“Bose is a noob in gaming audio, and it shows.”
- Enjoyable, balanced sound
- Light and comfortable
- Excellent active noise canceling
- Lacks virtual surround sound
- Lacks audio punch in action games
- Not wireless when gaming
- Poor value
I own four pairs of headphones. That might sound silly, but I’m guessing you’re not far behind me. Here’s my list:
- Wireless PC gaming headset
- Wireless Sony PlayStation 4 headset
- Wireless earbuds
- Wired headphones
I blame this absurd situation on the hodgepodge of audio compatibility found on various devices. My PC gaming headset works great for my PC, but not well with the PlayStation 4, and not at all with anything lacking USB-A. My Sony PS4 headset is only useful for the PS4. My wireless earbuds technically connect to everything I own, but their short battery life means I reserve them for use with my phone. And my wired
Obviously, my life would be less cluttered with just one device to do it all. Enter the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming. Based on the beloved QC 35 II wireless
At $330, though, the promise of do-it-all connectivity isn’t cheap. Can the QC 35 II Gaming deliver on their promise?
Crystal-clear audio is this headset’s primary aim. It’s a conversion of a wireless headset that normally targets audiophiles, so I was expecting an excellent experience.
I’ll start with the bad news. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming start life as a pair of
Put simply, the QC 35 II Gaming don’t try to knock your socks off. They’re great for Final Fantasy XIV, where the game’s amazing soundtrack can take center stage, or Microsoft Flight Simulator, where clear sound makes air traffic control chatter easier to hear, and modest bass reels back the drone of a plane’s engine.
In Call of Duty: Warzone, however, the lack of punch was so noticeable that, at first, I thought my audio settings were wrong. They weren’t. The QC 35 II Gaming just can’t compete with the impressive virtual surround sound on headsets like the Logitech G733 or SteelSeries Arctis 7.
The tradeoff for this is great audio quality everywhere else, which does matter. Modern gaming headsets pack a wallop, but usually have muddy sound that removes detail and nuance.
Switching from a Logitech G733 to the QC 35 II is a night-and-day difference – and I really enjoy the G733. Logitech’s headset is perfectly fine in just about any situation. But pit them against Bose in my Spotify Rewind playlist and, well, Bose schools the Logitech.
Your opinion of the QC 35 II Gaming’s sound will come down to what you play. If you just want to game, and you play games that make decent use of virtual surround, you’ll be better served by a dedicated gaming headset. If you want to listen to a variety of media, or play games that emphasize great soundtracks and audio design over volume, the Bose QC 35 II could make sense.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming are defined by an add-on microphone that plugs into the headset’s audio jack. The microphone then plugs into a puck via a 3.5mm audio jack. And that puck, which also works as a volume dial, then plugs in to your PC via USB.
Confused? Here’s the real head-scratcher. The QC 35 II Gaming already have a built-in microphone. So why have another, corded microphone?
The answer to that question – which hardcore gamers have already guessed – is lag. Bluetooth is not a perfect solution for gaming because of latency. It’s not ideal to hear an opponent’s rifle 200 milliseconds after it’s fired. That’s why wireless gaming headsets ship with proprietary wireless dongles instead of using Bluetooth. The QC 35 II Gaming already has Bluetooth, though, so Bose slaps on a wired microphone that also tethers the
It’s not a good solution. At $330, the QC 35 II Gaming are at the high end of wireless gaming headsets. Yet they’re not actually wireless when you play games. It’s more accurate to say the QC 35 II Gaming are wireless Bluetooth
In fairness to Bose, the company clarifies this in its marketing. The QC 35 II Gaming are pitched as a gaming headset that also have a “wireless lifestyle mode.” Bose isn’t misleading anyone. But that doesn’t make the wired microphone less annoying.
At least the wired microphone is excellent. I compared it back-to-back with the Logitech G733, Logitech G533, and Razer Kraken. The QC 35 II Gaming was the clear victor. All four headsets are adequate, but the QC 35 II Gaming have a clean, crisp quality that’s a step above the norm.
Comfort and design
Alright. I’ve bashed on these Bose for awhile now — and rightfully so. They’re an awkward attempt to convert a great pair of
The QC 35 II Gaming are compact, fold up for portability, and come with a travel bag. They’re light and comfortable to wear. While still an over-ear design, the earcups are smaller than most gaming headsets, and they breathe well. Build quality is outstanding. The phone app, which manages wireless connections (the QC 35 II Gaming can connect to two Bluetooth sources at once), is simple but works well enough.
It’s the so-called “lifestyle mode” where these benefits matter most for the Gaming version, and that’s not an unattractive pitch. You can use the QC 35 II Gaming with a gaming rig at home, listen to music on your phone while doing chores, or take them for a walk around the neighborhood.
You can now buy gaming headsets with both a lag-free wireless connection and built-in Bluetooth, like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. Those headsets can serve as an all-in-one audio device, too, just like the QC 35 II Gaming. But they’re larger, heavier, often don’t work as well with mobile devices, and usually have a retractable (instead of detachable) microphone.
Don’t forget the QC 35 II Gaming’s active noise cancellation, either. It’s effective, eliminating most repetitive noises and significantly decreasing the volume of everything else. This is less useful for gaming than it is for on the go. Bose is the master of ANC, and the QC 35 II Gaming’s ANC quality is superior to any gaming headset, or
The QC 35 II Gaming’s battery life again underscores the headset’s awkward conversion. Bose claims up to 40 hours in wired gaming mode, and up to 20 hours in wireless lifestyle mode.
That’s right. Battery life is limited in wired mode. Forty hours is a long, long time. I usually game for no more than two hours a day, so the QC 35 II would theoretically last three weeks, and I never put a dent in its endurance while wired. On the other hand, gamers who play a lot will eat through a charge in two or three days.
Bose quotes 20 hours of wireless battery life. They seem to come close to this number. In a twist, the QC 35 II QC Gaming
The QC 35 II Gaming have a customizable button that can be used to control ANC. It can also summon Alexa or
As mentioned earlier, the QC 35 II Gaming come with a volume puck. Its inclusion is a wise move by Bose, as it does ease the annoyance of wired use. Without the puck, you’d have to plug the headset into your desktop’s 3.5mm audio directly, and that would be a chore. Controlling volume by twisting the puck is also more convenient than using the headphone’s volume buttons.
Yet wire length was still an issue. A short 3-foot 3.5mm audio cord connects the microphone to the puck. It’s barely long enough for the job. I usually route the audio cord on my wired
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming are excellent
Is there a better alternative?
Yes. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, Sennheiser GSP 670, and HyperX Cloud Flight S are examples of great gaming headsets that can connect over wireless or Bluetooth. If you just want a gaming headset, solid entries like the Logitech G733 start at $130.
The Bose QC 35 II Gaming have them beat as everyday
How long will it last?
The QC 35 II Gaming are exceptionally well-built, and personally, I’ve never broken a headset or a pair of
Should you buy it?
No. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are great
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