Bose NC 700 Vs Sony 1000XM3 - Who's Really King?

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Over the last few months, the Sony 1000XM3 have been the go to ANC headphones for most people. Now the Bose QC35’s are still a decent pair of headphones because of their superior build quality and comfort over the 1000XM3’s… But over all the 1000XM3’s still came out on top because of their added features and better performance. But now, we have the all new Bose NC 700’s… Let's see if Bose is able to reclaim their crown from Sony.

Now for starters, the new Bose NC 700’s retail for $400 which is $50 more than the Bose QC35’s which aren’t going anywhere and the Sony 1000XM3’s. If you want to pick any of these headphones up they’ll be linked down below, and if you want to learn more about either of these headphones please watch their full reviews because we’re only going to be covering so much.

Now first let's go over the design of these headphones. The NC 700’s have a radically different design to them that some people love and some people hate. At the end of the day looks are subjective and personally I don’t mind how these headphones look. But objectively, I’m not the biggest fan of these headphones new design because they have more of a rounding effect than the Sony 1000XM3’s which have a much more low profile headband. I also don’t like that the NC 700’s can only be laid down flat which means their included carrying case is slightly bigger than the carrying case that comes included with the Sony’s. 

But the NC 700’s still have those super spacious ear cups that are going to have no problem fitting most ear types. Where as the ear cups on the Sony’s are better suited for people with medium or low profile ears that don’t stick out as much. They’re still comfortable, but they’re not as accommodating as Bose’s ear cups. I also want to quickly point out that the leatherette on Bose’s headphones feels more premium than the leatherette on the Sony’s. Even after a year of heavy usage, the leatherette on the Sony’s still feels very synthetic or plasticy. But when it comes to over all comfort I do think the 1000XM3’s are more comfortable than the NC 700’s because of their reduced clamping force. The NC 700’s are fairly comfortable, but they do have significantly more clamping force than the Bose QC35’s and slightly more than the 1000XM3’s. For me the NC 700’s aren’t a pair of headphones you forget you have on like the QC35’s or Sony’s. So for that reason I don’t think the NC 700’s are big approved but if you have a smaller head then you’ll be ok.  

Now when it comes to tech specs, both of these headphones charge via a USB C port which is great especially if you're an android user. But one of the first most obvious difference between these headphones is their battery lives. The Sony 1000XM3’s have an advertised battery life of 30 hours with ANC turned on, where as the NC 700’s have an advertised battery life of 20 hours. 

Now a 20 hour battery life is ok, but it is below average for premium ANC headphones in 2019. But I’m not really going to hold against the NC 700’s because of their very minimalist design, plainly said if you're digging this super minimalist design, battery life performance is a sacrifice you're going to have to decide to make or not. But just keep in mind, the surface headphones have a much chunkier design than the NC 700’s and they only have a 15 hour battery life, so it could always be worse. 

But if you plan on constantly commuting or flying with these headphones then I think you should really take their fast charging into consideration. If you charge the Sony’s up for 10 minutes from a dead battery they’re going to get you 5 hours of playback time where as the Bose will only get you 3 and half hours of playback time from a 15 minute charge. 

Now when it comes to bluetooth connectivity, both of these headphones are good for watching videos on your phone. But if youre a power user, only the Bose can be connected to 2 devices at the same time which means you can easily hot swap from your phone to your computer. Where as the Sony’s can only be connected to one device at a time. 

But if youre an android user the Sony’s are going to give you support for both LDAC and APTX. Where as the Bose only support AAC on both android and iOS. But keep in mind if you decide to use a costume EQ on the Sony’s they’re going to automatically revert to SBC, but if youre an iPhone user the Sony’s are going to use AAC no matter what EQ you use. And if you think I’m talking complete gibberish right now that’s ok cause this section is only for a small section of nerds watching right now. 

But now let's talk about the active noise cancelation on these headphone. In the past I’ve always complained that the ANC on the QC35’s had a lot of cabin pressure which made them uncomfortable and sometimes lead to headaches… now this may not be the case for everyone, but it is the case for me and a good chunk of other people. This is why I always preferred Sony’s ANC cause they have very little to no cabin pressure. But this time around the ANC on the NC 700’s is much more manageable which is a great thing to see. But when it comes to over all performance I still gotta give it to the Sony 1000XM3’s. But so you can see for yourself were going to jump into an ANC test, and to make things a little more interesting I’ve also decided to throw in the Surface headphones. 

