What are the Bose QuietComfort 35 II?

Hell is other people, and nobody shuts them up more effectively than Bose. Its QuietComfort headphones are perpetually the ones to beat when it comes to noise cancellation. In 2016, the Bose took that superpower and made it wireless. The resulting Bose QuietComfort 35 were some of the best headphones on the market. One year later, these have been updated and replaced by the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

We’re looking at essentially the same product with minor tweaks this time round. Bose has added smart elements, such as Google Assistant, to keep up with stiff competition from the Sony WH-1000XM2 and B&W PX.

While that’s useful, it’s not the main attraction. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II’s biggest selling point is still the one promised in the name: these headphones are the quietest and most comfortable you can buy.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II – Design

The Bose QC35 II look virtually identical to the original. It’s a design that could be seen as either basic or boring. I think their simplicity makes them versatile – I’ve seen countless commuters wearing Bose QC35s, and the neutral design means it goes with banker and ballerina alike.

The bulk of the chassis is an unassuming matte plastic, available in black or silvery grey. I prefer the black; to my eyes the silver is a little ostentatious.

The only premium flourish is the use of metal caps on the back of the earcups. Unlike the B&W PX, there are no fancy textures or ornate sculpted elements.

That’s not to say these headphones feel cheap. They come with a hard carry case, but if you’re not fussed about scratches, I reckon the QC35 II would happily survive being thrown into a rucksack or handbag on its own. They feel solid; there’s no creaking to worry about. Still, fans of the luxury should perhaps check out the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless instead.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II – Features

On the wireless front, little has changed. What you get is vanilla Bluetooth 4.1. There is no higher-quality codec like aptX. The B&W PX, which puts more emphasis on audio performance, offers aptx HD.

The active noise cancellation (ANC) is now adjustable. On the original Bose QC35, the ANC element used to be on or off. Now you can configure it in the iOS/Android app, and have it on full, low, or off. It’s a small, but handy feature when you want to keep an ear open for airport announcements, or a child in the next room.

Battery life remains unchanged: you get up to 20 hours of wireless playback, or up to 40 when wired.

Why buy the Bose QuietComfort 35 II?

If you want the best noise cancelling headphones around, this is it. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are simply the best at shutting out the world and isolating you in a bubble.

They’re also the most comfortable of the wireless ANC options out there. If you commute a lot, and especially if you fly long-haul frequently, these will be your best friend. The Google Assistant element is cool, but it’s really not that indispensable, and rivals have more impressive smart features.

The Sony WH-1000XM2 have handy gesture controls, plus the ability to automatically adjust ANC levels depending on your environment. The B&W PX have motion sensors and can automatically power up, connect, and play the moment they touch your ears. And both of these offer superior audio performance.

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