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Bose QuietComfort 35 review

evan kypreos




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Our Score:



  • Superb noise cancelling
  • Excellent mic for calls
  • Light and comfortable
  • Long battery life


  • No aptX
  • No option to turn off ANC

Key Features

  • Active noise cancelling
  • Bluetooth
  • 2.5mm jack for wired connection
  • 20-hour battery life
  • Black and grey colours available
  • Hard carry case with aeroplane adapter
  • Manufacturer: Bose
  • Review Price: £289.95

What are the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones?

Bose is synonymous with top-notch noise-cancelling headphones, and the QuietComfort 35 are no exception. The difference lies in the fact that these are Bose's first active noise-cancelling headphones alongside the QuietControl 30 that feature wireless capabilities. Now that more and more smartphones are doing away with the 3.5mm headphone jack, it seems a rather timely move.

Being released from the leash makes the QuietComfort 35 more versatile than ever. With a refined design, clear and balanced sound and impressive battery life, these are some of the best over-ear noise-cancelling headphones you can buy and a great follow-up to the wired QuietComfort 25.

Video: Bose QuietComfort 35 review

Related: Best Wireless Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 35 – Design and Comfort

There's no great departure from previous Bose headphones when it comes to looks – in fact, barring some minor trim and colour differences, the QuietComfort 35s are almost identical to the wired Bose QuietComfort 25s. These headphones are designed for an understated palette – and I’m more than happy with that.

The outer shell of the ear cups is made of metal, while the frame and headband are of a thick plastic. They're covered in a beautiful faux-leather that manages to stay quite cool, even in muggy weather. There’s good reason for Bose to have put the word "Comfort" in the name of these headphones.

Bose headphones

The QuietComfort 35 headphones are available in two colours. There's the classic Bose silvery-grey, of which I'm not a fan – the two-tone trim doesn’t work for me – and the more austere black, which in my opinion is better looking.

All the controls sit on the right ear-cup. A switch turns the headphones on and sets up Bluetooth connections – you can connect up to two devices at the same time, or change between multiple devices using the Bose app. Buttons on the side let you adjust volume and control your phone. The multi-function button that plays or pauses music accepts calls and initiates voice commands, too. Everything is in reach and easily accessible with your right hand.

The QC35s are surprisingly lightweight, weighing just 234g without the wires. By comparison, TrustedReviews’ wired headphones of the year in 2015, the Sennheiser Momentum 2, weigh only a little less at 220g without the cable. The low weight combined with a stiff but comfy fit means I’ve been happily wearing the QuietComfort 35s for hours at a time.

Bose QuietComfort 35

Those who travel will be pleased to discover that the headphones are supplied with a hard case, into which they fold down and fit snugly. The case will easily fit in a bag and comes with an aeroplane adapter and 3.5mm cable for use when the units are out of juice.

Bose has made minor changes to what was already a solid design and managed to create a luxuriously comfortable pair of wireless headphones.

Bose QuietComfort 35 – Noise Cancelling

Bose headphones traditionally offer the best active noise cancellation (ANC) around and the QC35s are no exception – the units are brilliant at keeping noise out.

Their close-fitting over-ear design in itself blocks some noise, but with ANC turned on, pretty much all sounds disappear to leave you alone with your thoughts. It’s a little eerie at first, but you soon become used to it – and then learn to appreciate it.

Bose’s noise cancelling works best with low-frequency machine drones. It entirely blocked the engine noise of a ferry, as well as the clatter of trains and general cacophony apparent at train stations during rush hour. This means you can enjoy music in busy environments, even at low volumes.

Bose QuietComfort 35 17

While the QuietComfort 35 are excellent at low frequencies, the headphones won’t block out all high frequencies. I found this more of a benefit than a problem, as I could continue to hear ambulance sirens while walking around London and train announcements for platform alterations.

One scenario in which the noise cancelling feature struggles is when it's windy. In such circumstances the noise cancelling mics cause a little crackle, but this is an issue with all ANC headphones.

Since the noise cancelling is so aggressive on the Bose QuietComfort 35, you will feel a sensation of pressure on your ears. This is evident with all noise-cancelling headphones, but it can feel a little odd to the uninitiated.

It’s a shame then that there’s no option to turn off noise cancelling when you don’t need it. At home, in the quiet, you still have full-on silence whether you want it or not. I found myself switching to another pair when I needed to keep half an ear on the sleeping baby in the next room.

Bose QuietComfort 35 – Sound Quality

I’ve never been a huge fan of noise-cancelling headphones because they tend to affect the quality of the sound. As such, I've only ever used my Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 headphones on long-haul flights.

The Bose QuietComfort 35 offer a huge improvement over the Audio-Technica headphones. They have a wide and encompassing soundstage, even though they’re close-backed units, and lack any hiss or white noise that may muddy the sound.

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Bose uses a digital equaliser that automatically tweaks the sound on the fly so that one aspect doesn’t overpower at any volume. It works well: the QuietComfort 35 provide smooth and accurate sound, even at low volumes where I’d expect some elements to vanish.

