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CNET First Look
Bose IE2 HeadphonesWhile we've heard earphones that sound better for the money, Bose has improved its in-ear headphones so they fit--and sound better--than its previous in-ear model.
-Hi, I'm David Carnoy and I'm going to give you a quick video tour of the Bose IE2 earphones. As their name implies, these are the second generation of Bose's in-ear headphones. Truth be told, we weren't all that impressed with the first iteration of this model, which some users complain didn't fit securely in the ears. But the company's made some tweaks to the design, and we generally like the results. There are actually 3 versions of these guys, with 2 featuring a built-in mic for cellphone use. However, the sound and the design of the earphones themselves are the same for all 3 models. The first thing you should know is that these aren't noise-cancelling headphones. You don't jam a foam or rubber tip into your ear effectively cutting off much of the sound from the outside world. A silicone cover directs the sound into your ear canal, but the tip isn't pushed all the way inside. As a result, you don't get that tight seal like you do with a noise-isolating earphone. But the upside is your ear canal does get some breathing room. Part of the reason why the earphones fit more securely is Bose's new "Stay Hear" silicone tips, which have little wings that, in Bose's words, "nestle inside the bowl of your ear while also naturally conforming to the ear's upper ridge." While this style of earphone may not appeal to everyone, I like their open quality and found them comfortable to wear for long stretches without feeling the need to adjust them or take them off. That said, you'll definitely hear more street noise than if you were using a noise-isolation earphone. Bose has improved the sound by adding an additional port that helps bulk up the bass, which we found pleasantly full though not incredibly deep. That bass is probably the best thing about these guys. While the detail is decent, we thought the treble was a little on the harsh side, compressing the range between softer and louder sounds. In other words, these headphones don't really bring out the subtleties in your music quite as well as we might have hoped from a $100 set of earphones. We've heard earphones in the price class that sound better and even cost slightly less. These are comfortable and they do sound pretty decent. However, if you're someone who likes that nice, tight, snug fit of noise-isolating earphones, these guys might not cut it for you. But if you're someone who prefers your ear canals to have a little breathing room, you're more apt to really like these guys. Either way, the company does have a 30-day money back guarantee. So, you can always try them and return them if they fit or the sound doesn't appeal to your taste. I'm David Carnoy, and those are the Bose IE2 in-ear Headphones.