[table id=1 hide_columns=”all” show_columns=”a,b,h,n,o” /] Specs from manufacturer. If incorrect, please contact us.
Bose out of the blue surprised us with a new QC35, dubbed the QC35ii. I loved my original ones from last year, they were in the Top 3 Active Noise Cancelling headphones review I made, and if anything, I still personally use mine over many of the other headphones at the studio. Jumping right into this, I personally paid for these at the retail price of $349. As always, I’ll place my affiliate links up above – click on those links, and they’ll give you the most updated prices in real-time. You never know when these things might go on sale.
PHYSICAL FEATURES & COMFORT
Jumping into the physical features, they look identical to the original QC35’s. For those who don’t know, here’s a quick run-down of the physical build. First up is my stress test. It’s over the top, but I do it to see if there are any weak spots so you don’t have to. I haven’t had a pair of headphones break while doing a review, but seriously, what I look for are any seams popping, cracks or creaks, anything that may be of concern that we can find immediately. In the end, they’re very durable and have amazing build quality, no creaks confirmed. Another trait, these things are super lightweight. Coming in around 235 grams, these are one of lightest wireless Active Noise Cancelling headphones I’ve tested. The other pair of headphones that comes to mind are the Sennheiser PXC550’s – every other pair I recall have been heavier. The original QC35’s were practically identical in weight.
Comfort and looks, there’s soft and supple leather up top at the headband, Alcantara fabric used on the headliner, the matte black look stealthy as hell. While wearing, reiterating, these are the lightest pair of headphones that most people are going to buy, they feel great. This is one of the few headphones I can personally wear all day and not feel wearing fatigue at the crown of the head, nor fatigue at the jawline from the clamping force.
The design of the earcups down to the ear pads are very comfortable. One of the best features of these over-the-ear headphones, the inner lining is recessed and at an angle. Where the upper part of my ears stick out, they don’t touch the inside and provide this airiness, giving room for my ears to breathe. I never felt my ears overheat or experienced sweaty ears during my time testing. As a side note, yes, the earpads are removable and replaceable.
Moving on and taking a closer look. On the right, you have power on and off with Bluetooth pairing once you slide it over. Looking on the rear of the right earcup: pause, play, skipping and going back on songs are within easy reach, and easily identifiable. On the forefront, you have NFC, or Near Field Communication for easy pairing, and folks, don’t take this for granted – a simple tap with your NFC enabled phone pairs the two nearly instant. No need to scan or refresh the Bluetooth menu.
Last and on the bottom, Bose had the chance but like 99% of all headphone manufacturers out there we’re still on USB 2 and not USB Type-C. Since we’re on this port, Bose is claiming up to 20 hours of use, which is great. With my test at 50% volume, from a full battery to dead, I achieved 23 hours and 22 minutes to be exact. Another feature that many overlook and Apple gets a lot of praise for, while others don’t: Bose does have some sort of rapid re-charge. If the headphones are dead, recharge them for 15 minutes, and you get 2.5 hours of playback.
Moving to the left earcup, and this the only new feature Bose is offering, is a button to toggle between Active Noise Cancelling performance and Google Assistant. Previously before an update, you could not turn off ANC, and later it was exclusively through the app. Now, with a press, you can toggle between high, low, and turning it off completely.
NEW FEATURE: GOOGLE ASSISTANT
Getting deeper into Google Assistant, you Tap and hold, speak naturally and Google Assistant provides conversational responses. It’s a convenience to have it here, it works fast, it’s smooth, and not getting too deep into Google Assistant since most I would think are familiar with it, controlling your music through voice, asking for a specific artist or genre to start playing, having the headphones obtain my text messages and notifications are great and a few examples of what you can do.
But, I found a very similar experience with my other headphones, earphones, and other audio products, even my previous generation QC35’s. I hold down their multi-function button and Google Assistant pops up on my phone… I speak into my headset like normal and I get the same results as the QC35iis. I would assume this would be beneficial for the few phones that don’t have Google Assistant just yet and are still using Google Now. As for Siri, she doesn’t work; however, the multi-function button on the right earcup can still bring her up.
Before touching base on Active Noise Cancelling Performance, knocking some of the minor details. I did test Bluetooth range, and over time with most flagship phones today and Bluetooth 4.0 or higher, I’ve been achieving wireless ranges up to 60 to 80 linear feet. With the Bose QC35ii’s, I confirmed 58 linear feet on both my Google Pixel XL and Samsung S8+. Same exact results with the original or older QC35’s. No change.
PHONE CALL PERFORMANCE
Phone call performance works very well, coming in clear without much intrusion from background noise.
ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLING (ANC)
Touching base on active noise cancelling, I’ll abbreviate it ANC from here on out. To set up proper expectations, no pair of ANC headphones completely silences your environment, however, some block out more than others. Also, with most ANC headphones, some may feel a sensation of air cabin pressure when ANC is activated. With the QC35ii’s, I feel it more so than most of the competition out there. It took half a day, maybe the next day until I was acclimated and stopped noticing it every time. Second, I tested these in the coffee shop as I always do, it’s usually busy in there. Walked through the city with these on, and wore them while at the office. The QC35ii’s do block out a lot of your surroundings, more so than the majority of the other headphones out there.
Jumping into audio quality, just to get this out the way, both the old and the new QC35’s sound exactly the same. After several years of testing audio, the Bose QC35ii’s and I guess the 35’s are still my favorite sounding pair of active noise cancelling headphones. I’ve tested Sennheiser’s, JBL’s, Samsung, Sony, Beats, and the list goes on… and these provide such a clean level of bass. It’s not bass heavy by any means, but there is just enough thump and punchy bass to make nearly every genre of music shine. The mid-range and in my opinion – this is the biggest highlight of the audio experience – it is very clear, very articulate, and offers more spacial sound than the aforementioned brands. The details of instruments to the details of the vocalists, it’s impeccable for the ANC $300 to $350 dollar market. Touching base on high frequencies, you typically hear snare drums, cymbal crashes, synthesizers up at this range, and they hold up well when I listen at higher volumes. It doesn’t get raspy or tingy and more importantly, it’s resolution and clarity on the top end remains intact, more-so than other headphones I’ve tested.
If you owned the original ones, your call, but there’s no reason, absolutely no reason to take a hit or a loss of money on selling your old ones and buying these new ones. If anything, it was an excuse for me to buy the black models and replace the silver. If you don’t own these yet, get them, or at least try the active noise cancelling, and let me know your thoughts in the comment section down below. I have the Sony WH-1000x review and a direct head-to-head comparison for those interested. Thanks for reading folks.