Review: With Bose QC 35, You Will Never Worry About Noise
Can premium price get you quality noise-cancelling headphone?
It’s about damn time, Bose. With the competition having brought wireless noise cancelling headphones to market years ago, the audio company took its own sweet time releasing what a lot of people have been waiting for, the QuietComfort 35.
The QC25s are the gold standard for active noise cancelling headphones at the moment, so do the QC 35s live up to expectations?
- Best-in-class noise cancellation, now wireless
- Comfortable for extended use
- Excellent battery life
- Portable design
- Broad soundstage and acceptable sound quality
- Conservative styling
- No aptX support
- No dedicated track skip buttons
Despite the QC 35 featuring all new wireless circuitry, Bose hasn’t messed around with the simple, understated and business-class design of the QC25, and it’s difficult to tell the two apart unless you specifically look for the additional control buttons on the right earcup.
Like their predecessors, the QC 35s are solidly built, and take the rough-and-tumble of flight travel and everyday use equally in their stride. When you’re not using them, they fold up into a relatively compact case for transport. Yet, what they ostensibly lack in style, they more than make up in comfort, and the QC 35s are extremely comfortable for extended duration use, and don’t feel too heavy on the head.
Getting going with this pair of cans is simply a matter of switching the headphones to pairing mode if you have an iPhone or tapping your NFC-enabled Android phone on the right earcup.
The QC 35 can maintain two Bluetooth connections simultaneously, say to your laptop and your phone, and the connection was rock solid with no connection drops if we walked around even in a large room.
But what you’re really paying top dollar for is the QC 35’s noise cancellation, and boy, it does not disappoint! Switch it on and it’s like a blanket of silence which envelopes you, no matter whether you’re on a flight, on the metro or on a busy streetside.
Bose’s proprietary noise cancellation tech monitors ambient noise using microphones and sends out an inverse signal to cancel out the sound before it hits your ears.
Without all that added external noise, you can listen to music at much lower volumes without having to “overpower” the outside noise. And they sound great while doing so, to the extent that it’s safe to say the popular “no highs, no lows, must be Bose” criticism is downright unfair when you’re listening with the QC 35.
The bass is pleasant, there’s a good soundstage, and vocals and acoustics are distinct – all in all, audio that all but the most pedantic audiophiles will be okay with.
Unlike a number of noise-cancellation headphones I’ve seen, battery life on the QC 35 is strong enough to last about 20 hours of play time over Bluetooth. They charge conveniently over microUSB, and if you use the included cable, Bluetooth automatically switches off, doubling battery life which is now dedicated to powering the noise cancellation feature.
It’s a bit of a shame that the QC 35s arent compatible with aptX, a standard for higher-quality audio streaming over Bluetooth which is supported by the S7 and the LG G5, if you’re used to listening to higher bitrate audio. Maybe it’s just a software update away if and when the iPhone begins to support this standard, but the omission is puzzling even though it wont impact most folks.
And while I’m nitpicking, here are some slight niggles. There are no dedicated track skip buttons – you have to double or triple press the play button to skip forward or backward. No water resistance either, so not one for the gym.
And the Bose Connect app is a bit of an overkill, worth it only if you have a long list of Bluetooth devices that you intend to juggle the QC 35s in between.
Why Buy It?
If you’re willing to spend Rs 29,363 on a pair of headphones, you could pick up a lot of better sounding audio gear if sound quality alone is your deciding factor. You don’t buy the QC 35 on that count, for sure.
But if it’s the best noise cancellation you seek, look no further – this is the best pair of NC cans money can buy, now with the added convenience of one less cable. You won’t miss the cable one bit.
(Tushar Kanwar is a technology columnist and commentator and has been contributing for the past 15 years to India’s leading newspapers and magazines. He can be reached on Twitter: @2shar)
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