Bose QuietComfort 35 Review

Rating:

Slipping on a pair of headphones – the constant murmuring and humming of the subway, along with the rhythmic thump, thump, thump sound of train wheels rolling over track, seem to become dampened. They become distant afterthoughts as soft, well-fitting ear pads hush the noise of my commute.

However, with a flick of the power switch on the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones, all noise seems to melt away; it feels like you’re sitting inside of a quiet room.

The latest in the Bose line of headphones offers top-notch active noise cancellation, bluetooth and NFC pairing for wireless usage, solid durability and build quality, and a very well-known name in the audio world. That name, however, comes with a price: Bose commands a hefty premium for its various high-end audio products.

Does the Bose QuietComfort 35 live up to the hype?

The Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review

Folded up nicely inside of its carrying case, the first thing to notice about the Bose QuietComfort 35 is that it is incredibly light. After unfolding and adjusting them to fit my head, I wore them and felt just how light it seemed to rest on my head, and how nicely the ear pads fit around my ears. I often feel uncomfortable with headphones when wearing them for long periods of time; either due to the weight and heft of other headphones, wireless or not, or due to my incredibly large head and ears not fitting well with headphone ear pads.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review

Inside of the box, aside from the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones themselves, you also get an airline adapter, an audio cable for a wired connection, a USB cable, and a nice carrying case with a zipper that keeps the headphones protected from the elements and also keeps it nice and compact. Perfect for commuting or travel.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review

The Bose QuietComfort 35 has your standard extending sliders for adjusting fit, and its headband is lined with a material called Alcantara, which has a suede-like texture, and is quite soft to the touch. The ear pads are lined with synthetic leather, and the structure of the Bose QuietComfort 35 uses a glass-filled nylon in order to achieve its light weight, while having stronger durability than plastic. You can tell that Bose has really done their research when it comes to building high-end headphones.

Overall, you’re getting a very light, very durable, and very well-made pair of headphones in the Bose QuietComfort 35.

Usage & Sound

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review

To preface: I am comparing the Bose QuietComfort 35 against three different headphones, which I also use as a benchmark for comparison. These headphones, in no particular order, are the Apple EarPods, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50, and the Logitech G930. All three are headphones or earphones that I currently use in different environments, and am accustomed to their sound quality, their usability, and my overall level of satisfaction with each.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review

Using the Bose QuietComfort 35 is pretty darn easy. Once you flick the power switch into the on position, it will be in “Pairing Mode”, which means you can go into your Bluetooth settings on your device and pair with the headphones. If you’ve already connected to something before, you hold the power switch on the farthest right position, until it enters “Pairing Mode”. When you’ve connected to a device, you might need to adjust output source, but you can be off to the races.

Wearing the Bose QuietComfort 35 feels like any other pair of noise-cancelling headphones, like my ATH-M50, where it dampens a lot of the ambient noise around you, like office chatter or the buzzing of fluorescent lights, but you can still hear quite a bit. However, when the Bose QuietComfort 35 is powered on, its active noise-cancelling comes into play, and suddenly the world becomes silent.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review

It’s an eerie feeling when you first use it – as if all of the noise around you simply melted away. I was sitting at my desk at the office when I first used them, and I remember the office becoming absolutely quiet, as if I had shut the door in my own, enclosed, quiet room. The sound of meetings happening nearby, the buzzing of all of the lights and air conditioning, and the engine noises wafting in from an open window; all of these noises became either very dampened and weak, or non-existent. Removing the headphones from my ears produced a jarring effect, where a sudden cacophony of that same noise seemed to materialize out of thin air, and I retreated back into my quiet place by quickly putting the Bose QuietComfort 35 back on again.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review

Fantastic noise-cancelling capabilities aside, the sound quality on the Bose QuietComfort 35 is great. For wireless headphones, I’ve grown accustomed to either a slight hissing from wireless interference, or subpar sound quality because there were concessions made with the quality of hardware or size of battery inside of the headphones. With the Bose QuietComfort 35, there is none of that. The sound clarity is solid, the bass thumps deep without becoming muddied, and it has a great natural sound. In addition, the Bose QuietComfort 35 comes with a relatively good on-device microphone, which offers good enough performance for phone calls or sending voice messages.

In terms of sound quality, I would place the Bose QuietComfort 35 either on par or just below the Audio-Technica ATH-M50, but leagues above the Apple EarPods and the Logitech G930. It also has the added advantage of having such a good sound while remaining wireless.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review

Battery life is another great asset of the Bose QuietComfort 35. Out of the box, my review unit had a reported 70% battery life. After three days, with an average of 8 hours of usage per day, the battery had finally run out. On my second run, I hit about four days with similar usage. That level of battery endurance is mighty impressive, and is one of my favourite aspects of the Bose QuietComfort 35.

The Bottom line

Overall, the Bose QuietComfort 35 is a great pair of headphones – they’re light, they’re portable, they’re durable, they have great sound quality, and the battery life exceeds expectations. However, as of this writing, they currently cost $449.85 CAD from Staples; that is quite the price to pay for a pair of wireless headphones. Given that the Bose QuietComfort 35 has wireless capabilities with great sound quality, seriously good active noise cancelling, and great battery life, they make for a fantastic pair of headphones, but I’m not sure the performance really matches its price tag.

This product is perfect for: people who want the freedom of wireless headphones without sacrificing much in terms of sound quality and battery life.

Key things to be aware of: the Bose QuietComfort 35 is on the expensive side, given the value of its sound and wireless offerings, but Bose build quality, battery life, and active noise cancelling offer a pretty solid value proposition regardless.

Final review score: 4.5. Bose QuietComfort 35 is an exceptional performer and product, but may not be worth the price tag.

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Jon Lim

Jon Lim is a professional developer, writer, and an avid technologist. He has written creatively for the past 16 years, and professionally for 4 years.

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