When it comes to delivering near silence in the noisiest of environments, Bose' QuietComfort line of headphones continue to be the industry standard. In fact, in my own reviews of the QC 15 and 25s, I've noted the almost vacuum-like quiet that occurs when you enable the active noise-cancelling technology. Now the company is finally cutting the cord.
The QuietComfort 35 is the company's first set of wireless noise-cancelling headphones, and they're available now for $349 in black or silver.
During an ears-on demonstration, I found delivered the eerie quiet that I've come to expect from the brand. A company representative triggered a recording of the Boston subway while I listened to a selection of music. However, I didn't notice the 80-decibel din until I saw a signal prompting me to remove the headphones.
It's immediately apparent that Bose has been tinkering with its ANC system, improving the interior and exterior microphones as well as the proprietary chips. The result is active noise cancelling that shuts out the outside environment without affecting overall audio quality. In past models, I noticed that the audio sounded more distant with the technology enabled as compared to the competition. This time around, the various tracks I listening to were front and center, with clear mids and highs as well as warm lows.
Comfort-wise, the QC35s are very light, thanks to the majority of its body being made from plastic. The black synthetic earcups pressed gently against my head, creating a secure seal that only helped to amplify the ANC. I'm hoping that Bose will bring back the customization tool. It really helped consumers create a product unique to them and will shake up the usual black-and-silver routine.
Bose claims that the QC 35's lithium-ion batteries will offer up to 20 hours of battery life, which is great for an international flight. However, it's nowhere near the Plantronic BackBeat Pro's 60 hours.
In other wireless news, Bose also announced the QuietControl 30 in-ear headphones. Priced at $299 (available in September 2016), these are one of the first in-ear devices to offer adjustable active noise cancellation. Similar to the QC35s, the QC30s offer exceptional ANC, thanks to mics placed on the exterior and interior of the buds.
You adjust the ANC via a slider in the free Bose Connect app (available for Android and iOS). It's similar to adaptive noise control found in Parrot Zik 3.0 app. The headphones will last an estimated 10 hours on a charge.
Athletes and workout buffs looking for a sport-themed option have the SoundSport ($149, available June 2016) and SoundSport Pulse headphones ($199, available starting September 2016). The in-ear buds are sweat and water-resistant and rely on the specially designed StayHear+ ear tips to ensure a comfortable, secure fit.
The main difference between the SoundSport and SoundSport Pulse lies in the latter's built-in heart rate monitor (HRM) that allows wearers to track their progress on various fitness apps including Endomondo or Runkeeper. Because of the HRM, the Pulse's battery lasts 5 hours compared to the regular version's 6 hours.
Now that Bose' has entered the wireless market, the competition will be forced to step their game up in terms of ANC.