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Bose QuietComfort 20

Noise-canceling earbuds have an advantageous "aware mode" so you can stay alert

by Karen Day in Tech on 04 June 2013

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Today Bose gave new application to the phrase "turn on, tune in, drop out" by announcing the QuietComfort 20—a pair of snug-fitting, noise-canceling earbuds with an ultra-convenient new feature. The earbuds not only allow you to completely disconnect from your surroundings, but through "aware mode," you can now easily tune back in to the world around you whenever necessary with a quick tap of a button.

This is Bose's first-ever set of earbuds to offer a noise-canceling function and one of the first on the market to offer a way to be able to switch from a fully immersive, noise reduction mode to a setting that targets and reduces select low frequencies so you can hear your music and also the sounds around you. Frequent travelers and daily commuters will thoroughly benefit from this—anyone who has dealt with flight or train delays knows how annoying it is to want to listen to music while waiting, but can't for fear of missing important announcements. Gone is the game of constantly removing your earbuds to hear external information. Simply tap the button on the side of the Y-connector on the headphones (which also houses the volume control) and the mode goes from noise-cancelling to a mode in which you can hear both your music and everything else in your proximity.

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Aware mode increases the versatility of the QuietComfort 20 earbuds, so Bose specifically engineered the headphones for on-the-go, everyday use. We tested them against 95 decibels of external sound and couldn't hear a peep over our music, despite feeling the reverberation. Between the fit, the remarkable ability to eliminate outside noise and the invaluable aware mode feature, Bose's new earbuds are a must-have for anyone who wants to stay tuned-in to what is going on around them while dropping—and jamming—out to their favorite welcome sound.

The QuietComfort 20 and 20i—an iPhone and iPad specific set—will be available this summer and will sell from Bose for $299.

Images courtesy of Bose

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