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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Bose OE2i headphones review:

Bose OE2i headphones

The OE2i's balance from bass to mid to treble is excellent--the top-end isn't harsh or edgy, and they exhibit good detail with slightly more accurate tones than the Blue-Ants. If there's a pair of Bose headphones more geared toward audiophiles (compared with your typical Bose headphones), this would be it.

The Bose OE2i headphones don't quite sound like previous Bose headphones. For some, that will be a good thing, and we actually prefer the new sound, but others looking for a little more oomph may find them less appealing than the original.

Putting sound tastes aside, these are very comfortable, lightweight headphones that fit into a case half the size of the one included with $300 Bose QuietComfort 15s. When it comes to more casual, everyday-use headphones, that size and comfort is a big reason why I gave them high marks for design. In other words, you can wear these around without feeling like you've got a giant set of cans on your head.

The OE2is include an iPhone-compatible inline remote.

As with most Bose products, price is often a source of debate, and many folks will ask whether these headphones are worth $150 (OE2) and $180 (OE2i), respectively. I can answer that simply by saying there are better values out there. Case in point: The Sennheiser HD 238i on-ear headphones. They offer similar sound, are comfortable, and can be found for less than $70 online (and they have an inline remote and microphone).

No, they aren't quite as compact as the Bose OE2is, and no, they don't fold up and stow away into as small a carrying case. Also, the fit and finish isn't quite as nice (the headphone cord doesn't detach, either). But they cost $80 to $110 less.

Take that comparison for what you will. As I said, these aren't a bargain, but they are good, comfortable headphones, and if they should break, Bose is known to be pretty good about replacing its headphones should you run into any snafus (they do have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try before you totally committing to them). And on the bright side, they cost around half the price of their on-ear active noise-canceling cousins, the QuietComfort 3s ($350). In that sense, they're reasonably priced--for Bose, anyway.

What you'll pay

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