Bose Around-ear review

Packed with clever technology, these awkwardly-named Bose headphones work remarkably well Tested at £90.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A good buy; definitely worth a try if you want over-ears for inside and out


  • +

    Honest, detailed midrange

  • +

    comfortable and compact to wear

  • +

    quiet to bystanders


  • -

    Slight colouration to upper bass, upper treble can be provoked by harsh tunes

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

These Bose headphones set themselves apart with their deliberately compact and stylish design. The tediously titled ‘Around Ears' are something of a rarity in being full, over-ear hi-fi cans that you can take out and wear in public without, frankly, looking rather silly.

Bose technology to the fore
And part of their compact design – as well as their performance – is due to Bose's clever ‘Triport' technology: essentially, as the name suggests, three small ports on each ear enclosure, and an equalised tonal balance that creates, the company claims, a rich performance that you would normally get only from bigger headphones.

And, as a pair of cans you might use on the train, they work remarkably well. They're incredibly comfortable to wear, don't leak much sound – unlike the open-backed designs here – and offer an accomplished performance with a generous midrange, reasonable detail and acceptable lashings of deep yet punchy bass.

Our only minor problem is with a slight lack of purity to the upper bass and a treble that can be pushed to harshness on occasions.

If you're looking for over-ear cans with which you can take to the streets, this isn't a bad place to start looking.

See all our headphone Best Buys

Follow on Twitter

Join on Facebook

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test