Bose Introduces Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Filed Under: Travel Technology
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Update: You can read my review of these headphones here.

Bose’s noise cancelling headphones are among the most popular with frequent travelers. I’ve had Bose headphones for well over a decade, and generally have been a big fan of them.

However, I do wonder to what extent they’ve been resting on their laurels. We’ve seen them introduce new versions of their popular over-ear headphones, though I’m not sure much has actually changed with the quality of the features of the headphones.

That’s finally changing, with the introduction of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. This is a full redesign of Bose’s popular headphones, rather than just a minor tweak.

The Bose 700 headphones are now available for pre-order for $399.

The first thing you’ll notice is how different these headphones look. I kind of like how they look… I think? I don’t know, I’ve been so used to the same headphone design for so many years that this takes some getting used to, just like when an airline introduces a new livery.

Here’s how Bose describes the difference between their current QuietComfort 35 headphones and the new Noise Cancelling 700 headphones:

QuietComfort 35 headphones II offer a classic solution for anyone who wants acclaimed noise cancelling technology and volume-optimized audio performance. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 also deliver on this promise, but feature a brand-new acoustic design to achieve slightly better noise cancelling than QC35 II while also allowing you to transition from full isolation to full transparency. Another key improvement is the adaptive four-microphone system that automatically adapts to your environment to isolate your voice from competing noises so that you can confidently take a call, or talk to your voice assistant. And a new touch interface provides intuitive gesture-based controls for managing your content.

A better microphone and the ability to control how much noise you want to cancel are both cool features. On top of that, I’m happy to see that the Bose Noise Cancelling 700 headphones will feature up to 20 hours of battery life, which is on par with what they currently offer.

Bose also notes that these new headphones are optimized for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can use a voice assistant with your headphones. Personally I’ve never used a voice assistant, so that’s not something that’s of much value to me.

Bottom line

Bose used to be the leader when it comes to wireless headphones, though over the years they’ve no doubt lost their edge. While they’ve come out with more headphone models, the differences between them have been minor.

It seems like the new Bose 700s represent the biggest improvement they’ve made to their headphones in a long time. An improved mic and the option to select how much noise you want cancelled both sound cool, though I’m not sure they’ll actually make a material difference for most of us.

I’ll pick up a pair of these to review them, as I’ve had my previous pair for quite a while.

Do you plan on getting the Bose 700 Headphones? Do you value any of the new features they’ve added?

(Tip of the hat to MMM)

  1. Sine you don’t really find much value in the changes to these headphones, can you send your pair to me once your done reviewing them 😉

  2. Beside the full NC > Full Transparency and better calls there isn’t much to consider upgrading from the QC35 …. my first priority is the ANC part and if that is only “slightly better” (and that is from Bose aka worded in the best possible way which would be ANC now 40.5db vs 40db with the old QS34).

  3. I just bought the QC35 II. However, they don’t advertise that these are any better at noise canceling. I wonder how much better they actually are.

  4. I use the Sony WH-1000xm2 and love them. The xm3’s are even better and go for $50 less. Bose has certainly been coasting as of late.

  5. Hard to tell from the picture but I worry that these look flimsier / like that narrow arm connecting the band to the ear cups could be a point that breaks easily.

  6. My Bose QC25 stopped working in one ear after less than three years and only occasional use. I asked Bose if they could repair them and they said they didn’t do that. They said I could buy a new pair of the same headphones at a discounted rate and that the old ones would be discarded. So the fact that they keep churning out new products and don’t offer to repair minor faults in old ones makes them very irresponsible and wasteful in my view (and I know they’re not alone in this behaviour in our modern era!).

    I can’t see how these new earphones are going to be anything revolutionary. They don’t look practical – if you want to lean your head to the side (eg on an aircraft pillow) that bar looks uncomfortable and protruding. Also as someone else has said, how do they fold up? I think in-ear noise cancelling is a much better option for travelling. And Bose doesn’t impress me anymore!!

  7. I’m perfectly happy with my QC35 II headphones, and I don’t really see anything in the new 700’s that would make me want to get them.

