Bose calls these things "in-ear headphones." Maybe "earbuds" isn't a fancy enough term when the world's most aggressively marketed audio brand expands its portable audio line into iPod-accessory territory. As the only mega-market audio manufacturer still ruled with an iron fist by its founder, Bose has always enjoyed a mixed reputation: reviled by audiophiles for the price/performance ratio of its speakers, loved by consumers for the instinctive hipness of everything else it makes, and perhaps slightly underrated for its growing headphone line, which includes the TriPorts, the larger noise-cancelling QuietComfort2, and the smaller rechargable QuietComfort3. How does its latest contender fit into that crowd? Click below to find out.
THE ESSENTIALS: BOSE IN-EAR HEADPHONES
WHO WANTS THISAnyone who wants something that sounds better than the earbuds supplied with iPods. That is, non-deaf people.
WHYThe Bose marketing machine is precisely calibrated to prevent you from asking this question.
WHAT'S COOLThe two-tone black & white cord.
WHAT'S LAMEThe fact that the first generation was recalled due to poor-fitting earpads.
FINAL MARK: AStraight A, minus a full grade for not getting the product right the first time, plus half a grade for having the wisdom to recall and improve it.
See Bose website for more details.
Most human bodies are stubbornly asymmetrical, whether you know it or not. I've always known my right hand is larger than my left, though it came as a shock when my optometrist told me my face is also lopsided and my nose turned to one side. Sure enough, the midsized pad fit snugly into my left ear, but wouldn't stay put in the right. Switching to the large size seemed to help. But how much? The answer came unexpectedly when my iPod nano slipped out of my lap and nearly hit the floor. The Bose-bud's sweet two-toned cord stopped it and the buds didn't come loose in either ear. I dropped the player several more times to see how long it would take to dislodge the buds. After 10 tries, the jack came out of my nano and the player hit the carpeted floor. I didn't press my luck.