Demonstration of touch gestures on Bose NCH 700sSource: Bose

Best Bose Headphones Android Central 2021

Bose is known not only for comfortable headphones, but for excellent sound quality, so getting a pair of the best Bose headphones might be worth the investment. Bose's Noise Canceling Headphones 700 are the company's most innovative option to date. They feature 11 different steps of active noise cancelation, great battery life with up to 20 hours on a single charge, USB-C charging, and solid sound quality.

Best Overall: Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

White/silver Bose NCH 700s in handSource: Bose

The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 aren't the newest headphones the company has to offer, but they're still, by far, its most innovative.

The headlining feature here are the NCH 700s' active noise-cancelation (ANC) capabilities. The outgoing Bose QC35 II had solid ANC but were clearly showing their age. However, the NCH 700 now feature some of the best ANC available on the market today. With new ANC algorithms, they're able to block out nearly all bass/low-end noise and a decent amount of midrange and treble. They also feature 11 steps of ANC, allowing you to choose how much (or how little) ANC you want or need.

In terms of comfort, Bose is still the best in the business. The ear cups on the NCH 700 are super soft and extend deep with no issues in regards to fatigue or pain from the ear cups or the headband. Soundwise, Bose has refined the QC35 IIs' already great sound signature. They feature an overall balanced sound signature throughout, reducing the boosted treble issue with the QC35 II.

The NCH 700 features USB-C for charging and up to 20 hours of battery life on a single charge. You're also able to charge and listen at the same time. The NCH 700 are fast charging capable, giving you two hours of listening time with a 10-minute charge.

The only real downside with the NCH 700 is that they don't fold up in any way, making them slightly annoying to stow away in your bag while traveling.

Pros:

  • Sold, balanced sound
  • USB-C charging with fast charging
  • Excellent comfort
  • 11 steps of ANC

Cons:

  • Can't be folded for compact storing
  • Soundstage is mediocre
  • Expensive

Best Overall

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Peaceful tunes

Bose's Noise Canceling Headphones 700 feature excellent comfort and sound, great battery life, and a customizable ANC mode.

Best Value: Bose SoundSport Wireless

Bose Soundsport WirelessSource: Bose

If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, look no further than the Bose SoundSport Wireless.

Overall, the sound quality is good. There's a small boost in the bass and a more substantial boost in the treble, giving them a "bright" sound signature. This means that hi-hats from drums, horns, and some female vocals will sound louder than the rest of the sound. Still, the SoundSport Wireless sound excellent for their form factor.

Comfort is excellent as well. You get several ear tip sizes in the box to help with sizing and fit. Similar to other buds in the SoundSport line, the wings and ear tips are a single piece, adding extra stability when you have them in your ear.

Battery life is pretty decent with the SoundSport Wireless with up to six hours of usage on a single charge. Not quite a full workday's worth of listening, but they make up for it with up to an hour of listening time when you plug them in for 15 minutes. A full charge will take roughly two hours and the SoundSport Wireless charges over the older Micro-USB connector.

Pros:

  • Solid sound with boosted treble
  • Fast charging capable
  • Excellent comfort
  • Comes with several ear tip sizes
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • Treble boost can be fatiguing for some

Best Value

Bose SoundSport Wireless

Great all around

The Bose SoundSport Wireless offer solid sound, fast charging, and extremely great comfort.

Best True Wireless Earbuds: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Bose Qc EarbudsSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Sony's WF-1000XM3 were the the best true wireless earbuds when it came to active noise cancelation for a while, but Bose has answered with its own salvo in the QuietComfort Earbuds. Their performance in that regard is a cut above the WF-1000XM3, which is why they can be considered an elite choice.

Bose stuck to a neutral sound profile, so the bass won't be heavily pronounced, but the mids and highs still come through warm and detailed. Unfortunately, the company still hasn't included an equalizer in its app to customize the sound, which makes little sense for a pair of earbuds in this range.

To squeeze in all the tech inside, Bose made these earbuds bigger, so comfort will be relative. It's not so much that they won't fit comfortably, but more that their very size means they'll stick out more. The same goes for the case, which is considerably bigger than most other true wireless earbuds.

Battery life is decent, where you'll get about five hours when ANC is on. There's an additional 18 hours with the charging case. Like most ANC headphones, the QC Earbuds also have an ambient sound mode that lets in background noise to make it easier to hear your surroundings and talk to people without removing the earbuds.

