Bose noise-canceling headphones review: How these wireless headphones performed in our test lab
Bose Bluetooth headphones review
Bose has been making quality speakers and headphones for many years, including the longtime industry leader QuietComfort 35 II. About four years after the original release of the QC35 and two years after the second generation update, the Bose 700 has found its way into the market.
Bose headphones have always been known for their superior noise-canceling ability, and the latest pair is no exception. According to Bose, they offer the best active noise cancellation in the industry and are among the most comfortable. We got our hands on a pair of Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 to see if they lived up to the company’s claims. Here’s what we learned during testing.
Bose noise canceling headphones 700 review
We had clear goals in testing, with comfort at the top of the list. Earphone fit has a lot to do with creating a three-dimensional feel that allows for the most immersive audio.
From a practical standpoint, we were particularly concerned about the earphone controls. Some wireless headphones use touch controls that aren’t exactly intuitive, so we paid particular attention to their simplicity on the Bose 700. We were also concerned about ease of connection and cross-device compatibility. We believe that if we turn our headphones on and off or switch between devices regularly, a convenient process eliminates a lot of hassle.
To finish, wireless headphones are most useful when they can hold a charge for a long time, so we made sure to note the battery life and charging speed.
What are Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700?
The first thing we noticed was the premium craftsmanship of the headphones. Their design differs significantly from the QuietComfort line, and they look sleeker and less pedestrian. We tested the Triple Black color, but they also come in a color called Silver Luxe.
They come with a durable case which we are sure can protect the headphones. This is especially important as they’re quite bulky and don’t bend, which ended up being one of our biggest complaints about them.
We also noticed right away that the audio port on the right earcup is actually a 2.5mm jack, instead of the more common 3.5mm version. Bose includes the correct cable, but this is something to be aware of.
Price and where to buy the Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700
Bose 700 headphones are available at Amazon for $379.
How to use the Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700
The initial setup process was one of our least favorite parts of testing. It wasn’t exactly difficult, but it was more fiddly than with most other headphones we’ve used in the past. Instead of just connecting to our phone via Bluetooth, we had to install an official Bose app. Once in the app, it wasn’t difficult to use; it only took about a minute before we were ready to listen.
Fit and feel
One of our most important considerations was covered as soon as we put on the headphones. Although they are big, they don’t weigh that much. They were comfortable right from the start and by the end of testing we hadn’t felt any discomfort or general fatigue. The passive isolation of the spacious earcups was excellent and helped create a realistic soundstage.
Active noise cancellation
Overall, the noise cancellation was as good as it gets. It did a good job of eliminating staccato sounds such as keyboard clack, which many noise-canceling headphones can’t block effectively. Switching between the 11 different ANC modes was simple, although we couldn’t detect a huge difference between some of them.
At its highest level, the ANC has worked remarkably well in most settings. We also liked the Conversation Mode, which activates an external microphone that lets you hear your immediate surroundings clearly.
We’ve had questionable experiences with the earbuds’ touch controls in the past, but we’re happy to report that the Bose 700 sports a relatively intuitive control scheme. It took us a while to memorize every gesture and button function, and in the end we found that Bose’s flagship model offers more comprehensive control than other Bluetooth headphones.
As far as the most popular voice assistants go, the 700 performed better than anything we tested. This is likely due to the high-quality microphone array, which picked up our commands perfectly every time.
Benefits of the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700
- Impressive and balanced sound: They sound better than almost every other earphone we’ve tried. Unlike many popular models, they are not heavily weighted towards the bottom end. Their flat, consistent response curve makes them excellent for complex genres such as classical music.
- Premium Noise Cancellation: There are few competitors that actively block out as much noise as the Bose 700.
- Premium call quality: High-sensitivity microphones and the advanced algorithms that control them are among the best for making voice calls.
- Above-average comfort: Despite their size, they did not cause headaches or fatigue. Our ears fit well into the earcups and there were no noticeable pinching or pressure points.
- Great build quality: Their build is basically what you’d expect from such an expensive pair of headphones.
Cons of the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700
- Not incredibly portable: They are large and do not bend, so they do not fit in small bags. Your safest bet is to carry them in the included case.
- Separate application required: To connect and get the most out of the Bose 700, you’ll need to download the official app.
- Not perfect for certain types of music: They won’t bring out heavy bass like many of today’s over-ear headphones. However, if you like bass-heavy music, the in-app equalizer works well.
- Uncommon 2.5mm stereo audio jack: You won’t be able to use most traditional headphone cables if you want to connect for wired listening.
- Minimum Bluetooth codec support: They only support standard SBC and AAC codecs. This is great for iPhone and MacBook users, who already rely on AAC for quality playback. However, AAC does not work as well with Android devices, introducing additional latency and requiring more processing power than the aptX codec.
Should you get the Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700?
Overall, the headphones sound good, and we particularly liked the customizable ANC. They’re as comfortable as everyone says they are and work well with every genre of music we’ve tried. We didn’t like their relatively large size, and having to use the dedicated app to connect isn’t the most convenient. Overall, the Bose 700 are a great choice if you have the money to spend.
There are few other headphones that offer the same level of active noise cancellation. Among Bluetooth headphones, almost none are as good for critical listening as the Bose 700. If you’re willing to invest and deal with their somewhat poor portability, you’ll love them. They are especially useful for anyone who travels, takes public transport, or lives or works in a noisy place.
Consider other products
If the Bose 700 isn’t quite your style, there are some great high-end alternatives to consider.
The most direct competitors to Bose’s latest iteration, Sony’s flagship wireless headphones offer essentially the same level of noise cancellation.
Sold by Amazon
These offer excellent sound quality and competitive ANC at a relatively good price.
Sold by Amazon
While they can’t compete with the big names, they offer impressive sound quality, above-average ANC, and a remarkable 40-hour battery life.
Sold by Amazon
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Chris Thomas written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.
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