Home Audio
Now Reading
Bose QuietComfort 35 II noise-cancelling headphones review
4
Review

Bose QuietComfort 35 II noise-cancelling headphones review

by 2018/02/12
Overview
Price

$349

Product Name

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Positives

• Superbly comfortable
• Wired sound is excellent
• Hard case included
• Industry standard noise cancellation

Negatives

• Can get better audio for the price

Rating
Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Sound Quality
89%
65%
Appearance
79%
69%
Worth it?
96%
84%
Ease of Use
98%
95%
Hardware
97%
95%
Features
98%
95%
Bottom Line

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is a comfortable headphone with excellent noise isolation and solid audio.

93%
Our Rating
84%
User Rating
12 ratings
You have rated this

Bose’s noise cancelling technology has been the industry standard for several years now. When a company releases a new set of cans, you know at some point it’ll be compared to the Bose Quiet Comfort range. The QuietComfort 35 II is an update on the hugely successful original QC35. It retains the customisable noise cancellation, comfortable build, 20-hour battery life and the well-known Bose sound. Note: If you’re a gamer and don’t need ‘active’ noise cancellation, look at our V-moda Crossfade 2 review.

The QuietComfort 35 II is a closed-back, over-ear design which can be operated wired and wirelessly. Bose’s new model costs $349 USD, while the original is still available for $329. The only difference between the versions is the new Google Assistant button which allows you to issue voice commands to the assistant.

QuietComfort 35 II lives up to its name

Bose weren’t kidding when they called this the QuietComfort. If you’re travelling by vehicle, the noise cancellation removes pretty much all the low end of the engine. The only sounds that come through are some mids and highs, and even those are reduced in volume. The Bose noise cancellation strength stacks up against the best in the market right now.

Noise cancellation often produces a sensation of pressure on the eardrums which can be unpleasant to some users. Bose have almost removed this effect from the QuietComfort 35 II thankfully.  If you need to adjust the noise cancellation, it can be easily adjusted via the left earpiece. There’s three levels: High, low and off.

Bose sound here in spades

Bose QuietComfort 35 II noise cancelling angle

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

If you’ve used Bose headphones you’ll recognise the sound of the QuietComfort 35 II. The wired sound is gorgeous, with an evenly balanced frequency range. The headphones make pretty much any style of music sound good, with a tight bass, detailed midrange and clear treble. It’s not an audiophile sound, as it brings together the layers in a smooth, listenable way, rather than exposing flaws or idiosyncrasies.

The wireless sound is noticeably different, pushing the bass harder and losing some of the tightness and detail. Wirelessly it’s more suited to bass-heavy genres such as hip hop and EDM. As someone who listens to mostly guitar-based music, I definitely prefer the more detailed mids of the wired sound. There’s no frequency response specs listed unfortunately.

Sublimely comfortable

Bose QuietComfort 35 II noise cancelling case

The QC35 II in the included case.

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is sublimely comfortable. The earcups are nice and roomy, which is important to prevent the drivers rubbing against your ears. The headphones are easy to adjust and there’s really nothing to complain about in the comfort department. The earcups can heat up easily in warmer weather, but that’s an issue common to all closed back, over-ear headphones.

Hardcase included

Bose QuietComfort 35 II noise cancelling case 2

The included accessories.

The one thing I expect on headphones over $100 is a hardcase and thankfully Bose have got with the program here. You get a tough case with a side compartment for the cables. The charging cable is 30cm and the headphone cable is 1.2m.

Tough physical controls

Bose QuietComfort 35 II noise cancelling controls

The QC35 control scheme.

The QuietComfort 35 II is operated with physical controls on the earpieces. They are robust and organised in a user-friendly manner. You can tinker with the QC35 further using the free Bose Connect app. The app gives you control over the standby timer, voice prompts and the action button. The button can be set to change the noise cancellation or control Google Assistant.

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II verdict

The QuietComfort series has gone from strength to strength. The QuietComfort 35 II is an excellent release that delivers everything you expect from a high-end noise-cancelling headphone. If you have the original QuietComfort 35, I doubt it’s worth spending $350 for the Google Assistant upgrade. But for anyone else, it’s a great contender in the $300+ market. It’s not the best sounding headphone in its price range. However, the combination of strong noise cancellation, comfort and solid audio performance make the QC35 a tempting buy.


