The roar of the jet engines, loud conversations from the people seated around you, babies crying – well that’s all part of travelling isn’t it? So I thought…The Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones (QC35) are one of those items that you can’t appreciate until you’ve tried them. I was the same, the standard headphones you receive on flights did the job of watching the on-board entertainment and that is all I saw a use for headphones on a plane.
In my travels, I occasionally saw travellers with their own on-ear headphones and thought to myself, why buy and cart around your own headphones when headphones are supplied by the airline that do the job. In my haste to dismiss the need, what I was oblivious to was the knowledge that some of these headphones have the feature of noise-cancellation, or to be more precise, active noise-cancellation (ANC).
It’s not my intent to go through and compare the various ANC headphones available, because quite honestly I didn’t need to go out and try them all. Before I make any significant purchase, I do a lot of research, I really do mean a LOT! I literally spend hours upon hours over a number of days, even weeks, reading various reviews on what I’m contemplating to buy. All that research lead me to the Bose QuietComfort range, namely the Bose QuietComfort 25 and the Bose QuietComfort 35. The Bose Quiet Comfort’s aren’t perfect, but when it comes to active noise-cancellation, what everyone agrees upon is that Bose are the best.
Why I Chose the Bose QuietComfort 35
The Bose QuietComfort 35 are the latest model of the predecessor Bose QuietComfort 25 (and before that the QC15). As you could expect, the Bose QuietComfort 25 are cheaper being older tech than the Bose QuietComfort 35. But price alone shouldn’t be the sole factor in any purchase you make. While there are small changes between the two, for example changing from 2 AAA batteries in the 25 to a built-in rechargeable battery for the 35, think of the Bose QuietComfort 35 as an upgrade of making something good, even better. The main reason I decided to pay more in purchasing the Bose QuietComfort 35 was future proofing. The biggest change between the 25 and 35 is that the Bose QuietComfort 35 comes with Bluetooth connectivity (while retaining ability for wired connectivity). For those with the latest iPhone’s, the sign of things to come is already in the winds and the ability to connect by Bluetooth will become more predominate with wired connections going the way of the dodo – or should I say, the way of the VHS tape.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 for Travellers
Bose haven’t forgotten travellers, in particular airline travellers. The Bose QuietComfort 35, as did its predecessor the Bose QuietComfort 25, comes with an airline adapter and cord. Everything you need to listen to the on-board entertainment is all contained in the travel case that comes with the Bose QuietComfort 35. The upside of using the cable during inflight is your battery life will increase.
Bose claim the in-built rechargeable battery in the Bose QuietComfort 35 has a life of 20+ hours using Bluetooth wireless and ANC. A claim that appears realistic as the Bose QuietComfort 35 easily handled my 2 x 8 hour+ flights (BNE – BKK – BNE) without a charge during my 3 week trip with the headphones retaining plenty of power on my return. Some reviewers complain about the shift away from the use of replaceable AAA batteries to a built-in rechargeable battery system due to not being able to “swap out” batteries during long flights. If this was going to be a problem, you can either recharge from a USB port during your flight or alternatively, carry a power bank to charge while you sleep. Personally, I think this is a better option than carrying around multiple replacement batteries and a battery charger for those replaceable batteries.
Bose QuietComfort 35 Active Noise-Cancellation
I was literally amazed to find out how much noise the Bose QuietComfort 35 block out through their active noise-cancellation technology. When you first put them on, you notice an immediate drop in ambient noise and think, yeah OK, these work. The best way to judge these headphones is to have the Bose QuietComfort 35 on during flight for 5 minutes and then take them off. The very first thought that came into my head when I did this was to wonder how I put up with such high ambient noise in the past. I’ll even admit that I enjoyed putting them on and taking them off a few times to really sink in the difference these headphones make – I was amazed and literally in awe! It made me think back to my childhood memories of watching Get Smart with the fictional cone of silence device in the Chief’s office. (Wikipedia link – Cone of Silence). Maybe not the best of analogies with the joke of using the cone of silence in Get Smart, but not only was the ambient noise level dramatically decreased, but corny as it sounds, I had discovered a travel tech ‘and loving it!’ (that’s another Get Smart reference). There is no real way to adequately express in words the difference the Bose QuietComfort 35 make, it’s something you have to experience to appreciate if you’ve never used active noise-cancellation headphones on a flight before.
Design and Comfort
One of the key design features of the Bose QuietComfort 35 is their ability to fold down into a more space conscious size which is crucial for travelling fitting into the supplied travel case which also protects your investment while in your bag. If you aren’t sure which way to orientate the earphones on your head, the inside of each ear cup conveniently tells you if it’s for your left or right ear. On your head, the headband can be adjusted to your comfort and I didn’t experience any problems during my flights. Overall, the Bose QuietComfort 35 has a premium feel and sturdy build.
If there is some difference of opinion in all the reviews it’s centred about the sound quality of the Bose QuietComfort headphones. The reason for the difference comes down to individual preferences of how music should sound. In regard to music, I will admit that I found them a little flat where I like lots of treble and bass in my music. For watching inlight movies and TV shows, they are perfectly fine and I have absolutely no complaints. I have hooked them up to watch movies at home and perfectly fine there as well. If you want to have some low music playing in the background while you sleep on the plane, once again they are perfectly fine. As much as I love thumping bass, it’s not something that is conducive for getting me to sleep.
Bose QuietComfort 35 Connectivity
It was extremely easy and quick to connect my apple devices to the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones. With the Bose Connect App available, it was effortless. With Bluetooth connected, I didn’t notice any lag between the video and audio.
QC35 Final Thoughts
In a nutshell, I think the Bose QuietComfort 35 are excellent headphones worth their price tag. The first thing to keep in mind is that every other headphone review and comparison review I read, the one constant among them all is that there is no perfect headphone out there. If like me, active noise-cancellation is you main objective in buying headphones for travel, either the Bose QuietComfort 35 or the cheaper Bose QuietComfort 25 (for the more budget conscious) are hard to pass by. If you are an audio purist where sound quality is your absolute criteria over active noise-cancellation, you’d probably be better off searching for other wireless headphones.
The real test that I would gauge a product’s worth is if I was to lose or break my current pair of Bose QuietComfort 35, would I go out tomorrow and buy another pair? The answer to that question is an unreservedly – Yes. I know that is a big statement considering I haven’t tested some of the rivals for the Bose QuietComfort 35, but in all honesty, if the rivals are unable to match the Bose QuietComfort 35 in active noise-cancellation (which all the reviews and comparisons say they can’t), I’m not interested in the trade off.
Don’t forget that the QC35 aren’t limited to plane travel and if you find yourself commuting by train, bus or just a noisy office environment, they will serve you equally as well. Another interesting point with these headphones is if you get a call while using them, the Bose QuietComfort 35 allows you to seamlessly take the call with its inbuilt mic.
If you want to take a closer look at the QC35 and the QC25 headphones, I’ve provided some amazon links below which will show you what other people are saying about these headphones:
After writing this post I just came across a discussion which had the following comment on the pricing difference between the QC25 and the QC35 which reassures me I made the right choice:
I own both the 25s and 35s. Whether you pay $24 more or $100 more, the QC35’s are worth every cent.
What you get in the box when you buy the Bose QuietComfort 35
- QC35 wireless headphones
- USB charging cable
- Audio cable for wired connection
- Airline adapter
- Carrying case