    By the by, I just flew BA first class and they have new headphones. I didn’t try them but they look much better than the crap they used to have.

  8. Bose lives off of its name and vehicle contracts at this point. Hardly consider them the best in the market. In any case, the landscape is changing to in-ear, wireless headphones like Beats just came out with. Tough to see tons of people shell out $400 for these when they won’t present an major upgrade over the QC-35’s

  9. I am very disappointed in the battery of my QC35II headphones. It has died and now they want to charge me $250.00 to replace it. I love the quality of the product but not if I have to constantly pay to purchase a new battery. I did not see where they addressed this issue with the new release. If there is no way to fix the problem then they have lost a customer.

  10. Wow, consider me amazed! How can you not have used a voice assistant? Get a Google Home or Alexa (recommend the former as way more intelligent)… and you’ll be amazed how much you use it!

  11. Love my QC20 ear buds. The bulkiness of the over-head style is a non-starter for me when I’m trying to pack light.

  12. Bose has always been best-in-class for noise cancellation and decidedly mediocre for audio. Given that they are hyping improvements in NC, reasonable to assume that these will still provide poor-quality audio for the price point.

  13. I fear that when a company advertises “slightly” better … that means in reality nothing?
    I just replaced for 8$ on eBay the cushions so I’ll stick to mine a bit longer till I find a special offer somewhere? Not at 400$ !

  14. I’m still using the set of QC-15s that my wife bought me many years ago, originally for my ham radio station operation, and now for my air travel. Bose’s ANR circuitry works on steady-state noise, so it’s fine for engine noise, or a loud constant-speed exhaust fan, but utterly worthless for voices or short, loud bursts.

    On a recent trip on an Evelop-operated Norwegian flight to Dublin, I was in 1D and trying to get some shut-eye going east overnight. The QC-15s were on just for ANR, not for music playback. Unfortunately the four flight attendants on the other side of the curtain just Wouldn’t Shut Up for the entire flight, and no amount of steady-state noise reduction was going to help. It made it worse, in fact, since ALL I could hear was their yammering, since the QC-15s quieted down the cabin noise.

    I’d gladly by a headset that would be able to silence squalling brats, loud F/As, drunk pax, and other obnoxious airborne annoyances electronically. I guess flying F/J would go a long way in that department, too, but $5k and up is out of my league when flying for cash.

  15. I find Sony’s XM3 to be must better than Bose. Bose tends to be a favorite among North American flyers, but Sony XM3 is the new king in my opinion.

  16. Sony’s headphones are generally a class up from whatever Bose throws out. Don’t really know what’s the hype all about on Bose.

  17. If you are only looking for ANC earplugs for sleep, check out this new product, QuietOn Sleep. It’s designed purely for silence (not music listening device), small enough to sleep with head sideways on a pillow.

  18. I’m so audiophile. As such I prefer the Sony WH-1000MX3, compromising noise cancellation for dramatically better sound. The Sony also boasts up to a 30 hour battery life while I’ve personally used mine for up to 25+ hours on a single charge in NC mode.

  19. Bose is what old frequent fliers think is quality product.

    Also, there’s a reason their nickname is BLOWS in the sound world. It’s all marketing and very little decent sound reproduction. Their noise-cancellation isn’t anywhere near the newest Sony products either.

  20. As others have mentioned, these do not seem compelling. Bose is not known for their sound quality and these do not seem to improve on that. There are many better options available, Sony in particular if you want similar noise canceling but better sound. Sennheiser and Bowers and Wilkins also offer much better sound, although not quite as strong in noise cancelling (but I find more than enough when traveling still).

  21. I have HiFiMAN HE6se headphones and do not own any noise canceling headphones. i compared them to Bose 35. Sound quality of mine headphones is light years better than of Bose headphones or any other I tried. Only drawback is they are a bit pricey.

