Bose OE2i headphones review: Bose OE2i headphones

This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.
  •  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Bose OE2i Headphones are more compact than the original OE ("on-ear") headphones. They're lightweight, very comfortable, and feature a fold-up design with an included carrying case, a detachable headphone cord, and an inline remote and microphone for iPhone users. They also offer very good sound quality.

The Bad The fidelity comes up short on bass resonance.

The Bottom Line You can debate the price, but the iPhone-friendly Bose OE2is are very comfortable everyday-use headphones with a compact frame and balanced, detailed sound.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

Editors' note (June 13, 2014): As of April 2014, Bose is retiring the OE2 and OE2i headphones reviewed here and replacing them with the new Bose SoundTrue models. That said, if you can find a discounted OE2/OE2i (for $100 or less), it's a great deal.

Here's something you don't see every day: a pair of white Bose headphones. Yes, it's the company's second-generation on-ear headphones, the OE2 ($149.95) and OE2i ($179.95), each offered in black or white.

That "i" in the step-up OE2i adds a microphone for cell phone calls along with an Apple- friendly inline remote compatible with more recent iPhone, iPod, iPad, MacBook, and MacBook Pro models. (Some Android smartphones also recognize the remote functionality, but volume control from headphones that carry the "Made for iPhone" stamp doesn't always work).

These headphones are smaller and lighter than Bose's original OE headphones that launched in 2008 and earned my approval for their excellent fit and comfort. Your ears will still get a little steamy under the OE2is in hot weather, but the material is plush for equal weight distribution, and just as importantly, they fold up to fit into a compact carrying case (included).


The headphones are very comfortable, but the on-ear design doesn't block out all external noise.

While they don't isolate noise as well as an over-the-ear model, they do pretty well muffling the sound. (If you want better noise isolation, go with the Bose QuietComfort series--which require batteries to cut out atmospheric sounds--or the Bose AE2 "around-ear" headphones.)

Bose claims that the newly redesigned earcup ports produce a more balance and natural sound without the manufactured "boost" across the frequency range. CNET contributor and audiophile Steve Guttenberg and I both listened for those improvements and agreed that the OE2is sound more natural and don't suffer from "Bose bloat," a term we coined for the obtrusive bass boost. Of course, some folks like the extra bass, so you may not enjoy these as much as the original OE headphones.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

Bose OE2i Collapsible Headphones (Black)

Part Number: B55-2050
Low Price: $179.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Color black
  • Weight 4.9 oz
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features Bose acoustic equalization
    TriPort acoustic headphone structure
    foldable
  • Type headset
  • Headphones Form Factor ear-cup
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm