Bose QC35 review: These are the noise cancelling headphones you’re looking for

Audio / Audio Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech / Top Picks
Bose QC35

Having used numerous pairs of noise cancelling headphones, the Bose QC35 stands out above the rest as the best in class.

I’ve had the opportunity to use several pairs of noise cancelling headphones since I’ve been reviewing headphones here on Techaeris and I’ve liked several of them. As a matter of fact, I’ve given at least one pair a Top Pick Award. This is my first taste of the Bose headphone world, thanks to eBags for sending these along to us to take a look at. To be clear, I still stand by my other noise cancelling headphone reviews as I still think those are excellent choices, but the Bose QC35 noise cancelling headphones are in a class all their own. Read on for the full Bose QC35 headphone review and find out why they’re earning a Techaeris 2017 Top Pick Award.

Specifications

The Bose QC35 noise cancelling headphones have the following features and specifications:

  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • Bose Connect app Android/iOS
  • Active EQ
  • Battery Charge Time: 2.25 hours
  • Dimensions: 7.1″ H x 6.7″ W x 3.2″ D (8.3 oz)
  • Input Rating: 5VDC 1A

What’s In The Box

  • Bose QC35 wireless headphones
  • USB charging cable
  • Audio cable for wired connection
  • Airline adapter
  • Carrying case
  • Manuals
Bose QC35

Basic design nothing that screams style

Design

Alright, let’s be brutally honest here, the Bose QC35 aesthetic design leaves a lot to be desired. These are not stylish nor attention grabbing headphones and that might be okay for a lot of people who want to keep it low-key. The first thing I noticed was how lightweight these things are. They’re literally weightless and that’s a great thing for comfort. I found the light weight of the headphones helped keep the top of my head and my ears from becoming uncomfortable.

There’s a mixture of materials being used on the Bose QC35 headphones all of which feels top quality and really well built. From aluminum to plastic and foam everything has a solid fit, look, and feel to it right down to the power button. Bose’s iconic logo is featured on both earcups in a subtle manner yet it’s obvious who made these headphones. The whole chassis is pretty flexible and bends and twists nicely leaving no doubt these should hold up for a very long time.

The headband is comfy though I did find the material used on the underside attracts dust and debris too easily for my liking. The earpads are very comfortable and I can see these being very useful for long flights or travel. The left ear cup is pretty sparse with only one noise cancelling mic and an AUX input designed into it. The right ear cup is where all the action is happening here. On this side, you’ll find the main noise cancelling mics, power/Bluetooth button, NFC chip and MicroUSB port for charging. You also have your volume and track controls as well as your phone control on this side. It’s all nicely designed and the buttons have nice tactile feedback.

Overall the design of the Bose QC35 in terms of looks isn’t all that exciting, they’re actually pretty drab looking, but the build and quality is top notch though I do wish they would have used more premium materials. I do get what Bose is doing, saving weight is important for comfort and portability, they made these very light and a lot of people will love that.

Bose QC35

Super light weight and feel good on the head

Ease of Use

Effortless pairing via Bluetooth as well as NFC and the earcup controls are simple to use as well. The Bose Connect app is included with the Bose QC35 headphones and offers a few minor conveniences. The app’s biggest benefit is allowing you to switch from multiple Bose products with ease and not hassling with your phone’s Bluetooth menu. You can also control whatever music you’re playing at the moment from the app. I didn’t use it much, simply because I prefer Apple Music for controlling the music and I don’t own any other Bose products that I need to swap between. Overall, the headphones are very easy to use.

Sound

First, let’s start off with the bad: these things are not so great in passive wired mode, just really not even worth your time. With that being said, most people are not buying the Bose QC35 noise cancelling wireless headphones to use them in passive wired mode anyway. The noise cancelling sound on these things on wireless is simply the best I’ve ever heard. I’ve reviewed others that cost $150USD less than the Bose and they sound amazing for their price point. I’ve also reviewed some that cost about the same as the QC35’s and they sound good as well, but the QC35’s are a clear winner in the noise cancelling department.

I’ve read mixed reviews on the active EQ feature of the QC35’s and I felt pretty indifferent about it really. It didn’t enhance my listening experience nor did it detract from it. The sound coming from the QC35’s is pretty balanced with a slight favoring to the low-end of the EQ but nothing insane. I think Bose is about appealing to a wide range of people so the sound is very balanced and most people should enjoy the natural experience of the tracks they’re listening to.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re looking for bass, these should make you happy, maybe not as happy as headphones tuned to the lower end but the bass is most certainly there. Overall, the sound in wireless/noise cancelling mode is top notch and worth the price of admission. Don’t bother with passive wired mode, these are not for that. Unless you manage to kill the battery and not charge it.

Bose QC35

Great sound in wireless/noise cancelling mode

Reception/Call Quality

Great Bluetooth reception, conforms to Bluetooth standards and sometimes exceeds when in good line of sight. Call quality is really awesome here, though I never use headphones for phone calls. Testing phone calls and experiencing them with these headphones is a clear and clean experience for both the user and the caller.

Battery Life

Advertised 20-hours of battery life, achieved 24-hours of battery life at 50% volume. These are killer on battery and they take just over 2 hours to charge back to full. Really impressed with this.

Price/Value

The Bose QC35 headphones do not come cheap, ringing in at $349USD but if you’re looking for simply the best noise cancelling in headphones, right now, these are the best I’ve used.

Wrap Up

If you’re in search for the best noise cancelling on a pair of headphones then the Bose QC35 headphones are currently the bees knees. They could probably come up with a nicer looking design but overall these are well worth the money. Just don’t expect the same sound and performance from them in passive wired mode.

*We were sent a sample of the Bose QC35 from eBags for the purposes of this review.

Bose QC35

$349 USD
Bose QC35
9.4

Design

9/10

    Ease of Use

    10/10

      Sound

      9/10

        Reception/Call Quality

        10/10

          Battery Life

          10/10

            Price/Value

            10/10

              Nailed it

              • Best in class noise cancelling
              • Great call quality
              • Good battery life
              • Lightweight and portable
              • Nice folding design with nice hard case

              Needs work

              • Design is a bit boring and understated
              • Passive wired mode is horrible
              • Dust and dirt attract to the headband
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