Bose Introduces Awesome New Wireless Headphones

Filed Under: Travel Technology

I have some travel gadgets I can’t live without, and Bose headphones are among them. That’s certainly not unique to me, as I think a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones is probably the single most common accessory for business travelers.

Some argue that there are better quality and/or cheaper headphones out there, and that’s probably true. All I know is that I’ve been a loyal Bose customer for 10 years, and have never been disappointed. And it’s not something I want to skimp on either, because I’ve used my current pair of headphones for hundreds and hundreds of course.

As it stands, I typically have two pairs of Bose headphones with me — I have the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, and then I also have the Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. Why do I have both sets of headphones?

When I’m on planes and/or watching TV shows while sitting around, I’ll always use the QC25 headphones, as I love how comfortable the over-ear headphones are.


However, I find the in-ear QC20s to be great for the gym, when walking around a city, etc., since they’re much more portable.


While I’m thrilled with the headphones I have right now, it’s worth noting that Bose finally came out with wireless noise canceling headphones, which is long overdue.

Bose has just introduced the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones, which have all the same great features as the QC25, except they can also be used wirelessly. The headphones are rechargeable (unlike the older versions, which require AAA batteries), and are good for up to 20 hours with the wireless function, or up to 40 hours when used with a wire.


Here’s how the new headphones are described:

Quiet Comfort 35 wireless headphones are engineered with world-class noise cancellation that makes quiet sound quieter and music sound better. Free yourself from wires and connect easily to your devices with Bluetooth and NFC pairing. Volume-optimized EQ gives you balanced audio performance at any volume, while a noise-rejecting dual microphone provides clear calls, even in windy or noisy environments. Voice prompts and intuitive controls make communicating and controlling your music hassle-free. A lithium-ion battery gives you up to 20 hours of wireless play time per charge. And if you anticipate a situation where charging may not be possible, just plug in the included audio cable. Wired mode gives you up to 40 hours of play time per charge. Premium materials make these headphones lightweight and comfortable for all-day listening. Use the Bose Connect app for a more personalized experience. Included: Quiet Comfort 35 wireless headphones; USB charging cable; backup audio cable; airline adapter; carry case.

These headphones are priced $50 higher than the previous versions of the headphones, so retail for $349. I know some people think Bose headphones are way too expensive and prefer other brands, but if you’re a Bose loyalist and always want the latest technology, the Bose QC 35s are already on sale.

I’ll probably buy a pair once I’ve used my current headphones longer and feel an upgrade is in order. I am looking forward to the ability to using them wirelessly. I usually have so many wires out already when on a plane, between my computer being plugged into the power adapter, my phone being plugged into my computer, etc.

Is wireless technology something which matters to you for travel headphones?

  1. I’m always unsure about using wireless headphones on a plane when they say that devices must be in Airplane mode with transmissions switched off. I guess if you’re on a plane with wifi it would be unreasonable of the cabin crew to stop you, but I can imagine it happening on some airlines. But at least this pair has an optional cable you can use, unlike the cheap Creative set that I have which doesn’t have that feature.

  2. @Lucky – This has limited utility for travelers since many airlines don’t permit use of Bluetooth devices in flight. Not much point having these if you can’t use them on aircraft.

  3. @Sean M. There is an optional cable which you can plug in, to avoid that issue for times when it’s necessary. But I agree, it’s maybe of limited use on a plane versus a conventional set.

  4. One other thing you might want to consider is the weight. QC35 weights in at 10.9oz vs QC25 at 6.9oz. I’ve used ParrotZik which weight at 12.4oz, it definately gave soreness on top of my head after few hours of use. After switching to QC25, long haul entertainment was more enjoyable.

  5. Just got myself the Audio Technica ANC in ear BT noise cancelling headphones. Love them. Also has an additional cable for in flight use and you can still switch on the NC function.
    I have also gotten myself a BT transmitter. So far have not had any issues using the BT function on my travels in flight.

  6. My only fear is that after a long flight I might be sleepy and leave the wireless transmitter plugged in, taking only the headset with me.

  7. They definitely won’t work when a device is in airplane mode, so certainly will be of limited use on a flight.

  8. I have flown at least 60 flight segments with my Sony bluetooth headphones. Same as the Bose set described, just Sony. I haven’t had a single comment on them, good, bad, or otherwise. Domestic US and international carriers alike. I just put my phone into airplane mode and then enable Bluetooth. I’ve used gate to gate and never once had an issue.

