My honest review of Bose QC 35.

matrix07

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
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Thanks to Apple, the age of wireless audio is here and Bose Quiet Comfort 35 is my first serious wireless headphone purchase (the one I intend to keep).


The reason I purchased Bose because I live in downtown and city noise is too much for my morning walk. I could hardly heard anything with EarBuds. It's like I just didn't bring headphone with me.
So Noise Cancelling feature of Bose tempted me. And now I made my first morning walk with it, here my review.

First the pairing. The pairing is easy. I paired it traditional style. Slide Bluetooth button on headphone and select it on my Bluetooth setup in iPhone. The pairing stays. I tested pairing it with my MBA and Apple TV 4. Once paired, devices will be shown on Bose app and you can connect or disconnect them there. It's easy but still, you have to pair them all first (unlike AirPods)

The bummer: You can only connect to 2 devices at once. If you want to pair the 3rd device you need to disconnect one before.
It's not hard though. You just disconnect one and reconnect another in your History list. Still, you can have only two and my Mac feel left out (I leave it on iPhone and Apple TV)
Theoretically, AirPods should be better because it connect to all your devices in iCloud account at once. You only have to select it on those devices (it can even switching on the fly with iPhone and Apple Watch when it connect together). I said theoretically because it's not available to test, yet.



Second: battery life. Battery is great. 20 hours straight listening according to Bose and I don't have anything from my usage to doubt that claim. And you can check battery percentage easily with widget on Lock Screen (just like AirPods) BUT.. but you can check it there ONLY when Bose is connected to iPhone.
It remains to be seen will AirPods act in this fashion or it will show itself in battery widget all the time. (the case level should be there all the time at least)

Third, audio quality. It's clear. If you want to listen to podcasts you will get a very clear sound. I can lower volume to the point I feel my ears are safe finally.
For music, it's up to your personal taste really. I still prefer my wired NAS that's half a price of Bose but can't say it's bad. Have to say Norah Jones music shines with Bose though.

Fourth, Noise Cancelling. This is the selling point of this headphone. If you don't need it you have no need for the headphone. And I have to say Wow! I have no idea how noisy my environment was until I took it off.
I have to say it made my morning walk a success. I can finally hear podcasts (on very low volume) at last.

Fifth, the connection. On the first day in my room I got flaky sound a few time (from both my Mac and iPhone). It's not dropouts but more like what you got when your old 4:3 TV got bad signal. The sound is just flaky like that for a few seconds.
On my 1 hour 5 minutes walk covered almost 5 kilometre with my phone in my left pant pocket all the time, there's not a single flakiness or dropout. None. Nada.
BUT..
There's a disconnection happened once. I'm not sure what caused it. Maybe I was adjusting volume on my Apple Watch too much (which also connect to my phone through Bluetooth). I have to take out the phone, re-select the headphone on the list and all was good again.
(Happy to report on my 2nd morning walk, around the same distance and lasted around the same time, there was no disconnection at all)

Good news though, it handles Apple TV brilliantly. I'm watching Blu-Ray rip through Plex (MKV, file size is around 25 GB.) and there was no lag at all. Audio is perfectly synced.

Sixth, the comfort. It's alright. Nothing to complain. It stays firmly but not too tightly. It doesn't give the impression that I can jog easily with it though.

TDLR: If you need noise cancelling feature, buy it. You won't regret it. But if you don't need it, you can look elsewhere.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
30,298
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Those are nice. The sound quality is superb from when I used them. The drawback for me, was the overall size was somewhat to large for me. I'm waiting for the Airpods this month. I want something more discreet and nuanced.
 

NovemberWhiskey

macrumors 68040
May 18, 2009
3,012
1,262
I had the QC35 for 2 weeks, and they are fantastic. I never cared about noise canceling until I tried them on while killing time at Frys. I was next to the TV displays, and if you have ever been to Frys, you know they BLAST the demos through their speakers in this section. I put on the QC35, and could not hear a single thing while the music was playing. I was blown away. I heard nothing from from the TVs. This singular experience convinced me to buy them, and having them from 2 weeks, I was beyond impressed by them. However, despite how good they were, the cost just did not justify the purchase. At 380 or so after tax, it was just TOO MUCH. Sound quality was on par, if not better, coming from my $6.00 QY8. You heard me right. I am not joking: quality wise, the QY8 delivers just as good if not better sound quality. Of course they don't have active noice canceling, so Bose wins hands down there. But for a $6.00 pair of headphones, what can you say. QY8s are amazing.

