December 9, 2018

Noise Cancelling Headphones

I have been using the Bose QC35 (series 1) noise cancelling headphones for travel for the last couple years. Recently both Valerie and I were going to be traveling internationally at the same time and I wanted her to have the joy of noise cancelling while on her flight. Because I know the Bose are great, I gave her mine since she was going to be leaving on her trip before I did. I then set out to see what else was out there..

So what did I look at?

Bose QC35 (Series 1) Headphones 🎧
Purchased: July 2016 | $350

  • Great sound quality. πŸ‘
  • Very comfortable for long listening sessions. πŸ‘
  • Charges with micro USB. πŸ‘Ž
  • So-so battery life. πŸ‘Ž
  • Wired connection is a 2.5mm jack. πŸ‘Ž
    Verdict: I still have them.

Sony WH1000XM3 Headphones 🎧
Purchased: November 2018 | $350

  • Touch controls are annoying to activate consistently. πŸ‘Ž
  • Great battery life: 30 hours. πŸ‘
  • Switching between devices sucks. I have had to remove and add the headphones to various devices a lot just to get them connected when I switch. πŸ‘ŽπŸ‘Ž
  • Charges with USB-C. πŸ‘
  • Wired connection is a 3.5mm jack. πŸ‘
  • Very comfortable. πŸ‘
    Verdict: I returned them.

Microsoft Surface Headphones 🎧
Purchased: December 2018 | $350

  • The cups make my ears hot. πŸ‘Ž
  • Top band not comfortable. πŸ‘Ž
  • Squeezes my head to much. πŸ‘Ž
  • Charges with USB-C. πŸ‘
  • Tells you the battery level (in hours) and what device it is connected to when you turn them on. πŸ‘
  • Tap controls on both sides so it doesn’t matter which side you tap. πŸ‘
  • Turning rings on each side. Volume on right, NC on left. πŸ‘
  • You need to tap lightly or the noise is irritating in the ear cup. πŸ‘Ž
  • Long pressing the controls will activate voice assistant (Siri for me). πŸ‘
  • Pretty good battery life: 15 hours. πŸ‘
  • Wired connection is a 3.5mm jack. πŸ‘
  • Automatically pauses playback when you take off headphones. πŸ‘
    Verdict: I returned them.

Bose Noise Cancelling 700 Headphones 🎧
Purchased: July 2019 | $400

  • The headband is metal now. πŸ‘
  • The band moves freely now rather than having clicking indent positions. πŸ‘Ž
  • Charges with USB-C. πŸ‘
  • You have to setup (another) account with Bose to get into the iPhone app. πŸ‘Ž
  • Not as comfortable as QC1 for extended wear. πŸ‘Ž
  • Ear cups get warmer than the previous Bose. πŸ‘Ž
  • Battery life in time remaining (17 hours, 25 min) rather than percentage (67%). πŸ‘
  • Really long battery life. πŸ‘
  • Wired connection is a 2.5mm jack. πŸ‘Ž
  • Touch controls for volume rather than physical buttons. πŸ‘Ž
    Verdict: I returned them.

So after all this, I ended up returning the Sony, Microsoft, and Bose headphones. Overall, after weighing the the pros and cons, none of them were good enough for me to justify the $350-$400 they cost.

The Bose QC35 (series 1) aren’t perfect, but I will hold on to them a little bit longer until something else comes along that is worth the upgrade.

If you don’t have any current noise cancelling headphones and want some, of the three I tried, I would probably rank them in this order for you:

  1. Bose 700
  2. Sony WH1000XM3
  3. Microsoft Surface

Headphones Travel Audio Bose Sony Microsoft


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