Review: Bose QuietComfort 25 and 35 Noise-Canceling Headphones

  • On January 20, 2017 ·
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Noise-Canceling Headphones

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Update: I was having issues with my Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones staying connected via bluetooth. I contacted tech support, they suggested I try a few fixes I’d read about already, then emailed me a prepaid shipping label to send them to be replaced. Things got busy and by the time I got to it the label had expired. Fortunately they very kindly offered to upgrade me to the QuietComfort 35 II that had recently come out. These arrived swiftly and let you talk to Siri/Google Assistant. I wear them every day and if there’s any connectivity issues it’s a flick of the switch to fix it.

I’ve mentioned before that I have sensory issues. Certain sounds cut straight to my ears and distract me. Voices specifically steal my attention making it hard to concentrate if there’s a TV or radio on in the room. Most people can tune that type of noise out but to me it’s like somebody’s calling my name repeatedly and I can’t not hear it. Eventually I need a break from the noise or I’ll get on edge. This is why I decided to invest in some noise-canceling headphones. I originally wanted something wireless but at the time everything I’d read suggested wireless sets weren’t really there yet. I’d been aware of Bose for some time when I tested a few different brands on display at the local Best Buy. If you’ve ever been to Best Buy you’re aware of how loud all the displays get. I slipped the Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones on and suddenly that went away. This immediately caught my attention and at a nearby Target I tried another set. They had a demo of the noise onboard an airplane and again things were quieted. I made up my mind to order a pair online since I could get them cheaper than in store. Even at discount they were still the most expensive headphones I’d ever bought for myself at that time.

Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise-Canceling Headphones

I got the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones in white to match my iPhone. (only available in black and white at the time) They came in a nice travel case with an adapter for airplanes, a cable with inline controls to connect to your device, and a AAA battery. As an over-ear model they offer inactive noise-canceling by physically cupping your ears. Talking with them on can feel weird as your own voice sounds muffled. Once you install the battery and flip the switch on the right earpiece they go into active noise-canceling which means they produce sound meant to counter that coming in. It took a bit of wearing to get comfortable leaving them on as my ears would get warm and you can’t really rest your head on your side but neither of those are deal breakers. I’ve noticed the active noise-canceling can distort music if you’re more concerned with sound quality and leaving it on for extended periods starts to hurt my ears after a while so I tend to leave it off when I’m sitting at my desk. When I’ve flown with them it made a very noisy flight feel like a more tolerable bus ride. My ability to hear the announcements over the intercom was improved where without they were barely intelligible. I’m not an audiophile but I like the quality of sound they produce. They’re soft yet solid and well made. For my needs I couldn’t be happier with them.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

Looking for a link to recommend I saw the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones bluetooth option was available. Being tethered to my desk, while not the worst thing in the world, is still something I’d rather not deal with. The updated model could also pair with multiple devices. I jumped at the chance and ordered them in black since I couldn’t find a silver pair marked down. They arrived in a similar configuration to the 25s, only no AAA battery as they came with a rechargeable lithium ion battery installed and a USB to micro-USB cable for charging. There’s concern eventually the battery will need replacing but I see more devices going this route. It comes with a cable for using it as a wired headset though the volume controls have been moved to the right earpiece. Pairing was a little confusing at first since I wanted to try figuring it out without the instructions. Basically you flick the power on switch all the way over and hold it a moment to pair a new device, flick to cycle through paired devices. A voice prompt tells you how much life you have left in the battery and which devices you’re connected to. The sound quality once paired is good. The range works nicely if I’m on the same floor as my device. If I’m connected to my computer downstairs and go upstairs it starts to break up. I’ve also had it break up while in the same room as my device depending on how I’m laying in bed. I’ve used the microphone on Skype calls and for the convenience of what it is found it acceptable. When the mic is enabled it makes a tone and the sound quality drops a few seconds then goes back to normal. The active noise-cancelling is less aggressive than on the 25s though the inactive isn’t as good. I’ve worn both while turned off and the 35s let more sound in. If noise-cancelling is your main goal, stick with the 25s. That said, the 35s are more comfortable to leave on and to listen to along with the benefit of being wireless. In most instances I’d rather have the 35s for their options and ease of use, save situations where I really need a better noise barrier. They’re both excellent headphones and I recommend trying them out if this review has peaked your interest.