Long time no write I know. Soz.
Welcome to my review of the Bose QC35 headphones. This is my first ever Bose product, and, I must state now that I am not the original owner of these. I don’t have any of the original packaging, just the carry case, headphones themselves, audio cable, airplane adapter and USB charging cable.
Slight spoiler alert, I’m not too bothered about not having the original packaging; it doesn’t look like I’ll be selling these any time soon.
So, this is the first product of Bose’s I have ever tried, and I wanted them ever since I tried them in a Bose store, but then I didn’t get a very good sense of how these headphones really performed, just that they had a very nice first impression.
Fast forward just under a year, someone was selling them for quite a discounted price, so I jumped at the chance.
Features and specs
When you buy these knew, you get the headphones, weighing in at 300G, quite a nice carry case with plenty of space for the headphones and all cables. I can’t say anything about the presentation in the box because I didn’t get it.
They are Bose’s current top of the line noise cancelling model; the next model up from the QC 25’s, and let me tell you, it’s a much needed upgrade. Instead of using AAA batteries for the noise cancelling tech, Bose has integrated a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which offers up 20 hours of listening time, and charges via micro USB. But, I think what enticed me more towards these headphones instead of any of the other Bose models, was the added convenience of Bluetooth.
It doesn’t feature aptex connectivity, but does feature NFC (for one-touch paring if your device supports it). The battery life doubles to 40 hours if you’re listening via the 3.5MM jack. It also features a 3 button remote for control of music, volume and calls on the right ear cup. The 3.5MM jack is on the left cup, and the micro USB on the right. The music controls only work via bluetooth, and there is no in-line remote on the cable.
You can clearly feel the microphone used for calls on the right ear cup, but that isn’t the only microphone in the product. Bose’s sound sucking technology uses microphones inside and outside the ear cups to truly isolate you from any sound.
Design wise, the headphones look similar to their predecessors. The switch on the right cup acts as an on/off switch and to pare a new Bluetooth device. The headband is quite chunky, and is padded with leather, as are the ear cups. And I will tell you now, they’re comfortable. The outside of the cups are aluminium too, which is a nice touch.
You can also download the Bose connect app for your smartphone, but this doesn’t offer up any audio tweaks, it allows you to update the software, adjust the sleep timer, change their bluetooth name, voice prompt language and use Bose’s “music share” feature to share audio to another pare of headphones at the same time. That really is it for the app.
Speaking of voice prompt’s, the headphones have text-to-speech technology that lets you know how much battery you have left when you turn them on, and which device it is connected to. It can also tell you the name of the person who is calling when the phone rings. The headphones can connect to 2 devices at once, but remember up to 10 devices. When you are connected to 2 devices, simply start playing music on your first device , and if you stop and start playing something on the other one, the headphones will switch. Handy if you are listening to your iPod (other portable music players are available), and get a phone call. If you want to force it to connect to a 3rd device while it is already connected to 2, simply slide the switch to the right until it tells you it is looking for the device you want, and if it finds it, it will disconnect one of your other devices.
To start paring, simply hold down the on switch, and the headphones will tell you “ready to pare”. Simply look for the Bose’s under your bluetooth menu on your device, and select them, and bingo, you’re connected. How easy was that?
So, what do I think?
Now that I’ve covered everything I can think of to cover about the features, design and specifications, it’s time to get into why you’re reading this. What I think of them.
Quite simply put, I think they’re well worth their £300+ price tag. The first thing I thought when I sat down to do some proper listening was wow.
These have made me appreciate the music I’m listening to, more than other headphones have, … and I own a lot of headphones.
I thought the active noise cancelling would impact the sound of the music greatly, but Bose seem to know what they’re doing in that department. (I’d hope they would, they’ve been the market leaders in this field for years). Even without the active noise cancelling turned on, they still do block out quite a lot of noise, but slide that switch on, and you get whisked away to a world where only the music you’re listening to exists.
The noise cancelling does apply pressure on your ears, but this is normal, and once you get used to the strange sensation of being at one with your music and your own thoughts, you don’t notice at all; only when you turned the headphones off while still waring them do you notice how much they have been blocking out.