Update: We had some users complaining about defective noise cancelling after the latest firmware upgrade. Our manager reached out to Bose to ask about the problem with the following message:

As you know Stephen reviewed the QC35 II headphones back in February. I’m reaching out because yesterday we received the following comment: “Bose exchanged them twice – for equally defective pairs. Constant bluetooth stuttering made these unusable. Firmware upgrade degraded sound quality, adding more background hiss and static to ANC.”

Turns out there is foundation to this and I’ve done some digging. There was no closing statement from Bose and the problem was dismissed as user error. There is enough evidence online to suggest that 2.5.1 firmware updates reduce the noise-cancelling quality. Unfortunately, the moderator of the Bose forum thread locked it so users can no longer give continued feedback.

Bose responded to SoundReview with the following:

The Bose engineering team has confirmed that no changes were made to the noise cancellation or audio performance of the QC35II with the latest software update. Here are some troubleshooting steps that users can undertake if they feel that there is an issue with the headphone’s noise cancellation abilities:

  • Be sure the headset is turned on. The switch on the right earcup should be in the “On” position with the green LED illuminated. The headset must be turned on to cancel noise.
  • Double check that the cushions are securely attached to the earcup. If the ear cushion is not affixed to the ear cup properly, the noise reduction may be affected.
  • Check to make sure the headset is fully seated and the ear cushions are in good shape as the seal they provide is extremely important for noise cancellation performance.
  • Verify the noise cancellation mode you are in through the Bose connect app.  These modes are designed to customize the noise cancellation effect for different environments and may sound very different from one another.  A video detailing these modes can be found HERE.

Users can also find out more about how the Acoustic Noise Cancellation technology works here. If users continue to experience issues, they’re encouraged to reach out to their local Bose support. (Contact info can be found HERE.)

If you think you’ve experienced the same issue and none of these steps worked, we’d love to hear your view in the comments below!

United States: Amazon
United Kingdom: JohnLewis
International: BH Photo Video
    • Dimensions/weight without the cable:

    • Headphones:18 cm H x 17 cm W x 8.1 cm D (0.31 kg)
    • Audio cable:1.2 m
    • USB cable:30.5 cm

In the box:

  • QC35 wireless headphones II
  • USB charging cable
  • Audio cable
  • Carrying case

What's your reaction?
Thumbs Up
0%
Hype!
0%
Funny
0%
Cool
0%
Boring
0%
Rubbish
0%
Upsetting
0%
About The Author
Stephen Charlton
Stephen Charlton is a musician and journalist based in Melbourne, Australia.
  • David
    2018/05/08 at 2:16 am
    Positives

    Bose exchanged them twice - for equally defective pairs.

    Rating
    Sound Quality33%
    Appearance58%
    Worth it?13%
    Ease of Use3%
    Hardware25%
    Features24%

    Constant bluetooth stuttering made these unusable. Firmware upgrade degraded sound quality, adding more background hiss and static to ANC.

    • 2018/05/09 at 3:50 pm

      Hi David,

      Really sorry to hear that you have had such problems with firmware 2.5.1. At the time of this review, these problems did not surface because earlier firmware versions were more reliable. I will attempt to contact Bose for a statement, is there any more info you can supply before I do that? There are more people out there, it’s difficult to determine how many QC 35II headphones were affected with the update. The exact cause of the issue can vary from person to person.

      Update: The response from Bose is now on the review, hopefully this gives you some closure.

  • 2018/07/13 at 3:45 am

    Bose has maintained a very similar design to the 1st generation of the QuietComfort 35. The headphones are large and seem a bit bulky, but the sound quality makes up for it.

  • Mike
    2018/07/28 at 7:35 pm
    Positives

    Build Quality. Don't ever buy sony nc products.

    Negatives

    No EQ in connect app. Can't use Alexa

    Rating
    Sound Quality90%
    Appearance100%
    Worth it?75%
    Ease of Use85%
    Hardware100%
    Features80%

    I updated to 2.5.1 and my bluetooth skipped too. I uninstalled the update back to 2.2.1.
    You can do this by hooking up the usb and go to the btu.bose update site and then typing ADV (All CAPS) and hit the up and down arrow at the same time. This goes to advanced settings and you can downgrade your headphones.

    I also wish the connect app had eq settings. I like the sound, but wish I could add more base to it. I still can’t figure out how to add Alexa instead of google assistant. All the advertisements for the qc35 II said it would be available during the summer of 2018. That is why I updated to 2.5.1 thinking it would give me an Alexa option in the connect app. Any help would be appreciated.

Leave a Response

Sound Quality
Appearance
Worth it?
Ease of Use
Hardware
Features