Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth headphones, Quiet is made more quieter!

Review Category


5 Stars


When one looks for a suitable pair of headphones; what does one look for in particular? Of course, the question is highly subjective, but one may come up with general criteria for suitable headphones. They should not be too highly priced, neither should they be too cheap (as we all know what happens to the average run-of-the-mill headphones). They should sound great, comfortable for long wear, preferably wireless but with reasonable battery life. They should surround us with quiet comfort so we may work in peace, relatively speaking. Although, being visually impaired, total isolation from the outside world might not be desirable.

I almost always wear headphones for my daily work, and I work in noisy places like my resident hall’s common room or a cafe where the noisy student chatter always distracts me. I was looking for a pair of headphones which should be comfortable as well as reduce outside noise.

The Bose Quiet Comfort 35 are bluetooth headphones equipped with Active Noise cancelation technology. Just to mention, there are two types of noise canceling headphones, active and passive. The passive noise cancelation headphones are such that they fit snugly over one’s ears and prevent much of the outside noise coming in while one uses them.

The active noise cancelation, on the other hand, is another matter altogether. The microphones situated inside and outside the ear cups constantly listen to the outside noise and create opposite signature signals to cancel the noise.

Bose is well known for its active noise cancelling technology and QC 35s are the first wireless headphones launched by Bose to have this feature.
I came across Bose’s new headphones, Quiet Comfort 35, and I found most of what I have been looking for.

I will try to put forth my impressions of them. I have owned them for a week now and have tested them in various surroundings and with various audio tracks. I have tested them connected to single devise, multiple devices to check the connectivity issues.

First, let me talk about the initial impressions when I unboxed them. For a pair of headphones packed with lot of functionality, they did feel a bit fragile in the beginning. However, I quickly overcame that feeling, they are flexible, and fold in a smaller size for carrying them around. They can be folded flat to fit in a briefcase, or they can be folded to fit in their carrying case, which can fit easily in a briefcase or a backpack. The carrying case is hard-shelled, and felt luxurious to touch. The headphones fit in them snugly, there is also an inside compartment to carry the audio and USB cable. There is also a small slot in a corner to carry a special jack for onboard flight entertainment system.

When I put them on, they fit quite snugly and my ears were covered completely without the ear-cups touching my ears. The fit was not too tight, but was not too loose either and the headphones did not move even with a violent shake of my head.

The right ear-cup has all the controls, and the left ear cup has no buttons, so it is easier for a visually challenged person to quickly know the right and left ear cups. When one touches the surface of the ear-cups, they feel glossy and smooth. In the middle of the ear cup one can feel the embossed Bose logo on both the ear cups. The headband feels luxurious, broad enough to take up the weight and flexible enough to adjust to most of the skull sizes.

On the right ear cup, slightly above the embossed Bose logo, there is a round-shaped button which slides sideways; easy to locate for a visually challenged person. One may also easily feel in which direction the button is to be slid.

When you slide the button to “on” position, the voice prompt announces the battery level and whether the headphones are connected to any device. It took me less than 3 seconds to pair them with my iPhone 6, using the usual bluetooth connecting steps. With NFC paring capability, one might pair an NFC enabled Android device. However, I do not own such a device so am unable to comment on it. If one puts one’s fingers towards the back of the right ear-cup, one will find three buttons. The lower button is the volume down button, and one can feel the lower side of that button slightly tapering down like an arrow head. The middle button is the play/pause button which is also used for skipping backwards or forwards a track while listening to music. Pressing it three times quickly will skip a track back and pressing it twice quickly will skip forward a track. The middle button is also used for answer/end a phone call. The upper button is the volume up button, which slightly tapers upwards.

Beneath the right ear cup, there is a micro USB slot for charging.

The left ear cup, as I mentioned, has no buttons. However, at the bottom of the left ear cup, there is a headphone jack. Bose Has their own headphone cables, with 2.5 millimetre jack going in the headphones and 3.5 millimetre jack for the host device. Needless to say, these bluetooth headphones can also be used as wired headphones.

When one connects the headphones to a device, the voice prompt announces the device’s name. As most of the bluetooth headphones, one may connect multiple bluetooth devices , however, only two devices will stay connected at a time. When two devices are connected, the voice prompt announces their names, with the latest device’s name at the end. For Example, if one has connected an iPhone as well as a Mac, the voice prompt will announce “Connected to iPhone and Mac”.

Using the power switch button, one may move seamlessly between multiple connected devices. For instance, if one has an iPhone, Mac and iPad connected to the headphones, one may move to any of the devices by sliding the power button all the way till the voice prompt announces the device name. After hearing the device name, one lets go of the button and when the device is connected, the headphones beep to indicate successful connection in a slightly higher tone. The lower toned beep indicates that the connection was unsuccessful. While staying connected to two devices, if one looses connectivity, the voice prompt announces the device name “XYZ” is lost. If the device is found again, the connection establishes itself and the voice prompt announces it.

