Sunday, February 5, 2017

Bose QC35

Lately I got a new headset, the Bose QC35, which is the successor to the Bose QC25, just in a Bluetooth version instead of cable bound.

Bose QC35 in it's case

What is the Bose QC35?

The Bose QC35 is a wireless (Bluetooth) over ear headset with active noise cancellation (Quiet Comfort). Long time Bose was famous for their outstanding noise cancellation. Nowadays some competitors cached up to become equal but that does not make the Bose worse. The noise cancellation still is outstanding. This type of headsets isn't cheap, but Bose still sits at the lower end here by keeping the flag of quality high.

Bose QC35 inside the ear cups

One of the important things for me was the over ear designe, as I do not like on ear headsets that much. The ear cups of the Bose headsets are also deeper at the rare end so the ear fits in perfect without touching the speaker at all.

How does active noise cancellation work?

Basically microphones record the environment sounds like machines, cars, people talking ... and create a opposite signal, that will be played together with the music and cancels the environment sound that way.

So what is included?

The Bose QC35 comes with a very robust case, a charging cable, an audio cable (2,5 mm at one side, 3,5 mm at the other side) and an airplane audio adapter.


Bose QC35, micro USB cable, audio cable, airplane adapter

According to Bose, the headset should be operational for about 20 hours by using Bluetooth. Alternatively the provided audio cable can be used as well, which should double the duration as well as enabling to use the headset without the noise cancellation as well. All in all, very good battery duration and from my experience quite correct so far.

What else do they provide?

Like mentioned earlier, the Bose QC35 got an audio connector (2,5 mm) to use the provided audio cable and an micro USB port to charge them at the bottom of the two cups.

Audio port at the left cup, USB charging at the right one.

All other controls are at the right cup.
A switch to turn them on or off and check Bluetooth status as well as initiate pairing.

Power and Bluetooth switch.

On the back of the right cup are the volume and play/pause buttons and two status LEDs. The middle button doubles here with play/pause on single click, skip forward on double click and skip backwards on tripple click. While an incoming call, the middle button works to take the call or hang up again.

Volume and control buttons as well as status LEDs.

The right ear cup also has a NFC tag at the front side for convenient Smartphone pairing.

There is also an app by Bose for Android and iOS to connect and control the QC35 with. It is possible to pair them to new devices by that app, remove devices from the connection list as well as disable them for the time beieng as the QC35 can keep connection to just two Bluetooth devices at a time.

Bose connect app.

How do they perform?

Great, simple great.

The sound is "clear", not to much bass or other enhancements. The noise cancellation is also great. Of course, without music playing you will still hear some of your environment, but with some music, even at very low volume levels, the environment fades out nearly completely.

Also the QC35 is very light (234 gram) but still feels very valuable and comfortable to wear for long hours without any pressure. As there is no direct pressure at the ears itself, the ears don't heat up like they tend to do with other headsets.

I did not test the battery life with a stop watch, but I would say Bose's claim of about 20 hours might be right.

For phone calls they also worked very well. The caller is announced by the Bose voice within the headset, as you could not hear the phone ringing, and the play/pause button works to take and end the phone call. The audio quality was fine at both ends even if there was a little bit of white noise in the background at both sides as well. This is also because while the phone call is active, the microphone is switched on so you can hear your own voice, otherwise you would be likely to rise your voice to much or even screaming at your conversation partner.

How do they compare to the QC20?

Bose QC20
I own the QC20 (check out my review of the QC20 here) since about 1,5 years and really love them. 
Both have this great active noise canceling which makes it so easy to forget about the environment around you.

The QC20 are in ear with cable, while the QC35 uses Bluetooth and has an over ear designe.
This also means the QC20 packs a lot smaller, makes it easy to carry them in a pocket of my jacket or trousers.

Also the QC20 got an feature for the outside world, where you can switch off (at least partial) the noise cancelling to become aware of your environment again which is helpful for example when you walk across a street.

Bose QC35
On the other side, the QC35 also provides a more visual indication that you are listening to music and are not aware of your environment, which can be a benefit when you want to work concentrated without disturbance.

Also the QC35 is easier to take off and on again when you have to talk to someone so another benefit for a working environment.

The sound feels a bit more voluminous at the QC35 while the QC20 seems to isolate a little bit better from outside noise with the tight fitting in ear designe.

All in all, both are great headsets with their own purpose and use cases.

Compared with the SonyMDR-1000X

A Colleague (Florian Schmidt) is owning the Sony MDR-1000X so I had a chance to take a look at thous as well and compare them with the Bose QC35.

The Sony seem to have the same quality regarding to the noise canceling but a bit deeper audio. Means more deep sound while the Bose are a bit more neutral. They also provide more features like the touch sensitive side cup that allows to skip through titles or adjust volume by swiping on the right side cup where Bose uses traditional buttons.

The Bose on the other side offer the better wearing comfort as they feel lighter and less bulky at your head which can be felt especially when you turn your head a bit. Also the speakers in the ear cups of the Sony touch the ears (and mine are not especially large or standing out) and apply some unpleasant pressure. The Bose do a lot better here as the ear cups are fitting better towards the shape of the human ear and the speakers are directed towards the ears instead of the head.

All in all, both are great headphones for different users. The more audio / bass enthusiasts might tend to the Sony, while the long hours user might tend towards the Bose.

Any disadvantages?

Well, yes. Sometimes it would be nice to switch off the noise cancellation and listen to music without it, but that's only possible in wired mode, not when using Bluetooth.


With a price of 325,- € the QC35 is not cheap for sure, but still on the lower price end of high quality noise cancelling headphones with Bluetooth (most are around 400,- €) but still at the high end of quality, noise cancellation and especially wearing comfort. 

There are several good quality noise canceling headphones out there nowadays (Bose is no longer the only one there) and each has it's advantages and disadvantages.

To me, the Bose QC35 are absolutely worth that price as they work so great, sound good and feel great for hours of wearing without any issue. I am really enjoying using them.