    Never having to deal with wires on a plane has been better than I ever imagined.

    I’m not saying there isn’t a chance someone could face an over bearing FA, but my experience so far has been that it’s a non-issue.

  9. Bluetooth technology causes a delay with the audio when viewing video, so these and any BT headphone would be of little use to me on a plane for IFE video, would still need to be wired anyway.

  10. I haven’t found this to be the case at all. I use my Sony set for IFE streaming on at least half my flights and with Amazon Video downloads on my iPad. Never once have had a “delay”. Maybe if your tablet or phone are 5+ years old you may have a problem (doubtful even in that case).

  11. No. Firstly, I’m a loyal Sony MDR noise cancelling customer (IMO they have better performance to the Bose on both the NC and audio fidelity. I have also owned multiple Boise models previously). I recently tried multiple wireless models from several vendors. None of them had the same level of high definition high fidelity sound. Upon doing some research and inquiring with some engineering friends at Sennheiser they admitted that wireless technology cannot offer the same level of audio quality as wired versions. Not to mention that wireless headphones become useless if I cannot use them on flights where I cannot turn Bluetooth on, so I’d rather have traditional wired versions. On a side note, I own Sennheiser IE 800 earbuds for gym and times when I don’t require noise cancelling – try them, they are excellent.

  12. It is possible to use the Bluetooth function of these or any other headsets on a plane. See the FAA post below:

    5. Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

    One just needs to turn the phone into airplane mode on and switch Bluetooth back on.

  13. Apparently most commenters didn’t read the post since they are all complaining about not being able to use Bluetooth in the air. People – they do come with a cable as well if you don’t feel you are able to use BT while in the air, and as a bonus, using the cable doubles the battery life.

    Wikipedia: In a revised review in October 2013 the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made a recommendation on the use of electronic devices in “airplane mode”—cellular telephony is disabled, while Wi-Fi may be used if the carrier offers it. Short-range transmission such as Bluetooth is always permissible. The statement cites the common practice of aircraft operators whose aircraft can tolerate use of these personal electronic devices, but use may still be prohibited on some models of aircraft.[3]

    On another note, the QC25’s I bought a couple of years ago are the absolute best money I’ve ever spent on a flying related purchase.

  14. kevin… everyone read the post properly; apparently you didnt.

    Lucky says he wanted to use the new QC35 on flights, and in particular he wanted to use the WIRELESS FUNCTION ON THE PLANE, which is why the commentators mention that you may not be able to use bluetooth (ie wireless) on the plane!

    “I am looking forward to the ability to using them wirelessly. I usually have so many wires out already when on a plane, between my computer being plugged into the power adapter, my phone being plugged into my computer, etc.”

  15. I like the idea and agree with Alan that I’d forget the BT dongle deal in the IFE. I would imagine they will make a killing selling those parts later.

    My main concerns is the increased weight and I don’t really trust wireless or bluetooth head worn devices not to give me brain cancer with long term use. I know maybe this is silly but I had an FBI agent friend die from brain cancer after years of wireless head device use and it makes me wonder.

    I’m a runner and had a pair of the Q-10 or whatever non-QC headphones a couple years ago and they didn’t hold up well at all during marathon training. They sounded awesome but the wires kept pulling away from the ear buds even after being very very careful with them. Funny how the cheap-o apple junk sounding ones are hard to destroy.

  16. @Jared – +1. It seems that we are in a hopefully brief phase where most people don’t even bother investigating actual performance of audio tech item as revealed by published specifications. So much so that many manufacturers don’t even bother to publish them – I guess either because the numbers suck, or they don’t want to spend the money on testing. They still sell product though because so many users cannot be bothered to take a few moments and find out what the various specs mean. These users feel confident they bought the best product because they believed the marketing, or the brand is perceived to be cool. If you google a little, there are even studies where some people prefer lower quality music reproduction. Sad. So I imagine you are probably correct about the Sonys. But don’t expect to change too many minds.

  17. I prefer recharging AAA batteries to having to plug yet another device in, probably via USB or (please god no) using a wall wart.

  18. I have the Bose (antique) QC15 and I wouldn’t fly without them. Although the sound is great, the best feature for me is the noise cancellation because it allows me to sleep through my flights to and from Europe. After reading your post and the comments, I plan to try the next generation Bose and Sony headphones. Thanks!