Pros:

  • Superb sound quality
  • Outstanding ANC performance
  • Solid ambient mode
  • Comfortable fit
  • Wireless charging case

Cons:

  • Earbuds are big compared to competition
  • Case is big
  • App needs an EQ
  • Expensive

Best True Wireless

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Cord-free listening

Bose made its earbuds bigger, yet make up for it by delivering effective sound and ANC performance.

Best Sport: Bose SoundSport Free

Bose SoundSprt FreeSource: Bose

True wireless earbuds are still relatively new on the market and don't always land in terms of sound quality. Fortunately, Bose did exceptionally well with its first attempt at true wireless earbuds with the SoundSport Free.

In terms of comfort, the SoundSport Free are good. The wings and ear tips help keep the buds in your ear, however, the weight of the buds can slightly pull on the wings depending on how snug they sit in your ear. This could potentially cause issues for folks where the wing tips don't sit snug.

For a set of true wireless earbuds, the SoundSport Free have solid sound reproduction. The bass is detailed and balanced, bet lacks rumble. This means you'll get great bass that you can hear but not necessarily feel. The treble is pushed a bit forward as well, which means that they can be overly bright for some.

Battery life is the weakest link here. The earbuds themselves get up to five hours of battery life on a single charge. The included charging case nets you an additional 10 hours of battery life, allowing up to 15 hours of listening time total. Most true wireless earbuds feature at least 20 hours of battery life between the case and earbuds. They aren't fast-charging capable, and the charging case charges over Micro-USB. Fortunately, the case is relatively small, making it easy to carry.

Pros:

  • Great sound quality
  • Slightly more bass
  • Smaller size
  • Different color options
  • Comfortable fit

Cons:

  • No noise cancelation
  • No wireless charging case
  • So-so battery life
  • App needs an EQ

Best Sport

Bose SoundSport Free

Active listening

Bose SoundSport Free are solid true wireless earbuds with great sound, fit, and portability. The battery life is pretty good, too.

Best Neckbuds: Bose QC30

Bose QC30Source: Bose

Neckbuds are great for those who prefer earbuds but want the added comfort of knowing it's basically impossible to lose them. In the Bose universe, the QC30 are your best bet.

In terms of sound quality, the QC30 are excellent, as expected, with a mostly balanced bass and midrange, and a slightly uneven treble response which could cause some fatiguing for some.

Comfort is excellent thanks to the neckbud design. The ear tips extend into your canal, allowing for superb stability. The QC30 also have optional wingtips that allow for even more stability.

The QC30 have decent media control options. They follow the standard "iPod" media control scheme, which means they should be relatively easy to get used to. However, the buttons are often hard to press and, unfortunately, don't soften up over time. On the plus side, the QC30 do offer a dedicated ANC button on either side of the neckband to adjust ANC levels. For its size, the QC30 has excellent ANC, blocking out the usual bus or train noise, but they struggle with louder noises including planes and higher-pitched noises.

Lastly, let's discuss battery life, which is decent for neckbuds with up to 10 hours on a single charge. It's enough to get you throughout a normal workday, although you'll have to plan to charge them daily if you're going to use them often. Unfortunately, the QC30 charge over Micro-USB, which is becoming increasingly extinct as the world moves on to USB-C.

Pros:

  • Great battery life
  • Excellent comfort
  • Superb sound
  • Good ANC for its class

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • Media control buttons can be hard to press

Best Neckbuds

Bose QC30

Comfortable neckbuds

The QC30 are the best neckbuds available from Bose. They feature excellent sound, comfort, ANC, and solid battery life.

Best Over-Ear: Bose QC35 II

Bose QC35 II headphoneSource: Android Central

The Bose QC35 II are easily the best over-ear headphone Bose makes aside from the just-released Noise Canceling Headphones 700. They're a few years old, but they still hold their own.

Let's start with sound quality. The QC35 II are relatively balanced in their bass and midrange response, however, the treble region is boosted quite a bit, providing overall bright sound signature that can often be sharp and piercing. The QC35 can be fatiguing for some thanks to the treble boost.

They feature decent battery life with up to 20 hours of battery life on a single charge. If your battery dies, you can simply plug them in using the included Micro-USB cable for charging. You won't be interrupted in doing so as the QC35 II can simultaneously play audio and charge at the same regardless if its over Bluetooth or over the analog wired connection.

By far the biggest selling point for the QC35 II is comfort. The QC35 II are easily the most comfortable over-ear headphone created within the past five years. They're designed for long-term use and fold up super easily when you need to stow them away. The ear cups and headband are super soft and the clamping force isn't too strong, allowing them to simply rest on your head and ears.

