Price (RRP): $599.95
The new Bose noise-cancelling headphones 700 represent its next step in noise cancellation and sound quality over its already award-winning QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones.
The QC35 II will still sell for some time, and you can get them for under $399 (RRP $499). But to succeed and exceed it requires something special. We explore if the Bose noise-cancelling headphones 700 at $599 are a worthy successor.
Spoiler alert: Bose noise-cancelling headphones 700 are a new design with new space-age materials and style that outperforms the QC35 II. It is a strong competitor to the class-leading Sony WH-1000XM3.
GadgetGuy tests headphones and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
In 2018/19 we tested Bluetooth, noise-cancelling (most recent ones have voice assistants) headphones (our rating is in brackets)
- Sony’s WH-1000XM3 surpassed the Bose QC35 II for noise-cancelling and support of high-res music LDAC/aptX (review here – 4.9)
- Sony WF-1000XM3 ear ‘buds’ have astonishing ANC and sound quality (review here – 4.6)
- AKG N700 ads ambient aware, talk through and AKG’s unmistakable sound signature (review here – 4.3)
- Jabra Elite 85h adaptive noise-cancelling headphones that add intelligent context awareness to ANC (review here – 4.5)
- JBL Live 650BTNC for the value end (review here – 4.5)
- Plantronics (now Poly) BackBeat Go 810 (review here – 4.5)
- Plantronics (now Poly) Backbeat Go 410 ear ‘buds’ (review here 4.4)
- Microsoft Surface ANC headphones unique, distinctly Surface design (review here – 4.2)
- Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II – the ones to beat in 2018 (review here – 4.6)
- Sennheiser PXC-550 – unique having a USB DAC that can play audio over a USB cable and charge at the same time (website here and subjective rating 4.7)
- Audeara A-01 – an Aussie hearing test tuneable Orthodynamic (review here – 4.6)
- Nuraphone G2 – another Aussie hybrid over-the-ear and in-ear (review here – 4.7)
- Yamaha HPH-W300 high-res value with audiophile sound (review here – 4.7)
GadgetGuy’s Val Quinn, Thomas Bartlett and I developed paradigms to ensure fair testing and rating. All of these scored well over four-out-five meaning all are excellent ANC headphones, and none are ‘dogs’.
We are going to set Thomas a task to compare these devices in time for a Christmas guide!
Our challenge is to see if the Bose noise-cancelling headphones 700 can beat them all
Paradigms – ten categories and up to ten points each
- Sound quality and volume
- Noise-cancelling type and effectiveness
- Hands-free calling and mic effectiveness (ambient noise blocking)
- Fit/comfort/weight/construction/build quality/appearance
- Ergonomics – buttons/touch/layout efficiency
- Support for various codecs
- Battery life and charge time
- Wired/BT version/USB
- Other – carry case, accessories
- Value – we do not comment on price as that is whatever you are prepared to pay, but we do suggest if there may be better value. In this review the only points lost are on price!
Bose noise-cancelling headphones 700
The review reflects about six hours of use – enough to allocate an accurate rating, but I will update it with battery life later. Although at this stage it says I have 14 hours and 9 minutes left, so the 20-hour claim seems correct.
Note: As is Bose style, it does not publish extensive specifications. In fact, this is about it:
- 20.3 cm H x 16.5 cm W x 5.1 cm D (0.25 kg)
- 1.06m Audio cable
- .5m USB-A to USB-C
- BT 5.0 with 10m range and concurrent connect with two headphones
- Battery life 20 hours (with BT/ANC) – you cannot charge and play
- Battery charge (depends on the charger amperage) up to 2.5 hours
- Carrying case:21.8 cm H x 17.9 cm W x 6.2 cm D (0.18 kg)
While an audiophile would shudder at the lack of specs like frequency response, SPL levels, THD and more – with Bose, we just must get over it.
The difference between QC35 II and Bose noise-cancelling headphones 700?
- Four ANC mics (versus 3) that are truly impressive in cutting background noise
- Two beam-forming voice mics for hands-free and voice assistance
- New acoustic design offers slightly better noise isolation
- 11 ANC setting versus 3
- Touch interface
- Unlike QC35 II no pleated earcups, visible hinges, and bulky hardware
They come in black (my preference and the review unit) and silver.
More streamlined, modern and clean lines. It uses colour matched silicon and stainless-steel band and synthetic ear pads. These resist oils and should last longer than Pleather or woven fabric like Alcantara.
It weighs 260g – about 30g heavier than the QC35 II, but it does not feel heavier on the head. Head clamp pressure is reasonable, but I did find them slipping off the top of the head (to the back) after an hour or so. The QC35 II are a snugger fit. These are not for activewear.
Interesting is the absence of the usual headphone extendable ‘forks’ instead the headband is one piece (metal and silicon) ending in round ‘pins’ that slide up or down the ear cups. It is a different design and provides an excellent solid adjustment. Knowing Bose this has been tested a ‘trillion times’ to last decades!