Bose Noise Cancelling 700 vs. QC35 II: Are Bose’s newest headphones worth it?

Bose just came out with a brand new pair of premium noise-canceling over-ears after over a decade of iterating on its acclaimed QuietComfort design.

But just how good are the new Bose Noise Cancelling 700? Should you spend the extra dough on the company’s $400 new flagship, or are the older, time-tested QuietComfort 35 II better for you? Read on to find out, as we compare both Bose models in multiple categories.

Design and fit

Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II review
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While the classic plush leather, oval earcups, and padded plastic headband of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II certainly aren’t unattractive, we’ve got to hand it to the new 700: They look fantastic.

With sleek, round lines, virtually no physical buttons, and a rounded, rubber-lined headband, the latest Bose cans are absolutely gorgeous to look at. But even with such clean design, the headphones remain elegant and suited for business-class, just like the previous model.

Comfort is also better with the new cans, which weigh less, and use perfect clamping force to keep as much weight off of the headband as possible. This is one pair of headphones where design serves functionality, in this case creating Bose’s most comfortable pair of noise-canceling headphones ever.

Winner: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Features, controls, and battery life

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We’re big fans of the classic, push-button controls offered by the QC35 II, which always seem to do exactly what you want. A dedicated voice assistant button is also a nice touch, making it easy to ask Siri, Google Assistant, or even Alexa to send texts, change playlists, and more.

Even with so many things to like about the previous model, the new 700 manage to best their predecessors in a few key categories. Simple touch controls on the outside of the right earcup replace most of the QC35 II’s physical buttons, but that’s actually one of the smallest changes made by the Bose team between models.

First and foremost, the new model eclipses the old one in terms of hardware: There are brand new microphones to aid call and noise reduction technology, they boast even better audio processing, and they feature a QC35 II-matching 20 hours of battery life, but with faster charging than before thanks to a new USB-C port.

Noise-canceling itself is something of a toss-up between models. That might surprise you given that the newer model is so different in other ways, but, quite frankly, there wasn’t much room for improvement. Bose has always had some of the best noise reduction around, and the small improvement offered by the 700 over their predecessor isn’t surprising. It’s hard to make your best tech that much better.

Winner: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Sound Quality

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Sound is always subjective, but for my ears, the newer Bose model sounds slightly better than the previous one. A wider soundstage, slightly more definition, and a more genre-agnostic audio profile make the Noise Cancelling 700 a great pair of headphones with which to listen to virtually all of your favorite music.

Both pairs of headphones are relatively bright when it comes to the upper midrange/lower treble register, which helps bring out the shimmer of guitar strings, cymbals, and female vocals, and makes everything feel very crisp and clean. All of this to say: You won’t be sad about owning either pair, but I prefer the Bose 700.

Winner: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Overall

Bose has made great headphones for years, and it’s no surprise that the latest are its greatest yet.

But which one should you buy? That’s actually a harder question to answer because the newer model retails for $400 compared to the $350 (and often discounted) QC35 II. If we were you, we’d spend a little extra dough on the newer pair, but if you find a good deal on the QC35 II model, we wouldn’t judge you for grabbing them. Either way, you’ll be getting getting a great pair of noise-canceling headphones.

Winner: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700:

Bose QuietComfort 35 II:

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