This is the first review of Bose’s new set of noise-canceling headphones, the Bose Noise-canceling headphones 700.
Firstly, I must warn you, these are not the cheapest headphones out there. I purchased these headphones at the opening retail price of $400. This is only the second time that I have made a purchase of headphones at this price the last time was when I purchased the Sennheiser PXC 550 wireless.
Take nothing away from the qc35. They are still an absolutely amazing set of headphones, they’re really lightweight and the sound quality and noise cancellation is top-notch.
If you want a comprehensive review of the qc35 II then click on the following link.
So these headphones are not a replacement for the qc35II headphones, but they certainly are a new line. It is not clear from the communication from Bose whether they will discontinue the QC range, or whether they will have the 700 and the QC range side-by-side indefinitely.
If these headphones were a student they would be an over achiever, delivering the typical quality that you would expect of Bose, and even providing a few extra goodies.
Some of the new features are out of this world. Bose is one of the companies leading the charge in pioneering the smart headphone market. That is exactly what the Bose Noise canceling 700 headphones are. The headphones are also equipped with voice assistants.
Bose have incorporated Bose AR*, short for augmented reality. This augmented reality platform has taken ordinary audio experiences to a whole new level.
Bose has a lot riding on the Noise Canceling Headphones 700. Bose released the Bose QC35II headphones, which would serve as the rival to the Sony WH1000-XM3. On a balance of probability, the Sony slightly edged out the Bose. This was due mostly to superior noise cancellation.
For the longest time Bose was the king of the noise canceling headphone market. They just had better technology and really were pioneers in the noise canceling space, so to be out done was a knock to the ego of Bose.
The 700 NC was designed so that Bose could retain its top spot in the noise canceling market. And Bose managed to do just that.
Long the dominant player in this space, the company has faced formidable competition from Sony’s 1000X-series headphones in recent years; the 1000XM3s finally bested the noise cancellation of
Bose’s Quiet Comfort 35 II headphones, and many people prefer the audio quality of the Sony’s.
If you want to see features of the sony 1000XM3, click on the following link.
Even Microsoft made an impressive entrance into the category with the Surface Headphones and their inventive dial controls for changing volume and adjusting NC.
The Bose noise canceling 700 headphones are slightly heavier than the Bose qc35 II. Even so the headphones are still very light coming in at 254 grams.
Bose is still selling and promoting the qc35 II quite aggressively so it does not look as if they’re going anywhere. Bose decided to offer these headphones in black or silver. I personally think that both colors look really good, but in the end I opted for the Black, and this review will be centered around the black headphones.
The Black on black look of the headphones is incredibly fashionable and modern.
As far as storage goes the headphones do not fold in wards, but they do fold flat. Fortunately the carrying case is large and your headphones have plenty of room. Also, noteworthy is the fact that the carrying case is a hard shell case, which means that your headphones have extra protection.
The headband has been given quite the makeover. Instead of the traditional plastic headband and the suede padding on the underside of the headband,
Bose decided to make the headband of a rubbery silicone type material.
This is unlike anything I have ever seen before. The qc35 II had a consistently sized headband connecting to the ear cups. With the Bose noise-canceling headphones 700, the headband is the standard size at the top and then thins out towards the bottom.
I am not sure if this adds to the performance, but it definitely does look sleek.
The inside of the headband is made of metal which makes sure that the headphones are strong.
Like the qc35 II the ear cups are removable, but unlike the qc35 II the ear cups are not made of metal.
Because of the new materials you cannot see if the padding at the top of the headphones is sufficient to protect your head.
But when you put these headphones on, you can definitely feel the protection provided by the padding.
Clamping Force was decent, it was certainly enough to ensure that the headphones stayed in place but it was not so tight that it started to hurt my cheeks.
I was quite happy with this as these are not gym headphones, where you would expect the clamping force to be much stronger in order for the headphones to withstand stand a full workout session.
If you are interested in gym compatible headphones please see the following link.
