mediocre at handling noisy environments, and they may struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in relatively loud environments such as a busy street.
The microphone of the Bose QC25 has a good recording quality. With low-frequency extension at 370Hz, speech captured with this headphone will lack bass and will sound noticeably thin. But, low-frequency extension is not a factor in speech comprehensibility and won't have a negative effect on speech intelligibility. However, the dip at 3KHz could have a small negative effect on understanding the recorded speech. The high frequency extension of 20KHz, means sound captured with this microphone will be open and airy, which is good.
- 100% SpNR
The Bose QC25's microphone has mediocre noise handling capabilities. It achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of only 13dB, meaning this microphone is not very good at separating speech from ambient noise.
The Bose QuietComfort 25 only have noise canceling as an active feature. This makes them less versatile for other use cases except as noise-canceling headphones, as they lack both wireless or an app, to enhance and customize their sound. On the upside, the AAA cell delivers a good battery life that lasts up to 32 hours of continuous playback, which should easily cover a weekend's worth of use without needing to change batteries. They can also be used completely passively when the battery dies. They won't isolate as well, but at least you can still listen to your music.
The Bose QC25 use two AAA batteries to deliver 32.8 hours of continuous play time. This makes them good headphones to use on long flights or road trips as you won't need to change the batteries as throughout the day. Luckily, they can be used without the battery, but lose a bit of audio quality when the battery is dead. They also don't have any battery saving features like an auto-off timer.
The Bose QC25 have no compatible app on mobile phones or PC.
- 10% Bluetooth
- 32% Wired
- 10% Base/Dock
- 22% Wireless Range
- 25% Latency
The Bose QuietComfort 25 only connect via a wired 1/8TRRS audio cable which does not have microphone compatibility with Xbox One or PS4.
- 79% Multi-Device Pairing
- 20% NFC
- 0% PS4 Compatible
- 0% Xbox One Compatible
The QC25 does not have any Bluetooth capabilities. For more Bluetooth headphone options check out our best wireless recommendations here.
- 13% Analog
- 9% USB
- 26% PS4 Compatible
- 26% Xbox One Compatible
- 26% PC Compatible
The Bose QC 25 have a 1/8 TRRS analog audio cable that does not have microphone compatibility with consoles.
- 4% Optical Input
- 22% Line In
- 4% Line Out
- 22% USB Input
- 4% RCA Input
- 9% PS4 Compatible
- 9% Xbox One Compatible
- 9% PC Compatible
- 2% Power Supply
- 13% Dock Charging
The Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones do not have a base station or dock. If you want a noise canceling headphone with a dock, then try the Turtle Beach Elite 800.
These headphones are wired so they have no wireless range.
The Quiet Comfort 25 have a wired connection with negligible latency.
In the box
- Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones
- Audio cable
- Airline adapter
- Carrying case
- AAA batteries
Compared to other Headphones
The Bose Quiet Comfort 25 have excellent noise isolation and comfortable design that makes them one of the most recommended wired headphones for commuting and traveling.
The QuietComfort 35 are the wireless upgrade to the QC25. They isolate just as well and keep their super comfortable and lightweight build. If you have the budget, get the QC35 instead since you have all the benefits of the QC25 in a wireless design.
The Sony WH-1000Xm2 cancel a bit more noise than the QuietComfort 25. They're also slightly better designed but won't be as comfortable. On the upside like the QC35 they are wireless and come with a decent mobile app for those who like to EQ and customize their headphones.
The Soundlink Around-Ear II do not have noise cancellation like the QuietComfort 25. They have the same great design and comfortable fit but will not isolate well in loud noisy environments. On the upside, they are wireless like the QC35 which makes them a bit more convenient to use with your mobile device.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x deliver a better sound than the QC 25. They're considerably cheaper than the Bose and if you mostly care about sound quality and don't mind sacrificing a little comfort and convenient active features than the M50x are a great choice.
Questions & Answers
Short answer: Assuming you are listening at average volumes, the leakage of QC25s should not be a concern on a commuter, train or in an airplane. But in a more quiet environment, like an office it might be audible to people right next to you.
For a longer answer, here is how to read the leakage chart:
Assuming you are listening to something at 100dB SPL (like enjoying very loud music), an individual standing 1 foot away from you, will hear the music leaking at about 40dB SPL (in the case of Bose QC25). Now, this number is quite useful for scoring and ranking different headphones, but it doesn't give an intuitive feel on what it really sounds like (If you are listening at volumes lower than 100dB, just offset that difference in our test results).
To get a feel on how the leakage will affect you in daily life, take a look at the chart. You can see that the leakage is basically concentrated around the 400Hz-4KHz region. This can give you a feel on the sound profile of the leakage. In the case of the Bose QC25, the 400Hz-4KHz range means that the leakage will sound very thin (virtually no bass content) but at the same time quite intelligible, and people around you may even be able to understand the lyrics of what you are listening to. In the case of a more narrow band leakage (for example from 6KHz-8KHz which is more typical of in-ear earphones), the sound profile of the leakage will mostly consist of S and T sounds (sibilances). In this case, the lyrics may not be intelligible even at higher volumes.
After getting a feel for the audio profile of the leakage, we can explore the chart even more to get a feel for how loud the leakage will sound like. In the case of the QC25, we can see that the main part of the leakage (400Hz-4KHz) is as loud as the ambient noise of an average office. Imagine an average office, with the background hum of the AC, people typing on their computers, and maybe having a quiet conversation. Now if you limit the frequency content of the office ambient noise to the 400Hz-4KHz range (that is, take out all the bass and most of the treble content), it should feel and sound like the leakage of the QC25.
One last thing to consider here is the phenomena of auditory masking. It basically says that if we are listening to 2 sounds that have similar frequency content, the louder sound will drown out the quieter one (we won't notice the quiet sound as much as we would if it was playing by itself). So for example, if you are in a loud office/bus/metro where a lot people are talking and phones are going off all the time, people won't be able to hear the leakage coming out of your QC25 as much. Because there is already a lot of mid-rangy noises (400Hz-4KHz) going on around you, masking those coming out of your headphones. Conversely, on an airplane where the bulk of the noise is in the bass and low-mid regions (the engine rumble and airflow noise), the audio profile of the ambient noise is not similar to that of QC25's leakage, so it may not mask it as much.
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