Generally speaking, we like Bose headphones. We can’t count the number of quality headphones we’ve used from the manufacturer, and though we might not often like the price of their models, we usually get exactly what we pay for. With that in mind, we were intrigued by their latest $100 dollar set of in-ear headphones, the Bose IE2.
They offer a unique headphone design that’s not quite in-ear, but not quite anything else, supplying us with a fresh perspective on what Bose is capable of. For our full thoughts on these silicon-studded works of art, check out the full headphone review below.
Design and Comfort
To begin with, we should mention that these are in fact a set of in-ear headphones, though perhaps only loosely defined that way. Previously, Bose has had some struggles breaking into the earbud market, making this entry of particular interest. For starters, the IE2s are not a noise-isolating set, meaning there’s no rubberized tip to form a seal within your ear. Instead, the headphones make use of a plastic design that fits snugly on the ear, directing sound inward to your ear canal.
It’s a unique thought, and though it sounds uncomfortable, we had no problem affixing the headphones to our heads, nor making them comfortable. There is no noise-cancellation here, though, meaning you’ll likely hear a lot of street noise with the IE2. Otherwise, we found the particularly “open” feel of the headphones rather enjoyable, especially when we were out on a stroll, or just lounging around the flat.
Audio Quality and Performance
At the start of our time with the IE2 headphones, we did have to remind ourselves to not expect the world from a set of $100 in-ears, even if they do come with the Bose name attached. However, ours hopes weren’t totally dashed by the performance of the buds, though we weren’t exactly pleased. The bass is surprisingly punchy, thanks to Bose’s addition of another port on the headphones.
This keeps the low-end rumbling and thumping like nobody’s business, but at the sacrifice of quality highs. The treble was typically harsh, and occasionally a bit distorted. Likewise, we also didn’t much appreciate the mids, which were lackluster at best. All in all, it wasn’t an earth-shattering performance, and though we have much to gripe about, the price is fair for the end results.
We’ll put it to you this way. Deciding to go with the IE2 headphones is likely a choice based in their unique design. We loved the way they fit our ears, and though the sound quality is not ideal, we can see where the comfort would snag a buyer.