The first half of this post is about my other contenders for a suitable headphone, if you want to skip that, you can jump straight to the winning Bose AE2W review below.
Recently I decided I needed some good headphones, I’m currently using the iPhone 5 default headphones for around 4-5 hours a day and their half in-ear approach, while good for short periods, is not comfortable in the long run and the sound quality is nothing to write home about.
I was looking to spend a decent amount of money on some really nice headphones that will work well while out-and-about, while in the office and stand the test of time. My maximum budget was around £300 ($450).
After the basic Googling (using the verb Googling to reference DuckDuckGo) I found the Sennheiser Momentum (http://en-uk.sennheiser.com/on-ear-headphone-momentum-stereo), Sennheiser’s first mobile/life-style designed headphones. I have used Sennheiser’s headphone before and while many of the older models are amazing they are certifiably not mobile or built for general use (a.k.a life-style design).
However, the Sennheiser Momentum, in all it’s glory as be accused of having small ear-cups (5cm if I’m not mistaken), I have larger than average ears at around 7cm so I’ve been told this would be uncomfortable and since a large part of my reason for getting such headphones is comfort, I was skeptical. I thought I would go down to the Apple Store in Westfield, London to try them on and get a better idea. But since the store staff were generally rude and said that trying a £300 pare of headphones on before purchase was not possible, I certainly was not going to buy…
The whole Apple empire has started to crumble! The software and service have started to decline ever since Mr. Jobs sadly fell ill, IMO.
Since I was put-off the purchase of Momentum headphone due to bad service and comfort concerns, I head to Bose (again a store in Westfield, London). While the service was much better and they did have the highly recommended Bose QuietComfort 15 as reviewed by a friend of hmBlog: The Strand Blog – Bose Comfort 15 Review.
Bose AE2W Review
Just before I convinced myself to get the Bose QuietComfort 15, the sales guy mentioned the new (released this week, and not on the shelf) Bose AE2W, after digging around in the back-room, he found them, at first I was skeptical as they are wireless bluetooth headphones and poor quality and stability have plagued such tech for years…
They are very small when compared with other over-ear headphones however the actual ear-cup is nothing short of a Tardis, fit perfectly and comfortably over my larger-than-life ears, without looking bulky.
They seem very well made and durable, while not appearing bulky when packed in the fabric bag they come with nor when on your head. Where as with most over-ear headphone’s they always stick-out and look clumsy, the Bose AE2W do not.
The whole wireless aspect of the design is incredible! All the easy-to-use and understandable buttons including the internal gadg (bluetooth and active EQ) is stored in a non-intrusive detachable plug-in. If for whatever reason the bluetooth is not up to scratch or you’ve run-out of your 7 hour playback battery charge, you can just unplug this section and use a normal cable, which is provided alone with a USB recharging cable.
The bluetooth thingy can connect to two devices at a time… Perfect for using a laptop on the train and also having your phone cut-in with a call or song. Oh, did I forget to mention, this headphone crafted in the the highest purity also has as built in mic.
The omni-action button allow pausing, skipping, rewinding of songs and answering of phone called etc. (including use of Siri) and better still the other buttons such as volume are easy to find with just your hand and no line-of-sight.
Due to the slanted inside of the ear-cup, they fit your ear perfectly and naturally, the super-foam used in the cushioning reminds me of a tempur mattress… The ear-cups rotate independently to form nicely to even the most abstract of head-shapes.
Although these headphones don’t have the space-age active noise canceling such as the Bose QuietComfort 15, the ear-cups give the perfect amount of surrounding sound deadening. Somewhere between not being able to hear the London tube noise when music is being played quietly but still being able to hear people directly talking to you.
As I’ve alluded to previously, the sound quality is immaculate. Especially for my prerequisites regarding bluetooth’s poor sound quality. I’m still finding it hard to believe this incredible level of sound quality can be coupled with the awesome functionality of wireless. Most of the design and development work as gone into making a crystal clear wireless tech here and that’s quite clear.
The actual head-band is easily adjustable with a satisfying smooth glide and click motion that makes the fit even nicer. The head-band cushioning is again, very nice.
To top it all off, Bose are so confident in their product that you get a 30 day trial, if you don’t like then for whatever reason, you can just send them back and get a full refund.
Defiantly a 9.5/10 for the Bose AE2W, only not a 10/10 as you can sound a little quiet when using the built-in mic, but I’m yet to determine whether this is a design fault or simply I’m not used to speaking with-out hearing myself properly due to the sound deadening.