Attention all passengers!
Especially those of you who claim to be frequent flyers. If you’ve ever craved for noise cancellation to soften the blow of constant travel, you’ll be familiar with Bose’s stellar QuietComfort range of headphones. Well, the QC35s have sat right at the top of that range and they just graduated from smart school with enhanced Google Assistant skills.
You’re only getting used to talking to your phone and speakers so if you’re thinking this is too much too soon, you’re in for a bit of a surprise. Even without their stash of smarts, the 35s have proven themselves to be spectacular sound makers wrapped in pillow-comfort and blocking out baby-wail sounds from hell. In their 2018 avatar though, they’re ready for lift-off!
Design and build
Without fixing something that ain’t broke, Bose has continued with its choice of a stealthy, subtle and trendy matte black (also available in silver) finish for its cans. It trades temporary flash for classic universal appeal that works for just about everyone. They might not look very special but they sure exude a vibe that means business.
A little touch and feel reveals a plastic build that might fill you with rage from spending over thirty grand to feed your aural fix. Then again it does help keep its weight in check at a comfy 310g. It fits just right without bogging your brains down for those lethargic long-hauls. Buttons on the right housing control playback with intuitive placement and controls whil the left housing packs a programmable button for either summoning Google Assistant or adjusting noise cancellation levels.
With its Bluetooth brains intact, the QC35II packs a party trick like no other: Google Assistant. With a quick setup through the Bose Connect app you’re up and running in no time. These cans will chime with each notification and even read out calendar events. At your command, of course. You can always choose to disable these.
But, subscribe to its smart skills and there’s tons to look forward to. Receive a text and a simple press of the Assistant button reads out the text straight into your ears. You can then choose to reply via voice for convenience. This works rather well when you’ve dumped your smartphone in your bag saving you any effort of fishing around for it.
While you could call on Google Assistant whenever you please, you can even cycle through various cancellation levels if you so choose to. Bose continues to sit at the forefront of negating noises and things haven’t quite changed yet. Microphones sitting outside as well as inside the cans effectively eliminate unwanted sounds.
Your peaceful party could come down crashing fast if it weren’t for the 20 hours of wireless audio or 40 hours of pure noise cancellation if you’re using the bundled 3.5mm cable. Luckily, that’s aplenty for the longest of flights. A quick 15 min plug in gets you an additional 2.5hours of juice via an aging micro USB port.
Here’s where the QC35 IIs continue to complete the whole audio package. These are great at handling music of all kinds digging out tons of detail you’re otherwise unable to hear. We fed them some sounds from artists like Jungle and Glass Animals only to be served with even the faintest of sounds from the subtle vocals.
No good sound’s complete without fulfilling bass of which there’s abundance in the 35 IIs. Each bassy note is weighty and nuanced adding numerous layers to the sound that lesser headphones most definitely would struggle with. Mids and high trebles are just as rich and composed making for a truly awesome experience.
Pit them against something like Sony’s spectacular 1000MX2 and you realise how stiff the competition really is in the category. While you would prefer one over the other for marginal reasons, the QC35 IIs hold their ground pretty strong. But with a smart trick up their sleeve, they blow right past all their rivals.
There’s no doubt that the QC35 IIs are the smartest headphones around. Best part is, that’s not their only hook. Granted, you could outdo them simply for sound but you’ll be hard pressed to find a pair with just as many capabilities. With the added Google Assistant, they’re a force to reckon with in the headphone game.
If you’re a frequent traveller looking for the ideal companion, there’s little reason to look elsewhere. While rivals from Sony and even B&W have closed all gaps in terms of form and functionality, they still a hair’s breadth behind the Bose in terms of being an all-round package.