The Outstanding Bose Quiet Comfort 35 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphone

"Value packed" is not a word I typically use to describe a headphone. I really thought the Beyerdynamic DTX 350 m was great for the money; definitely a good value...but not packed with value. Sennheiser's HD 600 is an extraordinary value...but no carry case; doesn't have a mic/remote; isn't useful portably. Still a great headphone and an extraordinary value, but packed with value? Okay, maybe. HD 800 S? Great headphone, but no friggen way anything over $700 is "value packed." The Quiet Comfort 35, on the other hand? Oh yeah, this thing will be a delightful traveling companion with technological, comfort, convenience, and solid sound quality characteristics abundantly.

The Bose Quiet Comfort 35 ($349.95) is an around the ear, sealed, noise canceling, Bluetooth wireless headphone, and is available in silver and black livery. The look is modern, understated, and elegantly simple.

Bose_QuietComfort35_Photo_COlors

The QC35 is of mixed construction; mostly plastics and synthetic materials. But the materials appear to be of excellent quality. The integrated headband pad is velour covered and the pad is soft foam; it does touch mainly in one spot at the top of my head, but weight is low and I found no discomfort there in long listening.

Earpads appear to be of a very, very nice grade of protein leather; pads are soft memory foam. Ear capsules are fairly modest in size, but pad openings are a generous 57mm X 40mm, made to feel even larger due to the opening behing the pads being even bigger than the opening itself. Drivers are angled leaving more space at the back of the cup for your pinna. I found these a uniquely comfortable headphone given its outside dimensions. I found this headphone very light, secure on the head, and remarkably comfortable.

The QC35 does have cup rotation and folding feature that allow it to fit compactly in the included, hard-side, clam-shell, zipper-closure carry case. (Man, that's a lot of hyphens.) Within the case is a nifty socket that holds the airline adapter with folding extra connector.

The included cable for passive wired headphone use when the battery runs dry is a proper 48" long, and is terminated at headphone end with a 2.5mm TRS plug, and at the player end with a 3.5mm TRS plug. It is inconceivable to me that they have not put a one-button remote/mic on the cable so you could take calls on a dead battery. But maybe I don't think that word means what I think it does. The QC35 can only be used as a headset for your phone when operating in Bluetooth mode.

The included USB Micro-A to type-A cable for charging is a very short 12" long.

Controls
Controls on the QC35 are simple, ergonomic, and effective...piece of cake. The three-position slider power switch is positioned at the top, outside face of the right ear capsule. To the left is off; in the center is powered on/noise canceling active; a momentary push to the right will activate Bluetooth. NFC pairing is also included.

Three in-line buttons on the bottom rear of the right capsule permit playback and headset controls. Buttons have good tactile identification and operate as expected. Below these buttons are two LEDs to indicate battery/charge and Bluetooth status. Oddly, the volume control on the headphones when run active on the wire has no effect; acoustic gain is fixed; volume is adjustable on the player only with the wire.

The QC35 uses voice prompts that can be changed to other languages. Battery status is announced on start-up—more makers should do that. Full description of the controls can be found in the on-line manual.

Worthy of note at this point is that the QC35 has outstanding Bluetooth range. I could walk to any room on one floor without a hiccup; and I could go further into the back yard, downstairs, or garage than any other BT headset I've tried.

There is also a smartphone app to go along with the QC35 (iOS and Android). It doesn't really do anything but allow you to manually switch Bluetooth pairing to other available devices. Not recommended.

Editor's Note: It has subsequently come to light that this app will transmit your personal listening data to third party data miners. Read more here.

Time to give it a listen...

COMPANY INFO
Bose Corporation
The Mountain
Framingham, MA 01701
1-508-879-7330
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
gibtg's picture

Thanks for braving the elements to give us a review Tyll!

OldRoadToad's picture

Makes an excellent product. Thanks for the review and I suppose it is now time to start saving up for a pair. I can see your point on the lack of a mic on the cord and perhaps Bose will listen and include one by the time I have the money in hand.

Nice beard, brother!

davidmelis's picture

Thank you Tyll. I have been checking your site every single day since Bose announced the QC35 headphones. Now the review is here

Why am I so anxiously? I suffered a brain injury and thus am physically dependent on Noise Cancelling headphones in my busy household. I use the Bose QC15 and the in-ear QC20's most of the day and everyday. I did not upgrade when the 25s came out based on your recommendation that they were just a slight upgrade. So, I am curious (Bluetooth aside) how do they compare? In your written review you mentioned the differences in noise canceling db, but no other comparisons. By your enthusiasm in the video I assume they sound better and are more comfortable. Also, I went back and re-read your reviews on older models. You had a problem with the base on the QC 15's but on these you had praise for the base.