Over all, all of these premium ANC headphones do a good job of blocking out a good amount of noise. But the Sony’s are still doing a better job of blocking out noticeably more Higher frequency sounds like chatter than the NC 700’s and Surface headphones. And honestly this makes a lot of sense cause Sony made a big deal about their new QN1chip when they first launched their 1000XM3’s who’s main job is to block out those random higher frequency sounds. So I’m willing to go on record and say I think the ANC on the 1000XM3’s is still superior than the NC 700’s cause they do a better job of blocking out higher frequency sounds and I think they still have less cabin pressure than Bose. But still, the ANC on the Bose NC 700’s is still decent. 

But now lets talk about the ambient modes on both of these headphones. Both of these headphones allow you to pump in the ambient sound around you so you can still be aware of your surroundings. An ambient mode is great cause you can still hear what’s going on when you're walking around the city or you can do what I do and have ambient mode turned on when youre watching a movie with your headphones so that if someone calls your name you can still hear them. And the ambient modes on both of these headphones are good cause they sounds natural and there’s no distracting background hissing. But the ambient mode on the Sony’s is still a little better than Bose’s cause it actively blocks out random loud noises. And so that you can see what I’m talking about here’s what I call the clap test.

Like you may have just seen, when I clapped the 1000XM3’s automatically detected that sudden spike in sound and turned off their ambient mode. Where as the Bose pump in everything. This small but very important difference means that if youre wearing the Bose with their ambient mode turned on and if a siren passes by or if your dog starts barking youre going to hear all of that through your headphones. Where as the Sony’s will actively block that out and save you from sudden jump scares. Now I’m making a big deal about this because even the Surface headphones which are Microsoft’s first attempt at making ANC headphones has an ambient mode that actively blocks out random loud noises like the Sony’s. So if Microsoft managed to get it right on their first, I think Bose should of had as well.

But now lets talk about how these headphones sound. First off both of these headphones sound good… but the NC 700’s are geared towards people who prefer a neutral sound signature. Meaning that the bass on these headphones does resonate, but you don’t really physically feel it. These headphones put more of an emphasis on the mids and vocalists. And unfortunately Bose’s app doesn’t allow you to directly change how these headphones sound. Where as with the 1000XM3’s you can make them sound how ever you want depending on the type of music you listen to or what youre using them for. If you like to have punchy bass you have that option or if you want a neutral sound signature like the Bose you also have that option. Personally I like having a neutral sound signature when I listen to music and when I’m going to watch movies with my M3’s I like to crank the bass up to a 10 so that I feel more emerged in what ever I’m watching. 

Now both of these headphones have a touch pad on the right ear cup to control your music playback. And after you get used to them they’re both accurate and fairly easy to use. You double tap to play or pause, swipe up or down to adjust your volume and swipe front or back to skip through your music. But I do prefer Sony’s touch pad for the simple reason of being able to press and hold to continuously raise or lower the volume. Where as with the bose if you want to raise the volume you got do a swipe for every step in volume. Its a very minor nit pick but I do constantly find myself pressing and holding on Bose’s touch pad to raise the volume cause it just so intuitive. But again the touch pad on both of these headphones is fine.

But now lets talk about the microphones on both of these headphones. For starters the microphone on the Sony’s is going to automatically crank ambient mode all the way up so youre going to hear everything around you. But in general this microphone does sound very muffled

Where as the microphone on the Bose sound much clearer and does do a much better job of isolating just your voice when used out doors.

And I also want to point out that through Bose’s app you can select just how much you can hear your own voice. But without a doubt Bose’s microphone quality is significantly better than Sony’s. 

Cause even indoors the microphone on the Sony’s still sounds very muffled and no where near as good as Bose’s microphone. 

But over all when it comes to choosing between the Sony 1000XM3’s or Bose NC 700’s personally I still prefer and recommend the Sony 1000XM3’s. Even though their ear cups aren’t as spacious as Bose’s… the reduced clamping force on the 1000XM3’s do make them more comfortable for me. Their Active Noise Cancelation is still slightly better than Bose’s cause they still have slightly less cabin pressure and still do a slightly better job of blocking higher frequency sounds, and having the active ambient mode on the M3’s is an added plus. Personally I really like being able to customize the EQ on the 1000XM3’s and I also really like having that 30 hour battery life. But like I mentioned earlier I’m not really going to hold the 20 hour battery life against the NC 700’s that much cause of their really minimalist design. If you're really digging the NC 700’s design then its a sacrifice you're going to have to decided to make or not. But it also doesn’t hurt that the Sony 1000XM3’s are $50 less than the Bose NC 700’s. At the end of the day both of these headphones are great, but I still prefer and recommend the Sony 1000XM3’s.