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Bose QC35 II review: The best noise-canceling headphones money can buy

Bose QC35 II headphone
(Image: © Joe Maring / Android Central)

Our Verdict

Price: $349Bottom line: The QC35 II are truly premium headphones in regards to sound quality, comfort, and price.

For

  • The best active noise canceling around
  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Excellent battery life
  • Google Assistant integration is great
  • Comes w/ a sturdy carrying case

Against

  • Micro-USB 🤢
  • Expensive as h*ck

Active noise canceling headphones seem to be everywhere you look these days. Everyone and their cousin is trying to take their own stab at them, resulting in an overload of various models across a number of different price ranges.

Bose is one of the biggest names when it comes to audio products, so it shouldn't be any surprise that it too wants a slice of the noise canceling headphone market. This is a niche the company's excelled at for years, and with the QuietComfort 35 Series II, we've got one of the best options money can buy.

Without further ado, here's the AC review of the Bose QC35 II.

It's like being transported to another world

Bose QC35 II Wireless Headphones What I like

What do I like about the QC35 II? To be perfectly honest, just about everything.

First off, the design is excellent. The earcups are easily adjustable to get the perfect fit, and once you find it, you'll never want to take the headphones off. The soft leather cushioning surrounding each cup grips onto your ear without being too tight and the padding for the headband is a very welcome touch.

Add that together with easily accessible buttons and a lightweight build, and you can wear the QC35 II for hours on end without ever becoming uncomfortable.

Speaking of listening for hours on end, that's something you can do quite often thanks to the 20 hours of estimated playback time on a single charge. Depending on how heavy I use the QC35 II, I can usually get 1-2 weeks of use before having to look for the charger.

As great as the design and battery life are, the areas where the QC35 II stick out the most go to sound quality and noise cancelation.

Starting first with sound quality, the best way I can describe it is that everything sounds full. Bass is powerful without being too muddy, higher notes are crystal clear, and no matter what song I put on, I always end up hearing more elements than what's detectable when listening through a cheaper medium.

These are the best-sounding headphones I've ever tried. Hands-down.

I'm not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination and listen to all of my music through Spotify, but at least in my experience with the gadgets I've tried, the QC35 II is my absolute favorite way for experiencing new songs and re-listening to old ones.

The speaker quality on its own is fantastic, but this immersive listening experience wouldn't be the same without Bose's phenomenal active noise canceling.

Whether I'm working at a noisy Starbucks or going for a walk around town, the QC35 II constantly manage to block out all of the unwanted sounds happening around me. The background whir of the AC unit in my apartment fades away, the chatter of people working around me at coffee shops disappear from thin air, and even the roaring of an airplane engine during a flight to New York earlier this year proved to be no match for the QC35 II.

The noise canceling here really is that good.

Rounding out the things I like about these headphones:

  • There's a dedicated button for talking to the Google Assistant. I don't use it all the time, but I'm glad it's there.
  • When connected to your phone, the Assistant will alert you of any notifications you receive through the headphones. If you get a text, you can respond by holding down the Action Button and talking.
  • The included carrying case is sturdy and compact.
  • You can share your music with another pair of Bose headphones using Music Share.

Does Bose know that USB-C is a thing?

Bose QC35 II Wireless Headphones What I don't like

Even though the Bose QC35 II are easily my favorite pair of headphones I've ever owned, I'll be the first to admit that they aren't perfect.

Without a doubt, my biggest gripe is that Bose decided to use Micro-USB as the port for charging even though the QC35 II were released in late-2017. USB Type-C is quickly becoming the norm for most all gadgets, and if you purchased a smartphone or laptop within the last couple years, chances are it uses USB-C.

This might seem like a silly thing to complain about, but when the QC35 II is the only thing I have that still uses Micro-USB, it means I've got to carry around another cable that none of my other gadgets use anymore.

Perhaps even more infuriating is that this outdated port is used on a pair of headphones that cost as much as the QC35 II do. At $349, these aren't cheap no matter how you look at it.

Even if the QC35 II are in a league of their own, it can be hard to justify spending that much money when $70 alternatives offer 80% of the same experience for a great deal less.

Bose QC35 II Wireless Headphones

If $349 is more than you're looking to spend on a pair of headphones right now, pick up something that's cheaper. This is the most I've ever spent on any audio product before, and my wallet was feeling the sting of that purchase for quite a while after it.

However, if you do have the cash to spare, the Bose QC35 II are well, well worth it.

4.5 out of 5

I've always enjoyed listening to music, but with these headphones, I find myself wanting to just sit on the couch, throw them on, and close my eyes while listening to some of my favorite tunes.

That's something I've never felt with any other pair of headphones I've owned, and when you combine that with the design, noise canceling, and everything else I talked about, you end up with something special. I've been using these headphones on a daily basis since I got them in October of last year, and I don't plan on giving them up anytime soon.

