Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 vs. Bose QC35 II: Which should you buy?

White/silver Bose NCH 700s in hand
White/silver Bose NCH 700s in hand (Image credit: Bose)

Bose Noise Canceling 700

Bose NCH 700 render

Bose has clearly learned from its QC35 IIs and is looking to reinvent itself with its new Noise Canceling Headphones 700. It made necessary changes, such as a more premium design and USB-C.

Bose Noise Canceling 700

Modern ANC cans

USB-C for charging
Intuitive touch controls
11 steps of noise cancelation
Fast charging
Non-foldable design
Heavier due to more premium design

Bose QC35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones

The Bose QC35 IIs have been one of the top ANC headphones on the market for quite some time now. They're a reliable pair of headphones, but they've shown their age when it comes to charging tech and ANC performance.

Bose QC35 II

Classic ANC cans

Great ANC performance
Super portable and lightweight
Solid, treble boosted sound
Excellent comfort
Lacks higher quality Bluetooth audio codecs (sans AAC)
Micro-USB for charging
Mostly plastic build

The Bose QC35 IIs are simply a classic. There's absolutely nothing wrong with them, and if you have them, there's almost no reason to upgrade to the new Noise Canceling 700s. However, if you're in the market for a new set of great ANC headphones, you should definitely be looking at the Noise Canceling 700s instead of the QC35 II.

What's the difference?

The headlining feature of the Noise Canceling 700s is their 11 different active noise canceling (ANC) modes versus the traditional three-step ANC from other headphones, including the QC35 IIs. Traditionally, you have off, maximum noise cancelation, and some middle ground to allow ambient sound mode.

While the Noise Canceling 700s aren't the first pair of headphones to offer this type of ANC, there aren't many out there. Other headphones that come to mind are the Sony WH1000XM3 with its adaptive ANC feature and the Microsoft Surface Headphones with its innovative dial design.

Bose QC35 II with Android phone

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Speaking of design, the Noise Canceling 700s finally adopt gesture-based navigation. Swipe up or down to change the volume, backward or forwards to go back/skip to the next track, and double-tap to play/pause or answer/hang up a phone call. This is in stark contrast to the Bose QC35 IIs, which had the standard physical button navigation.

One of the only downsides to the Bose Noise Canceling 700s over the QC35 IIs is that the new 700s do not fold compactly. This means the carrying case and overall footprint of the NCH 700s are much larger than the QC35 IIs.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Bose Noise Canceling 700Bose QC35 II
Charging cableUSB-CMicro-USB
Battery life20 hours20 hours
ANC levels113
Bluetooth version5.04.2
Bluetooth audio codecsSBC, AACSBC, AAC
Foldable designNoYes
Navigation designTouchPhysical buttons
Ambient noise modeYesYes

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 vs. Bose QC35 II: Which should you buy?

Well, both the Noise Canceling 700s and QC35 IIs offer a relatively neutral sound signature, with the QC35 IIs offering a more treble boosted sound signature. This means that songs with sharper, higher-pitched vocals and other instruments like drums could sound piercing and fatiguing. The Noise Canceling 700s tames that down quite a bit while also slightly boosting the bass for a richer and defined sound signature.

The Bose Noise Canceling 700s are the way to go if you've been eying a set of ANC headphones from Bose. They are more modern with a better overall design, USB-C, and a more customizable ANC.

Unless there's an incredible deal with the QC35 IIs (or even the original QC35s if you don't care for Google Assistant or Alexa), the Bose Noise Canceling 700s are the headphone to get when comparing your two Bose options. However, if you're looking for a cheaper, more foldable headphone, the QC35 II take the cake.

Peter Cao