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Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Headphones: My New Treo Travel Companion

A few months ago I came across the news that Bose and Motorola had partnered in Europe to deliver a product bundle consisting of a multimedia cellphone combined with Bose’s superlative noise cancelling headset – the QuietComfort 2. 

I was quite curious, disappointed and jealous about this announcement for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I was curious because this was the first time that I had come across any such bundle and I also initially surprised to see that Bose’s relatively large headset was being positioned as an effective mobile phone companion.  Secondly, I was disappointed and jealous because it was a Motorola cellphone and not our Treo that was being promoted…

At any rate, I naturally couldn’t let things stand like this.  I decided that my Treo would not be left behind and so I got my own set of Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones to play around with.

The headphones come in a sturdy and elegant moulded fabric carry case (below) in which they rest flat along with all relevant cables that are stored in a small velcro detachable pouch.  Even before actually testing the noise cancellation performance of the headphone you can immediately feel why the Bose Quiet Comfort 2 at $300 are the single most expensive noise cancellation headsets that you can get – they are simply superbly built with an obvious minute attention to every detail all screaming ‘quality’.  Bose is definitely not some company eager to walk away with your money and provide you with just an OK product in return but instead wants to make sure that it delivers an amazing experience.

The first opportunity that I had to test the headphones was on my recent flight to San Francisco.  On both my outbound and inbound flight I connected the Bose QuietComfort 2’s to my Treo, activated the noise cancellation switch on the headphones, launched Pocket Tunes, navigated to the classical music section on my 2GB SD card, hit play and entered into what I consider to be ‘plane ride nirvana’.

If you’ve never tested a noise cancellation headset it’s a bit difficult to explain the feeling as you first experience it but there’s certainly something to be said about ‘magically’ making background noise simply ‘disappear’ at the flick of a switch. 

Some people have a higher tolerance for noise than others and I’ll be the one falling in the lower category (for example I recently upgraded my laptop simply because the fan noise on my previous one was slowly but surely driving me nuts).  However, even though I’ve owned three other noise cancellation headsets in the past, it was not until I fully tested the Bose Quiet Comfort 2 that I realized just how stressful noise could be – particularly during a long flight – and by extension how relieved one could be upon arrival by not having to endure it.

Previously, after two full trans-Atlantic, 9 hour long, flights I would have considered the journey to have been somewhat of an ordeal – particularly as I don’t have the benefit of travelling in business class – and typically arrived at my destination feeling like a wreck.  Using the Bose QC2 during my recent trip to San Francisco though I was surprised by how rested and relaxed I felt when I landed.  One could argue that this had nothing to do with the headsets but from previous experience I am inclined to think that they actually played a big part in this.

Another occasion was yesterday on my 2 hour plane ride from London to Zaragoza where after spending a sleepless night I managed to completely ‘switch off’ my surroundings while peacefully listening to Mozart and sleep like a baby for all of 90 minutes.  I wouldn’t want to repeat it too often but this nice siesta recharged my batteries enough to keep going at the various conference events yesterday evening until 1am.  Again, I won’t credit the QC2 for all of it but they certainly contributed to my light beauty sleep.

As I mentioned in my Treo Travel Gear Essentials post, these Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones have fast become one of my most cherished gadgets and a fabulous companion to my already extraordinary Treo.

PLEASE NOTE: Like those that I owned previously, you can find other noise cancelling headsets by a number of leading brands that are cheaper than the QC2 ranging in price from $25 to $250 but there should be no doubt that Bose’s are the non-plus-ultra model that all others aspire to.

UPDATE: I have found that an excellent alternative noise cancellation headset is the Jabra C820s - please see my full review.

Motorola joins forces with Bose [Pocket-lint]

Treonauts have little tolerance for noise

Posted by Andrew on June 14, 2005 at 03:02 PM

Treo Accessories , Treo Noise Cancellation Headphones

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by Mike Hardy | Jun 14, 2005 3:43:17 PM

I've had the same experience, though not with my Treo yet. I never used to be able to sleep on planes, with the QC2s I fall asleep even when I don't mean to (this is a good thing on a plane, imho).

Just about completely kills subway noise too, which means you can really listen to the soundtrack on the movie you're watching with TCPMP :-). Not to mention the whir of all the machines in your cube farm. I end up wearing them a lot, even when not listening to music.

I tried a couple other models and they weren't as good, but the QC2s would be even better if they weren't so expensive. Hopefully the technology will become commoditized before I have to replace my set with some new ones.

by Matthew Miller | Jun 14, 2005 4:03:06 PM

I bought a pair of noise-cancelling headphones a few months back but had to return them. The cancellation signal generated by the headphones caused a feeling of pressure inside my ear that began to give me a headache after a while. Anyone else have a similar experience? Perhaps the Bose are higher quality and therefore cause less pressure?

by Alejandro | Jun 14, 2005 5:12:18 PM

I got one of those and the sound is amazing with or without a Treo. Expensive gadget but really nice for music lovers!..