I could wear these headphones for hours on end with no brakes and still I do not feel any wearing fatigue. However, it is not wise to wear headphones for excessively long periods of time as this may impact your eardrums.
I personally felt as if the ear cups were sufficiently large and covered my ears in full. I did purchase a pair for my sister who has slightly larger ears and she did say that on occasions she felt the ear pads touching against the tip of her ear. But she did say that this was in No way a reason not to use the headphones.
In normal temperatures such as in the home or at the office I found that the Bose 700 noise canceling headphones would not overheat my ears.
As far as comfort goes these headphones really do an amazing job. But when I compare them to the qc35 II’s, I cannot help but feel that something is missing. Perhaps it’s the extra few grams or the shape of the ear cups, but the QC35II’s were marginally more comfortable.
To control the volume you slide up and down, sliding up increases the volume whilst sliding down decreases the volume.
A double tap initiates the pause and play functionality. All of this functionality is on right ear cup by the way.
Another feature is the battery life indicator which initiates when you touch the right ear cup and press.
The other button located on the left ear cup is the active noise cancellation button. Again this button is also sensitive.
I found that sometimes when taking off my headphones to pack them away, or to put them back on, I would accidentally press that button and it would interfere with my noise cancellation setting.
This becomes particularly annoying when I’m trying to adjust my headphones. I do wish they had placed these buttons at the top of the ear cup instead of towards the bottom, where your fingers can interfere with the buttons.
As mentioned earlier they are up to eleven noise-canceling levels which you can activate using the app.
When you are on the app you can simply swipes once to the left to get you from the highest level, to level five and swipes once to the left again to get you from level-5 to level zero and swiping right will have the opposite effect.
The controls on the Bose 700 are all touch sensitive which is very similar to the Sony XM3. I am caught in the middle between the touch-sensitive controls as well as the traditional buttons. Buttons are intuitively easier to use and they do not make headphones any less user-friendly.
The touch sensors on the other hand take some time to get used to and very often if you touch the wrong spot then you will trigger a function that you did not want.
For instance, I would be swiping up and down attempting to control the volume. But instead the headphones would skip my track. Perhaps I am just a traditionalist but I do prefer buttons. That being said the sensitive touch controls are far more cool and after a while are actually quite easy to use.
The entire point of the touch controls is to operate your entertainment without having to touch your phone.This comes in especially handy whenever I have to write articles for the site and I’m playing music.
Sometimes when you pick up your phone you can get easily distracted, you may find that you have a message, and instead of just changing tracks you end up reading messages which wastes more time.
So this for me is the real benefit of the touch-sensitive controls.
Sometimes you could be on a plane or in a train listening to music and reading a book at the same time.
It is far easier to simply swipe on your ear Cup the to have to check your phone in change tracks.
It’s actually quite frightening the extent to which the touch-sensitive controls are modeled in the same way as the Sony 1000 XM 3.
In order to skip forward or to skip back you swipe the controls forward or back.
In order to fast-forward you slide the control forward and hold and then in order to rewind you slide the control backwards and hold.
Bose has not completely done away with physical buttons. Towards the bottom of the right earcup there is the Bluetooth slash voice assistant button.
Simply press and hold this button to activate your voice assistant, be it Siri Google assistant or Alexa, then give your voice assistant the instruction and when you are done, let go of the button.
I have had experiences where the voice assistant would pause for a while prior to giving me an answer. But I suppose this is not a train smash, I just thought I should let you know.
Do take it easy with the buttons as they are very sensitive, I have had situations where I am touching my ear cup, and accidentally touch the button and Google assistant is activated.
Where the noise cancellation has been set to zero, this is the equivalent of a conversation mode. At this point you are effectively not even wearing noise-canceling headphones.
The microphones in the headphones pick up your surroundings and are able to transfer that back into your headphones.
The cable is 3.5 mm one side and 2.5 millimeters on the other side.
Even at particularly high volume levels, there is absolutely no sound leakage. So I tested the noise cancellation in the middle of a busy city street. the noise cancellation is fantastic.
The headphones can go for a continuous 20 hours with noise cancellation on, before they need to be recharged.