The bass is meaty but remains under control, and doesn’t drown out the detailed mid-range or treble; nor does it go missing at low volume. Any music by the bass-heavy Massive Attack drips in lovely low-end gooeyness.

Audio purists might flinch at the equaliser, but I found the balance it provides works well regardless of whether you're listening to smooth jazz or thumping electronica. If you’re an audiophile then, chances are, ANC and Bluetooth streaming will be enough of a turn off anyway. For most others, the QC35 will be spot on.

In all, the QC35 offer great sound considering they’re streaming over Bluetooth. Still, it’s a shame that they're not compatible with aptX, a codec that allows for higher-quality audio streaming over Bluetooth. Phones such as the LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7 take advantage of aptX for higher bit-rate audio.

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That said, the QuietComfort 35 come with a 2.5mm jack in the left cup and a 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable to attach via wire when needed. You also get a two-pronged aeroplane adapter in there.

The adapter and wire are useful, since some airlines don’t allow Bluetooth to be used during takeoff and landing. It also means you can use the QuietComfort when the battery dies, although the ANC and equaliser won’t work without power.

With both those features off, though, the Bose QuietComfort 35 become a bit more of a handful. Rough edges begin to appear and the mid-range becomes a little peaky. On or off, there are other headphones that provide superior sound quality, but nowhere near the QC35's noise-cancelling prowess. The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless are a good example of this, but cost significantly more.

Bose QuietComfort 35 – Voice Quality

The QC35 aren't only headphones; they work as a headset too. As a result, you'll be able to pick up a call and talk to your friends (or Siri, if you're an iPhone user) with all the benefit of noise cancelling. I found this a great way to have phone conversations in the hustle and bustle of London. I could hear the person on the other end of the line perfectly – and vice versa. The QuietComfort 35 use their awesome noise cancelling to clear up your voice too, so calls are a clear as a bell.

Bose QuietComfort 35 – Battery Life

Bose claims the QuietComfort 35 can survive for 20 hours on a single charge, which I found played out in real life. It isn't bad at all and matches the best rechargeable noise-cancelling headphones out there, such as the Sony MDR-100ABN h.ear on Wireless or the Sony MDR-1000X.

Annoyingly, the QC35 don’t turn off automatically when you stop listening, which meant that they ended up totally out of juice after leaving them on overnight by mistake. Thankfully, the Bose Connect app has auto power-down settings where it's possible to pick a range of times from five minutes to three hours.

Related: Best Headphones to buy

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It takes about two hours to fully recharge the built-in battery of the QC35 via a Micro USB port. Some people might prefer headphones that run on AAA batteries, such as the Bose Soundlink headphones, because it’s easy to pop in replacements if the units runs out of juice. I’m not a fan, however, if only because of cost to your pocket and the environment.

Happily, Bose uses a lithium-ion battery and that means it should be good for a number of recharges.

Watch our guide on headphones:

Should I buy the Bose QuietComfort 35?

After a long time using the QC35, I’ve fallen a little in love. I’ve found myself listening to music on the go far more frequently, because I was enjoying it more. I put this down to the awesome noise-cancelling feature, but also to quality of the sound and comfort of the headphones – the QC35 are easy on the ears, in more ways than one.

However, if you want the best noise-cancelling performance in a wireless set of cans then the Sony MDR-1000X manages to pair superb ANC with fantastic sound quality. The Sony headphones also throw in some really smart tech allowing you to hear your surroundings. An adjustable level of ANC is something that was missing from the QuietComfort 35, but is available in Bose's other QuietControl 30 wireless ANC headphones, but not everyone will get on with their collar-style form factor. If, however, you're on a tighter budget, the QuietComfort 35 are the ones to go for as the Sony cans are pricier. They certainly won't disappoint.


Bose may have arrived late to the wireless party, but the QuietComfort 35 headphones combine unequalled noise cancelling, great sound and a 20-hour battery life in a package that’s as quiet as it is comfortable.

Overall Score



July 5, 2016, 2:05 pm

As a new owner, I'm really sad that I can't use bluetooth and wired at the same time. Also if you plug them in to charge, the bluetooth and noise cancellation shuts down.


July 18, 2016, 10:11 am


Reading your review of the Bose QC 35, I noticed that you (along with very many other review sites), didn't mention or notice that the QC35's battery would require replacement in a few years.

As a consumer who uses headphones for 8-12 hours a day, a very important question for me is the QC35 battery lifespan.)

With a rated cycle of 500 charges, I would expect to need a replacement for the QC35 battery within 2 years compared to just swapping in new AA batteries for the QC25 (ignoring wirless for now).

Have you checked with Bose as to their policy for the QC35 battery replacement? I have.
Turns out there's none.

You can only get a new set for 50% of the cost, if you hand in your existing headset.
Which basically means that every 2-3 years (stretching it.. more likely every 18 months in my case), I will have to fork out $175 for getting the QC35 battery changed.. something that I would expect would cost only $50-$75.

