Have you ever wondered what are the best noise cancelling headphones? If so you probably heard about Bose headphones first. Bose is the king of noise cancelling but competition is getting more fierce all the time. Read on to see what I make of the latest model in my Bose QuietComfort 35 review.
I have always been a bit of a hi-fi snob when it comes to the Bose brand. Their other “hi-fi” products have always seem a bit gimmicky to me. However the Bose reputation when it comes to noise cancelling headphones cannot be denied. So it was time to give them the Dynamic Headroom review treatment.
Unboxing the Bose QuietComfort 35
The Bose QuietComfort 35 (or QC35 to their friends) come in a nice rugged black zip case. The headphones fold down neatly in order to fit in the case. Included in the box is a USB charging cable, detachable headphone cable and an adaptor that can be used on airplanes (when you have that odd double socket for headphones found on older airplanes).
The QC35 are smartly styled albeit conservatively, with pretty much all black everywhere. Suits me fine, if I want bling I’ll wear a gold chain. Out of the box, the QuietComfort 35 already have plenty of charge so I can begin to use them straight away on a 9 hour flight between London and Las Vegas. These are “over ear” headphones.
I imagine most people who buy noise cancelling cans do so because they intend to use them on an airplane. Happily, I can report that the Bose QuietComfort 35 are excellent performers in this environment. Easily 95% of the airplane engine noise is cut out completely. The effect is quite startling at first if you are not used to it.
Since that flight I have also tried the QC35 on a train, at home with the microwave running and in an office. In each environment the background noise was almost completely cut out. The Bose excel at removing the constant, droning noise you get from things like airplane engines, air conditioning, car engines or microwaves.
Other sounds like voices, doors slamming or any other sudden sharp noise is not quelled quite so much. No big deal though. The noise cancelling here is truly amazing.
The big benefit is not only isolation from the outside world but this is also better for your ears. If you imagine getting off a long haul flight for a moment: I always get a buzzing in my ears, i.e. tinnitus from flights. This is not just from airplane noise but also from having to turn up regular earphones so loud when watching a movie or listening to music. After a 9 hour flight to Vegas, my ears had no buzzing at all! I was sold.
Listening to the Bose QuietComfort 35
Noise cancelling aside, how do they sound? Well, pretty damn good actually. On my flight, I was hearing new sounds in music that was well known to me. They sound neutral, even-handed with no particular range of the frequency spectrum being given preference over another.
There is a reassuring precision to the way high frequency sounds are conveyed. Detail levels are good and it sounds sufficiently sophisticated to my ears. Bass response is good too – I am always relieved when headphones don’t go overboard with bass (hello Beats!) – the Bose does it just right. You can hear bass lines chugging away nicely even at modest volume levels.
The QuietComfort 35 can be used with Bluetooth (not apt-X) and they paired easily with my phone. I went for a walk while wearing the Bose with my phone in my jeans pocket and the Bluetooth connection was solid.
Sound quality improves markedly if the headphone cable is used in place of Bluetooth, this is to be expected without apt-X. An added benefit is that battery life is better without Bluetooth so it is worth going wired when you can.
I’m happy to use the Bose QC35 for regular listening on headphones at home and not just for noise cancelling scenarios. I imagine there are a number of headphone aficionados out there who would disagree, but the majority of us would be happy with the QC35 as our cans of choice.
Bose QC35 in use
Battery life with the Bose QC35 is really good. Using Bluetooth with noise cancelling turned on you will easily get 20 hours of battery time. They are quick to charge too using the supplied USB cable – note that there is no mains adaptor so will need to charge off of your laptop or some other device with a USB port.
Going wireless with Bluetooth enabled, the noise cancelling feature is always turned on. When wired, you have the option of turning off noise cancelling. In this way you can still use the Bose QC35 even when the battery is completely drained.
These are very comfortable headphones to wear, so QuietComfort is not just a clever name. I had them on for 9 hours straight on my flight to Vegas and had no earache or discomfort otherwise. In fact I even kept them on (with no sound playing) so that I could get some sleep on the flight – the noise cancelling lulling my brain into thinking I am somewhere nice and peaceful!
The only time I would not use the QC35 is when walking because of the “inner head” noise you get. If you wear over ear headphones and then eat, talk or walk around you can usually hear what it sounds like from inside your head. The “thud thud thud” of my footsteps when walking with these on was uncomfortable. This isn’t a criticism of the QC35 so much as with any over-ear headphones. If you are planning on doing exercise with headphones then you are better off with in-ear style.
It is fair to say that I am a big fan of the Bose QuietComfort 35. They are still the best noise cancelling headphones you can get. Add to that great sound quality, comfort, battery life and you are on to a winner.
I can now say that I am a fan of Bose, no more snobbery! Thumbs up from Dynamic Headroom.