Bose QuietComfort 35 Review

In this Bose QuietComfort 35 review, we cover the bads and goods of the Bose QC35 active noise cancelling headphones.   Indeed, these are a yet another step forward in the Bose QuietComfort line.  These are in fact, a notch up from the QC25 wired phones.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Headphones Review : Intro

The QuietComfort 35 cost even more than practically any other consumer grade around-ear headphone we’ve seen. But you get your money’s worth in the QC35s.  We played with these at a local brick-and-mortar audio electronics store. And we found their sound quite convincing. They have rich-but-not-boomy bass, flowing mid range, and punchy crystal treble.  The fidelity rivals that of the older, wired headphone models.

Also, as expected, these QC-35 earphones, like their predecessors, actively cancel surrounding noise, astoundingly well.  They work way better than the simpler passive noise cancelling earphones of the 1980s and 1990s. Plus, the fact that they’re Bluetooth does not seem to degrade their active noise canceling performance.

They really cut the ambient sounds at the shop. These included stereos blasting, doors slamming, smart speakers thumping, and people gabbing.  The best example of active noise control we’ve ever tested since the QC15s.

But active noise control means that these headphones do need battery power.  But no big deal though because all they need is a single AAA cell. And in spite of the small battery size, it still lasts many hours.

Stock picture of the Bose QuietComfort QC35 active noise cancelling wireless headphones in black.
Bose QuietComfort QC35 active noise cancelling wireless headphones in black, stock photo.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: Advantages, Pros, Benefits, and Features

Yep, They’re Wireless!

The first Bluetooth headphones in the QuietComfort series. But you can still connect them via a cord. So, even if  the battery runs out. Or the device you wish to play has no Bluetooth. You may still listen.

Bose Active EQ and Triport Technologies

Improved sound and external noise quieting as compared to the last QC model, the QC25.

Choice of Colors

The QC35 phones come in either black or silver.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: These Headphones Work with Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod

They also work awesomely on Android tablets and phones as well.  You can pair them with your phone and conduct hands-free conversations through the QC35.

Closed Air Design

With the exception of the ports, the QC35, like earlier models, has all-closed backs on each speaker.  This helps not only keep unwanted ambient noise away from the eardrum.  But it also keeps the music inside.  Now you may play your music at top volume. So people nearby probably won’t hear much of anything at all.

No Sense of Ear Pressure Noted

Some reviewers say that they feel a pressure in their ears with these phones in noise reduction mode. It’s noticeable in very noisy places.  This happens, likely, because the QC35 phones must produce lots of reverse noise to cancel out the outside noise.  The outside noise therefore, and the anti noise from the earphones, both pull at the eardrum in opposite ways.  This may create this sense of pressure in some cases.  But we felt no pressure, even with sub woofers blasting around us while testing these headphones.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: Plenty of Volume

The dynamic range of the QC35 does not suffer due to the Bluetooth connectivity that these wireless earphones require.  In fact, these phones sound better with their wireless connection, than did the QC25s with their wired connection.  The circuitry and drivers inside can still play at ear-splitting volumes, if that’s your fancy.  However, consider that long-term exposure to very loud sounds may damage your hearing, according to the user’s manual. But nonetheless, if high volume is still your desire, you’ll still get it in the Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth headphones.

Detachable USB Cord

The removable micro USB to USB A charge cable replaces the audio cable.  Gone is the 3.5mm plug cord.  Now, the only cord is for charging the built-in battery. Since this cable is USB, you can easily replace it if you lose or damage it.

Remote and Microphone Built In

No longer on a cord, Bose put the mic and volume controls on the backs and bottoms of the speakers.

Side Speaker Function

This lets you hear your own voice in the phones while talking via your cellphone. This, according to CNET, reduces the feeling that you need to shout so others hear you.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: Comfortable Enough to Wear While Napping

If you ride taxis, trains, or airplanes, you’ll like the advanced active noise cancelling of the Bose 35. It can quiet things down even when you are not listening to music.  Like with earlier QuietComfort series models, we wore these while playing nothing through them. But we had the power ON.  This enables the noise control processors.  We found that these earphones work just as well to reduce ambient sounds as a good pair of beeswax earplugs.  They still drain the battery though. That’s true any time you turn them on, whether playing music or not.

Like the QC25s, the QC35s work best in bed when wearing while laying on your back.  Uncomfortable though, if you sleep on your side.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: Bluetooth Support

The QC-35 has built-in Bluetooth. You need no add-on Bluetooth adapter for these. This is a huge improvement over the QC15 and QC25 models.

Zipper Carrying Case

The QC35 earphones fold into a compact shape that fits into the included rectangular-shaped storage case.  We found the case compact enough for this type of headphone.  How small these phones can get when you fold them up amazes us.

LED Pilot Lamp

Glows solid green when the QC35 is ON.  Plus, you can see it from a distance.    So you are less likely to leave them ON and run the battery low. The lamp flashes when battery is almost dead.

No Bigger or Heavier than Non Noise Cancelling Units

Lightweight, although a bit heavier than the QC25s.  The QC-35 unit seems no heavier on head and ears than the passive headphones we tried.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: Rechargeable Battery

As mentioned, a built-in battery powers the QC35 headphone. It can last up to 20 hours, Bose says.  But the battery that you have to charge often, is perhaps the only performance drawback in these phones. After all, you need the battery to support the Bluetooth.  A modest sacrifice to get rid of the dongle-style Bluetooth adapter in earlier models.