When using the headphones I am relegated to a chair so Bluetooth is not necessarily a bonus for my sitaution. Also, I find my QC15's to be very comfortable and can easily wear them all day. So, my only consideration in upgrading is sound quality. In your opinion, Is it worth the upgrade based on this one factor? Thanks Tyll. I really value your opinion. :)

Tyll Hertsens's picture
It's a solid incremental upgrade, but probably not imperative. If you're happy with the QC15, I wouldn't fret too much...unless you've got a healthy wallet.
tony's picture

We've had the Bose stuff in our little Airplanes since,hmm, the 1990s. Or has it been even earlier than that?

I like the idea of the headphone already having it's own Amplifier and Eq. ( sort of like the Phonak system ) , a Amp mounted on the HD600 headband would seem a logical design ( maybe even include a little DAC , something for JDS to think about ).

I feel certain that we'll be seeing these QC35s in our Airports, the older models are everywhere a person looks.

Still, I have a tiny zippered pouch with two pair of Etymotics and a variety of tip sizes, I can share music with any stranger I'm sitting next to, they're amazed at how LOUD the Airplane actually is when they have to talk to someone, they'll quickly return to installing the little etys.

Folks are amazed and pleased by Noise Cancelling, they feel High-tech owning the stuff but I don't have any room for the devices in my tight traveling kit, I have to carry my Etys in a shirt pocket.

Video quality of this review is 720p, lens focus is quite good, stop action is not at all blurred ( like 720i would be ). 1080p would be better and not at all more expensive! The GoPro people offer a 4K camera for very little money. I'm not complaining, these Innerfidelty reviews are the best stuff in Consumer Audio.

Another excellent review,

Tony in Michigan

ednaz's picture

...Which you then dashed when the poop was macerated by the fan. I've bought noise cancelling headphones since the first ones I can remember seeing, by Sony, back in the 90s. They've all worked, kind of, and it was nice to be able to listen to music instead of jet engines.

But while I could listen to music, it always sounded off a bit. They gave me the impression that I was hearing a high frequency tone - almost a cymbal ring - mixed into the music just below the surface, and the weird sibilance you mention. I actually spent time researching the technology to see if there was some kind of "reference tone" used in the NC process that would explain what I heard. They are good enough for lawn mowing, or a short flight, but for long flights I tended to have them on but without music after a bit. Your opening gave me hope that someone figured this out and made it go away. And then the fan turned on...

I stopped even trying new NC headphones at the QC15. A set of Etys back in the late 90s with a set of custom tips became my new defense against going deaf from airplanes, then moved to full custom IEs. Guess I'm stuck there for a bit more. I like headphone sound characteristics better than in-ears, but music's my drug of choice, and NC headphones tamper with my drug in an unpleasant way.

neo's picture

I know ,apples to oranges, but how would the Active Bose compare to the PM3. I travel by plane a couple of times a year and sometimes use public transport.
The PM3 should have better SQ, but the Bose seems tempting as well. I'm also treble sensitive...The original ath-m50's treble was a nightmare

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I'd say the PM3 is quite a bit better, and if you don't need the cans primarily for noise canceling, then you are better off with passive isolation and cleaner sound.
neo's picture

Thanks for your help. Btw keep the beard

tony's picture

Jude's got some MSB headphone gear and their Sales Manager.

Are you also in line for this Roll-out?

$100,000 ++ headphone stuff needs a Tyll Review!

Maybe even that Swiss Goldmund stuff, which is also super-expensive. ( I heard the Swiss Stuff last year, in Europe, in a Managers Home, he owns the whole darn Goldmund system but is only allowed to listen to headphones, poor man ).

Tony in Michigan

yuriv's picture

I tried a cheapo headset cable with a microphone and play/pause and volume up/down buttons that I bought for an ATH-M40x. It works well with the QC35; the mic works and it controls an iPhone just fine. With a simple 3-conductor adapter, I'm sure you can even use the QC25 cable with the QC35.

Still, it would have been nice to have such a cable in the box, if that's what you meant. But wired headset mode isn't impossible with the QC35.

