Three years ago, I purchased a set of the Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling over-the-ear headphones. Here is my long term review of the product.
I’m easily distracted by noise. A slammed door, shrill giggle, or foreign language conversation can destroy my productivity by pulling me out of the zone.
So I after I flew back from Japan in business class, and used a pair (provided by American Airlines) for eight hours, I decided to purchase a pair of QC15s. After 8 hours, there was no pinching, and pressure points. Oddly enough, I wasn’t as mentally tired when I arrived in Houston.
Since I would be wearing them for six to eight hours a day in a noisy environment, it seemed like a perfect fit.
What I liked
- The cord is replaceable, so you don’t have to worry about a chair rolling over the cord and having to figure out how to repair the headset – you simply unplug the damaged cord and plug in a new one.
- The sound quality is fantastic.
- The headphones are very comfortable. I wore them for six hours a day, only taking them off when I left my desk or someone stumbled into my cubicle.
What I didn’t Like
- If you don’t have a battery, you don’t get any sound. I was using a battery every two weeks, so I had to keep a stash of batteries at my desk. I switched to rechargeable batteries, and quickly found that I was changing the battery every week or week and a half.
- Within the first year, the black leather in the ear cushions started to flake off. I would end up with black specks of leather on my ears and face. At first, it wasn’t entirely obvious to me it was from the ear cushions. I would go into the bathroom, look up in the mirror and I had these dirty specks on my face. This appears to be a common issue.
- Next, the adhesive holding the fake leather to the inside of the ear cups gradually let go, exposing the foam insulation.
- Lastly, during the third year, the headphones would develop a loud piercing high pitched feedback squeal.
The squeal would start around the four hour mark and then if I turned my head I would get a high decibel squeal, like someone lets loose with an air horn. I kept using the headphones, but the time to required to produce the squeal would decrease every week.
I ultimately cracked the headphones open and cut the microphone in a futile attempt to get rid of the feedback. It didn’t work.
I was using the headphones approximately six hours a day, five days a week, for 50 weeks a year. That equates to 250 days, or 1,500 hours of usage per year. $300/4,500hrs = $0.6666 per hour, or approximately $.40 per day to experience black flakes randomly appearing on my clothes or face with air horn quality shrieks.
Ultimately, the headphones lasted about 3.5 years and ended up in the trash can. I’m intensely disappointed in Bose.
I’m now using some Sony in ear buds that cost $20. If they last 3 years, the cost per hour will be $4.444 x 10-3. Much better bang for the buck and no flakes or shrieks.