I review the noise-cancelling headphones I've been using for about 3 years.
Colleagues have asked numerous times about my experience with Bose QuietComfort 35 noise-cancelling headphones. This post is me re-posting my most recent response on my blog to save myself typing the next time I'm asked.
- I love that they can connect to two devices via bluetooth (both my phone and computer). This is important to avoid me missing phone calls if I'm connected to computer or meeting/slack notifications if I'm connected to the phone.
- They are particularly great for travel: it's like a 1st-class upgrade for airports, planes and trains.
- They're also pretty good at keeping me from hearing wife/son while working. Important as I work from home and my wife home educates our son.
- They can optionally work with a cable, and this doubles the battery life. (Which is already good.) If they run out of battery they continue to work as headphones, but you get no noise cancelling (obviously).
- Speaking of battery, they seem to charge in no time at all, and you get a spoken message about battery level every time you put them on - and a warning when they're getting low.
- They're very comfortable, even after 3 years use. (This in stark contrast to a previous pair of Shure ones I had where the earpads hardened and became uncomfortable pretty quickly.)
- They fold up compactly into a superb travel case that protects them well.
- The price.
- The sound quality for listening to music specifically is not as good as the cheaper pair of Shure over-the-ear headphones I had.
- Not being able to hear anything that goes on around you when in a meeting can be a disadvantage.
- Their cost.
- For meetings the quality of the sound from the mic is not as good as a cheap headset (with a dedicated mic arm) I have.
- Also for meetings: the mic pick up keyboard and other ambient noises, but you can't hear it so you're not aware!
- It can be dangerous to wear them outside, as you can't hear traffic or other road users.
- They are expensive.
- They're not great in windy/drafty conditions. I think this is because they try to cancel out "phantom wind" that's blowing on the ambient mics.
- It's not possible to turn off the noise cancelling without plugging in a cable, which also turns off the bluetooth.
- Did I mention they're not cheap?
For my use I think the good outweigh the bad, and if my QuiteComfort 35s broke I would consider getting them again. I'm not 100% sure because I feel where they really shine (solo) air/train travel, and I'm not sure the price is worth it given I so rarely travel nowadays.