The QC 35s can be used to answer phone calls, such as a regular phone call, FaceTime call, what’s app, Facebook messenger call etc. To answer a phone call, one simply presses the middle button on the right ear-cup, and pressing the same button will end the current call. Pressing volume up/down buttons together will toggle mute for a current call. Pressing the middle button slightly longer will put the current phone call on hold and will answer another incoming phone call. Pressing the middle button again once will allow the user to establish a conference call, though I have not yet tried this feature.

The active noise cancelation technology works during the phone call as well, which filters out extraneous noise and provides crisp and clear sound to the other end. The microphones located inside and outside on each ear-cup lets one hear one's own voice so one may know how one is sounding to the other party, as well as making sure that one is not shouting at the top of one's lungs. The middle button is also used to activate SIRI on an IOS device.

One problem most bluetooth headphones featuring Active noise cancelation technology face is that the audio quality suffers significantly. I am happy to say, however, that the QC 35s do not have this problem. The sound quality is amazing, better than the Beet’s Wireless Studio, for sure. I tested both headphones in a noisy apple store and could immediately recognise the difference between the Beet’s Studio wireless and Bose’s QC 35s. The Active noise cancelation in the QC 35s works jolly well. When I put the QC 35s over my head, even before turning them on, the surrounding noise was reduced to a distant rumble. When I turned them on, the surrounding noise almost disappeared and I experienced amazing quietude. I did experience discomfort in the beginning, my ears kept popping as if I was flying on a high altitude, but I got used to it shortly. However, I want to add that the noise cancelation does not totally block out the outside noise while not playing music. It does block out lower frequency noise, such as a rumbling air conditioner, bus or a car noise. It also blocked out the train noise pretty well. Higher frequency noise, such as conversations in one’s immediate vicinity is not totally blocked out, though, it is reduced to a distant murmur. While testing these headphones in a busy Edinburgh cafe, most of the noise was blocked out.

When one listens to music, the outside noise is totally shut off. While working with the headphones on with voiceover, the external noise was reduced to a large extent, but not in its entirety. Again, the lower frequency noise was blocked out completely, but the higher frequency noise still persisted, though it was considerably diminished. I could still hear the busy bustle of the cafe I was sitting in, tingling crockery, conversations around me; but like a distant chirping which did not really bother me.

If you are an audiophile, you might not want to go for the QC 35s, as audiophiles would seldom go for bluetooth headphones. Coupled with the active noise cancelling feature, one might assume that the audio quality might suffer, but I did not experience this. The sound coming out of the headphones was rich, crisp. The music stage was pretty detailed, distinguishing vocals from the instruments. I listened to various tracks from my iTunes library and they all sounded rich. While listening to Symphonies such as Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem”, I could experience the elaborate soundstage and the vocals were easily distinguished from the rest of the orchestra. The New age composers like Kitaro, Yanni, world music composers like Niladri Kumar sounded much richer with crisp highs, balanced treble and base. The Indian Fusion and classical music sounded extraordinarily great, I could capture each separate note of a Sitar, while listening to PT. Ravi Shankar. Pure Indian Classical vocals sounded a tad shrill, but adjusting the EQ settings on my IOS device did solve the problem. While listening to music on a Mac via I-tunes, however, I would suggest turning off the sound-enhancer or at least keep it to low or medium low to get the best out of the QC 35s. Personally, though, i would have liked these headphones to pack some more base in them. The QC 35s have their own EQ which tries to deliver music faithfully. However, there is no customisable EQ settings.

The QC 35s have amazing battery life. Bose mentions 20 hours of active listening time with wireless, and amazing 40 hours with them wired up. I found the battery estimate mostly accurate. The voice prompt announces the battery level once it reaches 10%. If one is using an IOS device, one can check the battery percentage in a status bar. While charging the headphones, however, they cannot be used. It took me two hours to charge them fully.

One more thing to mention is that the headphones come with a dedicated app for IOS as well as for Android, which allows the user to Change the headphone name, turn on/off the voice prompt, change the voice prompt language, enable auto-shut down the headphones after a set idle period,move between multiple bluetooth devices, clear-up bluetooth device list from the headphone memory etc, but the IOS app is not that VoiceOver friendly. The buttons are not labelled, so one has to go in the menus to figure out what exactly the menu is all about. Since there is no customisable EQ settings, I found the app mostly superfluous. Not installing the app will certainly not hamper the headphone performance, but one may miss out on firmware updates etc from Bose. Since the headphones are launched in June 2016, along with the app, it is reasonable to expect firmware and app updates soon. I, therefore, would suggest installing the app anyway.

