Offering field leading sound quality and great noise cancellation, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II were some of the best wireless headphones we tested. They made everything we listened to sound great, from loud, bass-heavy anthems to quiet audiobooks and podcasts. The integrated Google assistant adds a new level of functionality for Android users, and the 20 hours of battery life is more than enough to get you through the day. However, if you're looking for the best active noise cancellation around, the Sony WH1000XM3 recently stole that title. If you want the absolute best listening experience possible, we have to give the edge to the Sony WH1000XM3. However, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are still the most comfortable headphones we tested, so if you have extra large ears or just generally find headphones uncomfortable, Bose is still the better choice.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Review
Pros: Great sound quality, good noise cancellation, comfortable, built-in Google Assistant
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is one of the best sets of wireless headphones that we tested. Though the Sony WH1000XM3 does offer slightly better noise cancellation, the QuietComfort is still our top recommendation for comfort.
After a series of head-to-head tests, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II came out just slightly behind the Sony WH1000XM3, but we still love these headphones both for their comfort and high quality sound.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II shared the top score of 9 out of 10 in our sound quality metric with the Sony WH1000XM3.
In our testing, these headphones exemplified the crystal clear sound that you would expect from high end audio equipment. They were also able to produce impressively deep and resonant bass, which gave the sound a well rounded and full quality. Everything from bass heavy electronic music to complicated jazz riffs to mellow acoustic numbers sound great in these headphones.
Only two other models that we tested could compare to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II's sound quality. The Sony WH1000XM3 sounds very similar, and has bass that is ever so slightly more powerful than that of the QuietComfort 35 II. However, that difference was really only noticeable in side-by-side comparisons, in real world use both of these headphones sounded equally great. The Bose SoundLink Wireless II fell just behind the QuietComfort 35 II in our testing. The clarity is superb, but the bass is just slightly weaker, which robs the overall sound of just a bit of fullness.
The QuietComfort 35 II was one of the best models we tested in terms of noise isolation. It occupied the second step on our noise isolation podium with a score of 8 out of 10.
With the active noise cancellation turned on, the QuietComfort 35 II eliminates almost all ambient noise when you're listening to music. Even when listening to quiet things like podcasts ambient noise is barely noticeable. If you're not listening to anything some things may make their way into your ears, like voices and loud footsteps, but they will be very muffled. If you're using the QuietComfort 35 II solely for sound cancellation and not for music listening (ie. drowning out the crowd noise while you enjoy a museum), we think you'll be satisfied.
Only one model scored higher than the QuietComfort 35 II in this metric, the Sony WH1000XM3. It performed very similarly in our testing, but did slightly better at canceling out noise when not listening to music. You can still hear some voices and other loud noises, but they were a bit quieter and more muffled than with the QuietComfort 35 II. If you're just looking for noise cancellation you may be better off with the Sony headphones, as long as you find them to be comfortable (we feel the Bose models are significantly more comfortable).
Here again the QuietComfort 35 II reined supreme, picking up the highest overall score of 9 out of 10.
Bose doesn't change its physical design between headphones too much, so if you've ever tried on a pair of Bose headphones and found them comfy, we think you'll have similar sentiments about the QuietComfort 35 II. It has widely spaced, fluffy padding that accepts any sized ears and provides a cozy fit. And, for you vegans out there, the leather is synthetic.
This is one area where the QuietComfort 35 II really outperforms its main competitor, the Sony WH1000XM3. By comparison the Sony's earpieces are shallow and have less padding, so those with larger ears may find them feeling a bit cramped. If you have smaller ears they're just as good as the QuietComfort 35 II.
The QuietComfort 35 II is quite easy to use and shard the top score of 8 out of 10 in our user friendliness testing.
The QuietComfort 35 II was easy to pair with both Android and iOS devices in our testing. In fact, it can pair with multiple devices at one time, allowing you to switch between all the paired devices with a push of a button. So you can be watching a movie on your tablet, and then push a button on the headphones to switch over to your phone when you feel it vibrating in your pocket. This added feature was one thing that earned it one of the highest scores in this metric.
The QuietComfort 35 II features simple on headphone controls, with multi-function buttons that can play and pause music and adjust the volume. Double and triple tapping the middle button can move tracks forward or back. Holding that same button down summons Siri for iOS users. There is also a new dedicated Google Assistant button that can summon Google voice commands. These are nice features to have, but their usefulness really depends on how much you use Siri or Google Assistant in the first place. There is also an app that lets you fine tune audio and noise cancellation settings. We found the app quite intuitive to use, but generally we found the default settings to be better than any tinkering we did.
This is one area where the QuietComfort 35 II outdid its main competitor, the Sony WH1000XM3. The Sony uses touch sensitive controls. Though these controls lend a slightly sleeker look, they also aren't quite as intuitive as physical buttons, especially considering that you use the controls while the headphones are on your head and out of your sightline.
The QuietComfort 35 II have hinged earpieces that allow them to fold up into a slim, included carrying case. The headphones themselves weight 10.9 ounces. The only model that outperformed the QuietComfort 35 II in this metric was the Beats Solo 3, which are noticeably lighter at 7.5 ounces and also includes a padded carrying case. The Sony WH1000XM3 earned the same score as the Sony WH1000XM3, weighing in at a comparable 9.5 ounces and offering a carrying case that is nearly identical to Bose's.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II lists for $350, which is quite a pretty penny. If you want the best sound and noise cancellation, however, that is the going rate. The main competitor to these headphones, the Sony WH1000XM3 list for $400, so this feels like a fair price considering their performance. However, if you can do without Google Assistant and slightly weaker bass, the Bose SoundLink Wireless II performs very similarly and lists for $280.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are high performing, noise-canceling headphones that offer pretty much everything you could want from a personal, wireless music device. If you're willing to sacrifice a bit of sound quality and bells and whistles there are slightly better values available, but if you want the best of everything these headphones are it.
If you're willing to order your headphones directly from Bose and don't mind paying an extra $100, you can completely customize the look of your headphones. And when we say completely, we mean completely. Check out the crazy ones we designed, just for fun.
— Max Mutter