There’s one thing that seems to be consistently missing from all of the reviews of modern headphones is the quality of the microphones. Lots of time and talk about the quality of the headphones for listening to music and podcasts and so on, but rarely do I see tests of the microphones.
I am a happy user of Bose QC headphones for the noise cancelling features, and in this space Bose still reigns over all of the others I’ve tried. But the microphones are just awful. They pick up everything in the local environment and make it pretty much useless for actually talking to anyone. And if there’s even a tiny bit of wind, just forget about it.
This is one spot where the AirPods stand out from the crowd as they seem to have integrated some noise cancelling on the microphones rather than the headphone portion. I’ve done tests with people who literally can’t hear me while I’m sitting at an outdoor café when using the Bose QC35, but switching to the AirPods makes it seem like I’m in a relatively quiet office setting to people on the other end.
So a shout out to all reviewers out there, please include a section to qualify the microphones since we do sometime actually use these things to talk to people…
In the meantime, I’m stuck swapping from the Bose to the AirPods depending on whether I’m listening to something to talking to someone.