Writing by Timothy Buck

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Wireless, Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Wireless, Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Before my wife and I went to Honduras this summer, I bought a new pair of headphones. I’d had my eye on them since they were released, and with eight flights ahead of us over the next few months, I took the plunge.

The Bose QC 35s are wireless and noise cancelling. These are important distinctions because they drastically narrows the competition. If you’re ok with wires or don’t need noise cancelling, there are much cheaper headphones with better sound quality available. But if you want this combination of features, these might be the headphones for you.

Wireless

When wireless headphones were first release they were notoriously bad, but in the past few years, the sound quality, connection stability and range have improved dramatically. Wireless is undoubtedly the future of headphones.

Graph made by me. Based on NPD report of the 1st half of 2016.

Graph made by me. Based on NPD report of the 1st half of 2016.

In fact, according to an NPD report, Bluetooth headphones surpassed wired headphone in sales revenue for the first time this June, and if the rumors are correct, Apple will be removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 and pushing users toward wireless headphones this fall.

BackupChord.jpg

The QC 35s connect wirelessly over either Bluetooth or NFC. They also come with a backup wire if you need to connect to a standard headphone jack (pictured above). They work wireless up to 33 feet (10 meters) from your source phone, tv, or computer.

Noise Cancelling

In my opinion (which seems to be the consensus opinion of reviewers), Bose noise-cancelling technology is the best available. The QC 35s work with both active and passive noise cancelling. Passive noise cancelling is simply noise resistant material. Active noise cancelling is much more involved and requires battery power. The QC 35s’ active noise cancelling listens to the noises around you with a built-in microphone and pumps opposite frequencies from a built-in speaker. These frequencies effectively cancel out the sounds around you before it reaches your eardrum. They don't cancel out all sound, but their noise canceling is quite impressive.

Sound Quality

The sound quality of the Quiet Comfort line from Bose is better than your average headphones. Unless you’re an audiophile, you’ll be happy with the sound for music, movies, and spoken audio. If you’re interested in studio-quality sound, check out these forums.

Battery Life

Unlike some older versions of Bose headphones, these come with a built-in battery that charges via a USB-C cable (not an interchangeable AAA battery). The battery lasts for 20 hours of wireless/noise cancelling listening and 40 hours of wired/noise-cancelling listening. They also work without a battery for wired listening without active noise cancelling.

The built-in battery charges to full in 2 hours and 15 minutes, and for when you need a quick charge, it takes 15 minutes for 2 hours of wireless/noise-cancelling use. Overall the battery life and charging times are very good.

Build, Look & Feel

The QC 35s come in black and silver and weigh 10.9 ounces (309.0 g). The leather ear pads are quite comfortable, and the carrying case will keep them from getting scratched or broken in your bag. In my opinion, they have a high-end look and feel.

Cost & Competition

Conclusion

For me, noise cancelling & wireless were top priority. If you’re looking for a well-built pair of wireless, noise canceling headphones, the QC35s from Bose won’t let you down.

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