Reviewed on Feb 24, 2018

Bose QuietComfort 25/QC25 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
7.0
Mixed Usage
7.6
Neutral Listening
7.3
Commute/Travel
6.3
Sports/Fitness
7.2
Office
5.8
Wireless Gaming
7.5
Wired Gaming
7.0
Phone Call
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

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.

Test Results
Design 7.3
Isolation 7.8
Microphone 6.8
Active Features 7.4
Connectivity 3.8
Pros
  • Comfortable design.
  • Above-average audio reproduction.
  • Amazing noise isolation.
Cons
  • Average build quality.
  • Moderate sound leakage.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  3. Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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7.3

Design

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.

Style

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.

8.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.47 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.68 lbs

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.

6.3 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Decent
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : No
Talk-Through
:
No
Additional Buttons : No

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.

6.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.1 C

The Bose QC25 are moderately breathable but will make your ears a little warm after 1 hours of continuous listening. This is about average for most closed over-ear, but unfortunately, this also means they won't be ideal headphones for sports.

6.2 Portability
L : 4.92 "
W : 5.51 "
H : 2.95 "
Volume : 80.14 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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.

8.0 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 8.27 "
W : 5.71 "
H : 1.7 "
Volume : 83.54 Cu. Inches

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.

7.5 Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is fairly good. They feel a little cheap and plasticky, and prone to wear in certain areas, but this is nothing to be concerned about. Unfortunately, the notches on the headband don't offer much feedback when adjusting.

6.5 Stability

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.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

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.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
9.0
Bass-Heavy
:
5.7
Warm
:
6.1
Bright
:
6.9
7.4 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.48 db
Dips
:
1.79 db
7.9 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.41 dB

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.

8.3 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.15
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.06
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.44
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
3.92
5.1 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
4.8 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
6.37 dB
PRTF Distance
:
10.18 dB
Openness
:
1.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
4.7
7.6 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.164
WHD @ 100
:
0.224
7.8

Isolation

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.

8.7 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-25.26 dB
Bass
:
-17.49 dB
Mid
:
-26.05 dB
Treble
:
-33.1 dB

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.

5.9 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
45.44 dB

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.

6.8

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

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.

7.6 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
369.71 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
4.05 dB
HFE
:
20480.0 Hz
Weighted THD
:
1.225
Gain
:
16 dB

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.

6.1 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
13.23 dB

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.

7.4

Active Features

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 the battery. 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.

8.2 Battery
Battery Type
:
AAA
Continuous Battery Life
:
32.8 hrs
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
32.8 hrs
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
Yes
Charging Port : N/A

Update: 29/05/2019: We've updated the review since we incorrectly listed that the headphones use two AAA batteries while they only use one.

The Bose QC25 use one AAA battery 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 battery 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.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

The Bose QC25 have no compatible app on mobile phones or PC.

3.8

Connectivity

The Bose QuietComfort 25 only connect via a wired 1/8TRRS audio cable which does not have microphone compatibility with Xbox One or PS4.

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The QC25 does not have any Bluetooth capabilities. For more Bluetooth headphone options check out our best wireless recommendations here.

The Quiet Comfort 25 have a wired connection with negligible latency (see our recommendations for the best wired headphones).

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

The Bose QC 25 have a 1/8 TRRS analog audio cable that does not have microphone compatibility with consoles.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

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.

In the box

  • Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones
  • Audio cable
  • Airline adapter
  • Carrying case
  • AAA battery

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. See our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones under $200, and the best noise-cancelling headphones.

Sony WH-CH700N Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

If you want a wired headset for commuting, then the Bose QuietComfort 25 are better than the Sony WH-CH700N. The Bose QC 25 has a much stronger noise cancellation for noisy environments. They're also more comfortable and have zero latency since they are wired. However, the WH-CH700N have a greater range, and their wireless design makes them a bit more convenient to use with your phone on a daily basis.

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are a better headset overall compared to the Bose QuietComfort 25, since they can be used wired and wireless. The Plantronics have a more versatile wireless design, so they have a greater range than the Bose and are a bit more practical for day-to-day casual use. The Plantronics also have a more exciting bass-heavy sound, and a better battery performance than the QC 25 overall. The QC 25, on the other hand, have a much better noise cancelation performance that makes them a better choice to use in loud, noisy environments. They also have a slightly better sound profile that's more balanced while still packing a fair bit of bass.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are a wireless upgrade to the Bose QuietComfort 25. QC 35 II have the same feel and fit as the QC 20s, so they are just as comfortable. They also cancel noise just as well as the QC 20 but have a bit more self-noise. They are slightly better-built, and since they are wireless and can be used wired, they're more versatile than the QC 20. On the other hand, the QC 20 offer a better value for your money if you do not need a wireless headphone. They also have no latency when watching movies but you can always use the QC 35 II wired and have the same experience. The QC 20 have a longer battery life overall, but use AA batteries. This may be a deal-breaker for some, but an advantage for others since you do not have to charge them.

Bose SoundLink 2 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose QuietComfort 25 are the wired and noise cancelling variant of the Bose SoundLink Around-Ear II. If you need a wired headset and noise cancellation for you busy commutes, the QC 25 are a better choice. On the other hand, the SoundLink are wireless, which makes them a bit more practical for day to day use, but worse for watching videos and gaming since all Bluetooth headphones have a bit of latency. Other than that, they have fairly similar design and sound quality. 

Beats Solo3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose QuietComfort 25 are better headphones than the Beats Solo3 Wireless. The QC 25 are noticeably more comfortable, have a better neutral-sounding audio reproduction, and have a great noise isolation performance, which is great for commuting. However, they are wired headphones so if you prefer a wireless design, then the Solo3 will be better. They also have more battery life and are rechargeable, while you need to use AAA batteries for the QC 25.

Parrot Zik 3/Zik 3.0 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

If you want a wired headset, then the Bose QuietComfort 25 are a better choice but if you prefer a wireless option for most of your use cases, then get the Parrot Zik 3.0 instead. The Zik 3.0 have a lot more features and also come with an audio cable to use wired. They have a sturdier more durable and premium looking design than the Bose. They also have a customizable sound since they are active headphones that come with a good app. The QuietComfort 25, on the other hand, have a much more comfortable over-ear fit that you can wear for hours without fatigue. They also have a slightly better sound quality and an easier-to-use design for most users.

+ Show more
7.0 Mixed Usage

These headphones have a decent all-around performance. The Bose QC25 are good everyday headphones with the added benefit of great noise canceling. This makes them a good option for most use cases but especially good for commuting and traveling. They're also reasonably good for office use but leak a bit at moderate-to-high volumes.

7.6 Neutral Listening

The Bose QuietComfort 25 are good for neutral listening. They're Comfortable for long listening sessions and deliver an above-average sound quality. Unfortunately, they have a poor soundstage due to their closed, noise canceling design.

7.3 Commute/Travel

The QuietComfort 25 are good for commuting in noisy environments. They have a good control scheme and the active noise canceling is excellent. They will significantly reduce the ambient noise of train or bus ride.

6.3 Sports/Fitness

The Bose QC25 are average for sports use. They're comfortable and have a decent control scheme but they're a bit too unstable for intense workouts or for running. They also make your ears a little warm.

7.2 Office

These headphones are above-average for office use. They will isolate you from the chatter of the office, but they leak a bit, which can be distracting.

5.8 Wireless Gaming

These headphones are above-average for gaming. They're super comfortable and have a low latency wired connection. Unfortunately, they lack many of the features typical for gaming headsets like wireless capabilities and a good, customizable software. They also do not have the best mic for multiplayer gaming.

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