Strange, possibly unconscious events: I blogged about Bose introducing the new in-ear phones and asking for feedback in a big newspaper ad. I was curious if this was more than the minimum level of "co-creation" - you know, asking for customer feedback with no follow up from the company.
Then I lost my iPod earbuds, or so I thought. I took them to the dentist so I could zone out while I got my teeth whitened. They didn't come home with me.
Long story short, I bought a pair of the Bose in-ears. And here's my feedback (which I submitted via the online form):
I want to love these in-ears (can't really call them "headphones" anymore, can we?). I have alsways liked and respected the Bose brand from when only the rich kids could afford them in high school to the little pair of Bose shelf speakers that sit on my desk right now. I also loved the impression I got from your newspaper ad. Not just that you are asking for feedback, but that your engineers are sound enthusiasts and that until you cracked the code, you were not going to release earbuds under the Bose brand.
I like being around enthusiasts - the positive energy is such a great antidote to what too often ails this world. But back to the product.
1. The sound is good. I ended up finding my iPod earbuds today. I did sequential listening tests. (I had done the same with the Apple brand ones and an earlier, less expensive Sony pair and the Apple was far better. So, no need to compare with these Sony's) For the test, I listened to AFI's Miss Murder, Social D's Don't Take Me For Granted, Neil Young's Tonight's the Night and a little bit of British Sea Power's Men Together Today.
The Bose sound a little better - a little more distinction. I can hear the slight snare(?) drum at the beginning of Tonight's the Night. BUT I have to crank the volume a bit with the Bose to reach the same volume level. I am hoping that volume loss doesn't reduce the sense of presence.
2. The wire feels more stiff and possibly brittle to me than the Apple. I always like the suppleness of the Apple wire. Perhaps the Bose wire will soften with use.
3. The big deal: THE PLUG! It is straight and bulky. It adds 1-2" to the length of the device. Why not use an "L" shape? That would help keep the profile of the device down. I am a little concerend that that thing is gonna snap one day.
4. The ear pieces come in three sizes. I tried the mediums and they seem fine. I don't want to break open the packs of the large and small just to see if there is a difference. The obvious question I didn't think about when buying is how will I get replacement ear pieces? I know they will go before the life of the product comes to a close.
5. The case is nice. Too big to slip in your pocket comfortably but I like the magnet closure.
I am happy I bought them. Even though they are not lightyears ahead of the Apple earbuds, I think I can detect better sound. I hope I have been helpful with my feedback. Part of buying them was to be part of making a product better and knowing that I am trying to help other sound enthusiasts create a better experience.