Bose Bluetooth headphones review

Bose has made quality speakers and headphones for many years, including the longtime industry-leading QuietComfort 35 II. Roughly four years after the original QC35 release and two years after the second-generation update, the Bose 700 found its way to the market.

Bose headphones have always been known for premium noise-canceling ability, and the latest pair is no exception. According to Bose, they offer the best active noise cancellation in the industry and are among the most comfortable. We got our hands on a pair of Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700 to see if they lived up to the company’s claims. Here’s what we learned in testing.

Testing the Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700

We had some clear goals going into testing, with comfort at the top of our list. How headphones fit has a lot to do with creating a three-dimensional feel that allows for the most immersive audio.

From a convenience standpoint, we were especially concerned with the headphones’ controls. Some wireless headphones use touch controls that aren’t exactly intuitive, so we paid close attention to how straightforward they were on the Bose 700. We were also concerned with ease of connection and inter-device compatibility. We figure that if we’ll be turning our headphones on and off or switching between devices regularly, a convenient process eliminates a lot of hassle.

Finally, wireless headphones are most useful when they can hold a charge for a long period of time, so we made sure to note battery life and charging speed.

What are the Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700?

The first thing we noticed was the headphones’ premium craftsmanship. Their design differs considerably from the QuietComfort line and they look more stylish and less pedestrian. We tested the Triple Black color, but they’re also available in a color called Silver Luxe.

They come with a durable case that we’re sure can protect the headphones. This is especially important because they’re pretty bulky and don’t fold up, which ended up being one of our biggest gripes about them.

We also noticed right away that the audio port on the right earcup is actually a 2.5-millimeter jack, instead of the more common 3.5-millimeter version. Bose includes the correct cable, but it’s something to be aware of.

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700 price and where to buy

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700

Bose 700 headphones are available on Amazon for $379.

How to use the Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700

The initial setup process was one of our least favorite parts of testing. It wasn’t exactly difficult, but it was more tedious than with most other headphones we’ve used in the past. Instead of simply connecting to our phone via Bluetooth, we had to install an official Bose app. Once in the app, it wasn’t hard to use; it only took a minute or so before we were ready to listen.

Fit and feel

One of our most important considerations was covered as soon as we put the headphones on. While big, they don’t weigh that much. They were comfortable from the beginning, and by the end of testing we hadn’t experienced any discomfort or general fatigue. The passive isolation of the roomy earcups was great and helped to create a realistic soundstage.

Active noise canceling

Overall, the noise canceling was as good as it gets. It did a good job of eliminating staccato sounds such as keyboard clacking, which many noise-canceling headphones can’t block out effectively. Switching between the 11 different ANC modes was straightforward, although we couldn’t detect a huge difference between some of them.

At its highest level, the ANC did remarkably well in most settings. We also appreciated Conversation Mode, which turns on an external microphone that lets you hear your immediate surroundings clearly.

Touch controls

We’ve had some questionable experiences with headphone touch controls in the past, but we’re happy to report that the Bose 700 sports a relatively intuitive control scheme. It took us a while to memorize every gesture and button function, and in the end we found that Bose’s flagship model offers more comprehensive control than other Bluetooth headphones.

In terms of the most popular voice assistants, the 700 performed better than anything we’ve tested. This is probably due to the top-quality microphone array, which picked up our commands perfectly every time.

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700 benefits

  • Impressive and balanced sound: They sound better than nearly any other headphones we have tried. Unlike many popular models, they’re not heavily weighted toward the low end. Their flat and consistent response curve makes them excellent for intricate genres such as classical music.
  • Top-of-the-line noise cancellation: There are few competitors that actively block out as much noise as the Bose 700.
  • Premium call quality: The high-sensitivity microphones and advanced algorithms that control them are some of the best for making voice calls.
  • Above-average comfort: Despite their size, they didn’t make the head sore or tired. Our ears fit well in the earcups and there were no noticeable pinches or pressure points.
  • Great build quality: Their construction is basically what you’d expect from such an expensive pair of headphones. 

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700 drawbacks

  • Not incredibly portable: They’re big and don’t fold up, so they won’t fit in small bags. Your safest bet is to transport them in the included case.
  • Separate app required: To connect and get the most out of the Bose 700, you’ll have to download the official app.
  • Not perfect for some kinds of music: They won’t bring out heavy bass like many of today’s over-ear headphones. However, if you like bass-heavy music, the in-app equalizer works well.
  • Uncommon 2.5-millimeter stereo audio jack: You won’t be able to use most traditional headphone cables if you want to connect for wired listening.
  • Minimal Bluetooth codec support: They only support the standard SBC and AAC codecs. This is fine for iPhone and MacBook users, who already rely on AAC for quality playback. AAC doesn’t work as well with Android devices, however, introducing additional latency and requiring more processing power than the aptX codec.

Should you get Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700?

Overall, the headphones sound great and we particularly liked the customizable ANC. They’re as comfortable as everyone says and work well with every genre of music we tried. We didn’t love their relatively large size, and having to use the dedicated app to connect isn’t the most convenient. All in all, the Bose 700 are an excellent choice if you have the money to spend.

There are few other headphones that offer the same level of active noise cancellation. Among Bluetooth headphones, almost none are as good for critical listening as the Bose 700. If you’re willing to make the investment and deal with their somewhat poor portability, you’ll love them. They’re especially useful for anyone who travels, commutes via public transport or lives or works somewhere noisy.

Consider other products

If Bose 700 isn’t quite your style, there are some excellent high-end alternatives to consider.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise-Canceling Over-Head Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise-Canceling Over-Head Headphones

The most direct competitors to Bose’s newest release, Sony’s flagship wireless headphones deliver essentially the same level of noise canceling.

Sold by Amazon

Jabra Elite 85H Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

Jabra Elite 85H Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

These offer great sound quality and competitive ANC at a relatively good price.

Sold by Amazon

Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid Active Noise-Canceling Headphones

Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid Active Noise-Canceling Headphones

While they can’t compete with the big names, they boast impressive sound quality, above-average ANC and a remarkable 40-hour battery life.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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