A long-waited counterpart to its QC35 II model has a lot to accomplish with the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. We all know that the Quiet-Comfort series is nearly twenty years old and, basically, it is the gold standard for efficient noise-cancelling headphones, which are common with airlines and open office people around the world because they can prevent a large number of disturbances while using them for whatever reason. In other words, the QC35s are a difficult act to obey because of the preset standards, and certain critics do not like the improvements made by Bose when making the current headphones of Bose’s successors.
Even the latest, a higher price will not be accepted by the critics: The Bose 700 is available for a price of $400, 50 bucks more expensive than the latest CNET top-ranked sound cancellation handset – the QC45 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3. On the other hand, leaving behind the discussion for a while about the latest design and price tag, we will say this: the new Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 really sound and work better than the older variants in the lineup – The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 by Bose are expensive but impressive.
Of course, this really is a new headphone, on the outside as well as inside, with new drivers and 8 mics, which enables the established noise cancellation features of Bose. The headband is one of the most significant external updates in the new model. There is a highly technological plastic headband in the Quiet-Comfort II, while here we have a single, smooth stainless steel part – which seems to have a little more stability in the headband of the headphones. That being said, because of the new current configuration, no hinge exists, so they do not fold up – simply place them into a carry case that is also in fact bigger than the case of the Quiet-Comfort 35 II.
A lot of you will like the new bigger case, but obviously, some of you won’t – it depends on your preference. What we loved about the case was the fact that there is a tiny compartment in it that opens up magnetically and you can put your charging cable and AUX wire in it. Another feature worth remembering is that the jack on the headset is the smaller 2.5mm type because it’s actually a 2.5mm to 3.5mm cord.
Noise Cancelling Actually Cancels A Lot!
While Bose has always worked to reduce the weight of its headphones, this model is about half an ounce heavier – 254 g, which is in line with the Quiet Comfort 35 II. Of course, the weight gap can be felt. We did not find the headset any less or more convenient than the 35 II Quiet-Comfort personally; it just sounded a little bit different. But some of our other office editors found that the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 had marginally more weight on their heads than the Quiet Comfort 35 II – maybe their head size is smaller than mine.
There are also various elements within the headband. The Quiet Comfort 35 II depends on soft foam padding which is wrapped in fancy clothing for sound insulation. On the other hand, the Noise Cancelling Headphone 700 has an inside rubberized soft-to-the-touch band, packed with air to be additionally comfortable. The rubber is not suitable for absorbing moisture, but some individuals like the fabric and the lining on the Quiet Comfort 35 II – again, it’s all about preference.
Putting it simply – Quiet Comfort 35 II and the WH-1000XM3 are a little better if you are talking comfort, in comparison to the Bose Noise Canceling headphones 700. On the other hand, the Bose 700 seems to be a little longer lasting. That said, in their safe carry case – It is a smart idea to store them when you are not using them. The finishing on the metal portion of the band is a little vulnerable to scratches, so we suggest not putting them in your backpack with other stuff.
Communication Made Easy and Comfy
Bose is filling the gap of speech communication functions for the headset. Although the ultimate sound volume is a minor step forward from the Quiet-Comfort 35 II. As something of a headset for calls, the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 work far best. The modern microphones are created to assist and collect your voice (several of these are beam mics) and automatically stop the excessive noise surrounding you, allowing people to hear you more effectively in those annoying crowded conditions. It even works for voice aids too — Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa are supported by the headset in noisier settings. So the voice assistant can now hear you better and hence assist you better.
To check the voice call quality, we made a few calls in the loud New York streets, and even as we stood next to a dump truck that was wrapping up old machines and furniture outside our office building – amazingly, people on the other side of the call could hear us clearly. The headphones work very well to block background noise. Not all, but quite a lot. The headphones minimize the noise surrounding you significantly when you’re not talking. Although once you start talking, the microphones do pick up some external sounds, and the mics are also beamed into your voice. Of course, the computer chips of the headphones process a decent volume of sound.
