Bose currently has three full-size headphones in its lineup: the noise-canceling QuietComfort 25, the wireless SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless II, and its own latest passive over-ear, the SoundTrue Around-Ear II headphone, reviewed here. It posesses US list price of $180, or £150 in the united kingdom, and AU$229 in Australia.

Bose calls it a “design refresh” of the business’s SoundTrue Around-Ear, but it’s more of a design alignment, with this new Around-Ear II bearing a close familial resemblance to its noise-canceling and wireless siblings.

The largest change is to the headband, which is currently almost doubly thick as the headband on its predecessor. The earcups condition is just a little different, too, and overall the Around-Ear II feels sturdier. At 6.4 ounces or 181 grams (with cable), it’s a lttle bit heavier compared to the Around-Ear (5.4 ounces or 154 grams), but nonetheless manages to feel quite light for a full-size headphone.

Bose’s around-ear headphones — or over-ear as these kind of cans tend to be called — will always be known to be very comfortable, which model is probably the preferred full-size headphones you can purchase. (I’m also a fan of the more costly Sony MDR-1A and MDR-1R.) Just like the previous model, this new version folds flat and includes the same, nice travel case.

The Around-Ear II, which will come in this new dark blue color and black, folds flat to squeeze in the included carry case.

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It’s worth noting that the headphone cord is detachable, and that cord comes with an integrated three-button remote and microphone to make cell-phone calls. You can select from a version that’s appropriate for Apple iOS devices and another that’s suitable for use with Android devices. You need to use the microphone to create calls just fine with any phone, however, many of the remotes features, including the volume controls, only use compatible devices.

Among the big design changes may be the wider, sturdier headband.

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Performance
This headphone doesn’t offer active noise cancellation, nonetheless it does give a tight seal and filters out a whole lot of noise from the exterior world (the earcups may also steam up your ears on hot days).

Overall, the headphones are accurate, deliver good, well-defined bass, and so are fairly open-sounding for a closed-back headphone. I will make it clear that is not a bass-heavy headphone, and the ones who crave more bass will likely be disappointed.

A Bose rep explained the sound quality ought to be the identical to that of the prior model, but we did notice some small differences, which might be attributable to the brand new design of the headphone, not the driver. Even tiny design changes make a difference the sound.

I came across the bass just a little tighter on the Around-Ear II and my colleague Justin Yu agreed, though he thought the old model sounded slightly more open. I recommended the sound of the brand new model — I love my bass just a little tighter, but that is clearly a subjective judgment and others might choose the old model.

Our gripe with Bose’s earlier around-ear models was that the treble was a tad brash, overemphasizing instruments such as for example cymbals — it’s a matter of taste whether you prefer that “extra sizzle” or not. With each new iteration, the treble appears to be get yourself a touch smoother and I didn’t have trouble with it in this model.

The headphone will come in versions for iOS and Android devices, with the only difference being the inline remote.

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In a whole lot of ways, that smoothness is becoming Bose’s sound signature because of its headphones, which are made to versatile and work very well with all sorts of music. They’re also made to make every thrown at them — even poorly recorded and compressed tracks — sound decent.

What’s missing is a small amount of the richness, excitement, and clarity that you might get from an increased end headphone. You get more of this with a headphones like Sony’s MDR-1A or Sennheiser’s Momentum 2.0, but those cost headphones cost drastically more. Meanwhile, a headphone like Audio-Technica’s ATH-MSR7 offers better clarity and a bit more openness, but it isn’t as comfortable as this Bose and its own abundance of clarity reveals harshness or distortion in recordings.

Smooth sound meets superior comfort
Bose’s non-noise-canceling around-ear headphones will always be a more affordable option to its QuietComfort line, which starts at $300. With the SoundTrue Around-Ear II, Bose has made some small but important design changes that produce the headphone stronger and arguably sound an impression better. It isn’t cheap at $180, nonetheless it is an extremely likable, ultracomfortable over-ear headphone you could wear for long stretches with out a problem.