Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II stays true to its brand by providing the audio and microphone quality we expect from Bose. With a comfortable design, audio functionality so good it doubles as Bluetooth over-ear headphones, and a professional-grade microphone, this headphone has more audio technology packed into it than any other we have tested. Of course, the price tag is correspondingly high.
The comfort metric constitutes 40% of our total score, and the Bose QuietComfort 35 II provides a strong showing, with the only hang-ups being material not designed for hot environments, as well as a tad too much padding. To assess this metric, we wore the Bose QuietComfort for more than ten-hour stretches, to get a feel for their comfort in all environments.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is an exceptionally comfortable headset. Our testers found it to be really nice overall, with all of them easily wearing it for longer than ten hours without any complaints. The general reaction found the Bose QuietComfort to have a nice squeeze that isn't too tight nor too loose. The only real complaint about this headset is the typical problem for headsets with protein leather — if the room is warm, it's going to get sticky. Especially in the hot climate we tested it in, the Bose QuietComfort can get uncomfortably sticky; this should be no issue in a climate-controlled environment.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II's suede-padded headband offers an exceptionally comfortable, although noticeable, experience. The consensus amongst our testers found the padding lining to be comfortable, but it hasn't been designed to contour to the scalp. Rather, it is the same amount of padding across the ridge of the headband. Within the headband also, despite a lack of adjustment markers, it is very simple and easy to identify the places you can adjust for proper fitting.
Thanks to the drivers being enclosed in a slanted plastic shell, the ear cups on the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are very comfortably designed, as it accommodates the parts of the ear that jut out. Moreover, the protein leather padding is very soft, with gentle cushioning.
Our audio metric accounts for 30% of each gaming headset's total score. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II, while not achieving a perfect score, receives the highest score out of all our tested products. We tested the benchmark audio performance, as well as in-game audio-locative data, voice chat quality, and how well external sound is muffled.
To establish a specific benchmark across all our headsets, we have an initial metric that checks out the bass quality, driver matching, and binaural quality. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II blew us away across all these metrics, providing perfect or near-perfect scores for all three. For bass quality, the showing was excellent, without a hint of a rattling or parasitic buzz. Likewise, the driver matching was awesome, with perhaps a slight deviation at the very last second. With binaural, our testers consider the Bose QuietComfort to offer up the most real-sounding results out of every other gaming headset.
With the rampant popularity of Battle Royale games, there has never been a more important time for the highest quality locational information to be conveyed through your headset. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II rises to the challenge and provides excellent directional quality, allowing you to hear specific sounds from any direction. The only issues arose when the sound was produced directly behind our testers in-game, in which case it got a little ambiguous. Moreover, if you're using voice chat, voices come through the Bose QuietComfort very well, with clear and full sound, rounded off with a nice airy edge.
With a closed-back, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II comes equipped with noise-canceling functionality. With noise-canceling disabled, ambient external noise gets comfortably muffled. However, when enabled ambient sounds become difficult to hear, and eliminate stable white noise. Coupled with this headset's great audio, you will have virtually no audio distractions once you're in the game. However, noise-cancellation does need to be recharged every once in a while.
As previously mentioned, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II can also function as a pair of Bluetooth headphones. The audio retains its high performance during the transition to Bluetooth. With Bluetooth pairing, you can connect to your PC and listen to the game that you're playing with ease.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is our highest-scoring product, and it performs the best under our microphone metric, which accounts for 20% of the total score. Our testers summed up this headset's mic quality by describing it as the type professionals would use.
With a super clear and crisp sound, the mic for the Bose QuietComfort 35 II makes everyone else in the voice chat jealous. Throughout our testing, we never had an instance of feedback with this headset while in gaming mode. We ran our sibilant test ('s' and 'sh' sounds) and there was distinct differentiation between the sounds. Our other phonemic tests accentuated the Bose QuietComfort's fantastic clarity, with the only sound of interest was 'p'. Our testers found it to be a little punchy.
Not only was the Bose QuietComfort 35 II excellent at receiving the user's voice, but it also continued to blow us away with its capabilities of filtering out external sounds, both ambient and dynamic. Keyboard sounds are nonexistent, and when engaging this headset's mute option, there is no click or scratch sound. Our testers ate some goldfish into the mic, and the most that could be registered on the receiving end was a faint scratching. Ambient fan sounds were eliminated until the tester began talking, but even the max noise was a low hum. We even began to play our laptops at their maximum volume, and only then did the microphone begin to pick it up, but the sound was still garbled and incomprehensible. Our last test involved loud, ambient talking from gradually increasing distances, starting at six feet. Once again, the Bose QuietComfort filtered out the sound, and the testers in the voice chat didn't hear a thing.
Ease of Use
Our ease of use metric, constituting 10% of our total score, is where the Bose QuietComfort 35 II received its lowest scores. Our testing looks at controls, sidetones, and how the cord situation is, among other things. Although equipped with great and easy-to-use features, such as noise-cancellation, this headset does suffer from some noticeable inconveniences.
When using the Bose QuietComfort 35 II in its gaming mode, there are no onboard controls. Instead, everything revolves around the PC Desktop Controller. This device plugs into the computer, and the boom mic (and by extension, the headset) is plugged into it. A range of side-tone options (low, medium, high, off) is located on the desktop controller, as well as the volume and mute buttons. This interconnected setup is sustained by 12.5 feet of cord (8' 6.5" from PC to controller, 3' 10" from the controller to mic); this is technically the longest cord out of all the gaming headsets we reviewed, but because of the necessity of the desktop controller to be within arms reach, our testers felt that it wasn't that much to work with. If you try to combat this with a replacement cord, be warned, because the cord is connected to the mic, you will need to buy a new microphone as well.
All that, however, is only the gaming mode. Should you switch the Lifestyle mode on the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, things get a little more dynamic. There is an inline mic included in the headset which engages with the device's Bluetooth capabilities (Note: it is terrible to use for gaming with others in Bluetooth mode. Lots of feedback gets generated by this headset). Furthermore, there is a phone app to help you connect your mobile device to your headset, but only once the boom mic has been removed. Lastly, the buttons on the headset only work in this mode, where they supply volume control and Alexa/Google Home Assistant activation.
There is no avoiding the fact that the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is hands down the best gaming headset we tested. Even despite the issues, the sheer amount of available options, not to mention the optional Bluetooth capabilities, make this a fantastic choice. However, the Bose QuietComfort is one of the more expensive headsets we reviewed. Other headsets may meet your needs, but you will never be disappointed by the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
Beating out the competition significantly, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is easily the best gaming headset available on the market right now. Although it has some issues when it comes to using Bluetooth connectivity in a gaming setting, when the Bose QuietComfort shines, it shines. Moreover, with easy capabilities to transition into Bluetooth headphones, this product genuinely showcases the best of both worlds — for gaming and lifestyle. Its price tag may alienate some, but you are definitely getting your money's worth, and then some.