To summarise, The Bose Quiet Comfort 35 bluetooth headphones have amazing design, excellent sound quality, unrivalled active noise cancelation feature, stellar battery life, significant comfort for long use, steady connectivity. On the other hand, the absence of customisable EQ settings and lack of booming base might put one off. Although, one is paying not only for excellent sound quality, but primarily for active noise cancellation and comfort. I have been wearing my QC 35s regularly for more than 6 hours without taking them off; I even forget at times that I am wearing them.

All in all, I found these pair of headphones highly satisfactory. Priced at 290 pounds they are certainly not cheap, but considering that they are one of the best active noise cancelling bluetooth headphones with sound quality not compromised, you cannot go wrong choosing them. I am certainly happy with mine!

Devices Accessory Was Used With



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Submitted by abdullah alsehli on Sunday, August 21, 2016

I like Bose brand i have soundlink headphone and soundlink color very good quality but you cant turn off the ANC in Bose QC35 that my problem second i have some problems when connecting to MacBook i giss because of voiceover

Hi Abdullah,
You are right, you cannot turn off the Active Noise Cancelation feature on These headphones. However, Bose is going to launch QC 30 wireless sport earphones in September, which will allow you to control the level of ANC. The problem is that the QC 30 are not over-ear headphones and their battery life is not that good, Bose states 10 hours of active listening time.…
Regarding Voiceover, Can you be more precise about the issue you are having?

Submitted by Brian Giles on Sunday, August 21, 2016

Thanks for the review. I've had my eye on these for about a month or so. I've played with them a few times in the store and they're awesome! I'm no audiophile--I can't easily pick out certain parts of music, but Bose headphones have a fuller sound to me. Not too much bass, but just enough to be noticable.

In flipping through songs on my phone, I didn't notice the beginning of songs getting cut off like sometimes happens with my soundlink 2 speaker. I don't know what to attribute that to. i did notice some lag with VoiceOver while typing though, but I think that's par for the course with BT audio.

Good to know that you can't use them while they're charging, and it's not surprising that the bose Connect app isn't very accessible. That pretty much rules out getting a Soundtouch speaker since I bet the app for that isn't too accessible either. I definitely want to pick up some QC35s when the bank account can accomodate.

Hi Brian, Thank you. This is my first review ever, and I did not know how much to write. I hope the review was reasonably detailed!
Regarding Voiceover lag while typing, my experience was somewhat similar to yours, but I suppose it is a bluetooth connectivity issue, though why should it be, I am unable to figure out. I tried other bluetooth headphones as well, but they seem to face similar problems too.
While reading long text, for instance, on preview or Ibooks, VoiceOver skips some random words or even entire paragraphs. It is more noticeable when I read any web content in Safari Reader mode. I spoke to folks at Apple, but they could not replicate the same issue.
With QC 35s, however, I have not yet faced this issue, though to tell you the truth, I am not quite hopeful that the problem will not pop up. Though, you might have noticed, the Voiceover lag is more noticeable on Mac rather than on IOS devices.
One possible solution I found over the years was to mute all voiceover sound feedback, and positional audio. That used to work for me.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Sunday, August 21, 2016

I won't be able to try them with my Mac till I buy them, but am really impressed with how they work with the iPhone, sans the VO lag.

A couple other questions though: Are the headphones easy to put in the case? I noticed that they fold flat and the case is pretty small. My old beats executives had a flat case too but it was bigger, and it was a bit tricky to get the headphones in there, especially in a hurry. One thing I didn't like was there wasn't a separate compartment for the cable, which the QC35s case has. Are the cables easy to get out when you need them?

Second, do you think the ear cups would be easy to replace later? I find with around ear headphones, they are the first thing to go. One of them fell off my old beats executives, and it would've cost 200 bucks to get Apple to fix them, because of course stuff like that always happens right after the warantee is up. I decided it'd be better to wait a bit and get the qc35s since they're better in every way--more comfortable, better sounding, bluetooth, and rechargable. I went through triple A's like crazy with my beats.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Monday, August 22, 2016

Since I am someone who looks for the fine details on a piece of technology before putting cash on the table, I just wanted to thank you for doing such a nice job. Now I just need my bank account to grow to accommodate this headset.

Submitted by Bo on Monday, August 22, 2016

I've been using these headphones since release in June of this year. I agree with everything in the review. Nicely done!

With that said, a couple things to contribute:

The provided cable to wire the headset has no inline mic or controls. However, you can buy the Bose branded headphone cable from their SoundTrue AE II or SoundLink AE II headphones, and it will work well. Alternatively, there are 3rd party brands that work well also, though the on cable controls aren't as nice as the Bose branded.

When using the headphones as corded, the sound isn't quite as rich as when in Bluetooth mode. It saves on battery, and works extremely well as a corded nice canceling or regular headset, but is best when wireless. When wired though, turning on the noise canceling will improve the sound.

