Bose is a champion in the headphone world, and for good reason. The company has long offered high-quality headphones that sound great, are well-built, and offer top-tier features like noise cancellation. We recently got our hands on one of Bose’s most well-loved pair of headphones — the Bose QuietComfort 35.
There has long been a lot of hype surrounding the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones, and it turns out that hype is totally warranted. These headphones are excellent.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones is their design, and they look quite nice. They don’t really offer anything wildly different from other Bose headphones, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing — they still look good.
These headphones are clearly built for a particular crowd — they’re not head-turners, but they’re not supposed to be. These are for frequent fliers and the professional crowd, so while the design is a little boring, that doesn’t count against them.
The headphones are largely built out of plastic, save for some metal around the joints and where they fold. That plastic, however, is well-built and solid, while helping keep the headphones extremely light. Sometimes manufacturers opt for plastic in order to save costs, and while there could be a little bit of that going on here, the fact is that the plastic looks and feels great.
On the left earcup you’ll find a 3.5mm aux jack for passive listening, while on the right earcup you’ll find a power switch, volume buttons, a central multi-use button for controlling playback and calls, and a microUSB charging port. All the controls are easy to access and use, and while the volume and central buttons would get confusing, Bose has raised the volume buttons up a little higher than the central one so as to make it easy to feel which one you need.
In the box, you’ll get a nice solid hard case, a flight adapter with its own little slot in the case, a 3.5mm cable, and a microUSB cable. They really come with everything you need to use the headphones without issue, and there’s nothing else we would have liked to see included.
In general, the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones look great and are very light.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones are built for taking on a plane, and as such they need to be comfortable. Thankfully, they are.
There’s plenty of padding on both the earpads and the headband to ensure that you can keep wearing them for hours on end. You might look at these and argue that there really isn’t much padding at all — but the fact is that these are light enough to where there just doesn’t need to be. You could wear these for an entire long-haul flight without issue.
The headphones also offer a very appropriate clamp, which isn’t overly tight or too loose. Really there’s not much to fault the headphones for in the comfort department. A tiny bit more padding on the headband would perhaps be nice, but even that’s debatable.
So the headphones look good and feel good — but how do they sound? Actually, they sound pretty great.
Let’s start with the bass, which is present and heavy. The bass on these headphones is plenty for almost all listeners, and while the biggest mega-bass fans out there might want a little more, those who prefer a more appropriate bass boost will love what these have on offer. There is a boost, but it’s not unnatural or overbearing by any means.
The midrange is also very well tuned. It helps round out the music with nice warmth and presence without going overboard and sounding like an AM radio — just like the midrange should.
The high-end is crisp, present, and helps bring things like the vocals and guitars straight through the mix. High-end is generally the most overlooked frequency range by headphone manufacturers, but Bose has avoided that issue easily.
The headphones aren’t necessarily totally natural, so some purists may not like how they sound — but those just looking for great-sounding headphones will be happy. On top of the great tuning, which could in part be owed to Bose’s Active EQ, the headphones have a nice wide soundstage, and didn’t distort easily at all.
Then there’s the noise cancellation, and Bose has absolutely hit the ball out of the park in that respect. These headphones are largely considered to be among the best noise cancelling headphones in the world — and we agree. The noise cancellation works best with droning noise (like the engine of a plane), but even unexpected noises, in our tests, were significantly cut. The only downside to the noise cancellation is that it can;t be turned off if you want to hear what’s going on around you.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones will need to last at least the length of a long-haul flight, and while they may not last the longest of travel-sessions, they will last the vast majority. Bose says these headphones will last 20 hours on a charge if being used wirelessly, or 40 hours if you use the aux cable. That’s pretty good for Bluetooth headphones.
On top of Bluetooth, the headphones also have NFC — so you can quickly and easily pair the headphones to your NFC-enabled phone just by holding the two close together. It’s a great way to simplify things a little, and it worked great in our tests.
The headphones connect to your listening device through a pretty standard Bluetooth connection, and as such you’ll get a 10m or 33ft range. That will change if there are obstacles, but we found that the Bluetooth connection was stronger than many others.
It’s not just hype, folks — the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones are, at the time of this writing, the best noise cancelling headphones you can buy. They look find, but the real draw is that they’re highly comfortable and sound excellent. Not only that, but the noise cancellation on these headphones is incredible.
They aren’t cheap, but the quality does justify the price here. If you don’t happen to have a budget this high, we recommend the JBL Everest Elite 700’s, which are $50 cheaper, or the JLab Audio Flex ANC headphones, which come in at $150.
Because of their top-quality in every category, the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones are being awarded the Headphone Review Gold Medal.
|Active noise cancellation
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
|Maximum input power
|Black, Silver, Midnight Blue