Bose NC 700 Vs Bose QC35

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There’s a lot of hype and excitement around the new Bose NC 700’s but the Bose QC35 series 2 aren’t going anywhere. Actually the Bose QC35’s got a secret hardware refresh last fall so that they can support Bose AR just like the NC 700’s. Now personally I think Bose AR is still very much in its infancy as of summer 2019 and it's one of those features you play around with for 20 minutes and then forget about. But if you’re thinking about picking up a pair of Bose Headphones you maybe very well trying to decided picking between the alien looking NC 700’s or the tried and tested QC35’s. So here are the main differences between these two headphones.

For starters, yes we gotta talk about the price cause the NC 700’s retail for $400 where as the QC35’s retail for $350. So you’re probably wondering if its worth spending the extra 50 bucks. If you want to pick up either of these headphones they’ll be linked down below, and if you want to learn more about either of these headphones please watch their full reviews.

Now the NC 700’s have a radically different design from the Bose QC35’s. Personally I don’t mind how the NC 700’s look but I do prefer the QC35’s body for a few objective reasons. First off the headband on the Bose QC35’s have less of a rounding effect than the headband on the NC 700’s… and the Bose QC35’s can be collapsed smaller than the NC 700’s meaning that their carrying case is slightly smaller as well. And personally I think that if you plan on flying or commuting a lot with your headphones having the smallest possible carrying case just makes life a little easier. But also I do find the QC35’s body is more rugged and durable than the NC 700’s which again is something you’ll might want to consider if you plan on traveling a lot with these headphones. 

And when it comes to fit, personally I also prefer the QC35’s. Now both of these headphones have Bose’s trademark super spacious ear cups meaning that they’re both going to be able to accommodate most ear types. But the Bose QC35’s are more comfortable to wear than the NC 700’s because of how they rest on your head and because of their reduced clamping force. The NC 700’s are fairly comfortable in their own right, but they do have considerably more clamping force. I can wear these headphones for long periods of time but I constantly have to adjust them and never forget they’re there like the QC35’s. So to be on the safe side I don’t think the NC 700’s are big head approved. Plainly said if you’re looking for maximum comfort the Bose QC35’s are still the most comfortable headphones on the market.

Now when it comes to tech specs the NC 700’s charge via a USB C port where as the QC35’s charge via a Micro USB port. Now if you’re an android user the NC 700’s charging via a Usb C port is great cause this way you can charge your phone and headphones with the same cable. But if you’re an iPhone user then I doesn’t really matter then it doesn’t really matter what port either of these headphones use cause you’re still going to have to use different cables to charge your phone and headphones. 

But the advantage of having a USB C port on the NC 700’s means you’re going to get slightly better fast charging than on the QC35’s. If you plug the NC 700’s in for fifteen minutes they’re going to get you 3 and half hours of play back time where as the QC35’s are only going to get you two and half hours of playback time from that same 15 minute charge. And when it comes to overall battery life performance thats really the only difference cause both of these headphones only have a 20 hour battery life which is a little below average for premium ANC headphones in 2019.  

But thankfully both of these headphones can be connected to 2 devices at the same time which means you can easily hot swap from one device to another. And this is still a big deal in 2019 cause simultaneous multi device connectivity still isn’t a standard feature on all headphones. But when it comes to audio codecs both of these headphones only support AAC and SBC, there’s no APTX support on either of these.

But now lets talk about the active noise cancelation on these headphones. Like I’ve said in the past I’ve never really like the ANC on the QC35’s cause to me they have a lot of cabin pressure which make them very uncomfortable for me 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. But the active noise cancelation on the NC 700’s have significantly less cabin pressure than the QC35’s and I can actually use it this time around. And over all the active noise cancelation on the NC 700’s does perform slightly better than the QC35’s. But so that you can see for yourself we’re going to jump into an ANC test.

Like you may have just seen… in general both of these headphones block out roughly the same amount of noise across the board but the NC 700’s do manage to block out a little more. Its not a noticeably huge difference, but for all intents and purposes the main difference between the ANC on these headphones is the reduction of cabin pressure found on the NC 700’s. 

But a feature the NC 700’s have that the QC35’s don’t is an ambient mode. Through Bose’s app you can go in and select how much noise you want your headphones to pump in. And having an ambient mode is great cause this way you can still be aware of your surroundings when you’re walking around the city or you can do what I do and have ambient mode turned on when watching movies with your headphones so that if someone calls your name you can still hear them. Now the NC 700’s ambient mode is different from just being able to choose between having the QC35’s ANC level set to High, Low or Off cause the NC 700’s are actually picking up ambient sound with their microphones and playing that through the headphones. So having the ambient mode on the NC 700’s set to its highest level is kind of like having open back headphones in the sense that you can clearly hear everything around you.

But the NC 700’s also have a conversation mode where if you press and hold on their ANC button they’ll automatically pause your music and pump in all of the ambient sound so this way you can quickly talk to someone without having to take your headphones off. 

Personally I think that this is a very neat feature to have that is sorely missing on the QC35’s, and I also think the way you activate Conversation mode on these headphones is better than Sony’s quick attention cause once its activated you’re hand free. Unlike the Sony’s where you have to keep pressing on the touch pad

But now lets talk about how these headphones actually sound cause they’re not going to please everybody but they are going to make some people very happy. For the most part the NC 700’s and QC35’s sound identical and neither one of them allow you to directly change their EQ. Both of these headphones shoot for a neutral sound signature but they do put an emphasis on the mids and vocals. Now the bass on both of these headphones does resonate nicely but you don’t really feel it. So if you’re someone that likes to have their headphones rattle their head when you’re listening to music then neither one of these are really going to do it for you. Again these headphones are shooting for a neutral sound signature for easy listening so that you can appreciate the subtle differences between instruments. 

But the last major difference between these two headphones that I feel could be a major differentiating factor for some people is that the NC 700’s now use a touch pad to control your music playback where as the QC35’s have physical buttons. Now after you get used to using the NC 700’s rather small touch pad over all it is very accurate and easy to use. Double tap to play or pause, swipe up or down to adjust the volume and ship front or back to skip through your music. Very rarely does this touch pad not register any of my inputs. Its a good touch period, cause there are some other touch pads out there that are just awful. But at the end of the day, I know some people just don’t want to deal with touch pads and they’ll just gravitate toward the QC35’s buttons. Which for all intents and purposes is even easier to use than the NC 700’s touch pad. 

But finally lets talk about the microphones on these headphones. For starters both of these headphones have decent microphones. 

But the microphone on the NC 700’s is slightly better. Its not as good as AirPods, but it is one of the best microphones on ANC headphones. 

But over all, if I had to choose between the NC 700’s and QC35’s I would go with the NC 700’s purely because of the reduced cabin pressure in their Active Noise Cancellation and their ambient mode features… but I would do so reluctantly because I would be giving up the superior comfort and durability found on the QC35’s. Personally all I want from bose right now is the QC35’s body with the NC 700’s tech specs. Sprinkle in a 30 hour battery life and Bose has a recipe for domination. Personally I think that if you already have the QC35’s you don’t have to rush out and upgrade. And in the back of my mind im still hoping that we’ll eventually see the Bose QC45.