The noise cancelling tech is very good at blocking out low rumbles, e.g. engines, but I find that it also does well with blocking any noisy environment. In fact, it’s so good at blocking noise that when you’re on the phone, the headphones allow the phone mic to pass through so you don’t end up shouting at the person on the other end of the phone. The only scenario which the headphones don’t perform well with is wind. Because there are microphones on the outside, the wind does cause you to hear wind noise in your headphones, but I’ve read that this is the case with any active noise cancelling cans.
Sound wise, they just sound excellent with anything that I’ve thrown at them, and I’ve thrown a lot at them. I’ve given them 320K spotify streams, 256 AAC iTunes match files, 320K cd rips, and very high quality FLAC files, and it’s handled all with ease.
These headphones use a digital equaliser that adjusts the sound on the fly for you, and even at lower volumes, you don’t lose any quality.
The first album i pressed play on was a 320K CD rip of Ed Sheeran’s latest album ÷ streamed via bluetooth from my MacBook air using iTunes. From the first upbeat opening guitar chord of ‘eraser’ to the closing piano chord of ‘save myself’, I was hooked. (And not just because it is a fantastic album that even after several listens I’m still as impressed as release day).
The headphones kicked the album up a notch. I’ve listened to this album on a lot of different sources and these headphones certainly knew what they were doing with it. Bass frequencies were certainly prominent but not so overpowering that it’s uncomfortable to listen to. You certainly get to experience the broad frequency spectrum that these headphones can offer.
I tend to listen to a lot of hiphop and r&b; songs that pride themselves on their baselines, so I was eager to see what these headphones would make of say, drake’s 2016 Views album. So that’s exactly what I played next.
Again, I was impressed by the headphones ability to make you lose yourself in what ever you’re listening to. Certainly, in a song like Too Good, drake’s tone can be easily determined on top of the rest of the music. Similarly in a song like ‘One Dance’ it is hard not to tap your foot.
I’ve listened to a lot of different music through these over the past couple of months (also the series 13 Reasons Why on Netflix); as anyone will tell you my shuffle is varied; I’ve been listening to iTunes shuffle while I write this, so I’ve heard everything from Lethal Bizzle to Takethat), and the only thing I have really come across is that it is very quick to notice when you are listening to a lower quality of recording; baselines aren’t as tight, and the rest of the spectrum can sound a bit muddy; still listenable though. This isn’t really a problem, unless you start listening to anything below 320K mp3 or 256K AAC.
Something good to round off this sound section though, they are very quick to highlight background elements in a track, say, background reverb on vocals, or a guitar or piano. Acoustic recordings sound very good.
When I Switched to a cable instead of using bluetooth, I didn’t notice a dramatic step up in quality, which speaks volumes about how good these things are via bluetooth, and how good bluetooth audio technology is these days. I’ve tried bluetooth headphones in the passed where the switch is definitely noticeable.
The lack of an EQ doesn’t bother me really; I’ve found myself not wanting to ever tweak anything.
Battery life is very respectable, although I haven’t done any timed tests, I am finding Bose’s claims to be very accurate, as I have only had to charge these things a handful of times since I got them, and I’ve certainly put these things through their paces; listening for hours at a time. They are really comfortable to ware for long periods ; I could easily use these on a long hall flight.
The head band is very adjustable, to make sure that what ever the size of your head, the headphones will fit snuggly around your ears.
I’ve ben trying out these headphones for the passed couple of months and I can honestly say I’m impressed. From the research and from what I’ve read, the QC 35’s were the upgrade the QC 25’s didn’t know they needed. Apart from the batteries. I can imagine that got irritating. I wouldn’t know, having never owned a Bose product before.
To summarise, very worth the price tag, and if you are in the market for a high end set of noise canceling headphones, certainly consider these, as I believe they offer superior sound quality.
A bit expensive I know, but if you want to pick them up on Amazon, click here.
Thanks for reading, and see you in the next one.