Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear review: A classic headphone gets a cosmetic upgrade

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The Good Lightweight and comfortable design; sealed earcups isolate the wearer from ambient noise; headphones fold flat; detachable cord; detailed sound with well-defined bass.

The Bad Sound can be a tad brash.

The Bottom Line While the Bose SoundTrue has only minor design changes from the earlier AE2i, it remains one of the most comfortable-to-wear, full-size headphones, and it also sounds good.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 7

Could it be that Bose is trying to get hipper as it heads into its sixth decade of making products?

That's what it seems like if you examine some of its latest moves, which include putting a fresh, more modern face with bolder colors on some of its established headphone models that have been in the line for a number of years.

The SoundTrue Around-ear headphone is the rebranded version of the company's popular AE2 and AE2i headphones. It carries a US list price of $179.95, or £149.95 in the UK, and AU$229.00 in Australia. While I'd like to tell you that Bose has made these headphones sound even better, the changes are mostly cosmetic, with this new model coming in new, more eye-catching colors that are perhaps designed to appeal to younger headphone shoppers.

Bose's around-ear headphones -- or over-ear as these types of cans are often called -- have always been known for being relatively lightweight and very comfortable, and this model is one of the most comfortable full-size headphones you can buy. (I'm also a fan of the Sony MDR-1R .) The design hasn't changed much over the years, though this new version folds flat and comes with a new, nicer carrying case.

While it's not as compact as its sibling, the SoundTrue On-Ear , it's still a pretty good travel headphone, even if it doesn't feature the noise-canceling circuitry of Bose QuietComfort 25 . It also doesn't include the wireless Bluetooth component of the SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless , which lists for $249.95 or $70 more (the two models are identical aside from the Bluetooth module).

The SoundTrue comes in standard black as well as some funkier colors. Bose