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Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

22 Comments
  • "The best noise-canceling headphones money can buy" REALLY !!!! Honestly how can you say that when you haven't compared them to other headphones in the same price bracket, e.g. Sony WH1000-XM2. If you had you'd know that the your statement is false. Also "canceling" is spelt with two L's - cancelling. Don't get me wrong the QC35II are good, I own a pair, but for sound quality and noise cancellation the Sony's are better. The Bose also do not have the latest HD Bluetooth codecs like apt-X HD or LDAC....the Sony's do and you can hear the difference with lossless files. Again for $329 I would have expected more from Bose. Where Bose really does shine though is active call switching when connected to more than one device like PC & Phone and in firmware support. Something the Sony's are badly lacking in both areas. Honestly this seems like a paid for review, it's that poorly researched or qualified.
  • How do you know he hasn't tried the Sony's? Maybe he did and didn't like them. Sound quality is subjective, although I'm guessing that you could measure the noise cancellation effectiveness. Perhaps the review of the Sony's is still forthcoming? And, since you're being the grammar police, canceling is correctly spelled with one or two l's; it depends on the country where you learned English. Also, your repetitive use of exclamation points is unnecessary.
  • If he had tried the Sony's that probably would have been mentioned in the article. Android Central obviously isn't an audio review site, so it's not surprising that they might not bother supplying this reviewer with multiple headphones to compare, but it does hurt the claim that these are the best noice-cancelling headphones when no comparisons are made to competitive headphones.
  • Exactly my thoughts.
  • Sony's WH1000-XM2s spank the Bose QC35 IIs in almost every important category IMO and at the very least, there should be some objectivity/comparison with the main contenders. Reading this, it has to be a sponsored article!
  • Reading your comment, it must be sponsored by Sony. God forbid people have differences of opinions.
  • You obviously miss the point. The point is this article is far too definitive in it's conclusion, without any comparative analysis, to be taken seriously. Why are you so defensive?
  • Some people like a wider range of frequencies than a crap ton of bass.
  • Yeah, and the Sony's deliver. They aren't bass heavy.
  • No way are the Bose the best. Having sampled the following (amongst others)...QC35 II, Sony MDR1000X, and B&O H9i... i can safely say that the H9i are the best. The QC35 are dead last in that small list above. To fully qualify my thoughts... I ended up selling all of my different models of headphones (wired and wireless) and ended up keeping only the H9i.
  • Congrats on finding the best headphones for you.
  • You obviously miss the point. The point is this article is far too definitive in it's conclusion, without any comparative analysis, to be taken seriously.
  • The best in terms of noise cancelation but mediocre in terms of sound quality.
  • I would have to agree with that. I spent time in the Bose store listening to them, and could not get past the grainy midrange.
  • You'll need to tone down your conclusion or do a better job of backing it in order to be taken seriously. As it stands this article is amateurish at best.
  • Can you link to your own review please? I would love to read the opinion of someone who is clearly the expert in reviews and headphone comparisons. Also a master of hitting the point and someone to be taken seriously. I am really glad there are people out there to inform us of how amateurish reviews are by your own superiority.
  • Sony is better. I would totally buy this overpriced headphones if it had nice build quality, reliability and support. But no. Bose forums is full of customers raging due to their lack of concern to bugs and issues. My previous in ears have broken down 3 times, once in a year. So no, this headphones aren't the best in my opinion.
  • I just changed my Sony MDR ZR750 for the new Bose QC 35 ii, I am very happy with the upgrade. But there are 2 big cons for the Bose, specifically on the interaction of the bose application and the headphones. I can not believe that I have to keep turned on my location services on my phone to navigate and use the application, it won't work if it's not on. Bose says it's to 'locate' the device in case of loss, but guess what, the QC35 does not have a locator. It is very annoying since I have to turn it on to use the application and that drains battery. The second flaw I see is the headphones does not saves the last setting you had on the noise cancelling. So every time I turn them on ( it is set to always turn on in the high setting), I need to turn on my location service on my phone to then change the settings to low or off since not always I want to be totally disconnected from the world. And that is something that every one misses on all the reviews.
  • Joe, I can see you put a lot of work into this article, but I think some might take issue with just announcing that these are the best, period, no matter what. Music tastes and preferences are subjective, and the article might have been more warmly received if the perspective was more along the lines of "My favorite noise-cancelling headphones, and why I like them". Your "Good" list is pretty agreeable, and though the technical-minded would probably enjoy some test results to back up the noise cancellation claim, I think the only thing that really sticks out is "Fantastic sound quality". That is both subjective and relative. You CAN look at it from the technical perspective, but it would not win there because we know they are not reference headphones. As far as being relative, this is important because the teenager who never heard anything but SkullCandy would probably have an eargasm listening to these, and they do sound decent in general, but others with more diverse experience might not be so impressed. I know if I got these for my friend, she would adore them, and her little sister would be glaring at me with her arms crossed. Again! Lol. Anyways, just thought I'd chime in my friend.
  • I have the original QC35s and I love them. They are over 2 years old but the earcups are still in mint condition. I use them most days for at least 2 hours and they only need charging once a month. The battery life is amazing! The sound quality for me is better than the Sennheiser Momentum wireless headset I own as well. The noise cancelling is terrific and I don't regret ths price I paid at all.
  • "so it shouldn't be any surprise that it too wants a slice of the noise canceling headphone market"
    Wow, you're really new to headphones aren't you? Bose actually has been leading the way when it comes to active noise cancelling solutions. Just two years ago Sony was the first to have an option that was able to come on-par with Bose's solution. Anyway, fun read. Thanks.
  • HELP PLEASE! I bought the cq35 ii headphones and I have a big question. I listen to a background sound like a radio without tuning that can be heard without music or at very low volume. It is very annoying because when I listen to the music I usually go down to study and I have that background sound all the time.
    Someone else happens? Is it normal in this type of headphones with ANC?