The Bose NC and ergonomics are superb. The earcups are actually shaped like ears, and not circular like Sony headphones. The interior chamber is canted. They are so comfortable, I have slept in them, including on my side without any problems.

Battery life is amazing. I was getting 5 days straight at 5+ hours per day.

Build quality was meh. I would not be rough with these and pack them at the bottom of a suitcase without the case. The middle section that goes over your head feels like there is nothing but a soft foam padding in there. If you bend it, it will stay bent.

Summary: If you have the $$$ and need ANC, this is your best option. (I haven't compared to the Sony 1000x, but as of now, the QC35 dominates all NC headsets.)
 
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Zimmy68

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
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I was beyond impressed by them. However, despite how good they were, the cost just did not justify the purchase. At 380 or so after tax, it was just TOO MUCH. Sound quality was on par, if not better, coming from my $6.00 QY8. You heard me right. I am not joking: quality wise, the QY8 delivers just as good if not better sound quality. Of course they don't have active noice canceling, so Bose wins hands down there. But for a $6.00 pair of headphones, what can you say. QY8s are amazing.

The Bose NC and ergonomics are superb. The earcups are actually
I'm not saying you are making this up or don't really believe that...

I would have people interested in these cans watch a review from a site that compares them to top of the line headphones.
He loved them:


[doublepost=1476024171][/doublepost]
Picture, please.
 
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matrix07

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
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Did you install the Bose Connect app? Maybe it needs that?
Oops, nevermind. Glad you see it now.
I have it. It's just Apple being silly. I have to tap "Show More" on the upper right to show it. Don't know why Apple won't let it show itself.
 

caelius

macrumors 6502
Dec 31, 2015
293
284
Innsbruck, Austria
I had them for about two weeks but then replaced them with Sennheiser's Wireless Momentums; for me, the latter sound much better and look a lot more high-grade. That being said, the QC35 still are a great pair of headphones and you can't go wrong with them at all.
 

timeconsumer

macrumors 68000
Aug 1, 2008
1,770
1,427
Portland
Good review, thanks for posting it. I tried out the Bose QC35's and I couldn't get past the noise cancellation as the pressure it put on my ears was just too much for me to handle. That said, I tried listening to them with the included audio cable and it was a much better experience for me as the comfort of the ear cushions are probably the most comfortable headphones I've tried thus far. However, since I have an iPhone 7, I bought them for the wireless. I'm surprised Bose doesn't include an option in their app to turn off the noise cancellation without having to use the audio cable. I would still like to have the option of using noise cancellation for on a plane, but unfortunately with no option to turn off the noise cancellation, they won't work for me. It's too bad though, they are extremely comfortable and lightweight.
 
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matrix07

macrumors 601
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Jun 24, 2010
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Add another good thing for Bose, I'm watching Blu-Ray rip on Apple TV (file size is around 25 GB.) and there was no lag at all.

Bad news, battery widget will show only when you connect to iPhone. If you connect to Mac or Apple TV you can not check the level there. It remains to be seen will AirPods act in this fashion or the widget will stay all the time. (I believe the case level should stay in there all the time at least)

And one thing that is really silly but I love about W1 headphone (AirPods including Beats) is when you connect it to iPhone it will show little headphone icon in task bar.


While other headphones including Bose will show only Bluetooth symbol, both in task bar and battery widget.


It just looks second class.
 
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Daranx

macrumors regular
Sep 16, 2016
217
69
London
Love my QC35, extremely comfortable with pleasing (not best) audio quality and excellent noise cancellation. As others have said, I do wish there was a toggle for the noise cancellation feature when using it wirelessly as sometimes I don't need/want to drown out outside noises (I have little kids so can't use the headphones when "babysitting"). Hasn't stopped me enjoying the headphones though.

