Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II

7.6
7.6 score
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Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II Review Facts
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The Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II is a pair of headphones which lives by the words “don’t fix what’s not broken”. Indeed, the style, battery, quality and functionality of the original QC35 remains the same, but these headphones are one of the first ones to integrate (and extremely successfully, at that!) Google’s smart assistant, which increases the practicality of these headphones by quite a bit. While they’re not the most innovative and technologically advanced pair of headphones, they’ll do what headphones do, and they’ll do it well – really well.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Great noise cancellation
  • Decent sound quality
  • Integrated Google Assistant is intuitive and helpful
  • Immensely comfortable
  • Customizable styles
  • Durable
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • No instant mute
  • Pricy
  • No autoplay/pause
  • Non-replaceable battery
Activities
Activities

Activities

The lightweight nature of the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II, along with with a relatively tight, but not overbearing grip, makes this a good pair of headphones for a lot of sports activities. Be it steady state cardio, brisk walking, or weightlifting, these headphones will offer satisfactory stability and won’t go off of your head. However, keep in mind that over-the-ear headphones do not perform well during compound and explosive movements as a general rule. Most people describe these headphones as ideal for travelers and commuters, thanks to their comfort level, low-profile and compact build.

Basic Features
Basic Features

Basic Features

As expected, the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II provides all the bare necessities that one pair of headphones need: you’ll find the volume up and down buttons on the right earcup, as well as the power switch. Between the volume buttons is a larger and longer one, which is a multi-function button. With it, you’re able to play/pause the playback, as well as initiate other track controls, answer calls and give voice commands – more on this later. You’ll also notice is the micro USB port which is used for charging, while the left earcup homes the 2.5mm jack, which means that you’ll have to remember to bring the cable with you unless you want to solely rely on the QC35 Series II’s battery. The most significant difference from the previous model is a dedicated Google Assistant button, which can be programmed in the app settings menu to double as a cycle-through button for three different noise cancelation levels available.

Another basic feature included is the integrated microphone, which gives a crisp and clean sound, and its performance becomes only slightly hindered as the background noise becomes louder. Also, it’s worth noting that the microphone works great if you have a high-pitched voice; but the lower your frequency, the muddier the sound becomes. This, however, will be a non-issue for the majority of users.

That being said, there are a few basic functions that the Bose QC35II lacks, while the competition has them on-board. These functions include cupping the earcup with your palm in order to lower the volume and hear what’s going on around you (which is supremely useful if you’re a traveler and use airplanes a lot) – this is something that even some cheaper headphones have, such as the Sony H.ear On 2. Additionally, these headphones won’t automatically pause playback once you take them off, which isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s a nuisance.

Advanced Features
Advanced Features

Advanced Features

The most prominent advanced feature of the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II is the active noise cancellation. This is a very important feature for your everyday commuter, as well as a traveler, seeing how canceling the noise can really make-or-break your day, especially in the morning. As with the previous Bose QC 35 model, the Series II offers good ANC levels, although they’re not the best in class. Once again, Sony has overtaken Bose with its WH-1000XM3 ANC model. However, if you’re not that nit-picky about NC, and you’re satisfied with the outer noises being only slightly audible, rather than mum, you’ll probably find the NC feature on this Bose model excellent. Even though it could be better, the QC35II will dull all the traffic sounds, from cars to trains, and make you feel like you’ve walked into a (fairly) quiet room. One of the great things about the Bose’s attentive earpad design is the fact that these earphones will significantly dampen the ambient noise even if the NC is turned off, which is great if you’d like to turn this mode off in order to save battery.

Sound Quality
Sound Quality

Sound Quality

The sound quality provided by the Bose QC35II headphones is excellent. Even if you’re set to listen to a tune you think you know by heart, you’d be surprised to find out new layers of intricacy in the tone, thanks to the nuances provided by the QC35II. For the most part, the bass disperses well and is consistent, with some EDM tracks being a little bit problematic at times. On the other hand, the treble is controlled and crisp, without sounding sharp. The transitions between the contrasting tones are smooth and unassuming, letting you fully enjoy the music, without even thinking the sound quality.

This isn’t to say that the headphones provide an immaculate listening experience – the bass can be too loud sometimes, but these headphones as a whole offer a dynamic and pleasurable playback, with a lot of softness and detail to the tones. Their competitor, the Sony MDR1000X, provide a more complex and velvety bass, for example. However, they are significantly better than the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. Another thing to note is that these wireless headphones do not support the AptX or AptX HD codecs, and they don’t offer the LDAC support, which isn’t limited o only Sony Xperia users anymore.

Connectivity
Connectivity

Connectivity

On the connectivity front, these over-the-ear wireless headphones will pair with your device via the Bluetooth 4.1. Another thing you can do if you have an Android phone is downloading the Bose Connect app and tap your phone against the NFC chip located in the right earcup. The effective Near Field Communication range is unspecified, but it’s probably less than 20-30 feet, unfortunately. Several users have complained about the subpar Bluetooth range that almost doesn’t allow you to go away from your connected device; once you get 4-5 meters away, the audio signal will probably become a little streaky.

Upon downloading the app, and choosing your language and nickname, a small voice will guide you through connecting your headphones with it in order to pair your devices, which is a very intuitive experience.

One of the best and most innovative aspects about this pair of headphones – and the one that differentiates them and the original QuietComfort 35 is the integration of Google's smart voice assistant. Aside from the Google Pixel Buds, these are the first headphones to support the Assistant, thanks to the dedicated button located on the left earcup. This smart integration will allow the headphones to notify you on any newly received notification and read it aloud to you, they’ll also read out your upcoming calendar appointments, all upon a press of a button, without having to actually say ‘Okay Google’, which is oddly refreshing. On top of that, the Google Assistant will give you the option to respond to a text using your voice, which sounds a little over the top, until you remember how cold your hands get in the winter.

