Bose QuietComfort 35 II Pros&Cons
- Good noise cancellation
- Incredibly comfortable
- Very good battery life
- Google Assistant
- No AptX
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Specs
- Bluetooth Version: 4.1
- Noise Cancellation: Yes
- Battery life: Up to 20 hours
- Weight: 309g
Bose certainly is no newcomer to the world of headphones. In fact, their name is pretty synonymous with noise cancellation. So much so, that their packaging is very much part of their brand image. The mostly white/light-grey colour scheme looks clean, modern, and professional.
The front of the box proudly displays the right earcup, intentionally done to show the power switch which clearly shows a Bluetooth logo. This, of course, immediately tells you that the QuietComfort 35 II is a wireless set of headphones.
The left and right-hand side of the box shows nothing more than the Bose logo and a few legal disclaimers, whilst the rear showcases the QuietComfort 35 II’s compatibility with iDevices, as well as the built-in Google Assistant, and describes some of the QuietComfort 35 II’s features in a few languages.
Removing the other sleeve and lifting up a thin printed layer reveals the hard-shell case in which the QuietComfort 35 II and it’s included accessories are stored.
What’s in the box?
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II
- Storage case
- 3.5mm cable
- Micro-USB charging cable
Read: V-Moda Wireless Review
Not a great deal has been included with the QuietComfort 35 II, other than what are the bare essentials for a “travel” pair of headphones, really. The semi-hard storage/travel case is quite compact, having only just enough space to fit the QuietComfort 35 II, 3.5mm cable, and charging cable. Kudos should be given to Bose for the little fabric label (like a shirt label) they’ve sown into the storage case, as it’s used to illustrate how the QuietComfort 35 II should be folded in order to fit into the case.
The included 3.5mm stereo cable is definitely on the thin side, whilst the microUSB charging cable is pretty darn short. Clearly this was intended to be used with a laptop, rather than being plugged into an AC adapter.
Bose definitely makes some of the most stylish headphones out there. They’re modern, sleek, and refined. Bose doesn’t have to rely on gaudy, obnoxious, or flashy designs. In the case of the QuietComfort 35 II, it looks on par with the rest of Bose’s lineup.
Whilst the QuietComfort 35 II is available in both black and silver, the black version is for sure the more understated and stealthy one of the two.
The left earcup houses the analogue (wired) connection port, as well as the “Action Button”. By default, this button is set to adjust the noise cancellation (off, medium, high), but can also be reassigned within the Bose Connect app to trigger the Google Assistant feature instead.
The right earcup is where we find the microUSB charging port, volume buttons, play/pause button, and power button. The power button is also used to put the QuietComfort 35 II into Bluetooth pairing mode. there are also 2 small LEDs used to indicate battery level and Bluetooth connection status. However, perhaps the most interesting thing here is a feature which Bose (for whatever reason) does not advertise anywhere on the packaging. The QuietComfort 35 II has a built-in NFC chip to make pairing simpler/faster. I had initially planned to say that a downside to the QuietComfort 35 II is a lack of NFC pairing, but luckily I recognised the NFC logo on the right earcup.
Bose also designed the diver’s to be angled towards the listener’s ears, very similarly to how Audio-Technica designed the MSR7.
Nowhere on the QuietComfort 35 II’s body are there any marking to distinguish the left from the right-hand side; instead Bose placed the L and R marking on the inside cloth of the earpads. This is pretty much identical to what we saw on Audio Technica’s DSR9BT.
And speaking of earpads, the QuietComfort 35 II’s are exceptionally plush and comfortable. Likewise, the padding on the headband is also comfy, albeit slightly less forgiving than the foam used for the earpads.
There’s something else that Bose included in the design of the QuietComfort 35 II, something which may often be overlooked. Each earcup actually has a rubberized sort of “ring” going around it, just above the earpads. This seems to have been done to avoid having the earcups rubbing against each other when stored in the travel/storage case. It’s a great inclusion in the design, so kudos to Bose for that.
Overall the QuietComfort 35 II feels genuinely well-designed, well-made, and really comfy. Despite being made mostly out of plastic, the QuietComfort 35 II still feels premium, and there’s very little to no creaking. The hinges also feel very smooth. Oh, did I mention how comfortable the QuietComfort 35 II is?
One feature that Bose very proudly advertises with the QuietComfort 35 II is the fact that it has Google Assistant built-in. Bascially, Goggle Assistant is pretty much like Apple’s Siri, but just arguably better.
Setting up Google Assistant so that the QuietComfort 35 II can be used with it can be a little finicky, though. On Android it’s built into the Google App, where as on iOS you’d need to install the Google Assistant app from App Store. However, the actual setting up of the headphones is where it can be hit-and-miss. On my personal Galaxy S7 the google app at first did not recognise the QuietComfort 35 II, which meant that when the Action Button was pressed, I was prompted to open up the Google Assistant app and try again. Eventually, the QuietComfort 35 II had to be deleted from my paired Bluetooth devices list, and I also had to clear the cache for the Google app. Once the Google app eventually recognised the QuietComfort 35 II, though, exploring the power of Google Assistant through a set of wireless headphones was quite interesting.
Personally, I don’t use the Google Assistant. I’ve just never found myself in a situation where I though “ah, I wish I had a way to do this without having to touch my phone”.
But, when I was actually forced to use it via the QuietComfort 35 II, the power of Google Assistant become a lot clearer. Seriously, you can ask it pretty much anything. Of course, very specific things like “when was my father born” will not yield a result. But random things like, “how much power does the Bugatti Veyron have?”, or “who was the 3rd president of America?” consistently resulted in an accurate answer.