Deep, Soft Ear Cups

The Bose QC35 ear cushions, completely surround each ear. Plus, they have enough depth to prevent the back of the can (the speaker) from touching the ear.  They quickly mold themselves around our eyeglasses without much loss of fidelity or noise reduction.  The ear cushions also make a decent noise barrier to both outside noises coming in, and inside sounds leaking out.

No Amplifier Hiss

Even without music playing, we heard no amplifier noise, hums, hisses, or other audio processing artifacts.  Yet turning them off while listening to “the quiet” raised the noise level considerably.

Great Fidelity

Now other wired noise cancelling headphones often suffer from fidelity loss. No doubt, this is due to their inferior noise cancelling circuits. Yet we heard no such loss in the QC-35 earphones. Bose has indeed overcome these common drawbacks of many active noise canceling headphones. Plus, these sound just a s good on Bluetooth as they do when you connect them with the wire.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: Better Outside Noise Detection

The QC-35 features at least two microphones in each ear unit. One senses outside noises. There’s a grill-covered opening on the back of each driver for this mic.  Then there are also mics inside the driver case, near your ear.  This improves cancellation of higher frequency noises.

Also, faster audio processing in the QC35 better cuts surrounding noises.  We could tell that noise cancellation worked well, by stopping the music. Then we covered the noise sensing mics with a finger.  As we covered more and more of the mic’s grill, the external noise got lots louder.

Cuts Both Low and High Frequency Outside Noises

Bose built the QC-35 phones with top notch noise isolation as perhaps the main goal. Indeed, their state-of-the-art active noise cancellation circuitry boosts that in a huge way.  The phones lower ALL outside noise frequencies, especially with the phones operating.

Works with Today’s Mobile Devices

So long as your device supports Bluetooth, the QC35 will pair with popular mobile players and phones. It works with Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch. Android devices from Samsung, Google, Amazon, et al can also pair with these phones.

Wired Operation Possible Should the Battery Die

The rechargeable battery may go dead. Or, you wish to listen to a device that has no Bluetooth. To cover both these cases, you may connect to the QC35 with an cable.

Keep the battery well charged. Indeed, without a fresh battery, you will lose any active noise suppression. But unlike the QC15,  you can still listen to music. But you just won’t have the active noise cancelling. This noise cancelling needs the battery to work.

Balanced Digital EQ System

Maintains consistent headphone response whether playing soft or loud.

Level LO / HI Switch

Functions as two position volume control. This lets you lower the sound when listening to airplane programs that can sometimes get too loud.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: Replacement Parts Available

You may purchase genuine Bose replacement cables, ear cushions, adapters, and extension cables directly from Bose.  See the official product web page for details.  We provide that link below.

The QuietComfort 35 Bose Headphones are Easy to Clean Up

Wipe the phones with a damp cloth. Also, tap around the ear cups should they develop depressions after long hours of wearing. Further, wipe outer areas including the cushions, with a mild dish washing soap mixed with water.

Affordable for Serious Music Listeners

The QC25 costs roughly $300 US. But for the best price, check out online re-sellers and second-hand sites like Amazon and eBay.  We found them as low as $150.

Yet be careful paying too little. because the cheap ones might be fake.  Buyer beware of very low prices.

Picture of the headphones with accessories. Stock photo.
The headphones with accessories. Stock photo.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: Problems, Cons, Disadvantages, and Concerns

High Price

At around $350 for a new pair, the QC-35 cost a big chunk of money.  Yes, their overall quality likely makes them well worth three and a half c-note. But since they cost so much, do keep these out of reach of children.  They’re not toys!

Even adult novice listeners might not notice that workmanship and advanced performance the QC-35 offers.  So, make sure you truly want high fidelity phones before you buy.  Buy cheap instead, If the truly better sound doesn’t matter to you so much.

Battery Not Easily to Replace

True. Batteries like this can last several to six years if drained and charged now and then. But a standard, user-replaceable rechargeable battery would have worked better. It would save the user money and effort.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: Hot Ear Cushions

While wearing the QC35, you get little to no air moving around your ears to cool them.  The result is that you sweat, and perhaps, soil the ear cushions.  So, wipe the ear cups after each long listening session to keep them sweat and oil free.

So Effective that they Might Cause Hazards

The active noise cancelling works so well, that you might not hear someone coming up behind you.  You may not even hear when they call your name.  Plus, these earphones also cut traffic noises, horns, squealing tires, and other warning sounds.  Thus we suggest not using these when driving or walking near busy streets.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review: Our Rating 

These QC-35 wireless headphones continue the progression of many years of development. Bose bases them on tried-and-true audio principles. Then on top of that, they throw in their refined active noise cancelling techniques.  We find that Bose did not waste this effort.  In fact, it has come to fruition for Bose, in their best wireless noise canceling headphones so far.  Indeed, these are the best sounding Bluetooth phones we’ve ever tested. Further, all QC35 parts seem durable, easy to clean, and of high grade build.

Now we’d prefer waiting to buy a used set. Why? To avoid the high-end retail price of nearly $350. But we see this price as the only limiting factor of the QC35.

The high-grade active noise cancelling means that you’ll likely need less volume from the music.  Why? Because you’ll have less outside noise to counter by turning the volume up. So we rate these phones at 97 out of 100. Expensive yes, but worth the money?  Also, yes.

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References for Bose QuietComfort 35 Headphones Review

    1. QC-35 Official Support Page
    2. QC-35 User’s Manual
    3. Where to buy the Bose QC-35 Headphones