Travel Headphones: Bose QC-15 Review

Before I dig into this travel headphones review: in the interest of a full disclaimer, I actually used to work for Bose.

I’m stating this because…well, I grew to hate working for Bose. It’s nothing against the company themselves – which I thought was actually quite good. The thing is, the retail life takes its toll on you no matter what. There’s only so many Black Fridays, irate customers, and general retail grind you can deal with before you just start to pull your hair out.

That’s why you know that this review on the QC-15 travel headphones is the real deal. I’m certainly not just pitching this because I’ve been given a free pair and feel obligated, or because I want to make a quick sale. I bought the QC-15s as my main travel headphones many years ago, and at this point they’ve actually visited more of the globe than many people.

With that being, let’s get started.


What Makes Good Travel Headphones?

You can break down a good pair of travel categories into three general categories.

Comfort: This is a broad topic, which contains noise-cancelling, comfort, and ease of packaging. It’s not a good pair of travel headphones if they’re not easily portable.

Quality: This category covers the build and durability of the travel headphones themselves, as well as the sound quality that they produce.

Appeal: Let’s be frank: would you ever buy a car because it had great specifications, but was ugly as sin? Hell no you wouldn’t! Travel headphones fall into the same boat. Why would you invest several hundred dollars in a good pair of travel headphones if you didn’t find them appealing and want to wear them?

Answer: you wouldn’t.

QC-15 Travel Headphones: Comfort

The QC-15 travel headphones are incredibly comfortable to wear for long periods of time. I’ve worn them on 12+ hour flights to Europe for the majority of the duration, and had zero issues of comfort with these travel headphones.

The over-the-ear design of the QC-15s make them ideal for long-term use. Some people prefer the on-ear type of travel headphones, but I personally think it’s best to have your travel headphones supported around your entire ear as opposed to placed on top of them.

Your mileage may vary.

QC-15 Travel Headphones: Quality

Some people love the Bose sound.

And some people hate it.

I’m no audiophile myself. While I think that sometimes the Bose sound can be a bit heavy on the bass, for the most part I find that both their headphones and speakers produce a pleasing sound to my ears.

As far as the build and durability, I have to admit that parts of it feel cheap. Many components are plastic, after all. However, this is easy to overlook because frankly, I’ve beat my travel headphones to hell and they still have held up great. They’ve been thrown around in luggage, subjected to multiple climates, and been used for hours – throughout it all, they have held up well.

QC-15 Travel Headphones: Appeal

The QC-15s are beautiful in a classic sense. There’s no frills like you would find on the Dre Beats headphones. It’s just one color option, and while they look good – they don’t have a ton of wow factor.

Bonus: Customer Service

Here is where Bose shines.

The customer service in the majority of the stores is superb. I can’t say enough good things about the people I worked with in my store. The warranty on these travel headphones is very good. Even outside of warranty – if you have an issue, they’ll likely offer you a sweet upgrade deal to a pair of the newest travel headphones model, the QC-25.

As with anything in the travel industry, patience and understanding helps. Just be a nice person and explain the situation – make them want to help you.

Bottom Line

I’m sorry to report that these headphones…are discontinued. But there are so many used pairs floating around out there, I felt obligated to post a review so that those considering picking up a pair have an accurate opinion of them. Certainly if you can score a good deal on a pair of QC-15 travel headphones, I would recommend jumping on it.

The QC-25 is the newest model, as I stated. From my brief tests in the store, they are as an amazing as a travel headphones product as their predecessor, so they may be worth a try as well.

Read More: Rent Or Buy?