Bose likes to talk about how they invented noise-cancelling headphones. While technically true, it didn’t seem to give them any advantage over the competition that’s now saturated store shelves with wireless ear gadgets of various kinds. But, finally, Bose is making its most popular noise-cancelling headphone, the QuietComforts, completely wireless.
And there was much rejoicing.
In the looks department, not much has changed. The over-ear QuietComfort 35s come in two colours—black and silver (that’s new)—and are still plastic through and through. The QC35 might be lacking in style, especially in the audio world of brightly-coloured Beats, but Bose kept the design super compact and collapsible, making these cans a great travel companion. The right ear houses the hardware buttons for adjusting volume and skipping tracks, as well as the on-off switch. And bonus: you also get a respectable 20 hours of battery life.
Bose being Bose, they’re not shying away from a steep price point at $350 (£241). But there are certainly more expensive wireless cans out there. While the Bose Quiet Comfort 35s aren’t the best-looking headphones ever, they overpower others when it comes to noise cancelling. I’m already queuing up copious amounts of bass-heavy Kendrick and thrashing Deafheaven for our forthcoming review.
But arguably the cooler headset Bose is showing off (yes, there are a couple—stick with me here) are the QuietControl 30 earbuds. Whether those wireless earbud necklace things are your wearable of choice is a personal question, but if you get around having to rock a stunning choker (in matte black) these earbuds are just super cool.
Like the QuietComfort 35s, the QuietControl 30s come with noise-cancelling, but you can also adjust the level of quiet that you want. Walking down the street and need to hear for passing traffic? Just turn down noise-cancelling a little bit. Crying baby on a 10-hour flight across the Atlantic? Knock that shit up to max, all controlled through Bose’s own app or the inline button controller.
QC30 inline controller, volume/music controls (left) and noise-cancelling controls (right)
It’s not exactly a new idea. Even more ambitious concepts completely change the noise as it enters your ears! But it was very trippy to hear someone talking to me and have it sound completely clear even though I had my ears plugged with the QC30s. Because of their smaller size, the battery life when blasting noise-cancelling at max is supposedly ten hours—only half compared to the QC35s. But they’ll also cost less at $300/£207. You’ll have to wait until September to get your hands on them.
SoundSport, comes in blue, yellow, and black.
Less revolutionary but another first for Bose are two fitness-focused earbuds called SoundSport and SoundSport Pulse. SoundSport are water resistant wireless workout earbuds with 6-hour battery life, no noise-cancelling, and a potential challenger for our new favourite wireless workout headset. The Pulse version comes with a heartrate sensor built in the earbud—at the cost of one hour of battery. The HR sensor-laden SoundSport also won’t be available until September. The SoundSport and SoundSport Pulse will cost $150/£104 and $200/£138, respectively.
Bose has ceded ground by slowly releasing these wireless noise-cancelling cans, but the QuietComforts sound like they’re worth the wait. But it’s the noise-controlling QC30s I’m most excited about. We’ll see if these pricey ear gadgets warrant that excitement once we get our hands on them.