Why aren't any of the review sites factoring this aspect in?

Doesn't this make using the QC25 a better option, if you can live without wireless?
It's a shame, because I did love my QC35.


July 18, 2016, 10:12 am

Yea, I noticed this too. Pretty annoying, as I didn't mind charging + using the wired mode at the same time.
I just want the ANC to work while charging.

Thankfully I can do a quick charge in about an hour or so.

leo zerimar

August 13, 2016, 9:32 pm

which is better between bose qc35 and sony mdr-1rbt in terms of sound quality?


September 7, 2016, 3:00 am

I would consider 12 hours a day industrial use. Most people would use them for an average of less than 2 or 3 hours a day I would guess, which would be 9 to 13 years of battery life (time for new headphones then, unless technology has superseded headphones by then).


September 7, 2016, 5:55 am

I agree.
In my case, 12 hours is pretty average considering I use it for work (noisy AC) + personal use (gaming).
I probably should be under some long term study checking up on me 5-10 years down the line, to see if using ANC headphones affects hearing/eardrums :p


September 7, 2016, 7:28 am



September 8, 2016, 1:15 pm

Unfortunately not. Li-ion battery will degrade even if not used.
This is one of the fundamental problems with wireless headphones. You can be sure manufacturers will not stock replacement batteries or offer to change them for you if they can get a new sale out of you.

If you are paying the sort of money these things cost I'd expect more than 5 years use before it goes to landfill.


September 23, 2016, 5:32 pm

Question. I tried the denon and the brand new Sennheiser headphones with noise cancellation. It was as if I didn't had no NC at all. The sennheisers did a great job in filtering the lows and cutting a bit in the highs but the tv that was playing on a normal volume was audible as if I wasn't wearing these headphones.
Is that what is comparable with the bose QC 35 or 25?

I need it to have some peace and quiet to work in our house where my wife and 2 year old are talking on a normal volume. Nothing special, they just watch tv and I can read a book or write next to them without music but with NC on. Is that possible?

Nunya Bizness

November 21, 2016, 3:08 am

Why would you need to use Bluetooth while they're plugged in?

Also you have 20 hours of battery life... get over it. You should sleep sometime. Charge them then.


November 22, 2016, 10:48 am

- Bluetooth audio quality isnt as good as wired
- My work workstation doesn't have bluetooth (and the support with linux is a bit ropey as it uses BLE for pairing but normal BT after that)
- I would like to be able to pair my phone so when listening to music on my workstation i can still make make/receive calls from my mobile seamlessly.
- Sometimes I forget to plug them in to charge so they are flat and then i need to plug them in but then noise cancellation (or any bluetooth) doesn't work when i want it.


December 30, 2016, 4:27 pm

You can forget that too because there is a flaw with the design of that model. Unless they changed it there is a very small gauge wire that connects to a very small solder point on the battery door which is put under stress every time you change the battery. It is not a matter of if it will break, but when!!!

Chris Wood

January 14, 2017, 3:29 pm

One key issue NO review seem to fully address!

For high end audio quality Bose Quietcomfort 35 uses AAC over bluetooth instead of apt-x over bluetooth. This is great if you have an iphone and a macbook. If you have an Android phone, you want apt-x because android doesn't support AAC (and inversely iphones don't support apt-x). If you have a Windows PC, you can buy a bluetooth adapter that supports apt-x -- you cannot buy a bluetooth adapter that support AAC.

If you are an android person or a Windows pc person, you are limited to standard bluetooth audio quality. If reviewers are comparing audio quality of the Bose QC35 to other headphones, it makes a big difference if they are using aac/apt-x/wired cable, etc and the reviews never talk about that.

Not only does apt-x enable higher quality audio over bluetooth, it also reduces audio delay. If you're watching a video on your PC, the lip sync will be off without apt-x (or equivalent).

(In digging into this, I've found someone say the Moto Z (android) and the Surface Pro 4 support aac over bluetooth even though they don't advertise it on their specs. So, your support may vary and the manufacturers aren't likely to tell you.)

Pui Ho Lam

January 18, 2017, 8:36 am

hope they see the feedback


January 31, 2017, 2:17 pm

I think it would be a good idea to implement the USB audio profile (with ANC), so that when you are charging the headphones, you can use them as a USB headset.

That would make them the most versatile headphones around! Bluetooth audio, analogue audio AND USB audio!


March 3, 2017, 6:45 pm

I have a kind of newbie question. If wireless doesn't matter to me, and I mainly want the great noise cancellation feature, could I just get the QC 25? E.g. Is the noise cancellation just the same on the wired QC 25 version as on the wireless QC 35?

Chris Greene

May 24, 2017, 8:49 pm

Not sure why I'm answering this, as I've never owned either, but yes. The primary difference between the QC25 and the QC35 is that one is wired and the other wireless. The noise cancellation should be identical, or nearly identical.

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