The active noise cancelation (ANC) on the QC35 II is really good given how old they are. The QC35 II are a few years old now and have a tough time competing against more modern competition. Don't get me wrong, the ANC is still solid on the QC35 II and most people will be content with them. Just know that there are better options out there.

Pros:

  • Good, treble forward sound
  • Excellent comfort
  • Great battery life
  • ANC is still great in most cases
  • Fold up for portability

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging

Best Over-Ear

Bose QC35 II

Over-ear lovers dream

The QC35 II are solid over-ear headphones that also provide excellent sound quality, comfort, and solid battery life.

Best Wearable: Bose Frames

Bose FramesSource: Bose

Every now and then a headphone company will do something new and unique. In some cases it's a total flop, but in other cases it can turn out to be really useful. Enter the Bose Frames, a pair of sunglasses that also pump audio to your ears.

Comfort depends on how well the sunglasses fit over your ears. The Frames don't actually have a bud of any sort and rely on little speakers that live on the stem to project audio to your ears. Yes, the audio quality isn't going to blow your mind, and yes audio leakage will be apparent, but they are great for those who struggle with traditional earbuds. If you have no issues wearing glasses, the Bose Frames will be as comfortable as any other pair of glasses.

In terms of sound quality, the Frames are good for what they are. The bass is pretty mediocre due to their design, with basically no bass at all. The midrange is balanced and the treble is recessed quite a bit. This means that the Frames are best for those who take a ton of phone calls or listen to a podcast.

Battery life is as expected for a relatively new product line, coming in at around 3.5 hours of usage on a single charge. It could be better but there's only so much you can stuff into the frame of the glasses before they become too heavy. Unsurprisingly, the Frames use a proprietary magnetic charging connector instead of something like Micro-USB or USB-C as those connectors would add too much depth to the Frames. This also means that if Bose decides to ax the Frames, you're SOL if your charging cable stops working.

Pros:

  • Great sound for phone calls and podcasts
  • Great comfort
  • Super discreet design

Cons:

  • Battery life is poor
  • Audio is still only OK
  • Proprietary charging connector

Best Wearable

Bose Frames

Discreet tunes

The Bose Frames are designed to hide the fact that you may be listening to audio, if that's what you want.

Best Wired Buds: Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose Quietcomfort 20 HeaphonesSource: Bose

These wired earbuds have been out for years now, but Bose keeps making them. They may seem out of place with how ubiquitous wireless earbuds are these days — not to mention headphone jacks are disappearing on mobile devices — but they've been sticking around for a few reasons. If you prefer a wired pair so you don't have to worry about charging, or still have a phone with a headphone jack, these may be worth putting in your ears.

They do still sound good despite Bose having generally improved audio quality on its headphones in the last several years. The soundstage is pretty neutral, with the bass partially dependent on how tight a seal you can manage to get for your ears. The mids and treble are nicely balanced as well.

Much of the sound is also contigent on the very obvious battery pack that houses the ANC. It adds some weight and heft to everything, especially when dealing with a dangling cable, but at least you have the option to block outside noise. You can still listen to tunes with it turned off, but when you do have it on, it can work for up to 16 hours per charge. While you do get a nice case to keep these earbuds handy, the downside is you'll have to charge the battery through Micro-USB.

You also won't get any sort of adapter for USB-C in case your phone has no 3.5mm jack. Moreover, pay close attention to the version you're looking at because the QC20 earbuds also come in an Apple-focused variant.

Pros:

  • Good sound quality
  • Standard media controls
  • Good comfort
  • Standard 3.5mm cable
  • Solid ANC battery life

Cons:

  • ANC battery pack adds weight
  • Micro-USB charging
  • Expensive

Best Wired Buds

Bose QuietComfort 20

Wired tunes

The Bose SoundSport In-Ear feature great wired audio with awesome media controls and comfort despite lacking bass.

Bottom line

Our top pick, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700, are among the best wireless headphones out there, let alone Bose headphones, and for good reason. They offer the best comfort out there, whether you're taking an 18-hour flight or a 30-minute commute to work.

The NCH 700 also features some of the best ANC performance on the market, now offering up to 11 different levels of ANC. This means you can block out everything around you, or just enough to block out nearby chatter but still be able to hear oncoming traffic. Sound quality is excellent as well with a relatively balanced sound.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Peter Cao spends most of his days listening and analyzing music through headphones or speakers. Off the clock, he can typically be found listening to even more music, playing video games or playing basketball.

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar.

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