Regarding bass frequencies, this device has an intelligent volume control. Bass frequencies tend to drop off much more quickly than higher frequencies when turning volume down. Nature of sound. These headphones will not turn down the base as quickly as they'd naturally drop off, so you get them throughout the volume range. It takes some getting used to, but is a wonderful thing.

Now, onto the issues with VoiceOver, via iPhone and Mac. When connecting to multiple devices at once, the headphones will favor the first device named when you power it on. To change this, press the power switch all the way forward, and release to cycle through the connected devices. It handles up to 6 or 8, but only two active at once. Find the one you want to be primary, and give it a moment to reprioritize. That device will then get first dibs, and audio will be significantly less interrupted. Better yet, using the iOS app to disable everything but the one device you want to use will give the best results.

As for the app, the current version is 2.0. Previous versions were fully VoiceOver accessible. This version was released specifically fore the QC 35, and it's awful, a terrible step backward. I've provided feedback, as well as an app review on this issue. But the bluetooth menu where you can enable or disable specific paired devices is still accessible, a button on the bottom left of the main screen.

As for the question about folding them flat in their case, it's really really easy. The case opens like a booklet, placing the headphones on the right, with your pocket for cables on the left, inside the cover. You fold one of the earpieces in toward the headband, and they fit easily in. Then the case zippers closed. It has a nylon pocket on the outside as well as a sturdy nylon loop if you want to hang it on something. The case is smaller than the headphones alone. Very convenient.

I used these on my daily commute, 20+ minutes on a bus, and almost 40 on a train. I can still hear the train announcements through the noise canceling, if I pause what I'm listening to, but everything is blocked out well if I have music going

Yes, the ear pads are extremely easy to replace. Bose sells replacements for something like $25. They pop off easily, but not so much that they will come lose during regular or heavy use.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Monday, August 22, 2016

So I'm a little confused. When using these headphones when wired, is it possible to use these without the noise cancelling? If so, why does it need batteries during that time? It makes sense when using the noise cancelling or when using wirelessly with Bluetooth, but why when wired? Sorry. Hope this makes sense. Thanks.

Submitted by ming on Tuesday, August 23, 2016

hey! does it provide a cord with a microphone and have the play/ paus and volium control button?

Submitted by David in the UK on Thursday, November 10, 2016

Firstly, this is a good and fair review, thank you. You can use these just like regular headphones; so if the battery dies, just plug them in with the lead provided (any 2.5 to 3.5 lead will do by the way); and you have a fairly good pair of headphones. ANC doesn't work, as the battery is dead in this case, however, if the battery is fully charged, and you don't want to use ANC just switch off the headphones, plug them in, and away you go. A contributor mentioned the lack of bass; for more bassier headphones it's worth looking at Bang and Olufseen's ANC offerings, there's bass aplenty here.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Monday, December 26, 2016

I got these for Christmas and they're just awesome. Once you've experienced the freedom of wireless headphones there's no going back. The lag with VoiceOver is not as bad as I remember — nowhere near what it is on my SoundLink 2 speaker. I also like having it paired to both my iPhone and MacBook and the audio just switches between them. Only annoyance with that is that if I close the MBP and just want to listen to music on my iPhone, the audio will sometimes stutter, I'm guessing because it's still trying to connect to the MBP. It stops when I manually disconnect them on the Mac itself. Since we actually had a white Christmas, I haven't been able to go test them in a super noisy environment yet. I've noticed that FaceTime calls on the iPhone are terribly choppy though, and they won't even connect when I try making them on the Mac. ANY idea why this could be? Is it just a regular BT audio thing? I thought I read somewhere that using a BT headset to make a call, even over FaceTime, will result in that crappy 8 KHZ telephone quality audio. The QC35S aren't that, thankfully, but the choppiness is still really annoying.

Submitted by Gadget Meistress on Monday, April 9, 2018

One of the things I have been looking for is a decent microphone when looking for a headset. I did hear a couple people using the microphone on their QC35's over a year ago, and it sounded pretty good. over a high fidelity service like when Roger was around. Question: Where is the microphone located on the QC35, and what is your impression as far as using the mic either on blue tooth or on wired, especially, say, on a high fidelity voice chat app like iTeamTalk?

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Tuesday, April 10, 2018

It is very difficult to describe where the microphones are located. If you were to position the headphonesso that the left ear-cup is directly in front of you (so the headphones are 90 degrees away from how you would put them on), the microphone appears to be on the right-hand side of the front panel, , about two-thirds of the way up the side of the panel. On the right ear-cup, it is reversed.

Submitted by Eric Davis on Thursday, April 11, 2019

Just wanted to let you know that Boes fixed the app. Buttons are labeled and V O works with the app.

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