Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Headphones II review:

Same great comfort and smooth sound in a sturdier design

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II is a lightweight, very comfortable over-ear headphone that offers smooth sound with well-defined bass. Its new design, with a wider headband, seems more durable than its predecessor's and its sealed earcups do a good job isolating the wearer from ambient noise.

The Bad A little pricey.

The Bottom Line The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II remains one of the most comfortable, full-size headphones out there, pairing great sound quality with an improved, more durable design.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Sound 8.0
  • Value 7.0

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

Bose calls it a "design refresh" of the company'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 biggest change is to the headband, which is now almost twice as thick as the headband on its predecessor. The earcups shape is a little different, too, and overall the Around-Ear II feels sturdier. At 6.4 ounces or 181 grams (with cable), it's a bit heavier than the Around-Ear (5.4 ounces or 154 grams), but still manages to feel quite light for a full-size headphone.

Bose's around-ear headphones -- or over-ear as these types of cans are often called -- have always been known for being very comfortable, and this model is one of the most comfortable full-size headphones you can buy. (I'm also a fan of the more expensive Sony MDR-1A and MDR-1R.) Like the previous model, this new version folds flat and comes with the same, nice carrying case.

The Around-Ear II, which comes in this new navy blue color and black, folds flat to fit in the included carry case.

Sarah Tew/CNET


It's worth noting that the headphone cord is detachable, and that cord has an integrated three-button remote and microphone for making cell-phone calls. You can choose between a version that's compatible with Apple iOS devices and another that's designed for use with Android devices. You can use the microphone to make calls just fine with any phone, but some of the remotes features, such as the volume controls, only work with compatible devices.

One of the big design changes is the wider, sturdier headband.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Performance

This headphone doesn't offer active noise cancellation, but it does offer a tight seal and filters out a lot of noise from the outside world (the earcups will also steam up your ears on hot days).

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