  19. I have to say…I learn 100x reading the comments on this blog rather than the actual blog entry itself.

  20. @Donna @[email protected] +1 to each of you – I can only speak of my personal experiences and what research I have done – I have little understanding of electrical acoustical systems. When I got my first NC (Bose QC 1s – ancient by today’s terms), I remember that instant serenity, but at the same time I was rather disappointed because the audio quality was unacceptable for the price of the product (I love classical music and jazz). 16 years gone, the same problem plagues. After a lot of reading and talking to friends with more knowledge about these things, I have learnt that noise cancelling headphones will never deliver a robust sound quality. I have also learned that while Bose offers very good noise cancellation, their audio quality wanes in comparison to other brands. My preference for noise cancelling head phones have led me to the Sony MDR-10RNCs. Now, realize that the noise cancellation on these are not as strong as those on the Bose, but they are close. More importantly for me, the sound quality is noticeably better; so, as a package, I prefer my Sonys. The main thing I can recommend is to try out the various options before investing because both headphone performance and sound perception differ between individuals and music genres.

    @Jared – Sennheiser IE 800s are freaking awesome headphones – a close friend has those. However….they are $800!!!! Not sure they are in the same league as the ones people are talking about here.

    Finally – I definitely find that the wireless headphones have very poor audio quality. However, if sound quality doesn’t really matter, then I guess its ok.

  21. @lucky, question for you. I have been a Bose headphone loyalist as well, but i find that the leather ear pads wear out pretty easily and start to fall apart. Anyone else have this same issue with the over the ear headphones?

  22. @Adam: I have a similar issue with my Q15s. But also far worse for me is that the cords seem to always break around where the microphone/remote is. Thankfully, I’m in China so I can get cheap replacements, but it can’t cost too much for Bose to make a proper, sturdy cord, surely? I like the sound of wireless Bluetooth, but am concerned if there is a significant drop in sound quality.

  23. @Adam @Sean: I can relate to your issues. Just hate the fact that while I like my Bose NC head-phones, I can’t help but handle the gadget and get the impression of a severe compromise in the material quality simply to keep the cost down.

  24. Hi have a pair of Beats Studio Wireless headphones (over ear) and like lucky also a pair of Powerbeats wireless (bud head phones). Each serve their purpose (flights v gym etc). Having Bluetooth connectivity is simply awesome because wires and cables suck. Fly 120-150 flight segments a year. Mainly Europe, Mid East, Asia and Australia. Never ever ever been pulled up by a FA for using them. Airplane mode then activate Bluetooth. Maybe it’s just another of those stupid US laws that prevents the use ….

  25. Can someone that has the Bose QC 35 wireless headset clarify if you loose that capability in an airplane? For example, I’m flying JetBlue for example and something of interest is playing on the seat monitor. How do I listen to that program and NOT loose the noise canceling function? From what I’m reading about the QC 35 you loose the NC function once you plug them into armrest.

  26. Loved my old Bose NC headphones but new QC 35 phones would not work properly with optional cable plugged into seat entertainment centre on Emirates flights
    Bluetooth connection not an option apparently

  27. 1. I am not an audiophile and I am not as technically savvy as most of you are.

    2. I have a very simple question: How will I use the BOSE wireless headphones on an airline in-flight entertainment system?

    3. I have heard that Bluetooth provides low-quality sound, which defeats one point of purchasing a high-quality product such as BOSE.

    4. Also, while I understand that BOSE provides a WIRE as an accessory to connect to the aircraft’s jack, using the wire will also defeat the purpose of purchasing a wireless headset. I do not want a wire to snag on my glass of water or bottle of red wine, or to trip on when I need to go to the bathroom.

    5. Is there a non-Bluetooth transmitter available, that plugs into the airplane’s seat jack?


  28. Sort of the same question as Jack, I bought a pair of QC35s and want to be able to use them wirelessly on Virgin’s in flight entertainment system. I am assuming I will need a transmitter and I’m aware that the Bose don’t support aptx so what transmitter is best to get?

  29. If the IFE is streaming to your own device, then it’s easy – just Bluetooth from your device to the QC35s. Expect a serious audio lag though as you watch videos :(. This is widely discussed in the QC35 forums.

    If the IDE is just seat back or common screen, you connect the QC35s to the headphone socket (they come with an adapter and spare cable for this purpose).

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