Genuine (left) includes serial number.
Another question I receive on a regular basis is about the serial number example pictured (left). If the headphones pass all the other tests below, but have a serial number like this, it is a European or UK model. The number will still register on the Bose website and is authentic. It also has a red wire under the scrim while the US version has a black wire.
There are numerous sites and youtube videos for help in determining if a QC25 or other Bose headphones are genuine. Here are a few things I found after buying a suspected fake on eBay. Some are obvious, but they are getting more clever and to the untrained eye, they almost look and sound identical. Another problem I find is they are not as heavy as the genuine headphones because they are made with cheaper components.
If you buy a suspected fake on Amazon or eBay, you can easily get your money back by opening a case with the site.
Tips when buying on eBay and Amazon:
- Look at sales history: Have they been selling brand new Bose headphones for a low price?
- Low number of feedback? This is the classic drive by new seller that tries to unload 10-20 pair to unsuspecting buyers and most people have no idea they are being duped.
- Are they based in the US? I see brand new Bose headphones shipping from China or Japan on these sales channels constantly. Do not fall for the trap!
Genuine (left) is more of a matte finish, while the fake is glossy.
Genuine cable (left) has a blue-green inlay and is clearly a more finished product
Genuine case (left) has a more defined stamp and the airline adapter is more of a matte finish compared the the low quality stamp and glossy airline adapter (right).
Note: The Bose Special Edition Black does not have the blue-green inlay on the cable, but has the better quality plastics like the left picture.