Current ANC King

Sony WH1000XM3

New kid on the block

Bose Noise Canceling headphones 700

The WH1000XM3 have been named the king of ANC for a reason. It offers high quality audio codecs, great comfort, and an ultra-portable design.

$348 at Amazon

Pros

  • High-quality Bluetooth audio codecs
  • Foldable design
  • Great active noise-canceling
  • Longer reported battery life than 700s

Cons

  • Bass-heavy sound signature
  • Plastic design
  • Can't charge and listen at the same time

The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 are lightweight, comfortable and boast Bose's signature top-tier noise cancellation and more neutral sound signature compared to the Sony's.

$400 at Amazon

Pros

  • 11-step ANC
  • Listen and charge at the same time
  • Premium design and build
  • Great sound

Cons

  • Non-foldable design
  • Slightly heavier than the competition

If you need a pair of noise canceling headphones right now and want the best ANC in the business and don't really care about sound, absolutely go with the Sony WH1000XM3. However, if you're the adventurous type and like to be on the bleeding edge of tech, the Bose Noise Canceling 700s are right up your alley.

Battle of the noise canceling

The Noise Canceling 700s are a nice improvement over the QC 35 IIs in terms of ANC. However, the ANC on the WH1000XM3, as owners know, is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor the WH1000XM2, and much better than the Bose QC 35 IIs and the Bose Noise Canceling 700s.

Bose Noise Canceling 700 Sony WH1000XM3
Battery Life 20 hours 30 hours
Bluetooth audio codecs SBC, AAC SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-HD, LDAC
ANC levels 11 3
Simultaneous charging and listening Yes No
Fast charging Yes Yes

So, the WH1000XM3 are the better set of cans when it comes to ANC performance. The Bose Noise Canceling 700s offer pretty good noise-canceling performance, removing most low-end/bass noise, including engine noise. They suffer when it comes to blocking out mid-tones and treble. This means that they have a tough time blocking out things such as random chatter and walking.

The Sony WH1000XM3 take ANC to a whole new level.

Meanwhile, the Sony WH1000XM3 takes it to a whole new level. In addition to blocking out the lower end of the noise spectrum, it's able to block out a ton of mid-tones and more treble. It's not complete silence, but it's real close. If you start playing any sort of audio, that'll drown out the rest. The WH1000XM3 also offers up to 20 levels of ANC when you have Sony's headphone app. However, you can only toggle between three modes via the hardware ANC toggle.

When it comes to actual audio quality with ANC enabled, it depends on the type of person you are. The WH1000XM3s pack a heavy low-end with an overall warmer and darker sound signature. This translates to strong bass that can sometimes feel overbearing with a rather recessed treble response. Bose is sticking to the rather flat sound signature from the Bose QC35 IIs with a small boost in the bass this time around and toned down treble to give the Noise Canceling 700s a more refined sound.

In terms of Bluetooth audio codecs, both the Noise Canceling 700s and the WH1000XM3 support SBC and AAC. For iPhone users, this is fine as all Apple products only support the SBC and AAC codecs (the exception being Macs, which also support aptX). The WH1000XM3 pulls ahead in this regard because in addition to SBC and AAC, they also support higher quality audio codecs such as aptX, aptX-HD, and Sony's own LDAC.

You'll get up to 11 different ANC steps with the Noise Canceling 700s, but some might consider this a gimmick.

Having these codecs aren't that huge of a deal if you stream music from services such as Apple Music or Spotify. Both your headphones and your source device (smartphone, tablet, computer, etc.) will need to support the same codecs in order to use them. For example, the WH1000XM3 won't be able to use LDAC if you're pairing to a non-Sony Android device running Android Nougat or older.

You'll get up to 11 different ANC steps with the Noise Canceling 700s. This allows for more finer control over how much noise cancelation you want. However, some might consider this a gimmick since some users might just want ANC all of the time and don't want the hassle of cycling through 11 different modes.

What about everything else?

Bose is clearly aiming for a different audience with the Noise Canceling 700s versus the Sony WH1000XM3. For example, the WH1000XM3 gets 10 more hours of average battery life than what Bose reports for its Noise Canceling 700s.

The Noise Canceling 700s lacks in battery life compared to the WH1000XM3, but it makes up for it by allowing you to charge and listen to them at the same time. The WH1000XM3 is completely disabled when you're charging. You can't even listen via the 3.5mm audio jack while they are actively being charged. With the Noise Canceling 700s, you get the option between 3.5mm wired or Bluetooth wireless while charging your cans.

In our testing, the WH1000XM3 got notably louder than most other Bluetooth ANC headphones, including the Bose Noise Canceling 700s, so keep that in mind. If you like to listen to your headphones at a relatively loud volume, the WH1000XM3 won't disappoint. However, you may have some trouble reaching that same volume on the Noise Canceling 700s, depending on how loud you're planning on listening to your audio.

While the WH1000XM3 are relatively light and portable, they're also made out of plastic for the most part. This allows them to fold up and be super compact when packing them away in their traveling case. Unfortunately, the Bose Noise Canceling 700s don't have that luxury and come in a rather large carrying case. This is due to the fact that the headband is made from higher-end materials and cannot be folded.

Class-leading ANC

Sony WH1000XM3

Fan favorite ANC cans

While expensive, the Sony WH1000XM3 present an overall great package that is lightweight, portable, and provides high-quality Bluetooth audio.

Modern, premium tunes

Bose Noise Canceling 700

Upgraded QC35 IIs

The Bose QC35 IIs have proven to be a really great set of travel headphones. The Bose Noise Canceling 700 beat them in every way, and make them definitely worth your dollars.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.