Toss up: noise-cancelling headphones
Audio-Technica QuietPoint ANC7b (left, $249); Bose QuietComfort 15 ($399).
Want to tune in to your music or video and tune out of the world around you?
If so, you need a good set of noise-cancelling headphones.
Amazing digital wizardry is inside these headphones, which actually ''listen'' to, and then filter out, the background sounds around you. It's especially effective for reducing the volume of chatter, clatter and constant mind-numbing drone of aircraft engines or equally distracting household noises.
That's why many people plug them into a tablet, laptop, iPod or video console while at a desk or on the couch; or even into an aircraft's in-seat entertainment system. They're just as practical for the train or bus commute.
We tested the popular Bose QuietComfort 15 against Audio-Technica's QuietPoint ANC7b challenger. They share key features such as a fold-flat design, battery power that's good for 30 hours, standard audio jacks, plugs for airline sockets and a durable carry case.
They are both superb at smacking down ambient noise but the Bose combines greater noise cancellation with crisp top-end response and rich bass, which audiophiles will relish.
The Audio-Technica ANC7b would be fairly impressive in their own right but against the Bose product they are clearly in second place. We also noticed some sound ''leaking'' from the Audio-Technica headphones, which would be annoying to people nearby on the train, bus or sofa.
Note, however, that the Bose headphones don't work at all if the battery runs out - not even as regular headphones.
The Audio-Technica headphones are good value but for all-round quality and performance we would shell out an extra $150 for the Bose QuietComfort 15.
BOSE QuietComfort 15
Audio-Technica QuietPoint ANC7b