If you use the headphones with the attached cable instead, you can use your headphones continuously for 40 hours before they need to be recharged.
One other disappointing feature, and I honestly do not understand why this is the case, but for some or other reason when I listen to my headphones wired the volume does seem a little softer than when I listen to them wirelessly.
You can use these headphones wired even if the headphones are not charged.
However, I would not advise this as this does sound pretty awful, but if you’re desperate and you need some audio, then you can put on your headphones and listen away. 20 hours of battery life for me is the equivalent of three full days using my headphones.
The reason this is possible is because there’s a feature which turns your headphones off in the event that there is no audio, so for instance when I’m at work and I am in meetings there would be no reason for me to have my headphones on, and my music would be paused.
In this case Bose 700 headphones would switch themselves off, thereby saving battery power for those occasions when you are making use of your headphones.
You can specify within the Bose music app exactly when or after how much time the headphones should switch off when there’s no volume.
There is also an auto off with motion detection setting, which basically means you can set your headphones to automatically switch off when you or the headphones are not moving.
This again has been designed to conserve battery power and I think is a stroke of genius from Bose.
As I have mentioned many times before in my articles, the length of your battery is a function of how you use your headphones.
If you have noise cancellation on the highest level as well as the volume on high, Bluetooth on and connected to many devices your battery may not necessarily go the full distance.
As technology evolves More and more devices are preferring USB. This is especially the case for Android devices.
Fortunately the Bose 700 noise canceling headphones come with USB c. 20 hours is quite mediocre when you consider the amount of battery life that is offered by the high range noise canceling headphones.
In fact this under performs most of the big name brands including Sennheiser, Bowers and Wilkins and Beats by Dre. The headphones come with the latest technology in Bluetooth, that being Bluetooth 5.0.
Fortunately you can play up to two devices which means that you can switch between your tablet and your smartphone, without needing to disconnect from one in order to access the other.
The beauty is that if for example you are busy on your iPad and you receive a call the headphones will automatically pick up that a call is incoming and connected to your call, but as soon as you are done you will be connected back to your iPad.
I experienced no latency whatsoever, even when streaming hours and hours of non-stop video.
I have had a few people telling me that the headphones struggled to pair with Apple devices,
I personally did not experience any issues but I would suggest testing the Bluetooth when you are in store. Or if you purchase online first go to the store and test them out.
In all honesty I do not think that the level of noise cancellation is significantly better than the Sony 1000XM 3, if anything, these headphones are probably on par with the Sony.
So again Bose have done well in introducing noise canceling technology that deals quite effectively with low-pitched sounds.
But when it comes too high-pitched sounds such as babies crying you do find some noise seeping in, although it is very faint to be honest and is definitely an improvement from the qc35 II.
Just a word of warning, try to keep your volume at no higher than 85% as above the these-levels, songs can be a little muddy and to be quite honest do not become as enjoyable.
Also, keep in mind that cranking these up to 85% is dangerous as these headphones are really loud, so in my view it is best to keep the volume at around the 60 to 65 percent mark.
If I had to describe the bass performance of the Bose noise-canceling 700 headphones, the word that comes to mind initially is punchy. They do not have an excessive thump, in fact I would describe the base as clean and clear.
If you are planning on buying headphones with a lot of bass then the 700 will not satisfy you. But if you are looking for defined bass, then the 700 are perfect.
The mid range of these headphones definitely stands out.
At this audio frequency you are able to clearly distinguish the instruments, and the vocals are clear and crisp.
Audio separation and the direction becomes immediately clear when you put these headphones on.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with how the headphones captured the higher frequencies. I felt as if they were slightly overshadowed by the mids and at times even the base.
But overall I think from a sound perspective the headphones are fairly balanced with a bias towards emphasis on the mid ranges and base.
I would say these headphones are made for the average Joe, the everyday person who wants to listen to their music in a comfortable set of headphones and with a quality sound signature.
The headphones are designed to impress most people and disappoint only those who have a distinct Desire for heavy bass.