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Lets settle this once and for all, this is the trifecta of the most popular consumer noise canceling headphones on the market right now. And since they all cost the same you want to know which has the best noise cancelation, best battery life, or the best sound quality. So we’re about to find out, don’t forget to like comment and subscribe and you can watch either of these headphones individual reviews here after you’re done watching this video.
All three of these headphones retail for $350, and they all come included with a hard shell carrying case, an audio cable for wired listening and a micro USB cable for charging. Only the Sony 1000XM2 comes included with an airplane adaptor. Both the Sony 1000XM2 and Bose QC35 II only come in 2 color ways but the Beats Studio3 currently come in 6 color ways. If you want to pick either of these headphones up I’ll have links in the description below and I’ll keep them updated so you can get the best deal possible. Beats and Sony Headphones typically go on sale so you might get lucky.
First, lets go over build quality… The Bose QC35 II’s panels are made out of glass filled nylon and are screwed into place. The headband flexes without any squeaking and they have the best feeling synthetic leather on the ear pads. They without a doubt have the best build quality in this group. And they are also the lightest weighing in at 231 grams. Where as the Sony and Beats weigh in at 274 grams and 259 grams respectively. Now the build quality on the Sony 1000XM2 is good and even after a month of heavy use I have yet to suffer from any kind of cracking on the headband which the previous generation Sony MDR-1000X was infamous for. And although the beats Studio3 does have the second best feeling synthetic leather on the ear pads I’m worried about the overall build quality. The majority of the body is made out of thin plastic and I’m worried the locking hinges will ware out after awhile.
When it comes to comfort, the Bose QC35 II also take this category. They have the biggest ear cups in this group and they do the best job of encasing your whole ear. The headband on the bose also have the least amount of clamping force and when placed on your head the ear pads have the least amount of surface area in contact against your skin. This means a much more comfortable fit and ear pads that stay cooler for longer. The Sony 1000XM2 is still comfortable to wear but the ear cups are slightly smaller so they might press against your earlobe, they do have a little bit more clamping force, and they do heat up a little faster. And then theres the Beats Studio3 that has the smallest ear cups, the ear pads heat up the fastest and they have the most clamping force. But like I said in my initial review, the Beats Studio3 stay in place very well even when you’re exercising thanks to the extra clamping force and rubber on the bottom of the headband. So they would be my top pick for working out. But although the beats are the coolest looking headphones in this group I really wish the ear cups themselves had more range of motion. They don’t pivot or swivel as much as the other two headphones and as a result they do place some uanessacry pressure on the anterior portion of your ear. But like I’ve said in past videos, the Bose QC35 hand down have the best build quality and comfort and they wont disappoint in that regard.
Now lets talk about battery life. When using these headphones with noise cancelation turned on, the Sony 1000XM2 is the winner here. I typically average about 32 hours of playback time. And the Bose QC35 II and Beats Studio3 typically average about 25 hours. And they all have quick charging, if you plug the Sony’s in for 10 minutes you get about 70 minutes of playback time. If you plug the Bose in for 15 minutes you get 2 and half hours of playback time. But if you plug the Beats in for 10 minutes you get 3 hours of playback time. But to be fair, with noise cancelation turned off the Beats Studio3 wins with it monstrous real world battery life of 47 hours. The Sony and Bose Don’t even come close.
Regarding noise cancelation, lets start with the Beats cause I think they’re weakest. Right now you can only either have it on or off. And you can toggle it by either double pressing the power button or from the bluetooth settings. Apple calls their system Adaptive Pure Noise Cancelation and it automatically adjusts depending on your surroundings. When you’re in a quite area the noise cancelation is set low and you feel no cabin pressure. But when you’re in an area with much more ambient sound the noise cancelation will automatically get stronger. But when that happens you do start to feel some pressure on your ear drum even while play music. And unfortunately you have no control over your noise cancellation, but I am hoping apple will add the functionality in a software update like Bose did with their previous Bose QC35's.