A side-tone component is also available that helps you to hear your voice on the headphones – which prevents you from talking too loudly when on a call. Similarly, The Quiet Comfort 35 II contains a subtle sidetone feature that not everyone hears, but in this new generation of headphones, you can really feel this function.
You need to specify the assistant you would like to use and then access that assistant by pressing the button as you do on Quiet-Comfort 35 II. Assistant type can be chosen from the Bose Music accompanying app for iOS & Android. When you select Alexa, simply say the wake word “Alexa” to activate Amazon’s voice assistant. That’s why the Bose 700 is among the rare headphones to still sell Alexa. Also, it works with Siri as well as the AirPods and Power Beats Pro. The Jabra Elite 85h was meant to have the same functionality but Jabra later left it after it found it had a huge effect on battery life – for those living in the stone age, the Jabra Elite is also a really good headphone for calls.
Upon asking a representative from Bose about the potential negative effects of Alexa on battery life, the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 has a battery that is 20 hours shorter than many of its rivals. The rep said that the battery life wouldn’t be affected. Furthermore, if you were in or out of Bluetooth mode, for instance, when you are in AUX mode on a plane, the battery life would remain the same. Along with this, it can also be noted that if the battery fails or dies, the headphone can be used in wired mode. It doesn’t sound as good when it’s not connected, but it’s still very good. These headphones passively silence a lot since they are an over-ear-model.
Something New for Bose
The touch controls are here! On the right side of the right ear cup is the touch contact field. Also, the engineers from Bose had known that some of the Sony WH-1000XM3 customers had issues with cold-weather touch controls but the Noise Cancelling 700 headphones had been checked in the cold as well – the same sales rep told us about this. The touch controls are designed to work, of course, but we’re going to have to wait until winter to try it ourselves ourselves.
Bose usually did not give us much in the way of adjustable settings, but with the noise-canceling 700 series: The Bose Music software allows you to set the noise cancellation intensity. You can switch between medium, moderate, and zero noise cancellation, which Bose refers to as a genuine “transparency” mode. The Bose application also has a dedicated option to use this feature or you can use the button on the headphones too.
Admirably, you basically sense the external environment like your ears usually will when you are in this transparency mode. The contrast between putting on or off the headphones is difficult to say – because it is so good. The noise cancellation button lets you speak to others while you wear your headphones – to a flight attendant on a plane, for instance – In transparency mode, the music pauses. It’s similar to Sony’s Quick Care function except you need to press the noise cancellation button again to resume your music.
You can also use Bose AR, the company’s very own audio-augmented reality platform, and Bose promises it will add new features in the near future – the firmware of the headphones is improved – including a sound tweak equalizer for you, a Dynamic Transparency mode that allows you to hear from outside but muffles loud noises like sirens and other noise-masking sources. These features are placed in the coming soon bucket by Bose.
Another positive feature is that the app is not required for headphone usage. You only need Alexa or Google Assistant activation as the key stuff from the app. It also allows you to pair and switch from two devices concurrently to your headphones. Besides the two functions, though, the remaining settings are not too important and the App Store allows you to browse a small selection of Bose AR applications.
Is Bose’s Noise Cancellation Better than Sony’s?
Bose and Sony have struggled over recent years for the noise-canceling dominance, and Sony probably pulled its WH-1000XM3 marginally ahead. In addition to the noise cancellation of the Quiet-Comfort 35 II, the noise cancellation capabilities of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have gotten much better and are now on the same level as that of Sony’s. You can find one tad more powerful than the other, but it’s again really similar, according to the sort of noise you’re experiencing.
Upon testing both headphones for noise cancellation. The two did an outstanding job, but the Sony was a little better. We had Bose’s noise-canceling activated at level 10. The Bose helps you to modify the intensity of noise cancellation if you are sensitive to the pressure sensation of noise cancellation technology. Even Sony does — via the smartphone app — but in Sony’s companion app you have to disable the adaptive sound management to achieve the noise-canceling setup.
We have used both headphones in open office surroundings and on New York’s streets, even in the metro. Surprisingly, they both work well to muffle the noise around you. It’s impossible to call one outright winner from the standpoint of noise-canceling headphones. But, we will say this: Bose’s has upgraded its noise cancellation a lot!
