Smart Noise Canceling Headphones for Voice Assistant Diehards
There may be a new noise-canceling kid on the block since the release of the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 in the summer of 2019, but that doesn’t mean the QuietComfort 35 II should be written off—in fact, they’re just now. are also among the best noise-canceling headphones we’ve tested.
If you want a top-notch pair of headphones, you definitely want a pair that offers both wireless operation and active noise cancellation—which is no easy feat considering the problems that often arise around Bluetooth and audio quality. Not an achievement.
Bose already offered a pair of such headphones (the impressive Bose QuietComfort 35), but with the growing importance of voice assistants, it’s worth updating its flagship headphones to support Google Assistant.
Enter the Bose QC35 II NC, which was the first pair of headphones in the world to integrate Google’s voice assistant—and since its 2017 release, several other brands have followed suit.
With Google Assistant onboard, you can simply press and hold a button to interact with Google without having to shout “Ok Google.” The headphones will also read back notifications to you so you don’t have to dig out your pocket or bag for your smartphone.
The addition of Google Assistant is appreciated — it is — but it comes at the cost of other, more useful features like auto play/pause or instant mute.
While the QC35 II NC remains a solid recommendation for travelers and commuters, a few troubling feature omissions that keep it from being at the top of the pack, notably the $350 / £330 / AU$500 / R9,500) price It orders for
Update: amazon prime day 2021 It’s just around the corner. Happening June 21-22, we know Prime Day 2021 usually has plenty of discounts on devices – especially headphones. We won’t know when the Bose QC35 II NC will go down until the near term, but if you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones, wait until the Prime Day 2021 deals kick in. Keep checking back on Nerdshala, as we’ll collect the best discounts in the run-up to the big day.
The Bose QC35 II NC looks exactly like the previous generation headphones thanks to the new Google Assistant button located on the left earcup. The headphones come in black or silver and the design is… well, pretty generic. This makes them perfect for modest business class travelers, but less perfect for those who like their headphones to impress.
Plus its plastic build is disappointing, which is good for saving weight but feels extremely cheap, especially compared to luxury headphones Master and Dynamic MW50, which bathes your head with sheepskin leather and aluminum.
Thankfully, the plastic construction doesn’t affect the headphone’s ability to take puns as it feels pretty solid. The headphones also come with a tough case for travel, which is nicer than the pouches that many headphone makers choose to include.
The plastic build helps the QC35 II NC in terms of comfort and we were impressed with how comfortable the headphones were to use for extended periods of time. Although plastic doesn’t feel as good as metal, it does wonders in the weight savings that travelers will love on long flights.
The use of Bose in the QC35 II NC is wonderful, as they block out a ton of ambient noise, even with noise cancellation turned off. This is great if you want to conserve battery and listen with noise cancellation turned off.
Likewise, the controls on the headphones are simple and effective: you have buttons for volume up/down and playback, along with the power and pairing sliders on the right earcup. The left earcup holds just one button for Google Assistant, though you can remap the button to toggle the level of noise cancellation using Bose’s Android or iOS app.
Google Assistant is the key feature of the Bose QC35 II NC and it works well for the most part. Throughout our testing, we were impressed by the Google Assistant’s speed and accuracy and how well the headphones were able to pick up our voices, even on a crowded train and coffee shop.
Before you turn on the headphones for the first time, you’re asked to download the Bose app for your phone because the headphones will require you to use the app for a number of features such as noise cancellation, resetting the Google Assistant button, and more. Creating, updating firmware and more.
The app is simple and works well, however we encountered some connectivity issues on Android from time to time where the app would not detect our headphones. Restarting the app will fix this, so hopefully Bose will continue to work on its mobile app to be more stable.
Using the Google Assistant with the Bose QC35 II NC Works Just Like It Does Google Home. You can ask it to read a headline, add a reminder, or ask myriad other questions. Assistant will also read you your notifications as they arrive, which is nice but can be redundant if you already have a smartwatch.
In short, adding Google Assistant is nice, but there’s no reason you should buy the Bose QC35 II NC: Buy this headphone for its excellent noise cancellation, balanced sound, and incredible comfort.
Where Bose lacks is in simple things like automatically pausing your music when you take out the headphones. There’s also no instant-mute feature, like the Sony WH-1000XM2, where you can place your palm on the earcup to hear what’s happening around you. This feature is a boon for travelers who need the ability to quickly listen to airport PAs. It’s disappointing that Bose didn’t include these features in the budget Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Both are.
Bose’s feature is active noise cancellation and this is visible with the QC35 II NC. Switching on noise cancellation is like walking into a quiet room after being on a busy city street. The headphones do an excellent job of picking out everything from the rumble of the train, the cars driving by, and even the sounds.
There is still some pressure we felt with noise cancellation turned on but it wasn’t bad. (Though, those sensitive to noise-canceling pressure may not like them.) The headphones do an excellent job of blocking out ambient noise, even when noise cancellation is turned off, which is a testament to Bose’s earpad design.
The Bose QC35 II NC is good in terms of sound, but not class leading. While tonal balance is relatively neutral with a slight mid-bass bump, the sound is somewhat softer than competitors like the Sony WH-1000X M2 (previously Sony MDR-1000X) means that the dynamic range is a bit limited and makes for a somewhat dull presentation. Resolution is good but not great and the sound stage is about average.
Most listeners will find Bose’s sound quality to be great if taken apart. Audiophiles Sony WH-1000XM3 or . would like to go with Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2 Instead.
Battery life is rated at an excellent 20 hours with noise cancellation and moderate listening volume. We found this rating to be accurate and you won’t have to worry about charging these headphones in the middle of a flight. However, the battery is not removable like B&O Beoplay H9 So bring a microUSB charging cable and a battery pack just in case.
If you want to save some battery life, you can still listen with noise cancellation in wired mode, which is a great option. It’s annoying that Bose chose to use a 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable – meaning finding a replacement won’t be as easy – but it’s not a deal breaker by any means.
Bose took the already excellent QC35 and updated with Google Assistant. These headphones are identical in every way except for the new Google Assistant button. That means you still get the class-leading noise cancellation Bose is known for and incredible sound quality.
Google Assistant works well on Android or iOS and a . Offers a similar experience using Google Home. The headphones will also read your notifications, which may be redundant for smartwatch users. It’s nice to have Google Assistant, but that’s no reason you should buy this headphone.
Taken overall, the Bose QC35 II NC is an excellent headphone for commuters and travelers alike. Bose has found a good balance of features that will satisfy most mainstream listeners. However, audiophiles will want to check out our roundup of the best headphones for the highest sound quality.
- Don’t miss our round-up of the best noise-canceling headphones