Sony WH1000XM3 vs. Bose QC35 II: Which should you buy?

Holding the side of the WH-1000XM3 headphones
Holding the side of the WH-1000XM3 headphones (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Sony WH1000XM3

Sony WH-1000XM3

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The WH1000XM3 are Sony's latest and greatest headphones ever. Along with excellent sound, noise-cancelation, and the same design of the WH1000X2, you've also got 30 hours of battery life and a newer USB-C port for charging.

Sony WH1000XM3

Our pick

Excellent sound quality
"Only Music, Nothing Else" noise canceling
Up to 30 hours of battery
Google Assistant, Siri, & Alexa compatible
Fast charging via USB Type-C
Heavier and larger than the QC35 II

Bose QC35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones

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Bose's QC35s sound great and have one of the best designs in the business. You'll find around 20 hours of playback per charge and have access to the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built right into the headphones.

Bose QC35 II

Smart headphones

Bose's top-notch sound
Customizable noise canceling
Up to 20 hours of playback
Google Assistant + Alexa built-in
More comfortable fit for most
Charges with older Micro-USB port

Before you continue, read this!

White/silver Bose NCH 700s in hand

Source: Bose (Image credit: Source: Bose)

The Bose QC35 II is still kicking along, but it's no longer the latest headphone offering from Bose. That title now goes to the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (opens in new tab), which deliver 11 levels of noise cancelation, improved microphones, and USB-C charging!

If you want to see how they compare against the Sony WH1000XM3, we've got you covered.

While the Bose QC35 IIs put up a great fight with superior comfort and excellent noise cancellation, the Sony WH1000XM3 take the cake with better sound, battery life, and USB-C charging.

Why the Sony headphones win this fight

Sony WH1000XM3 in use

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

When it comes to noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones, the Bose QC35s have long been considered to be the unstoppable king. The QC35 IIs offer a winning formula of fantastic design, great, balanced sound, jaw-dropping active noise canceling, and stupendous battery life.

The QC35 IIs are still phenomenal headphones and are absolutely worthy of your attention, but Sony's WH1000XM3 offer a few serious upgrades that make them the overall better purchase.

While the Bose QC35 II offer great sound quality and noise-canceling, the WH1000X3 are even better. The sound is more powerful and customizable and Sony's active noise canceling is simply magical. Also, while battery life on the QC35 II is already great at 20 hours of use, the WH1000X3 go a step further with a 30-hour rating.

When it eventually comes time to charge up, the QC35 II do so with the older Micro-USB standard. While there's nothing inherently wrong with that, Micro-USB has become a bit long in the tooth in 2020. With the Sony WH1000X3, charging is handled with the more modern USB Type-C port and provides five hours of playback after just 10 minutes of charging.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Sony WH1000X3Bose QC35 II
Active noise cancelation✔️✔️
Customizable EQ settings✔️
Battery lifeUp to 30 hoursUp to 20 hours
ChargingUSB Type-CMicro-USB
Voice assistantsVia connected phone (Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri)Built-in (Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa)

Bose QC35 II

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

That's not to say the Bose QC35 II should be completely forgotten, however. Sony's headphones do offer some serious improvements, but only Bose's offering comes with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built right in. Furthermore, the design of the QC35 II is still more comfy and lightweight than the WH1000X3 — a big win for people that frequently have their headphones on for long stretches of time at once. If you want that smart capability, this is a pair for you.

Another advantage for Bose is that the QC35 IIs are much more consistently available at a discounted price. Sony's WH1000XM3 headphones frequently fluctuate in price, meaning you may or may not be able to find it below its usual going rate of $348. Of course, it's likely that Sony will permanently reduce the price once the subsequent WH1000XM4s are released.