QC15 vs. QC3

What's the Difference?

The QC15 and QC3 are both noise-canceling headphones produced by Bose, but they have a few key differences. The QC15 is an over-ear model, while the QC3 is an on-ear model. This means that the QC15 provides better noise isolation due to its larger ear cups, but the QC3 is more compact and portable. Additionally, the QC15 uses AAA batteries for power, while the QC3 has a rechargeable battery. Both models offer excellent noise cancellation and sound quality, but the choice between them ultimately depends on personal preferences regarding comfort and portability.


Release Year20102008
Active Noise CancellationYesYes
Battery Life35 hours20 hours
Weight196 grams208 grams
Color OptionsBlack, SilverBlack

Further Detail


Bose is a renowned brand in the audio industry, known for its high-quality noise-canceling headphones. Two popular models from Bose are the QC15 and QC3. Both headphones offer exceptional noise cancellation technology, but they differ in various aspects. In this article, we will compare the attributes of QC15 and QC3 to help you make an informed decision when choosing the right headphones for your needs.

Design and Comfort

The design of the QC15 and QC3 headphones is quite distinct. The QC15 features a larger over-ear design, providing excellent passive noise isolation even without the active noise cancellation turned on. The ear cups are well-padded and comfortable, allowing for extended listening sessions without discomfort. On the other hand, the QC3 has a more compact on-ear design, which some users may find more portable and lightweight. The ear cups are also padded, but the smaller size may result in less comfort during long listening sessions.

Both models have adjustable headbands to ensure a secure fit. However, the QC15 offers more flexibility in terms of size adjustment, making it suitable for a wider range of head sizes. The QC3, while still adjustable, may not fit as comfortably on larger heads. Overall, if comfort and passive noise isolation are your priorities, the QC15 may be the better choice.

Noise Cancellation Technology

When it comes to noise cancellation technology, both the QC15 and QC3 excel. Bose is known for its industry-leading active noise cancellation, and these models are no exception. The QC15 utilizes advanced microphones to detect ambient noise and then generates an equal and opposite signal to cancel it out. This technology effectively blocks out low-frequency sounds, such as airplane engines or traffic noise.

The QC3, on the other hand, employs a similar noise cancellation mechanism but in a more compact form. While it may not provide the same level of noise cancellation as the QC15, it still does an impressive job of reducing unwanted background noise. If you frequently travel or find yourself in noisy environments, both models will significantly enhance your listening experience.

Sound Quality

When it comes to sound quality, both the QC15 and QC3 deliver exceptional performance. Bose is known for its balanced sound signature, providing clear and accurate audio reproduction across various genres. The QC15 offers a slightly more immersive soundstage due to its over-ear design, allowing for better instrument separation and depth.

The QC3, while not as spacious in terms of soundstage, still provides a rich and detailed audio experience. The on-ear design may result in slightly less bass impact compared to the QC15, but the difference is minimal. Ultimately, the sound quality of both models is excellent, and it comes down to personal preference regarding the design and fit that suits your listening style.

Battery Life and Connectivity

One crucial aspect to consider when choosing between the QC15 and QC3 is battery life. The QC15 operates on a single AAA battery, providing up to 35 hours of continuous use. This is a significant advantage for those who frequently travel or use their headphones for extended periods without access to charging options. The QC3, on the other hand, has a built-in rechargeable battery that offers approximately 20 hours of playback time.

In terms of connectivity, both models feature a standard 3.5mm audio jack, allowing you to connect to various devices such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops. However, the QC15 also includes an airline adapter, making it convenient for in-flight entertainment systems. The QC3, while lacking the airline adapter, offers a more compact and portable design, which may be preferable for users who prioritize mobility.

Price and Conclusion

Price is often a significant factor when deciding between two products. The QC15, being an older model, is generally available at a lower price point compared to the QC3. However, it's important to consider the features and attributes that matter most to you. If comfort, passive noise isolation, and longer battery life are your priorities, the QC15 is an excellent choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a more compact and portable design, with a slightly shorter battery life, the QC3 may be the better option.

In conclusion, both the QC15 and QC3 are exceptional noise-canceling headphones from Bose. They offer top-notch noise cancellation technology, impressive sound quality, and comfortable designs. Your decision should be based on your specific needs and preferences, whether it's the over-ear comfort and longer battery life of the QC15 or the on-ear portability and compactness of the QC3. Regardless of your choice, you can't go wrong with either model when it comes to enjoying your favorite music or immersing yourself in a peaceful listening experience.

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