Let’s Compare Sound Quality
In its newest version, Bose has made some changes to the sound quality. With more general clarification and bass definition, the Noise Canceling 700 headphones sound rather better than the Quiet Comfort 35 II. Listening to our test route, we thought that the bass from Sony had much more power and finesse. However, the bass from Bose sounded a little tighter. The Sony is the smoother headphone and the best option for electronic dance music and hip hop music. The clearer Bose brings more clarity with a marginally improved splitting of the instruments in jazz and classical stuff.
Does Bose make you want to listen back to the whole library so you never heard it before? Perhaps not because you were exposed to outstanding headphones already. But these headphones, with an attractive tone that can be read easily for long stretches, are very competent. We are not going to call them any better or worse than Sony. Both sound great for headphones with sound cancellation, but if you have a taste of beefier bass, you can enjoy Sony more. You will find yourself turning towards Bose if you need more clarity in your music.
Bose or Sony? Full and Final
We know that there are plenty of decent headphones for cancellation of noise out there, but when we got the Bose Noise 700, people came around asking us if we thought they were better than the Sony WH-1000XM3. Sadly, it’s not an easy solution – saying yes or no will never do justice to both of them. As we told you all – it’s all about preference. Here is a small scorecard that will remind you of your purchase choice. Overall, both headphones get a thumbs up.
Points in favor of Bose:
- Sturdier headband
- More detailed sound
- An Always-on Alexa voice assistant is an option.
- A programmable button allows you to quickly switch between three different levels of noise cancellation.
- Superior voice communication Bose AR as an added feature
Points in favor of Sony WH-1000XM3:
- Lower price (the WH-1000XM3 seems to be frequently discounted to $300)
- Slightly more comfortable
- Better battery life (30 hours compared to the Bose’s 20)
- The Sony has meatier bass and a smaller case. We prefer the look of the Sony.
Ultimately, there are only two things that we are not a fan of in Bose: its higher price tag and its app experience, which is incomplete. It’s a great headphone with noise-reducing functions and a spectacular result overall, but we would have preferred Bose’s price to be around $350 and the price of Quiet Comfort 35 II to $300 lower. In due course, it will shake out though. And while the new app solved the initial pairing issues, Bose’s Headphone application promises are still missing all the functionality.
We’ll change this blog once Bose’s new software is available. Until then, Sony is the better buy, particularly when it’s on sale for $300 or less.
If you want a decent pair of noise-canceling headphones, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are an excellent option.
The noise cancellation equipment on offer here is world-class, making it suitable for use on noisy flights and crowded commutes.
The sound quality is also excellent, and they are undeniably fun to listen to. However, we do not believe they attain the same agility as the Sony WH-1000XM3s.
The battery life is still 10 hours shorter than Sony headphones, considering the fact that the Bose model costs $50/£50/AU $100 more – The Bose model does, though, win out in terms of style, with its elegant, modern design.
If you’re deciding between the Sony WH-1000XM3s and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, we’d prefer the former due to the cheaper price and longer battery life.
However, you would not be making an error if you chose the Bose headphones instead (and we’ll never judge you if you did) – they sound fantastic, look fantastic, and the noise-cancellation is just out of this universe.
Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 specs
- 11 levels of noise cancellation
- Active EQ Sound Management (coming soon)
- Adaptive voice system
- Battery charging time: Up to 2.5 hours
- Battery life: Up to 20 hours
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Bluetooth range: Up to 33 ft. (10m)
- Built-in voice assistants (one-touch access)
- Conversation mode
- Low-power wake word (for Amazon Alexa voice assistant)
- New acoustic and electronics package with new digital signal processing
- New eight-microphone system
- Over-ear design
- Over-the-air updates
- Price: $400 (£350)
- Quick charge time: 15 min for 3.5 hours
- Supported codecs: SBC and AAC
- Touch controls
- Two-color options: Black and silver
- USB-C charging
- Weight: 254g