Bose Quietcomfort 35 II
FOR Lots of detail; impressive noise-cancellation; Google Assistant integration; nice build AGAINST Tough competition
Man is by nature a social animal, said Aristotle, and that remains true today. We talk to to speakers, watches and phones – so why not headphones too? That’s the thinking behind Bose’s Quietcomfort 35 IIS, the updated version of the Quietcomfort 35s. These headphones have a dedicated button to activate Google Assistant, which lets you play music, answers your questions and reads smartphone notifications. Add the QC35 IIS’ great audio quality and noise-cancelling capabilities, and this pair of cans makes its owner more connected.
Chime of your life
Once set up through Bose’s Connect app, the Quietcomfort 35 IIS will chime whenever your phone gets a notification and automatically read out your emails or upcoming calendar events. There's an option to reply using your voice, which is handy during the chill winter months.
Like the original Quietcomfort 35s, the level of noise-cancellation from these cans is impressive. Bose has always been at the forefront of silencing constant rumbles or hums, and that remains the same – microphones inside and outside the headphones effectively eliminating background chatter.
If we have one complaint, it’s that the noise-cancellation could be a little more intelligent. The Sony WH-1000XM3S disable noise-cancellation when you hold your hand over one of the housings, while B&W’S PXS pause your music when you lift the earpad up, allowing you to have a quick conversation.
Battery life is a claimed 20 hours with a wireless connection, or 40 hours of just noise-cancellation if you’re using the 3.5mm cable that comes in the box. Charge the headphones using a micro-usb cable and you get an extra 2.5 hours of juice in just 15 minutes.
The Quietcomfort 35 IIS certainly live up to their name. At 310g, they are lighter than the B&W PXS and have a softer grip than the Sonys. They fold down nicely, and their build quality suggests that they could survive being kept in a rucksack.
The buttons around the right housing control playback and are intuitively placed and feel good to use. You’ll soon get used to the series of taps needed to rewind or skip your songs.
The Quietcomfort 35 IIS have a great handling on any music you send their way. Playing Teenagers by My Chemical Romance, these headphones pay great attention to the midrange. Each bass note is weighty and nuanced; from the lowest depths as the drumstick hits to the way the sound disperses and fades into the soundstage, you can make out numerous layers to the sound. On the other end of the spectrum, these headphones also keep a controlled management of the high treble.
But while these headphones have an enjoyable sound, their rivals are a clear step ahead. The WH-1000XM3S have an earthier bass and more insight, while the PXS have a better sense of rhythm and dynamics. Nevertheless, the QC35 IIS certainly feel like the smartest pair of headphones around at the moment, offering a functionality their rivals simply cannot match. Google Assistant integration is a positive, and the noisecancelling abilities are second to none.