Bose Bluetooth Headphones
Last year I bought myself a pair of Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Bluetooth Headphones. After 6 months of usage, I feel like it's time that I finally review them, having used them enough :))
Let me first say my track record with all of my previous wired earphones: none of them lasted more then 8-9 months. On all of them the cable would give up somewhere towards the plug, even though one had some fancy shmancy Kevlar reinforced cable. Nope, still managed to break the wires inside it, even though I tried to take care of it and not just dump it into my pocket, but folding them neatly. Nope, they still died after less than a year.
For a long time I didn't really consider using headphones on the street, because I thought it would look weird to walk around like that and because it might be uncomfortable if I had to do any running or biking.
But then I saw my technical lead using the above headphones for quite a while and they always looked really nice and practical, so I started doing some research into Bluetooth headphones and I ended up buying the same model. I saw plenty of people wearing various heaphones on the street, so I got over the self-awareness bit and decided that I wouldn't be running or biking with them, so that problem would be solved (and because trains in Switzerland are on time, I don't have to run after them).
I pretty much fell in love with them right away when I tried them on for the first time in a Bose shop in New York. They felt extremly comfortable and sounded great, so I immediately bought them.
And I don't regret the decision at all, after 6 months. They sound amazing, better than any audio equipment I've had before (fine, that's a really low bar, but still). They're very comfortable even after multiple hours of non-stop use. Any other headphones I had would make my earlobes hurt after 1-2 hours of usage.
Battery life is pretty good. They last about one day (8 hours of usage). Considering that my phone lasts a day too, that's fine. It means that I have to recharge them every night, so I need a lot of cables in my home, but that's something I'm willing to tolerate until the future arrives and brings ubiquitous wireless charging in its bags.
On the left headphone you have the controller. It includes a button to answer calls, volume up/down, a power off switch and an microUSB slot for charging. Pressing the call button and the volume down button at the same time enables Bluetooth pairing mode. This controlling unit houses the battery and can be removed, exposing an audio port, where you can insert a normal audio cable, for when the battery runs out and you have to keep going. I never used that.
Now, to my gripes with this headphone. First off, it supports being connected to only two devices at the same time. First world problem I know, but I have a phone, a tablet and a laptop. The phone and the tablet autoconnect to it, and whenever I want to use it with my laptop (which is more rarely), I have to figure out where my tablet is (usually in my bag in the opposite corner of the room) and disconnect it explicitly from the headphones.
Another problem is that sometimes, the connection is flaky. With my Macbook I had absolutely no problem with it, but when I was using it with a Bluetooth dongle with my desktop computer running Linux, the connection would randomly drop roughly once every half an hour. And the annoying part was that I had to restart the bluetooth driver in Linux and then reconnect. I guess the year of Linux on desktop still hasn't come yet. Also, sometimes, but not always, I get some issues when connecting to my phone, running Android Marshmallow. I don't know exactly why, but sometimes when I connect, the first couple of minutes have random drops in audio. The phone shows that it's still playing, it's just that the headphones don't output any sound. A combination of restarting the headphone and restarting the audio stream on the phone eventually fixes the problem and then I don't have any problems, it plays for hours on end.
All in all, I love these headphones and I strongly recommend them. I've used them extensively while traveling, tossing them in my backpack when not using them, sleeping in planes while wearing them and so on. No problems, they still work perfectly. Bose doesn't make them anymore, they released a version II. I guess I'll try them out in a couple of years.