My previous wireless headphones were the sennheiser mm550x, which were nice and compact for a pair of noise cancelling headphones, but they were pretty tight on my head and got uncomfortable after about 30 mins, as well as choppy audio quality and decreased fidelity when ANC was turned on.

I find the battery widget somewhat useful, but with the excellent battery life, and the fact that it announces the approximate (to the nearest 10%) battery life when your turn it on, the widget is kinda redundant.

IMO, they are one of the finest wireless headphones that I've tried and quite possibly the best wireless ANC headphones at the moment so you can't really go wrong (if money isn't an object, that is).
 

whsbuss

macrumors 68040
May 4, 2010
3,517
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SE Penna.
You need to check out the Sony MDR-1000x before making a decision. IMO they do a bit better job on ANC and sound quality
 

simplified587

macrumors member
Mar 28, 2008
43
3
You need to check out the Sony MDR-1000x before making a decision. IMO they do a bit better job on ANC and sound quality
Can you further elaborate? I am also choosing between those and the QC35 and would be very interested in your input!
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
5,525
6,445
Florida, USA
Good review, thanks for posting it. I tried out the Bose QC35's and I couldn't get past the noise cancellation as the pressure it put on my ears was just too much for me to handle. That said, I tried listening to them with the included audio cable and it was a much better experience for me as the comfort of the ear cushions are probably the most comfortable headphones I've tried thus far. However, since I have an iPhone 7, I bought them for the wireless. I'm surprised Bose doesn't include an option in their app to turn off the noise cancellation without having to use the audio cable. I would still like to have the option of using noise cancellation for on a plane, but unfortunately with no option to turn off the noise cancellation, they won't work for me. It's too bad though, they are extremely comfortable and lightweight.
You might want to try these. They are pretty much the same as the QC35 but without the noise canceling feature

https://www.bose.com/en_us/products/headphones/over_ear_headphones/soundlink-around-ear-wireless-headphones-ii.html#v=soundlink_ae_headphones_ii_black

They're also $100 less! If you don't consider the noise canceling they sound just as good as the QC35s.
 
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timeconsumer

macrumors 68000
Aug 1, 2008
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You might want to try these. They are pretty much the same as the QC35 but without the noise canceling feature

https://www.bose.com/en_us/products/headphones/over_ear_headphones/soundlink-around-ear-wireless-headphones-ii.html#v=soundlink_ae_headphones_ii_black

They're also $100 less! If you don't consider the noise canceling they sound just as good as the QC35s.
Thank you, I actually picked those up Monday night and you're correct, they are pretty much the QC35's, just with no noise cancellation. Great choice for me and those who don't need or want noise cancellation.
 

theanimala

macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2007
324
103
I just received my QC35's yesterday and in the brief amount of testing I have done with them I am VERY impressed. I always bought cheaper, $100 ANC headphones from different brands and the result was always weak. I guess you get what you pay for. Speaking of which, there is a thread at Slickdeals regarding the QC35 for $150. It's a bit shady as it requires price matching with a shady internet reseller, but if you can get them for $150 (like I did), then it's worth the effort!
 
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zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
5,525
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Thank you, I actually picked those up Monday night and you're correct, they are pretty much the QC35's, just with no noise cancellation. Great choice for me and those who don't need or want noise cancellation.
And now I finally picked them up and have decided to keep them. Having bought and returned four different headphones models in the past few months I'm glad to finally have my pick.

I had the same issue with the QC35s. It feels like there's "pressure" in my ears, it's very discomforting. The sad thing is, noise canceling might be useful on a plane, but because the QC35s don't let you turn it off, I'd have to live with it all the time, and I don't fly enough to have to deal with that.

Also I wanted to try the Beats Solo 3, but I couldn't get the floor model in Best Buy to pair with my phone. Nothing I did worked, and the employees were unhelpful. Ah well, these are probably more comfy. :)
 

mzengr

macrumors regular
Nov 11, 2014
125
56
Thanks for this review. I'm looking to purchase my first pair of wireless headphones and I want an on/over ear pair. I'm trying to decide between these and the Beats Solo 3 Wireless.