A pair of The Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones will set you back quite a bit, but as anyone that’s used them will tell you – they’re 100% worth the asking price…
#1) They Look, Feel, and Smell Like A Million Dollars
The Bose QC35 II – $349.99/£259.99
Everybody has AirPods these days. AirPods or some other form of earbuds. And that’s fine; each to their own. Personally, I’ve always found AirPods uncomfortable and, more importantly, lacking when it comes to sound quality. I love music and spend a great deal of listening to it during my day-to-day. For this reason, I’ve never had a problem paying large sums of money for headphones. It’s also the #1 reason I don’t like AirPods…
AirPods are expensive. They’re plastic and they don’t sound that good. How’s that work? In my opinion, it doesn’t. Apple just gets away with it because it’s, well… Apple. The thing with these Bose headphones, though, is that, unlike Apple’s AirPods, they do look and feel expensive. Like a big German sedan, they just exude charm and a palpable air of superiority. There are cheaper over-ear active noise-canceling headphones available but they often lack the finesse of Bose’s QC35 II’s.
As soon as you unbox them, you know where that extra money went.
I’m something of a Bose fanboy, but the reason for my fanatism is based on experience: I’ve had three pairs of Bose headphones over the years, and each has been progressively better and more comfortable than the last. I had the OG QuietComfort headphones, the QC35s, and now the QC35 II headphones. And each iteration was better than the last, adding in improved sound, new features, and better active noise-cancellation. The latest brings both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant into the mix, so you can ask questions, change tracks, and get answers without ever having to touch your phone.
And the design and look of these headphones? I don’t think there is a better-looking pair of over-ear headphones on the market right now. Forget your Beats nonsense, Bose is where it’s truly at when it comes to high-end audio for the masses. Hell, you can even get them in different colors – rose gold, black, and white. Me? I like the black ones. But I can see why plenty of people gravitate towards the white; they look super-smart in that hue.
#2) They’re Exceptionally Comfortable
Looking totally badass is one thing. But what about comfort? Are the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones nice to wear on your bonce for prolonged periods of time? In a word: YES – these headphones are, perhaps, the most comfortable over-ear bins I have ever tested and/or owned. And I’ve tested hundreds of sets of earphones over the years.
They don’t squeeze your ears too much, nor do they make the sides of your head too hot. You can wear them for hours/days at a time without discomfort. I wore mine for the entire duration of a flight to Hong Kong (13+ hours) and not only did they NOT run out of batteries, but they also didn’t annoy my head or ears once. Once they’re on and the noise-canceling kicks in, you just kind of forget about them. And this is exactly how headphones should be.
#3 The Sound Quality is Ridiculous (In A Good Way)
Bose has always been associated with good quality audio; that’s basically how the company made a name for itself over 15 years ago. Remember those weird-looking CD player things that used to be advertised inside the TV guide and cost a fortune? That was Bose. Since then, Bose has grown massively. It now makes all kinds of audio equipment, but it has never erred from its roots. Sound quality is at the forefront of all its products. And the Bose QC35 II’s are no different.
Whether you’re listening to jazz or Meshuggah, it matters not. All the frequencies are present and accounted for – from deep bass rumble to high-end timbre. The balance of the sound, to my ears, is near perfect. Even with electronic music, where elements can get lost in cheaper headphones, you get the full gamut of sounds and frequencies.
For me, this is the #1 reason to go with a pair of over-ear headphones instead of something like Apple’s AirPods. The sound is just so much more dynamic, full of life.
If, like me, you’re a fan of metal – bands like TOOL, Melvins, and Pelican – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better pair of cans for this style of music. If you’re into detailed, warm sounds that are full-bodied and totally immersive, thanks to Bose’s market-leading noise-canceling tech, then you won’t want to take the QC35 II’s off. Ever. As noted earlier: I did a full 13-hour flight in mine. It was amazing. Probably the best flight I’ve had in ages. And the reason? Noise-cancelling and epic sound quality. It’s a heady, engrossing combination, especially when experienced in the right setting (like a 13-hour flight to Hong Kong).
#4) They Have Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant Built-In…
To be honest, this isn’t a feature I was all that excited about. I have a Google Home in my kitchen, but I’m not the kind of guy that uses it all the time – just for music and timing my boiled eggs. However, inside the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones, I’ve kind of fallen in love with Google Assistant all over again. For the first time, it feels genuinely useful. For instance, when I’m running and I want to change the music, I can just ask the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones to do it for me. Before, I’d have to take my phone out of my pocket and fumble around with it.
Another example? If you’re walking the dog and you remember something, you can set a reminder – all without touching your phone. It’s also great for communication too, as you can simply ask Google Assistant to make a call and then take it on your Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones. Again, no need to touch your phone. These are just a few examples, but you get the idea. I’ve been using Google Home since it first came out, but it wasn’t until I got a pair of Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones that I ACTUALLY started to enjoy using it.
#5) Battery Life is Incredible
How’s battery life on the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones? Pretty darn good. You’re looking at 20+ hours. Easy. And while that might not seem like a lot, remember: most people only listen or use their headphones for short bursts of time. An hour here, 30 minutes there. You get the idea. In my experience, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones need a charge every several days, depending on usage. If you’re a light user, you could probably stretch them to a couple of weeks.
I use mine every day, whether running or in and around the home. I am a heavy user, and I always have the noise canceling on. I still get solid battery life; I think the most charges I’ve done in a week is three. But that was when I was using them A LOT. If you’re just using them moderately, you will easily get through an entire week without having to top them up.
Isn’t $300+ A LOT To Spend on Headphones Though?
Yes, it is – it is a silly sum of money. But think about it like this: how often to do you listen to music? How often do you wish you couldn’t hear that idiot on the tube, playing awful music from his phone? How many pairs of headphones have you bought over the years that have simply stopped working? Bose headphones solve all these problems. And make your life, well… better.
And like a fine German automobile, they’re engineered to last FOREVER.
The original Bose QC35’s (which are around 50% cheaper) were magnificent. I was given a pair to test way back in 2015. I wore them pretty much all day long, 24/7 during this period. I was devasted when I had to send them back, so I went out the next day and bought a pair – this is literally how good they were. I couldn’t live without them. Could I afford them? Not really. But I seriously couldn’t go back to my crappy in-ear earbuds after experiencing the QC35’s sheer epicness.
The sound quality and noise-canceling technology literally transport you to another reality. Plane rides are silent, meditative affairs with these things on. No external noise, no distractions. Just the sound of your music in the highest of definition, reverberating around your skull. And I’m not even talking about the new Bose QuietComfort 35 II here; I’m talking about the old ones!
The new Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones have been improved from the ground up. Bose has added full support for Amazon Alexa, improved the sound quality, and even added in support for AR applications, though I’ve yet to try any of these out. Beyond this, Bose now has an application (available for iPhone; coming to Android soon) where you can augment the amount of noise-canceling your headphones do, install updates, and access Bose AR-enhanced experiences.
And while competition is very stiff in the headphone space right now, I honestly cannot think of another pair of headphones in this price bracket that I would rather own. For styling, features, overall sound quality, and performance, it is kind of impossible to fault the Bose QuietComfort 35 II – for me, these headphones are literally in a league of their own. If I lost mine today, I’d be reordering them tomorrow on Amazon. That should pretty much tell you everything you need to know about the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and whether they’re worth $349.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.