Bose, long the standard for noise canceling headsets, has replaced the current A10 model with the A20 Aviation Headset, priced at $1,095. Without a Bluetooth link to your cell phone, it is $995.
It runs for 45 hours on two AA batteries, or can be hard-wired into the aircraft electrical system. Connecting to a cell phone is as easy as pushing a button on the headset control module. Bose touts the headset as having greater noise-canceling capability and greater comfort than its predecessor. Bose will no longer sell the A10.
During a demonstration for the press, it did appear to have slightly greater noise canceling ability than the A10, also provided to reporters for comparison. A darkened tent theater was filled with amplified airplane engine noise for the taxi and in-flight phases. The A20 is also said to have greater passive noise-canceling ability when the noise circuitry is turned off. Bose claims there is one-third less clamping force on the user’s head from the headset.
There is also an auxiliary audio input jack on the control module for adding music or other audio. A three-way slider switch controls audio mixing. The switch allows all audio sources to be heard equally, or the audio input can be muted when other audio inputs are active.
It weighs less than 12 ounces and comes with a new carrying case and aux-in cable adapter.