Anyways, this isn’t a review about Google Assistant, but what is relevant is that the QuietComfort 35 II seems to seamlessly integrate with the functionality of Google Assistant. Clearly its microphone had no problem picking up my voice and relaying that data accurately and reliably to the app. So, if you’re a fan of Google Assistant, then the QuietComfort 35 II’s on-board functionality will certainly be an appreciated addition for yourself.
Source: Shanling M2s, Samsung Galaxy S7
DAC/Amp: IFI Micro iDSD Black Label
As for how the QuietComfort 35 II sounds, Bose did a reasonably good job. Of course, as with the vast majority of wireless headphones/IEMs, there is a difference in sound between wired and wireless mode.
The QuietComfort 35 II definitely has what we’ve come to expect as the Bose sound. Overall it’s got a warmer tonality, and a v-shaped response curve. Interestingly enough, even though the QuietComfort 35 II has quite an elevated bass response in wireless mode, it’s not so dramatic to become obnoxiously intrusive with all music. It’s only really with relatively bass heavy tracks that this increased bass tuning becomes really apparent. For the most part the highs tend to be somewhat forgiving, but there is still a hint of sibilance.
Stage width is about average for a closed-back set of headphones, and the drop in mids relative to bass and higher octave frequencies does give the QuietComfort 35 II a veiled sound. Where this is most apparent is with vocals. Whilst listening to Melissa Menago’s Little Crimes, hear voice was portrayed as if it were further away, and so the subtle details in her voice weren’t retrieved very well. There’s also the sound of falling rain in the background which, whilst still audible, didn’t quite come across as the sound of rain, and may even go unnoticed to someone who is unfamiliar with the track.
It should also be mentioned that the QuietComfort 35 II’s wireless connection stability is excellent, and an unobstructed range of over 13m (40+ ft) was easily obtained.
In wired mode the QuietComfort 35 II has the same overall tonality as in wireless mode, but without the bass bloat. Granted, for wired mode the QuietComfort 35 II was connected to the Micro iDSD Black Label, and so comparing that unit to the on-board DAC and AMP circuitry of the QuietComfort 35 II is perhaps rather unfair. Regardless, from an outright audio quality perspective, the QuietComfort 35 II is definitely more neutral in wired mode. Whilst it still has a v-curve signature, it’s not quite as prominent as in wireless mode.
Ok, this is one area in which Bose excels. So much so that it’s pretty much what Bose has become known for.
With the QuietComfort 35 II we basically get 3 levels of noise cancellation. The first is OFF which simply mean passive, which is what you get with all closed-back headphones (a natural reduction in ambient noise). Then there is LOW which, as the name suggests, is the minimum level of active noise cancellation. Here the QuietComfort 35 II does a pretty good job of basically just attenuating external noise to a lower level.
The final noise cancellation level is HIGH, which does a really good job of cutting out ambient noise. I usually use this YouTube video to simulate the noise you’d get in an airline cabin, and the QuietComfort 35 II definitely cut out the fast majority of the droning. It made things quiet enough so that I don’t have to turn up your music all the way in order to overcome the outside noise, but also quiet enough that, if I didn’t want to listen to any music, I could easy close my eyes and drift away for a few hours without being bothered by the outside noise.
In terms of value the QuietComfort 35 II does sit towards the pricier side of the spectrum for headphones, but about average for noise cancellation headphones.
Overall the QuietComfort 35 II does offer quite a bit of value for its asking price. Feature-wise, Bose packed quite a punch in this package, offering really good noise cancellation along with very decent sound quality. It’s actually such a shame that AptX was not included here, as that would very likely have given the QuietComfort 35 II the edge in sound quality. But heck, I almost want to say that the comfort alone is worth the asking price. Ok, obviously that’s not totally legit, but good grief the QuietComfort 35 II is comfy…like 2 clouds resting on your ears.
Value is more often than not a very subjective thing to assess. As such, if you were to make a list of the features you’d want in a set of headphones, and in that list you found that wireless capability, comfort, noise cancellation, and battery life were equally or more important that outright sound quality, then the QuietComfort 35 II would be a fine choice. That’s not to say that the QuietComfort 35 II’s sound isn’t particularly good, but I personally can’t see someone picking the QuietComfort 35 II based purely on sound quality…if that makes sense.
The TECH MERIT rating system is designed to take as many aspects of the device into account as possible. As such, we have a basic rating, as well as a final rating. The basic rating rates the product purely as a high quality portable audio device, and is generally a good indicator of how it stacks up to its rivals in terms of standard features and specs. The final rating, however, grants bonus points for any extra features and specs that aren’t quite as common, and is a great way to judge the product as a complete package.
Look and feel: 8 / 10
Protective case: YES
Quality control: 9 / 10
Seems durable: YES
Microphonics: 7 / 10
Comfort: 10 / 10
Relatively balanced signature: –
Soundstage: 6 / 10
Detail retrieval: 7 / 10
Sibilance: 7 / 10
Instrument separation: 7 / 10
Isolation: 10 / 10
Hiss: 9 / 10
Small size: 8 / 10
Relatively low power required: 7 / 10
Weight: 8 / 10
Competitive price-point: YES
Relative value: 7 / 10
Basic Rating: 7.8
Removable cables: YES
Number of cables included: 1
Premium cables: –
How premium the case looks and feels: 8 / 10
Battery life above 8 hours: YES
Volume/remote controls: YES
Metal body: –
Premium look and feel: YES
Use of exotic materials: –
Bluetooth connection quality: 9 / 10
1/4” adapter included: –
Cable management: –
Aircraft adapter: –
Extra earpads: –
Final Rating: 8.3