For a number of years, the Bose QuietComfort line of headphones has been known as the frequent traveler’s go-to pair for noise cancelling. You’ll hear people fall on both sides when it comes to Bose’s sound quality, but there are few who will dispute that their active noise cancellation technology is second to none. So, it’s pretty good news that we’re learning today — Bose is finally releasing a wireless version of their QuietComfort headphones, making them even more convenient for those travelers. We got to go hands-on with Bose’s new line of headphones recently, and what we heard sounds familiar.
In terms of audio quality, don’t expect much different from the wired QuietComfort 25 headphones. Noise cancellation isn’t much different, either, which is great news. Like the QC25, the QC35 use microphones on the inside and outside of the earcups to detect background noise and send it to dedicated signal processing chips in each earcup. Those chips tell the speakers to produce noise that cancels out the frequency of that background noise. A lot of ANC headphones do this, but the amount of work Bose has put into their acoustic noise cancellation technology is second to none — there’s a reason you see so many people with them on airplanes.
The dual-microphone array also helps when taking calls using the QC35. The microphones can work to cancel background noise on your end, resulting in clearer audio of your voice for the person on the other end. Meanwhile, the acoustic noise cancelling feature still works to make sure that you don’t have to strain to hear the person on the other line over background noise.
Being wireless headphones, the QC35 use a Bluetooth connection to pair to devices, although there’s also NFC connectivity for easier pairing. Using both Bluetooth and active noise cancellation, it’s safe to say that the QC35 are going to draw quite a bit of power, but according to Bose, the QC35 have a pretty robust 20-hour battery life. If the battery dies, the QC35 come with a detachable cable and can still be used without power, although you won’t be able to use the noise cancelling or active EQ features (the latter of which can be found in the companion app).
Bose is also talking up the construction of their headphones again, using glass-filled nylon on the headband. It doesn’t feel as durable as metal, but it’s probably a decent trade-off between durability and weight. If you know you won’t go to hard on your headphones, you’ll probably appreciate that the QC35 are much, much lighter than most other Bluetooth over-ear headphones on the market.
Bose is also releasing the QuietControl 30 wireless in-ear headphones. Like a lot of Bluetooth in-ear headphones, the two earbuds are connected by a neckband, although this one is solid and fits more securely around the back of the neck. The main difference is that Bose has fit six microphones into the QC30, which are used for acoustic noise cancellation almost as good as the over-ear QC35. And, because in-ears are more suitable for use on the street, Bose is introducing the controllable noise cancellation feature, which makes it possible to allow more or less background noise as needed. That’s great news if you’re walking near a crowded street and worried about suspect drivers. It’s not a new feature to the industry (some headphones in the JBL Everest line have adjustable noise cancellation), but it’s not as common on in-ear headphones. That feature can be controlled using the companion app or the in-line microphone, which also has volume and track navigation controls. Battery life is pretty good for wireless in-ears, especially those with noise cancelling, coming in at about 10 hours.
Both the QC35 and QC30 are available now, and while the noise cancelling technology will no doubt be impressive, they are awfully pricey. The QC35 are $350 and come in black and silver, while the QC30 are $300 and will be available in September. Bose is also releasing two new lightweight sport-themed headphones, the SoundSport (six-hour battery life) and SoundSport Pulse (adds a heart rate monitor, five-hour battery life), for $150 and $200, respectively.