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Bose's QuietControl 30 is the ultimate neckband-style Bluetooth headphone (hands-on)

The wireless successor to the QuietComfort 20, the upcoming QC30, which also features active noise-cancellation, arrives this September for $300.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read

You've probably seen plenty of people wearing neckband-style wireless headphones, which LG pioneered with its top-selling Tone series. But think of Bose's upcoming QuietControl 30, which ships this September, as the ultimate neckband-style Bluetooth headphone. With impressive sound and active noise reduction, it's the wireless successor to the QuietComfort 20 and will list for the same price: $300 (£230 or AU$400 converted).

Not only is the build quality really good but the headphone fits very comfortably, with an open design. By open I mean that you don't jam the earbud into your ear. Thanks to Bose's Stay-Hear+ eartips, which come in three sizes, the bud sits loosely in your ear yet remains securely in place.

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The only downside to an open design is that ambient sound leaks in and normally a headphone like this wouldn't be good for noisy environments. But that's where the noise canceling comes in. Even though the design is open, ambient noise gets muffled, and what's a little different from Bose's previous active noise-canceling models is that you can manually adjust the level of noise cancellation by pressing a button on the integrated remote or moving your finger up and down a slider in Bose's free Connect app for iOS and Android devices.

Battery life is rated at 10 hours, which is decent for this type of Bluetooth headphone, and protective carrying case is included. While Bose doesn't advertise that the headphone is sweat-resistant, it is, and this headphone is suitable for gym use and maybe even running if you don't mind the feel of a having something around your neck while running.

Bose QuietControl 30 (pictures)

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The QC30 is designed to be used as a wireless headset and it's a really good one. It muffles ambient sounds like wind and crowd noise so callers can hear you better -- and you can hear callers better. There's also a side-tone feature that allows you to hear your own voice in the headphones as you speak so you don't raise your voice while talking.

In my limited listening test at Bose's launch event for the product, I couldn't make a definitive judgment about its sound quality (we'll have a full review when the product ships in September), but you can expect similar performance to that of the wired QC20, which sounds very good for an in-ear noise-canceling headphone.

This isn't the only new wireless Bluetooth noise canceling headphone in Bose's line up. There's also the flagship QuietComfort 35, a full-size wireless model with best-in-class noise cancellation. Given the choice between the two, my personal inclination would be to wait for this one, but the QC35 certainly has its own appeal.

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The included carrying case.

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