In this review, we’ve taken a look at the earbuds with the best microphones. Even though there were many models that could’ve been included in this contest, we’ve chosen the QuietComfort 20, SE215, and Soundsport. Let’s see what they have to offer.
Round 1 – Microphone quality
First of all, let’s begin by saying that each of the three earbud models features premium-quality microphone integrations.
All of them allow you to receive and make calls, they do not lag, so the main criteria for differentiating them is how easy and efficient is the way they should be used. Some people rely on this feature a lot, so it’s imperative that they can reach it rapidly.
The Bose’s QuietComfort 20 packs a 4-button remote controller which basically governs the volume, music control, the access to voice recognition applications and, of course, the microphone. Basically, you can use the microphone in the easiest way possible.
Shure’s SE215 also packs an inline remote controller for the microphone usage and voice commands. Since there aren’t as many usable (switchable) features as there are on the QC 20, it’s a bit easier to use.
The Soundsport packs a microphone of similar quality in comparison to SE215, but it’s not as advanced as the one equipped to the QC 20. It’s fairly easy to use, but due to the fact that it’s powered by a smaller driver unit, it’s not as reliable. This being said, the QuietComfort 20 has the best microphone, but the SE215 has a microphone that is the easiest to use.
Round 2 – Comfort rating
Earbuds have a reputation of being the least comfortable type in the entire family of headphones. However, Bose and Shure’s models are exempted from this ‘rule’.
The QuietComfort 20 was specifically designed for comfort (it’s even in its name). The Stay Hear+ ear tips on these buds are exceptionally gentle, and the silicone molds to the ear of the wearer quite nicely and easily.
Shure’s SE215 comes outfitted with a pair of plushy foam tips which are also covered in silicone. The profile of the tips is a bit slimmer in comparison to the Quiet Comfort 20, which means that they’re slightly more comfortable to wear, but also slightly less stable and more prone to falling out.
Lastly, the SoundSport features a similar design to QC 20 in terms of the buds, but they’re a bit bulkier. Since these earbuds are primarily meant for runners, their level of stability exceeds their level of comfort they provide.
The winner of this round is Bose’s Quiet Comfort 20 as it offers a great balance between comfort and stability.
Round 3 – Sound quality
In order to efficiently use the microphone, you need to hear the person on the other side, so sound quality is quite an important factor of every earbud model.
Even though it’s a relatively old model (released way back in 2015), the Quiet Comfort 20 packs advanced technologies that afford it superb sound quality.
It features the TriPort tech, as well as an integrated active EQ which delivers full-spectrum, no-latency, zero-distortion sound. Overall, these earbuds are perfect for listening to music, so they should fare quite well for conversations too.
Secondly, the Shure SE215 is a bit bass-heavy but still sounds perfectly clear and transparent. These earbuds are also perfect for casual music listening.
Lastly, SoundSport earbuds are pretty decent in terms of sound quality. They don’t have any type of audio enhancements unlike the QC 20 our SE215, though. This round goes to the QC 20 simply because of the Active equalizer feature.
Round 4 – Price
Price is usually the defining factor. Some people don’t mind spending a fortune on boutique earphones, others simply want the convenience they offer.
On another hand, you actually can judge a book by its covers in this scenario – you can at least formulate an educated guess on how certain earbuds perform based on how much they cost. However, are they worth the money?
The Bose Quiet Comfort 20 is the most expensive of the three. However, it packs TriPort tech and an active EQ, ultra-stable and comfortable Stay Hear+ tips, excellent connectivity, and they generally sound amazing.
As for the Shure’s SE215, these earbuds are generally pretty inexpensive, although far from being cheap. Because they’re among the most comfortable earbud models on the market they surely do pack quite a punch for the money in terms of value. However, some people find them too bassy, otherwise, they’re absolutely perfect.
Lastly, the SoundSport costs substantially less than the QC 20. It’s a budget earbud model that offers a wide array of benefits, affordability being one of them.
Out of the three, the choice is rather simple. If you’re on a tight budget, either Soundsport or SE215 would do. If you don’t really care much about the price tag, the highest-value option is the Quiet Comfort 20.
Let’s wrap it up and decide the victor of this roundup. The criteria used in the evaluation of each earbud model’s performance involve the microphone quality, comfort rating, sound quality, and price, so let’s get to it.
The Bose’s Soundsport has a great microphone, they’re pretty comfortable to wear, they sound decently good, and they’re generally pretty cheap. However, in terms of overall performance and quality, they pale in comparison to the other two models.
Shure’s SE215 offers a great balance between comfort and stability, the microphone they come equipped with is superb, the inline controls are easy to use, and they sound way above average in comparison to similarly priced models.
However, our vote goes to the Bose’s QuietComfort 20. Even though this particular model costs quite a bit, it has the most advanced EQ, exceptionally easy onboard volume and mic controls, it sounds amazingly well, and the Stay Hear+ tips are basically an improved version of what the Soundsport features.