Now, the noise cancelation on the Bose QC35 II is significantly better than on the Beats Studio3. But there is slightly more cabin pressure. Some people are able to get used to it after awhile and for some other people like myself all they do is cause headaches. But through Bose’s connect app you can also adjust the noise cancelation from High, Low, and off. But the biggest problem with the noise cancelation on the Bose QC35 II is that it picks up a lot of wind noise. The Beats Studio3 also pick up a good amount of wind noise, but not as much as the Bose.
And then theres the Sony 1000XM2 which picks up the least amount of wind noise in this group. And I feel they have the best noise cancelation in this group as well. They manage to block out more sound and theres almost no cabin pressure at all which is just very impressive.
And though sony headphones app you get a lot of control over the noise cancelation. You can have the noise cancelation automatically adjust depending on your surroundings just like the Beats, or if you want you can even specify how much ambient sound you would like to let in. (Which is good for safety reasons). You can even make it so the head phones only block out ambient sounds but let people’s voices in.
When it comes to sound quality I feel the Bose QC35 II is the most tamed in this group. The biggest problem i have with them is their lack of bass, its never enough. Not to mention theres a good amount of sound distortion at higher volume and the highs do crash more frequently.
Then theres the Beats Studio3’s that have a good amount of bass to keep you happy but the but the low ends and Miss are almost non existent. But like I said in my initial review, I prefer the Beats Studio3 over the Bose QC35 II. I gotta have my bass.
And then theres Sony 1000XM2 which I feel are the best sounding in this group. The highs almost never crash and they suffer from the least amount of distortion at higher volumes. And unlike the Beats they preform very well in the Lows and mids and they have more than enough bass. And through Sony’s headphones app you can adjust their EQ and make them sound how ever you’d like. Something you cant do with the Bose or Beats without using a third party app.
But each of these headphones also have their own special features to take into consideration. For starters, the Bose QC35 II has a dedicated button to activate google assistant and it works on both Apple and android. But it does work better on android. And what it does is that it streamlines your interaction with your voice assistant. Theres no awkward waiting period. If you press and hold the button down you’re instantly talking to google assistant and if you press it once it’ll instantly tell you the time and any notifications you might have. Obviously you can activate your voice assistant on either the Beats or Sony by just pressing and holding the beats logo or on the touch pad but its not as efficient as the dedicated button on the bose. And with the Beats you can also just say hey siri.
And then theres the Beats which are using Apple’s W1 chip. Aside from instant pairing you can easily switch from either of your apple devices without having to fiddle around with the bluetooth settings every time. But keep in mind the Bose QC35 II can be paired to 2 devices at the same time and for some people thats plenty. But regardless its still much easier on the Beats. And its also worth mentioning, the Sony can only be paired to one device at a time. So you cant just hot swap unfortunately. You have to go through the pairing process every single time.
But aside from giving you extra control over your noise cancelation and over all sound quality, the Sony 1000XM2 also have one extra killer feature. The Sony 1000XM2 have quick attention and basically if you’re listening to music and someone is talking to you, you don’t have to take your headphones off or pause the music. All you have to do is cover the right ear cup and the head phones will automatically lower your music and allow all of the ambient sound in. So you can talk to someone with your headphones still one.
So overall my top pick for the best headphones in this group are the Sony 1000XM2. They sound the best, have the better noise cancelation, the best battery life with ANC on and they give you so much control over your sound and ANC. But they aren’t the most stylish, that award goes to the Beats Studio3. But for the best build quality and comfort then you’ve got to go with the Bose QC35 II. Not to mention if you’re an android user thats uses google assistant a lot having that dedicated button is a huge plus. Personally I really think apple should have included a similar feature on the Beats Studio3. And like I mentioned earlier, I would only consider getting the Beats Studio3 if I were looking for headphones to work out in and if they were on sale. But remember this isn’t a full review on either of these headphones I’m just trying to point out the most important differences between them so I can help you with your purchase decision. If you want to learn more about either of these headphones then watch their full reviews by tapping on the icon in the top right.