Phoniac's picture

Hear hear - the good old Loudness is back. It worries me a bit that this can not be turned off. Anyway, I did not find any mention about the pöhone's self-noise. All BT headphones on tbe market suffer from a constant low volume noise, a bit above the hearing threshold, some more, some less. How is the QC35 in this regard?

Faz's picture

I was wondering how these compared to the Sennheiser Wireless Momentum for sound quality and comfort.

brause's picture

I own a pair of Q15 from 2010. I can't imagine this headphone sounds much different. I also own a pair of Audio Technica ATH-ANC7B that cost half as much.

First, my Q15 runs on a AAA battery for 35 hours. This new model has a proprietary battery. From the manual: "Removal of the rechargeable lithium ion battery in this product should be conducted only by a quali ed professional.". This is a deal breaker for me. Why bother when my battery dies after 3 years. Even more so with the Bose nc ear buds.

There is no doubt that Bose has by far the best noise cancelling. It works better than all the others I have tested, particularly at the lower frequencies. I use my headphone not for music but for attenuating my neighbour's air conditioner and washing machine.

Sonically, the Audio Technicas are far superior. Bose offers $100 worth of sound quality, the rest is name and noise cancelling. I cannot understand why so-called experts [also What Hifi] find anything attractive about the Bose sound. It is mediocre.

Both, the Boses and Audio Technicas are bulky. The Boses are very comfortable as long as they are in action. On international travel, they can be annoying when wrapped around the neck between planes. I retired both from travel and use earbuds. New planes such as the Boeing 787 are reasonably quiet.

Both the Boses and Audio Technicas are plastic constructs not worth anything above $100.

Bluetooth is pointless when using the headphones with the inflight movie system.

In summary, full-sized NC headphones are dinosaurs from the past. A nice, bulky gimmick that clog up your hand luggage. I recently travelled to Germany and back using the Senneheiser Momentum in-ear: was just great.

Jayhawklaw's picture

I too am curious about a comparison of the sound quality and comfort of the Bose QC 35 vs Sennheiser Momentum Wireless. Especially since the Sennheiser can now be had for $360 on Amazon

ScaryFatKidGT's picture

The Bose are slightly more comfortable but I would go momentum's all day, they are "actual" headphones, not weird Bose DSP amped oddness.

tienalan's picture

The new Sennheiser Pxc 550 is reviewed positively against Bose qc35 in some sites. Would like to see how you compare them. Also to add to the list of momentum wireless would be great!

philipjohnwright's picture

Tyll

+1 for how they compare to the PXC 550's.

Also, to the PX200iis, which I own and I know you're keen on.

Purely on sound quality grounds would the (active wired) Bose QC35s be a step up, step down, or similar quality sound? Basically something with greater isolation than the 200s would be good, it's whether I'm paying £280 for it, or do I get better sound quality as well

Thks, Phil

nigelf's picture

You should listen to sony 1000x far superior in NC and SQ no contest at all

ScaryFatKidGT's picture

I don't know... I obtained the QC25's and one thing I noticed is sense the drivers are putting out noise canceling sound as well as music they are prone to clipping in the bass especially with wind out side, I have never heard any headphone over $150 clip but these sure do and it's odd, so on a windy day, or riding a bike or on big base hits they will clip.

Another issue I always have with Bose speakers and over ears (their earphones seem a little better) is that they have this magical artificial Bose smoothness that sounds like a worn out record or something, it's not quite like listening to low bit-rate music but it masks all detail, all air, all imaging, a $100 pair of Sony bookshelf speakers sound better... I don't know what it is they do but they do all this research to have this nice fat bass and clean vocals but then you realize, it's all to smooth, and all the life is sucked out and there is no detail, it's like pop music played in a department store, you can hear the 4 chord melody, the bass line and the pop star and know what song it is and everyone goes about their business but you can't hear any of the back-up singers/vocal harmonies, chimes and extra added electronic layers or acoustic elements. On rock all you hear is the lead vocals, lead guitar and drums, non of the secondary level sounds and it is really odd and people think they are such good speakers.

One thing they do, do right is comfort... how come no audiophile brands can get this right... Bose over ear and Beats studios are what the Momentum's, HP50's, B&O H6's, B&W P7's, AT ATH-M50's are all trying to be in terms of a compact over-ear and they all fall short, I have no idea why beats and bose are the only companies that can get comfort right without being a full sized round cup headphone like larger beyers and sennheisers. I think the $300 Sony headphones might be the closest I know of.