Bose NC 700 Full Review - Everything You'd Want To Know

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The new Bose noise canceling headphones 700’s aka the NC 700’s are finally here. Now even though there is a lot of hype around these headphones they aren’t replacing the Bose QC35’s… they’re more of a higher tier variant. Kind of like how there’s the iPhone XR and the iPhone XS, the Mercedes E Class and the Merceds S Class, or your standard 3D movie and then there’s IMAX 3D. Now over all these are a decent pair of ANC headphones, but there are somethings I would have done differently. 

Now for starters the new Bose NC 700’s are retailing for $400 dollars which is $50 more than the Bose QC35’s and the majority of their competition. And just knowing Bose, I doubt these headphones will be going on sale any time soon. But if you want to pick any of the headphones up mentioned in this video they’ll be linked down below. 

Now first let's talk about these headphone’s design cause its proven to be rather polarizing. Personally I don’t hate it but I also don’t love it. From a materials standpoint you’ve got this mostly exposed stainless steel headband with silicon on the top and underside of the headband and the leatherette on the ear pads feels just as great as the leatherette on the Bose QC35’s. These headphones definitely feel premium, but not as durable as their counterpart the Bose QC35’s. But from a ports standpoint, thankfully the NC 700’s have been upgraded to USB C Charging. But unfortunately these headphones are still using a 2.5 millimeter audio jack, and it also doesn’t help that Bose decided to throw in a super cheap audio cable with their $400 headphones. And personally I do think this is a big deal especially if you’re a content creator or if you plan on using these headphones a lot on flights. 

Now over all looks are subjective, but the main reason why I’m not the biggest fan of these new headphones design is cause their headband isn’t all that low profile. These headphones actually have more of a rounding affect than the Bose QC 35’s. But objectively I’m also not a fan of this design because these headphones can only be laid down flat. Which means the carrying case that comes included with these headphones is pretty big. Now its not as big as the surface headphones, but it is slightly bigger than the Bose QC35’s or Sony 1000XM3’s carrying cases. But I do want to point out that this carrying case does have a cool little storage compartment to store your cables. But still, if I’m looking for a pair of ANC headphones to mostly travel or commute with I want their carrying case to be as small as possible so I can cram them in more easily into my already over stuffed bag. 

But when it comes to fit, unfortunately the Bose NC 700’s just aren’t as comfortable as the  Bose QC35’s. The NC 700’s still have those super spacious ear cups just like on the QC35’s… but unfortunately the headband on the NC 700’s does have more clamping force than the QC35’s. Now personally I can wear these headphones for hours on end, but I do have to constantly readjust them every 20 minutes or so. You just don’t forget they’re there like the Bose QC35’s. So to be on the safe side, I gotta say the Bose NC 700’s are not big head approved. And just so that you can get an idea of how these headphones rank comfort wise for me, I gotta say a solid first place goes to the Bose QC35’s, followed by the Sony XB900N, then the Sony 1000XM3’s, Bose NC 700’s come in fourth, and then there’s the Surface Headphones. 

But now lets get into tech specs and features. When it comes to battery life, these headphones have an advertised battery life of 20 hours which is the same as the Bose QC35’s. Now a 20 hour battery life is nothing to scuff at, but most ANC headphones these days are aiming for a 30 plus hour battery life now. But at least the fast charging on these headphones has been upgraded from the Bose QC35’s cause a 15 minute charge from a dead battery will get you 3 and half hours of playback time. 

Now when it comes to bluetooth connectivity thankfully these headphones can be connected to two devices at the same time, which means if you’re a power user you can easily hot swap from one device to another. Now this is a big deal cause simultaneous multi device connectivity still isn’t a standard feature on all headphones. 

The NC 700’s are also great for watching videos on your phone cause they have zero latency across the board whether you’re using an apple or android device. But unfortunately for my android users these headphones don’t have any APTX support, just AAC. Ultimately this isn’t a big deal but I did want to point that out. 

I also want to quickly address Bose AR, long story short, as of summer 2019 Bose AR is still very much in its infancy. Its one of those features that you’ll maybe play around with for 20 minutes and then forget its even there. But if you want to see Bose AR in action you can click to tap here. But I also want to point out that Bose AR still isn’t available for android users, but still you don’t gotta worry about FOMO cause you’re not missing out on much. 

But now lets talk about the active noise cancellation on the NC 700’s. Over all it is slightly better than the active noise cancelation on the Bose QC35’s. For starts the Bose NC 700’s do a better job of rejecting wind noise than the QC35’s when used out doors. And like I’ve mentioned in the past, one of my biggest issues with the Bose QC35’s is that their ANC has a lot of cabin pressure. Now I know this may not be the case for everyone but it is the case for me and a good chunk of other people. Even though the NC 700’s does still have some cabin pressure its definitely much more manageable. And performance wise the ANC on the NC 700’s is also a touch better than the QC35’s. But so you can hear for yourself we’re going to jump into an ANC test.

Like you may have just heard, the ANC on both of these headphones perform relatively the same. But if you listen closely the NC 700’s do manage to block out slightly more road noise than the QC 35’s and they do manage to block out slightly more chatter as well. But for all intents and purposes the major differentiating factor between the ANC on both of these headphones is the reduction of the cabin pressure on the Bose NC 700’s.

