Modern classic

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Modern with a few tricks

Jabra Elite 85h

Bose's QC35 IIs were super popular for itheir ultra-portability, sound quality, and that coveted active noise canceling (ANC). While the Noise Canceling 700s are no longer "ultra-portable" due to their non-foldable design, they improves on the QC35 II's sound quality and ANC algorithms.

$400 at Bose

Pros

  • Premium build
  • Sound quality
  • Touch controls
  • Comfort
  • Can charge and listen simultaneously

Cons

  • Non-foldable design
  • Bulkier/heavier design

The Jabra Elite 85h take convenience to the next level with features such as auto-play/pause, auto on/off, and super long battery life. However, you can't charge and listen at the same time like you can with the Bose cans.

$300 at Amazon

Pros

  • Twist to turn on/off
  • Lightweight design
  • Automatic sleep detection
  • Basic equalizer in smartphone app

Cons

  • Mostly plastic design
  • Inability to charge and listen simultaneously

This is a tough decision. While the Bose Noise Canceling 700s aren't out yet, they are likely more comfortable and will be supported for years to come. This is based on Bose's past and still supporting and keeping the QC35 IIs up-to-date despite being several years old. If you're wanting to grab something that will last you for more than a few years (assuming the batteries remain in great shape) get the Bose Noise Canceling 700s

On the other hand, if you're looking for ultra-portability, convenience, and customization, look no further than the Jabra Elite 85h. They work like some "truly wireless" earbuds in that they automatically play and pause when you put them on your head and remove them respectively, turn on or off when you swivel the right ear cup, and has support for hands-free Google Assistant or Alexa. Oh, and did I mention the ridiculously long 36 hours of battery life?

The differences

These two headphones are fairly similar overall, but what differentiates the two are what will ultimately have you choosing one over the other.

For example, the Bose Noise Canceling 700s have overall better ANC than the Jabra Elite 85h. From canceling out the low-end/bass up to the treble where a lot of voices are, the Noise Canceling 700s easily take the cake for this one. It's not that the 85h's are bad at ANC — they still block out a decent amount of low end rumble from planes and busses — but they struggle greatly when it comes to everything else.

The Jabra Elite 85h are great for city commuters; meanwhile the Bose are generally better while flying or in other tougher situations.

It's worth noting that neither of these headphones are that great at dynamic range or soundstage. This is mostly due to the fact that they're both ANC headphones first, which puts sound in the backseat.

Neither are a bad choice, it purely depends on the type of commuter you are. The Jabra Elite 85h are great for city commuters as it can get most of noise squared away. Meanwhile the Bose are generally better in most other situations, including while flying.

While the Bose Noise Canceling 700s have 11 levels of ANC, the Jabra Elite 85h also have a trick up its sleeve. Rather than having "levels" of ANC, it automagically adjusts its ANC based on the environment around you. This certainly makes using the feature easier than with the Boses — there's no switching through the 11 levels to see what works best for your situation.

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 Jabra Elite 85h
Battery Life 20 hours 36 hours
Bluetooth audio codecs SBC, AAC SBC
Charging cable USB-C USB-C
Fast charging Yes Yes
App-based equalizer No Yes
ANC levels 11 Adaptive

In terms of sound quality it depends on the type of person you are. The Bose Noise Canceling 700s give a more balanced, neutral sound out of the box. Meanwhile, the Jabra Elite 85h has a much duller, less exciting sound that has a slight boost in the bass, but not the kind that gets you up and moving.

That brings us to Bluetooth audio codecs. Neither of these headphones are that great when it comes to codecs. Both the Noise Canceling 700s and 85h support the basic SBC codec, with the slight advantage going to the Noise Canceling 700s supporting AAC. When it comes to SBC, AAC, and aptX (non HD, or LL) the codecs aren't that important as most ears won't notice the difference between the three. It's a tie when it comes to audio and will highly depend on which type of audio signature you're looking for.

The Jabra Elite 85h nearly doubles the battery life of the Noise Canceling 700s. If you're concerned about battery life, the 85h don't disappoint.

In terms of portability the Jabra Elite 85h wins this round as they are able to be folded up and tucked away in the included travel case. This gives it an overall smaller footprint in your bag. Bose removed that ability with the Noise Canceling 700s, and now packs a much larger carrying case. However, Bose makes up for it by opting for much higher quality materials this time around, with the headphones using metals for the headband as opposed to plastic. While this gives it a more rugged and sturdy overall design, it does make it heavier on the head and obviously removes the ability to fold the headphone.

The choice comes down to whether or not you want insane battery life or an overall greater out-of-the-box experience.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to whether or not you want insane battery life that will last for years to come, or an overall greater out-of-the-box experience that compromises on battery life and ultra-portability. It also depends on whether you need the headphones now or don't mind waiting. The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 are available for pre-order now and are slated to ship at the end of the month on June 30.

We believe the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700s are the best between the two. We haven't gotten our hands on them yet, but based on the outgoing QC35 IIs, they'll sound great, deliver great ANC, and are built with premium materials. They are more expensive than the Jabra Elite 85h and the battery doesn't last as long, but with fast charging available, the Bose Noise Canceling 700s make up the difference.

Modern ANC headphones

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Premium ANC cans

Bose is known for its QC35 IIs and it's only fair that its successors are held to the same standard. USB-C, touch controls, and improved ANC makes for a solid upgrade.

Long battery life

Jabra Elite 85h

Incredible battery life with fun features

Jabra's Elite 85h packs a ton of convenience features that make using them on a daily basis much easier. It also includes insane battery life and a great, ultra-portable design many will appreciate.

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