Another thing to note is that, if for any reason you decide not to use the wireless connection options available to you, you can connect the headphones to your device via cable and a 2.5mm jack, which means that you have to remember to carry the cable everywhere with you, or you probably won’t find a cable replacement that easily.

Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

While the Bose QuietComfort 35 II isn’t the top of the class when it comes to sound quality and active noise cancelation, it definitely is, if not the most, then in the top 3 pairs of headphones, when it comes to comfort. The clamp of the headphones will grip to your head without putting too much pressure, you won’t feel like your head has been squeezed or like something is getting in the way of your comfort. On the contrary, these headphones will provide a snug and enjoyable wear for hours on end, without creating pressure points. Additionally, the ergonomic earcup design and plush padding ensure that your ears won’t get tired, or experience any pressure whatsoever. This is why almost everyone claims that these headphones are a godsend to travelers and commuters. While some people won’t appreciate the plastic build from durability and/or style point of view, everyone agrees that the use of plastic instead of metal contributes to the lighter weight of the headphones, and consequently, greater comfort.

Style
Style

Style

The Bose QC35II headphones come in three basic color variables: Rose Gold, Silver, and Black. Style-wise, they look exactly the same the original, meaning they look somewhat generic and dull, but elegant and unassuming enough, which suits a lot of peoples’ needs. The only visual difference from the original version is the Google Assistant button on the left earcup. They’re not as sleek as some other headphones, and they won’t catch anyone’s eye with their boldness. They also don’t have any intriguing texture or ornaments printed on the material itself. Two of the three basic colors look a bit plasticky and cheap to some people, while the black version is the most basic and modest one. However, what these headphones lack in brand design, you can make up by customizing the basic design with different colors, although you’ll have to give $50 more in order to do that. Bose even has customization suggestions on their website – popular designs by other users you can choose from. While this is a neat option, the basic price of these headphones will probably deter most people from venturing into customization.

Durability
Durability

Durability

We’ve mentioned earlier that the Bose QC35II feature a plastic build; most of the chassis is comprised of matte plastic, while metal is only used for the cap build on the earcups. However, while the headphones weigh as little as 240g, the matte plastic is sturdy and durable and can be twisted and folded (thanks to the hinges on the housings) in various ways that allow you to safely pack the headphones and carry them around in your backpack, without fear of breaking them. If you’re keen on protecting your headphones even more, you can always store them in the carrying case that comes along with them. Ironically, though, the vast majority of users is unsatisfied with the durability of this case, due to the fact that the zip breaks around two month into using it.

Ease of Use
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

While the control buttons aren’t placed in the most aesthetically pleasing way, the Bose QC35II features a logical and intuitive button placement that makes using the headphones very easy. On the outside of the right earcup is the on/off switch, isolated from every other so you don’t accidentally push it, and pushing it one more time to the right after switching the headphones on initiates pairing with our device. On the bottom of the right earcup are the volume and multi-function buttons, which we discussed earlier, while the solitary button on the left earcup is the Google Assistant button. A quick tap is all that is needed for the headphones to read notifications to you while pressing it for a second or two activates the Google Assistant in all its functionality. Another intuitive and helpful feature is the automatic notification about the amount of battery you have left, which the voice tells you as soon as you turn the headphones on. All in all, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is a comfortable pair of headphones that is extremely easy to use.

Power Source
Power Source

Power Source

One of the many things that is unchanged from the previous model is the battery life; it remains 20 hours of wireless and NC use, and if you decide on using the cable instead of the wireless connection, the number of hours will instantly double to 40. You can use the micro USB charger to recharge the battery or give it just a little bit of a pick-me-up with a quick, 15-minute charge, which will provide 2.5 hours of additional playback time. This is a good result when it comes to battery life, but it’s far from the best in class. Of course, even if the battery runs out, you can always use your headphones via cable, just like a regular pair of any other low-cost headphones, only the ANC and Active EQ modes will be unavailable this way. Another thing: make sure your PC or laptop is turned on and in awake mode when charging the headphones, otherwise they won’t charge. The worst thing about the battery on these wireless headphones is the fact that it isn’t replaceable, and, like any other battery, its life cycle will grow shorter over time.

Price
Price

Price

The price of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II isn’t as reflective of its qualities: you’ll pay top-of-the-class money for there-but-not-quite quality. This isn’t to say that these headphones aren’t worth the investment – they are, especially if you’re not hung up on details in sound quality and noise cancelation, and if you’d like to have the Google Assistant functionality in your headphones. However, there are a lot of worthy competitors in this price range, and a lot of options that are equally as good, if not better than the QC35II. The only thing that these headphones really got going for them is their utmost comfort, which is something that a lot of other headphones are struggling with.

Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

● Ideal for travelers and commuters
● Good control button placement
● 2.5mm audio jack
● 20hrs/40hrs battery time, micro USB charging
● Good microphone
● Great Active Noise Canceling
● Bluetooth 4.1, NFC
● Extremely comfortable
● Good sound quality
● Expensive
● Durable
● Integrated Google Assistant
● Very easy to use

Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

There are a lot of things going for the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, their utmost comfort, integrate Google Assistant, intuitive use, good battery life and good noise canceling, no matter the headphone category. However, there are some things that are a bit dated, starting with the not so sleek look, to the noise canceling not tuning out literally every sound, to some lacking functionalities that some Sony contenders have. That being said, this is still one of the best headphones you can buy in the over-the-ear category, and you definitely won’t be disappointed by their performance. In terms of functionality and comfort, you probably won’t find a better choice than these.