So you live in a busy city with lots of noise that works its way into your head as you stroll around, making it hard to relax or focus. You just wish you could make it all go away for a moment without the need of shoving plugs into your ears. Most of the headphones you try don’t filter enough of it out, and you’ve tried to train yourself to mentally tune it all out but nothing seems to be working.
This is where noise-canceling headphones step into the game to help eliminate some of this noise so that you can focus on what you want to focus on. They are great for busy commutes on buses, trains and airplanes. They allow you to tune out that boisterous person sitting a few seats from you that can’t seem to understand the person they are talking to is within whispering range. They are typically great in general, and Bose’s QuietComfort models are some of the best.
We have been playing with Bose’s latest QuietComfort 35 (Series II) headphones, which are a wireless Bluetooth approach to their QC 25 headphones for the most part, and offer a few unique options to go with them. They weigh in at a heavy price but maintain their fight for being one of the best options money can buy.
These headphones are comfortable, flexible and can be used for a number of hours without causing any discomfort. They are quite flexible, which allows them to fit easily around heads of any shape, and the cushioning they use is extremely soft and feels great against your skin. There is also similar cushioning at the underside of the mid section of the band so they rest comfortably on your head.
They twist, bend and prove to be quite resilient to other related tortures. Except for water at least, as these headphones (despite most wireless headphones these days offering some form of resistance) are not water resistant or proof, so although they should be fine for average amounts of sweat and play, they should not be taken into the rain or other situations where they can be sprayed with any form of liquid. It would also most likely be bad for the cushions as well. These are definitely made to be treated with care and used
There are a simple amount of buttons to get familiar with, most of which exist on the right muff body. The outside face of the muff contains a simple switch that turns the headphones on or off. The area of the right muff that ends up positioning to the mid-bottom section of the rear side of your right ear contains three buttons. The outside buttons function as volume and track skip, and the center button acts as your play/pause/answer button. The button of the right muff contains a micro-USB port for charging the headphones with using the provided (or any) micro-USB to USB cable.
The left muff contains a 3.5mm input on the bottom in case you choose to go wired instead of wireless. It does come with a cable to use and sounds great when wired to a device that does not support Bluetooth.
Series II in the name relates to it being the second generation of the headphones where they address a few simple topics. One was the fact that you used to be required to use the Bose Connect app (iOS and Android) to adjust the levels of noise cancelation you want to use. This has been eliminated by adding a new button to the area of the left muff that meets with the mid-bottom section of your left ear. This button can be configured to control your noise cancellation by switching between the three modes of off, low or high. When in off mode, it filters in some of the noise around you, allowing you to hear people without having to take them off (in case you want to appear like you are being rude, without letting them know you really are listening).
The feature of this By default this button is configured for something else though, so if you want it to control your noise cancellation, you have to say so in the app settings first. However, most people may actually find themselves keeping it at its default setting, since by default the button is made to trigger Google Assistant. You can press it once to get a run down on your day, or press and hold it to speak to Google Assistant (just like you would with a Google Home speaker, only you are pressing a button instead of saying “Hey Google” or “Ok Google”. You press and hold until you are done speaking, and then let go of the button to end the command (like a walkie-talkie radio). Ask Google Assistant what time it is, to play a specific channel on Pandora or music in your library, to check the weather or anything else you could accomplish with any Google Assistant support speaker.
If you are an iOS user (iPhone, iPad, etc), you don’t have to feel ignored as it will work with iOS just fine. You simply have to download “Google Assistant” from the Apple Store. The button just won’t work with Siri (which blows in comparison anyway until Apple finally gets around to releasing their Siri supported speakers that will competed against the likes of Google Home and Amazon Alexa). This button pretty much represents the big change between the two series of QC 35 headphones, and proves to be a great decision.
Pairing the headphones to your device is easy and can be done using the normal pairing process in your device’s Bluetooth settings, or you can use NFC (near field communication) if your device supports it. With NFC enabled on your device (phone, tablet, etc), simply tap the device to the right ear muff and hold it there a few seconds to trigger wireless automatic pairing.
As for how these headphones sound, they are amazing. They are similar to a lot of models you’d find from a company like Sennheiser. Most similar to what you would find within the $150-$250 range. It’s the noise cancellation that places such a spotlight on these as it does an amazing job and draining most of your outside noise out, which allows you to focus on what you are listening to. For example, during one of our tests, we were caught listening to some quiet Andrea Bocelli pieces (lossless FLAC format) while riding a local transit bus. These buses can be loud at time, but 95%+ of everything you are listening to is just the music. A peaceful escape with an amazing range that allows you to just melt away.
They don’t compare with a really expensive pair of B&W headphones per say, but they do well as I mentioned, competing against brands like Sennheiser (and Sony, Samsung, Shure and more). They really do sound great and you will only find yourself playing with EQ controls if you have strict music preferences like hip hop or club. For everything else, these have a great response left as is.
Phone conversation quality is also really good and it does a great job with focusing on your voice and not other external sounds you may be around.
You get up to 20 hours of listening, which is also fantastic given that noise canceling in itself takes a little juice to pull off. This will get you through literally any day worth of activities, or if you use them periodically, many uses before having to recharge.
App-wise, the Bose Connect App is available for both iOS and Android devices, and features extended options for your headphones. It helps walking you through pairing the headphones to the device and app, gives you an additional control for volume, allows you to change your noise cancellation settings, gives you your battery life and information on what’s currently playing (as well as a control screen for the media playing as well). You can name your headphones, get a tour of the product, customize the button on your headphones (switching it from Google Assistant to noise cancellation modes or back), set a standby timer, enable or disable the voice prompts, view the manual and more. Although it does prove to have a few features worthy of exploiting, you don’t technically need the app per say, unless you want access to the noise cancellation modes (off, low, high).
The headphones as mentioned come with both the charging cable (no wall adapter though) and a a 3.5mm to 3.5mm (Aux) cable for using them with wired devices. They also come with a semi-hard case to store them with for travel. The headphones twist nicely to fit inside of the case and take up minimal space in the bag, pack or box you are storing them in.
An absolutely fantastic pair of wireless headphones that feature a perfect noise cancelling experience. Great for listeners of all types, especially if you like the quality of range, lack of distortion and the ability to tune everything else around you out. They are comfortable on the head, even after long hours of usage and the ear cushions can easily be replaced. Offering up to 20 hours of usage is fantastic and you can always switch to wired if you need to. The only thing we could complain about is the price, because $349 is a lot of money. When it comes to Bose, you really do have to pay for the name. Thankfully, they perform quite well, which should help you forget about the price over time.
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
Dimensions/weight without the cable
- Headphones:7.1″ H x 6.7″ W x 3.2″ D (8.3 oz)
- Audio cable:47.2″
- USB cable:12″
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
- QC35 wireless headphones II
- USB charging cable
- Audio cable
- Carrying case
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