by A. Davis | Jun 14, 2005 5:19:59 PM

You have a laptop??? But with a Treo... why do you need a laptop? :)

by Rudy | Jun 15, 2005 3:57:44 AM

Just wondering - does it connect directly into the Treo or are you using an adapter? Also, it's be great to have a head-to-head with the B&O A8 earphones; esp in regards blocking out airplane noise.

by Bill | Jun 15, 2005 10:23:10 AM

Several months ago, I had a few hours to kill at the Denver airport and wandered over to the Bose kiosk. I had been using high-end Sony noise-cancelling headphones for about 8 years and wanted to compare. I did the "taste test" and had to admit that the Bose were superior in both noise cancelling (of simulated engine noise) and audio fidelity (playing music more accurately.) I took the plunge and have been pleased. While they don't fold up as well or compactly as the Sony's, when you switch them on, you enter another world. I've used them on a number of domestic and trans-Atlantic flights and they're terrific. The only downside: with them switched on the red LED catches the attention of flight attendants who want you to turn off all electronic devices for take off -- the time when you most want their noise-cancelling power!

by JG | Jun 15, 2005 1:18:24 PM

I have a pair of Sennheiser PXC250 headphones and the work well for me... (deadens the pain of sharing an office with 4 noisy co-workers and a noisy datacenter) I'm curious to see how well the Bose set works in comparison. But the Sennheiser's are more compact, foldable and the price is about half.

by Lee | Jun 15, 2005 1:41:36 PM

are you using an adapter to connect to treo?
if so, which one, cause it seems quite small, which is what i am looking for

by Andrew | Jun 15, 2005 9:56:38 PM

Rudy & Lee - I am indeed using a 2.5mm adapter which is different than the standard palmOne adapter and which does not come included with the Bose kit (even though it has many others). I received it as an evaluation and I like it so much that I plan to add it to our store as soon as possible.

JG - I also had the opportunity to briefly test (but not compare) the Sennheiser set. They're as good as others in this category but in my opinion still nowhere near as good as the Bose.

Mike, Matthew & Bill - thanks for sharing your experiences!

A. Davis - yes I unfortunately _still_ schlep a laptop around... ;-)

Cheers, A.

by A. Davis | Jun 15, 2005 10:44:39 PM

You should get an OQO... then you can have the best & smallest laptop to go with you best and smallest smartphone. :)

by Lee | Jun 15, 2005 11:20:47 PM


Please, Please , Please add this 2.5 mm adapter (for standard headphones) to your store ASAP

This is a MUCH NEEDED accessory...

I dont like that bulky one for sale on this site.
It puts too much stress on the treo and does not fit when using most cases, pouches...

thanks, Lee

by Shigeya | Jun 16, 2005 11:47:56 AM

Howdy. I'm five days old treonaut;p This place was very useful to decide.

QC2 - great product. I'm using during flight and work so great. Downside is, it's too big to use on airplane. you have to direct your face forward always.

One important tip - The plug is fragile. If you happen to plug QC2 into your seat directly -- be careful don't sit on cable when you back from restroom. You may break connector very easily. If you do, you'll have very comfortable earpad with noise cancellation during flight, which you do not expect:-p

Also note, try at your office. You'll found how your office airconditioner is noisy when you remove the QC2 :-)

by Peter | Jun 17, 2005 11:30:30 AM


I have the same setup, Treo/BoseQuietComfort mps Music (notice I mentioned Treo first).
I just NEED to know where you got the cable with the 2.5mm end on it to fit your treo/bose. The reducer adapter is a pain and cause stress on my treo connection. Please advise.

Thanks in advance and love your site.

Peter Lindholt

by Andrew | Jun 17, 2005 11:34:09 AM

Peter/Lee: the new 2.5mm Treo adapter should be available in our store by the end of next week. I'll write a post about it as soon as it is.

Cheers, A.

by Janric | Jun 23, 2005 4:32:18 AM

Hi Andrew,

First of all, great site! Are the 2.5mm treo adapter from the Bose QC2 available in your site? Thanks.


by Ben | Jun 25, 2005 4:56:50 PM

I have two sets of Bose QC2 headphones and they work very well with my laptop. I purchased several 3.5-to-2.5 adapters to use the headphones with my Treo 600 and Pocket Tunes. In each case, the signal does not come through properly, I get a signal only if the headphone cable is put loosely and part-way into the adapter. If fully inserted, I get only silence.

I do not have this problem with another pair of cheapo stero headphones I have.

Any ideas?



by Josh | Jun 26, 2005 9:44:08 PM

the QC2's are the top of the headphone food chain.

The downside? They look goofy compared to little in-ear headsets. The unfortunate price of acoustic nirvana.

by Ben | Jul 3, 2005 10:02:40 AM

Concerning the mystery of the poor Treo to Bose QC2 connections: It turns out that there is a small switch hidden in the cable to the headphones. You pull out the connector from the headset and switch it to "LOW" and all is well.

Thanks to Danny Wong at Toysoft for helping out.


by Pat Giarrizzo | Jul 31, 2007 10:35:07 AM

BUyer beware... The headsets are the best in the world BUT the earcups wear out very fast for commercial use. $19 a pop with shipping every 5 months. Make a fuss so they change it. Reacurring revenue is what it is all about. NOT word of mouth about a great product like we all tell our friends.

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