  22. The brand new Beyerdynamic Lagoona ANC from Germany is my current favorite & recommendation to my friends.

  23. Gesture controls, adaptive ANC, and what basically amounts to an “attention mode.”

    Pretty much what Sony introduced in their WH-1000XM series a few years back, then.

  24. If you want to fly and cut out the noise without any audio a pair of earplugs works fine and are not uncomfortable to sleep with. I have a pair of $59 headphones that the andio sounds great and when used with the ANC is sufficient. Just cannot see spending $350 to $400 for headphones as little as I fly. When out walking about the ANC can actually be dangerous as it makes you oblivious to what is going around you. Just my 2 cents worth.

  25. I agree with many who cite the Sony WH1000-XM series (2 or 3) as being far superior to any Bose, and Bose just living off their name. I had some Able Planet NC headphones (no longer made) that broke. I went into one of the airport stores that sold a half dozen brands of top flight NC headphones and listen tested them all, as well as the Bose that were juat outside in their own booth on the concourse. After the 30-40min or so of testing, Sony was the clear winner to my ears. Many are comparable on noise cancelling, but on sound, if you care what your music sounds like, Sony is miles ahead of the rest.

  26. PS. Not dising Bose across all product categories. Their Bluetooth Soundlink Speakers are sensational, non better.

  27. The Sony’s are great, but tight as anything if your head is on the larger side.

    And the microphone improvements were desperately needed. Being on a phone call during boarding announcements results in the person on the other end of the line going deaf.

  28. If you’re only picking up a pair to review them, I wouldn’t bother. Stick to flight reviews and leave headphones for the tech blogs. But then again, you probably want to do a review to claim it for tax purposes

  29. The Sony cans are small and they only allow one phone to connect at once. If you want an alternative to QC35, then go with the Sennheiser PXC 550. The Bose still have the best noise cancelling of the bunch even if they don’t have the sound. As a frequent traveler, I prefer the noise cancellation.

  30. I adore my Sony WH-1000 gen 1 cans (got them 50% off when gen 2 came)- as I understood Gen 1 was already better than Bose, and gen 2 and 3 pulled away more.

    Recently, I wanted some (preferably) wireless ANC in ear headphones as I struggle to fit my cans in my handbag with everything else when travelling. Also, My ears get too hot in the summer (in real life, not on the plane) and I find it hard to sleep with cans on. My choice would have been between the nuraloop or the bose wired ones. I tried the nuraphones at their store (stand?!) and it was astoundingly great quality sound and noise cancelling wise, it was whisper quiet in the mall. You remembered how it felt when you upgraded from the 20 bucks headphones to your really nice QC35 or Sony WH1000 and you heard famous pianists humming while they played Mozart like in a live concert hall and it was mindblowing (personal stories might differ)? Well, my Sony WH1000 now sounds TERRIBLE after spending 5 minutes with those nuraphones. I’ve preordered the loops which comes in a lot cheaper with the preorder discount than the bose (even after being discounted on amazon).

    TLDR- Nuraphones IMO should defo be considered if buying in that price bracket.

  31. After getting my 7 year old Bose QC35 stolen I bought the Sony WHH900N on special at Costco for just $170. They’re at least equivalent to the Bose, if not better, at half the price.

  32. I don’t really see the utility in such expensive headphones. I have a pair of 25 EUR wireless noise cancelling headphones. Has a rechargeable internal battery. Are they the best quality out there? No not really. But are the Bose/Sony options 10-20 times better? I would surely say not. Also, as a generally anxious person, having cheap ones means I have never worried about breaking them the way I would if they were more expensive than my smartphone.

  33. Seems like a cheap knockoff (or at best a “me too”) of the Dolby Dimension headphones. Cartainly not innovative…

    Give me a great pair of small in-ear isolating Bluetooth headphones (like my broken Bose sleepbuds) that last a couple hours per charge with streaming and I’m sold.

  34. The Bose QC35 is superior to all other headphones mentioned here due to the simple fact they have mechanical controls and not touch controls. Go to the Sony forums and read how much problem the touch controls are giving frustration to the users. Same will be with the new Bose if there is no way to disable them.

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