But one of the biggest new features on the NC 700’s which has been sorely lacking on the Bose QC35’s is the addition of an ambient mode. Now an ambient mode has been pretty standard on most premium and mid range ANC headphones now, so its great to see Bose finally catch up. Now through Bose’s app you can go in and select how much ambient sound you would like to let in. And having an ambient mode on your headphones is great cause this way you can still be aware of your surroundings when you're walking around the city when you're commuting to or from work. And for the most part the ambient mode on the NC 700’s has been properly implemented in the sense that is sounds natural and there isn’t any hissing going on in the background. Which is something you don’t want to hear if you're watching a movie with these headphones with their ambient mode turned on at home like I do. But unfortunately the ambient mode on these headphones pump in everything, they don’t actively block out random loud noises like the Sony 1000XM3’s. Now this small, but very important detail means that if your dog starts barking while youre wearing these headphones at home or if a siren passes by when youre walking out out side youre going to hear all of those loud noises through your headphones. And just so that you can see what I’m talking about, here’s what I call the clap test

So yeah, even though I’m very glad the Bose NC 700’s have an ambient mode I do wish it was smart enough to watch out for those random loud noises. But who knows, maybe they can fix that through a software update. But I’m also glad to see that these headphones now have a dedicated ANC button which you can use to toggle between your ANC settings. Through Bose’s app you can select 3 presets and you can just quickly cycle between them depending on your current situation. And also if you press and hold the ANC button on these headphones you’ll activate conversation mode where the headphones will pause your music and pump in all of the ambient sound around you so you can quickly talk to someone without having to take your headphones off like this.

And then if you press the ANC button again or press on the touch pad the headphones will go back to their initial ANC settings and start playing your music again. And personally I like Bose’s conversation mode cause you don’t have to keep pressing down on the ANC button. You just activate it and then your hands free. But on the other ear cup there’s a dedicated Voice assistant button. Now the Bose QC 35 series II were the first ANC headphones with google assistant integration. But if you wanted to have google assistant on your headphones you would also have to choose between being able to manually toggle your ANC settings or voice assistant integration. But thankfully that’s not the case with the Bose NC 700’s and these days you can choose between which voice assistant you want to use on your headphones. Personally I prefer google assistant and it works a little like this. 

But now lets talk about how these headphones sound. For starters, the Bose NC 700’s sound pretty much the same as the Bose QC35’s. Which means if you love or hate how the Bose QC35’s sound then the same is going to go for the NC 700’s. Now the NC 700’s aim for a clear and neutral sound signature. Vocalists are very prominent on these headphones and even though the bass does resonate quite a bit on both of these headphones its not really going to thump your head. Which means youre not really going to be able to feel your music. And just like before you still can’t adjust the EQ on these headphones through Bose’s app. Over all these are good sounding headphones but they’re aimed to please people who prefer a neutral sound signature. But I do want to point out that the NC 700’s preform better than the QC35’s when ANC is turned on. When the ANC on the QC35’s is turned on the sound stage  is narrowed a little bit and the bass slightly reduced as well… so if you want to get the best sound quality out of the QC35’s you should use them with their ANC turned off. Where as the NC 700’s sound pretty much identical with ANC turned on or off which is a great thing to see.

But besides the NC 700’s rather polarizing design another controversial decision Bose has made is adding a touch pad to their new headphones. Now the touch sensitive surface on these headphones is located in this half circle, and after a few days of using these headphones I’ve gotten used to using this very small touch pad. Over all it is rather accurate and easy to use. Double tap to play or pause, swipe front or back to skip through your music and you swipe up or down to adjust the volume. The only thing I don’t like about this touch pad is that you have to do a swipe for every step in volume you want to go up or down. You can’t just press and hold to change your volume quickly. Over all this is a small nit pick but after a few days you get used to this touchpad. But I know some people just prefer physical buttons and I don’t blame you.

But finally lets talk about the microphones on these headphones. For starters the Bose QC35’s have always had one of the best microphones for phone calls when it came to headphones. 

But Bose has simply out done them selves with the call quality on the NC 700’s. And it makes sense since these headphones are mostly marketed towards working professionals. Now this is an audio sample of what it would sound like if you were taking a phone while youre walking to or from work. 

And here’s an audio sample if you were taking a phone call in a quite office or at home. And I also want to quickly point out that through Bose’s app you can even adjust how much you can hear your own voice while on phone calls. 

But for comparison, here’s an indoors audio sample of the Bose QC35’s… it still sounds good, but not as good as the Bose NC 700’s. 

But over all Bose has definitely taken steps to improve the technology and features found in their newest ANC headphones. The Active Noise Cancelation on the NC 700’s performs over all better than the QC35’s cause they have less cabin pressure, they do a better job of rejecting wind noise, and it doesn’t change how these headphones sound when turned on. The inclusion of an ambient mode has been a long time coming and for the most part it works very well. Now sound quality wise these headphones aren’t going to please everyone, but they have a great neutral sound signature. Now a 20 hour battery life is a little disappointing on these headphones given their competition… But I’m not really going to hold it against them given their super minimalist design. It's a sacrifice you're going to have to decide to make or not. Now when it comes to these headphone’s design… that’s all subjective but personally I don’t like the not so low profile headband, and only being able to fold these headphones flat means the carrying case is going to be a little bigger. But fit wise, again these headphones do have those great super spacious ear cups but I don’t think they’re as comfortable as the QC35’s cause of their added clamping force. So to be on the safe side I don’t think these are big head approved. But over all, the new Bose NC 700’s are a very decent pair of ANC headphones.