The market for headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC) used to belong to Bose till Sony came along. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II (QC35 II) are excellent headphones, but they pale in both audio quality and noise cancelling prowess compared to Sony’s MDR-1000XM3, the third iteration of the company’s ANC enabled headphones. Enter the Bose Headphones 700.
To be clear, these aren’t meant to replace the QC series. Instead, Bose seems to have made the Headphones 700 to give every feature a high-end headphones buyer can hope for in a premium headset. The audio quality is unparalleled in some ways, it has touch controls, supports every important voice assistant, has more mics than most of your devices, and even has a futuristic augmented reality feature built inside.
The fact that a pair of headphones worth ₹34,500 sound good, isn’t a surprise though. The 700 have impressive audio range, covering every twang of the guitar, vibrations of drums and so on. It suits all kinds of listeners. It doesn’t muddy the grungy distortion in metal tracks, excels at separating instruments songs that use many, and produces the right mids to cover most vocal tracks.
Unless you’re actually trying Sony’s MDR-1000XM3 side-by-side, it’s actually tough to find a flaw in the audio here. However, we did have that option, so we can confirm that the 1000XM3 produces just slightly punchier bass than the Headphones 700. It’s certainly not enough of a difference write the Bose down though.
Another problem is that the Headphones 700 overdo the highs a little bit. So, something like Joe Satriani’s Flying in a Blue Dream can become tiresome, especially at high volume levels. That said, the audio quality is quite noticeably above the QC 35 II and depending on your tastes, better than the 1000XM3 too.
What’s perhaps more important is that Bose makes up for the above weaknesses through other features. The touch gestures are the fastest amongst headphones today and work effortlessly and without fail. You slide your finger on the right earcup to toggle volume, double tap to play or pause and long press to check battery level.
Speaking of battery, the company advertises 20 hour battery life, which is a full 10 hours less than what Sony advertises for the 1000XM3. However, in practice both amount to be the same. That is not to say that the Bose’s battery life isn’t less than Sony, but it does provide the advertised battery life, which is more than enough.
Adding to the feature set is the fact that Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Bose’s new Bose AR feature. The last one is a feature that allows the headphones to use location data from your phone to give you facts about a place you’re in. It’s not very useful right now, but if you want to be at the absolute cutting edge of audio technology, it’s up there.
Last but not the least, the 700 are outstanding for making audio calls as well. You won’t be walking around in traffic while talking on the phone, but the right microphones (four on each earcup) isolate noise well enough to use them at home and in office spaces. It’s one of the few headphones that deliver with respect to voice calls.
Overall, the Bose Headphones 700 is a triumphant return to the ANC space for Bose. With customisable noise cancellation, seamless gesture controls, excellent audio quality, and the futuristic AR feature, this is truly a premium pair of headphones.